Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hot Dogs are Delicious!!!

Me, Meredith and Janell!!!
Whoops! I'm late!!! No, not that kind of late... My blog for the week is late!

I just had the most fantastic weekend. For starters I was able to get home, see my parents, see my niece  nephew, sister and brother in law. I also got to celebrate the union of two awesome people. Yep, we had a local party for Bernie and Meredith in Chicago. All of it was fantastic.

My brother's wife is a runner too, so on Saturday morning my sister, her husband, my new sister in law and I headed down to the lakefront in Chicago to run the Soldier Field 10 miler. I recently ran a half marathon so I  wasn't expecting miracles because I feel as though I am still recovering from that race, but miracles are what I got.

I started running the 10 miler and decided I was going to use the same strategy I attempted for the half marathon. I didn't quite follow the strategy all that well. The first five miles of the race I ran thinking about how lonely it is running longer distances alone. At the end of the first five miles I realized I was averaging 45 seconds per mile faster than my long slow distance runs. As I was nearing the end of the race I realized I was averaging 35 seconds faster than my long slow distance runs for the overall race. So, yep, I had positive splits and that is OK because I still killed the race with a 10 plus minute PR. How is that for adding to an awesome weekend.

After our run, my sister and I went out for a bike ride and followed it up with the best darn hot dogs ever!!! I even posted on Facebook that I was wanting to go back for seconds and that is exactly what I did! Which actually leads me to my new challenge.

If you are anything like me, you may get wrapped up in your life and find yourself eating out often. Well I decided I am going to start an eating in challenge. I am going to eat only home cooked food for 30 days. I will step on a scale when I start the challenge on Sunday and then weigh myself in every week, just to see what happens. Because I am going out of town for 5 days during these 30 days, I am going to extend the challenge for 35 days and allow myself to eat out while I'm on the road, otherwise home cooking is where it is at. My friends should expect more invites to eat burritos in my kitchen instead of Chipotle or Qdoba.

So there you have it. I've been busy... Busy with life, busy making plans. If you are so inclined, join me in my eat in challenge and let me know how it goes!!!

In the mean time, I'm going to have another hot dog...

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I am starting to think the purpose of my training schedule is to totally exhaust me on the weekends, simply so I know how to keep going even when I am out of steam. That is where I am right now. I'm in a world of pure exhaustion and fatigue. And you know what? I'm going to wake up tomorrow and start it all over again for a week!

Quite honestly, I'm so exhausted I don't even really have the energy to write a coherent post so instead here are some random things for the day:

  • I went for a 50 mile, turned 33, turned 35 mile bike ride with my good buddy Laurie yesterday and took no pictures of us. The flat ride was not so flat. Both of us had to walk our bikes up one hill but it was still a totally beautiful ride! I finished up the last 15 miles of my ride when I got home.
  • I am not a big Shakespeare fan, but there really isn't a better way to see a play than by sitting on a comfy chair in the grass, outside, with your closest friends, on a cool night after 50 miles of riding.
  • I am not friends with humidity. I went out to one of the local metro parks to run this morning with my faithful running buddy and couldn't get over how sweaty I was. It was kind of gross to be honest. At least I really know what is my worst enemy when running.
  • Hills do exist in Ohio. This was the weekend of hills; I rode them, I ran them and I would be OK if I didn't see them again for awhile. I know, however, that hills remain in my future and are really good for me.
  • I go through clothes like water! I go through work out clothes like water during my hottest run/ride on hills in major humidity. As a matter of fact, I have a huge load of laundry in the machine right now, just so I can run again at 5:30 tomorrow morning.

See why I'm exhausted?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lesson Learned

Ever have someone tell you something but you are so stuck on your convictions that you ignore that person? For example, say you went to the bike shop to get a new bike pump and the pumps were over what you wanted to spend on that particular day. Say you went to that bike shop already thinking they were going to over charge you, so when you saw a price tag of 32 dollars instead of the 20 you were willing to pay, you told the bike shop sales man there was no way you were paying for that pump and then walk out the door.

Then let's say you go to a different bike shop, they have a larger selection of bike pumps from 20 dollars to 50 dollars. The bike shop guy tells you why, in fact, you should buy the more expensive pump but you know better! I mean, seriously, it is just a pump in the event you get a flat on the trail. No need for anything too expensive, right? 

Well, I have learned that I was wrong. Oh, so wrong. I bought the 20 dollar bike pump once upon a time...

First of all, for all of my cycling friends, if you don't know how to change your own tire, now is the time to learn. I am very lucky to know how to change my tire, and am, in fact, fairly skilled in the swap. The reality is that cyclists are nice people, but they don't all know how to help you, so the only person you can rely on is yourself. Learn the skill!!!

Second, equipment matters!!! If a professional tells you to do something, do it... If you don't believe them, get a second opinion! The day I went to two bike shop to buy a pump, was the day I should have swallowed my pride and bought a good bike pump!

Lesson learned.

Mother's Day

It is Mother's Day and I live several hundred miles away from my mom. I never put a card in the mail despite many reminders from folks that Mother's day was near. I'm forgetful yous see...

AND I simply can't get home to say happy Mother's Day in person so instead I'll do it right here...

There are so many things I could say about my mom, starting with her encouraging words to always give of yourself, always take care of your mind, always take care of your neighbors, always be yourself, and remember when things are hard there is a light at the end of the tunnel. She has basically taught me to not settle on mediocre, but strive for (my) extraordinary! 

Over the past several years I have been striving to make something of myself in this athletic world. It isn't that I want to become a super athlete or anything, I just want to do events and feel good about myself. I have had several set backs but my mom has always told me that things will get better and that I should never give up!

When I was little, my mom would do my reading assignments with me. When I was in little league softball she would make me be on the team with the other girls (rather than my classmates) to expand my horizons. When I decided to move to Colorado, Maine, back to Maine and Ohio she helped me pack my bags while I was in my 'big change' hysterics. When I decided to run my first half marathon, she told me I could do it and then cheered me on from afar. When I decided to run my first marathon, well she was encouraging and equally amazed as I when I actually did it. 

And then I was injured, TWICE, and she encouraged me to relax, get better and find some other hobbies. What did I do? Became the best pie baker my friends have ever encountered. My mom also reminded me that even though I was bummed, annoyed, sad, frustrated about my injuries that things will get better. She basically told me to never give up, so I didn't. 

You see, I have the best mom... No wavering on that one! She is perfectly encouraging, perfectly challenging, perfectly perfect for me...

So, if you are injured, sad, excited, nervous, full of arthritis, you should know that you should NEVER give up!!! 

After all, my mom never does! 

My mom riding her bike in the duathlon!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Very Special Race

Me and Sue pre race.
It is a very rare occasion that you find someone to train with and even more rare that you are so similarly matched that you can comfortably run an entire half marathon  with that individual. Well, I am pretty lucky. Yesterday I ran the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus for my third time, this time was special to me because I got to experience the entire race with a very good friend of mine.

Sue and I have been running together for over a year. During that time I would venture to say that she has become a very close friend of mine. I mean, how do you not become friends when you spend so much time together? It is a true statement to say that your running buddy probably knows more about you than most people.

This year we intentionally trained for the Cap City half marathon with plans of  running with each other until one or the other felt they wanted to take off, or one or the other needed to back off. Well running with  someone that closely, you end up being a cheer leader for the other. In other words there is a fine balance of knowing when it is time to leave each other or when you should continue prodding each other along.

I am going to say that the first eight miles of the half marathon were quite possibly the best 'feeling' eight miles I have ever run. Somewhere in mile nine a guy told us that we were almost there, the wind was at our backs and it was all down hill from there. Well, here is a lesson for all of you spectators out there. Don't lie to the people running their race. First, I knew the race course and a few more miles did not feel like 'almost there'; second, the wind was NOT at our back, and was actually about to smack us hard in the face for a little while; third, the final mile is all uphill. I knew the facts and so when the guy told us three details about the race that were not true, I went to my very cranky place. At this point, I would have understood if Sue decided to take off, leave me behind and never look back! I obsessed about the hill, I obsessed about the wind, I obsessed about the hill some more! Quite frankly, I was even annoying myself!

Susan didn't miss a beat and I'm glad because this was a point where I really needed a friend. Rather than take off and leave me, she got me out of my negative place by rubbing some guys beard and talking me through my two miles of misery. To be honest, it wasn't even my body that was miserable, only my mind; proof that your mind can ruin an entire race if you let it. Fortunately, I had someone by my side who wouldn't let that happen.

When Sue and I hit High Street and were staring the hill in its face a switch flipped in my mind and I was ready. I was ready to take on the hill, ready to quicken the pace, ready to finish the darn race! That is exactly what we did and I honestly don't think that would have happened had my running buddy, my friend, not been by my side.

As I said on Facebook yesterday there is absolutely nothing better than crossing the finish line of a half marathon with a dear friend! And for that, this race was very special.

Thank you Sue!!! And way to kill that hill!!!