Sunday, January 29, 2012

Here's to 30 Days!

Pre-run in dad's hunting hat with lights and ear flaps.
Persistence is the key to success for EVERYTHING!

I often beat myself up because I occasionally live like a bachelor (I actually am not that bad but it helps illustrate my point). Of course like everything in my life, my ability to keep my house pristine ebbs and flows based on my mood or what is going on in my life. I typically don't stress about little things, as a matter of fact if my friend's child comes to my house I am often heard saying to him (as he spills his milk, drops something or accidentally breaks something) don't worry about it, if it breaks it can be fixed or replaced; IT IS JUST A THING. I guess you can say I am not very materialistic.

If you know me at all you know that I function best in controlled chaos. If you look around my office, in my junk drawer or on my counter you may find stacks of mail, files, papers or other items that may seem disorganized. In my mind it is organized. As a matter of fact I was lucky enough to get a 'new' car this past month. Because I have so many keys I have found that I am better off keeping my car keys separate from my regular pile of keys as I do not want to break a key in my ignition or door. I now have a specific place where I hang my car keys when I walk in the door. Here is the problem: even though my keys go in the exact same place every day I still spend at least five minutes EVERY morning searching for my keys. Why, you may ask? Because it is way too organized for me. I swear I would not search for my car keys if I threw them on a table, counter or arm of the couch when I walk in the door because that is where I expect them to be.

Over the last month I have challenged myself to a mile a day, running that is. I am going to start with telling you I have 30 days!!! What exactly does this mean? Well I have officially run at least a mile day for the last 30 days. I realize this may seem crazy (stupid) to some but you have to understand on my days 'off' I literally go out for a 1 mile, very slow loop around my neighborhood.

Because of this challenge I have to be very calculated about everything. I need clean running clothes, dry gloves, my headlamp if it is dark, water bottle, hand bag, shoes, etc. to make getting out the door easy. I have become the most organized person as it relates to running. I walk in the door from a run and take off my sweaty jacket and hang it up. I take off my shoes and put them back in their box (I rotate shoes so I like to keep them in their labeled boxes). I hang my gloves and hat/headband over the side of my running box and deposit all of my running accessories in my running box. Finally, I sit down at my computer with my Garmin and sync up with daily mile and running ahead to log and journal about my run for the day.


Post run in fancy hat. 
How is it that this disorganized person has the ability to be so organized with running? I wish I knew the secret because I would probably take a little time and apply it to other areas of my life. When I really think about it though I recognize that when I challenge myself to something that seems unattainable I will do anything in my power to be successful. I suppose after fine tuning my routine for 30 days I have finally come out on top! I expect there to be more 30 day accomplishments with running in the future, if only I could find my keys...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Crazy in the Cold

This is how we do it!
I have been getting a lot of questions about running in the winter. The questions range from the typical 'how the heck do you stay warm' to the rhetorical 'are you freaking crazy?'


The answer to the crazy question is: YES, I am crazy, but I already knew before I became a runner. I was talking with a friend last week and she asked me if I was going to run that day (it was something like 9 degrees before wind chill) and I promptly responded with a Yup. She told me that, while she admires my dedication she simply thinks I am down right crazy. My response? I shrugged my shoulders, put on my shoes and ran!

And, how do I keep warm while running? Well, what I learned from my first supervisor while living in Maine is this: There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. As I look at my running log, which is where I track my mileage, pace, clothing, temperature, who I ran with, insights from the day (these range from random discoveries about life, to recognizing how cool the moon looked), I realize that most of the time I unzip my coat, take off my gloves/hat within the first mile. The truth is my body is an oven and it barely takes a quarter of a mile for me to warm up! 


Of course there are days in which I have no desire to run because of the weather, but I ran across this quote on another running blog: “A true  runner ran even when he didn’t feel like it, and raced when he was supposed to, without excuses and with nothing held back." I guess I can say I am a true runner.

With ALL that being said I did give in yesterday (due to a sheet of ice) and went to the gym to log my miles...

Maybe I am not that crazy after all!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Updates are Necessary


I am an athlete!

This blog serves a number of purposes. The first purpose is to keep my family, friends and readers up to date on my journey, the second is to share some of the lessons that I have learned through this journey and the final is to maintain some sort of journal for myself to remind me where I came from and where I am going. With that being said this week's post is going to serve as somewhat of an update of several topics that have come up over the last few weeks...

Dukie

For those of you who follow my blog, you are aware that my dog became critically ill just over two weeks ago. It was one of the scariest moments I have experienced as Dukie's companion. Many people have asked me how the little guy is doing. After weeks of many meds, mushy dog food, stitches and a cone around his head I can safely say he has recovered!!! I took Dukie to the vet this past week to have his stitches/staples removed and the vet was extremely pleased with the incision site. Dukie was released to go back to regular activity.

On Wednesday, Dukie and I went out for our first walk since his surgery, I have been able to go back to my regular sleep schedule AND have been able to sleep in my bed again!!! With that said, I can now comfortably resume all of my regular activities without worrying about him at home alone!

I am sure I have said this before but I feel compelled to say it again... Dogs truly are the best companions in the world. As I reflect back to the day I rushed Dukie between vets all the while being a 'mess' I realize the only thing that comforted me was Dukie's little snout resting on my leg and nuzzling my chin. 

Goals

I have purposely been very vague as I have talked about goals in the past month. The reason for the vagueness is simply fear of failing. What the hell, I'm going to throw my goals (and planned races) out there! As supporters and friends I ask that you ask me how I am doing along the way, offer encouragement and, if need be, tell me that I am crazy:

Races:

Run Cbus 10 miler: I do not have a time goal for this event as it is extremely challenging and full of hills. My plan is to use it as a long training run this spring.


Cap City Half Marathon: Because I am running with the 12 minute pace group with MIT this year and have been tempo running around 11:15 minute miles I am going to shoot for a PR at this race. I would really like to run this race in 2 hours and 35 minutes. Perhaps I am selling myself short or even making this goal a little too lofty based on past half marathon experiences, but heck why not try. If I fail, I will at least cross the finish line of another half marathon.

Giant Eagle Triathlon (Olympic Distance): My goal for this event is simply to finish. When I participate in events I am not trying to prove myself to anyone except myself. I will be satisfied with a finish as this will be my first Olympic Distance Triathlon.

Hopefully next year's marathon will produce a similar pic.
Chicago Marathon: For me, running long distances and having the endurance for those distances is more important than time. Let's face it, the world class athletes run full marathons in less time it takes me to run a half! My goal in Chicago is to improve my time from Columbus, which shouldn't be hard as Columbus has more hills and I am training A LOT differently than I did last year! 

Other Random Goals:

Mile a Day in 2012: This may seem crazy especially since we all know rest days are important. My plan for my 'rest day' is to go out for a very, very slow one mile. The personal benefit I anticipate from this goal is to get that escape/peace I find from putting one foot in front of the other. My progress thus far is that yesterday (I haven't logged any miles yet today) was a 15 day streak with 53 miles logged; an average of 3.5 miles a day. 

1350 Miles in 2012: OK, so if you do follow my blog you are probably recalling a moment in which I said I will NEVER set mileage goals again. Well, I just couldn't help myself! Don't ask why I chose this number... I spent several hours contemplating what was possible and would push me a little out of my comfort zone. Originally, I wanted to shoot for 1400 miles but for some reason 1350 doesn't make me as nervous at 1400.

I have other personal goals for the year that include my guitar, my weight and volunteering but those don't relate to the topic at hand: Athleticism. 

Shoes

I received bad news on the shoe front. I talked with the gentleman who told me he would try and find my shoes. Well, he found them but told me he wouldn't sell them to me as they were no longer good and have been sitting around for too long. So, I guess I am going to go and buy a new model of shoe this week so I can begin to try them out and put them in my shoe rotation. 

Thank you for reading the novel this week! I hope you enjoyed the random updates!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Truth About the Shoe

I feel like I am stealing topics as one of my friends blogged about shoes this week. The reality is my experience on Saturday necessitates a post about the connection a runner may have with their running shoe. After reading my friends blog I recognized I have an emotional attachment to my shoes. I have been wearing this model of running shoe for about two years now. The reason I initially switched shoes was because the previous shoe rubbed on a bone in my foot and caused extreme bruising of that bone. I switched shoe model exactly one and a half weeks before my first half marathon. This may sound like the worst idea in the world (and it is) but my injury required a different shoe to achieve half marathon bliss.

I have gone through approximately 4-5 pairs of running shoes over the last year and a half. Once a pair  molds to my foot and acquires well deserved holes I struggle with retiring them for simple walks with Dukie. Why such a struggle you may ask? My shoes tell my story. On a very basic running level the two pairs I have been rotating for the last eight months have carried me across many finish lines, an estimated 800 miles and my first marathon.

After a run with MIT Saturday morning I headed up to Fleet Feet to capitalize on a shoe sale and pick up my new running jacket. I walked into the store and was greeted by the owner who promptly asked me what I was looking for; I told him all I needed to do was order two pairs of my running shoe (they never have this particular shoe in stock). After he looked at my shoe, talked with the guy who orders shoes and looked up my shoe he informed me this model is no longer being made. He asked me what I liked about the shoe and I told him about the features that most appealed to me; he came back with a new shoe that he thought might work. This is when I learned it is more than just flexibility and stability that made this shoe so important to me, it is the emotional attachment I have to these damn shoes!!! The shoes I have been wearing for the past year and a half have gotten me through some of my happiest and saddest moments; I have cried, I have pondered, I have laughed, I have reflected all the while wearing these shoes. My eyes literally welled up knowing I was going to have to switch shoes.

I was having a 'moment' with my shoe in the middle of the running store! (This is where I am going to plug specialty shoe stores ESPECIALLY Fleet Feet!!!) The owner could tell I was struggling with the idea of switching shoes and rather than have me stuff my feet into shoes I already decided I hated he backed off and told me to come to the back of the store because he is going to find me the shoe! I promptly said, I'll take two! I realize there are no promises in this deal but I left the store feeling a little relieved that he might be able to track down a couple of pairs (although I did shed some tears when I got to my car).

I called my sister, told her about my emotional breakdown over a pair of running shoes. She laughed, I laughed... When I got home I scoured the web for my coveted running shoe and found two pairs and promptly ordered them. If Fleet Feet comes through I will have four pairs that should hopefully last me a year.

So why is this so important? You must know that I have tried embracing running for years but over the years the excuses flowed out of me in support of NOT running; some body types are not meant for running, running is bad on the knees, people die running marathons, etc... You get my point! However, what I have learned is that ANYONE can run if they want to run, they just need to find the desire to put one foot in front of the other AND the proper shoe!

Total side note: I have been breaking in some minimalist shoes for about two months but it is slow going. Hopefully over the next year and enough practice I can make that transition and embrace the idea of new shoes!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

Dukie watching the Frisbees!
Welcome to 2012!!! I am not a New Years resolution kind of person; I prefer writing down a list of items I would like to accomplish in the New Year! This year is no exception. The only thing is I have not had the opportunity to write my list yet. I plan to spend the remainder of this evening cleaning my house and writing my list.

Over the past week I have failed to keep a running schedule. I will NEVER do that again, but I recognize life sometimes just gets in the way. Here is my story...

I took my typical running rest day on Monday and was looking forward to getting back to Columbus on Tuesday. I knew what route I was going to run when I got to town and was looking forward to what was going to be a fantastic training week! On Tuesday morning I woke up at my parents house to a sick pup and a few tasks on my to do list before I headed home to Columbus. After finishing up my nieces bed, putting away toys, tucking a crib away in a closet and many other tasks I packed up my car and headed to Columbus. On our way back to Columbus Dukie got sick, twice, in the car. We then got caught up in traffic from an accident. By the time we got back to Columbus it was too late to run and I was closely monitoring my sick pup.

Me and Dukie road tripping!
I was up most of the night comforting Dukie and calling the Emergency Vet. After a night of worry I worked from home for a few hours before my vet could fit Dukie in for an appointment. I took my buddy to the vet and he was swiftly put on an IV and hooked up to a heart monitor. Within an hour and a half I was driving to the Emergency Vet with Dukie in the back seat, hooked up to an IV. We got to the Emergency Vet where they explained to me that Dukie had something lodged in his small intestine, he had a heart murmur and his blood pressure was so low surgery was going to be somewhat risky. I realize some of you non-pet owners may be rolling your eyes right about now, but Dukie is my family in Columbus. I would do anything for my companion, my pup.

After talking with the ER doc for awhile I realized surgery was the only option. Dukie and I had a visit and off he went to have a foreign object removed from his intestine. Because Dukie was going to be at the Vet for one-three days I headed out to my car. It was about 7:00 at this point (mind you our trek to the first vet began at about 1:30 in the afternoon) and all I wanted to do was head home and relax until the vet called to tell me about their success with removing what we now know was a whole walnut. I got out to my car, put my hands in my pocket and realized I did not have my keys. I walked into the vet where all of the staff searched for my keys. I headed out to the parking lot with a flashlight and shone the light in my car to find my car keys sitting on the front seat in my locked car. I waited about thirty minutes for the locksmith and 110 dollars later was on my way home.

Dukie after surgery.
The vet called and told me the surgery was successful!!! This was the best news ever and I passed out for the night. In the middle of the Day on Thursday, the vet called to tell me I could bring Dukie home. I picked him up right after work but did not have the ability to leave him for the night to go out for a run. Nor did I have the ability to leave him on Friday except to bring a friend a gallon of gas because he ran out on the highway...

Thankfully one of my running buddies texted me Friday night to see if I wanted to run on Saturday. I responded very quickly with a yes! I ran on Saturday and today but both were a challenge. I do believe five days off seriously impacted me, primarily my mind. I will go out again tomorrow as I am trying to run at least a mile a day in 2012!

Dukie at the Indian Mounds!
Dukie is walking around with a t-shirt on and a cone around his head. I am icing his belly three times a day and giving him various medications about five times a day. He is perky and back to being happy (when his is not frustrated from walking into walls)!!! To be honest, I would not do anything differently if I could go back and start again except for squeezing in short runs on Tuesday and Thursday!


So what is 2012 going to look like? I plan to log many miles on foot and more miles on my bike with my buddy in tow!