Archive for Running

It fells good

It feels good to be running again.
It feels good to be back in Dallas.
It feels good to own a home again.
It feels good to go out to dinner with my old bookclub again.
It feels good to spend the day with my family.
It feels good to house sit for my brother.
It feels good to throw the frisbee with Rocket.
It feels good to make someone I don’t know laugh.
It feels good holding hands with my husband.
It fells good swing him smile.
It feels good running fast.
It feels good to clear my mind and stare.
It feels good knowing I have good friends I left behind, but have not forgotten.
It feels good.


It’s Hot Here

My Husband got a new job.  So we packed up and moved half way across the country and returned to our Native Homeland, Texas.  It’s good to be back.  Lots of family, lots of friends, but also lots of heat.  I hate to whine, but it’s hot!  And humid!  Seriously I guess I forgot just how hot it is in Texas.  I had grown used to snow in June.  I was used to early morning training in 30 degree temperatures.  Now I look at the thermometer in my car at 9 am and it reads 86.  I’m afraid to run in it.  Sunday my husband pushed me out the door at 1pm for a quick run.  He promised to meet me at my brother’s house for a dip in the pool at the end of my run.  At mile 2 I was hot, too hot.  I started walking and pumping my fists to make the tingly feeling go away.  Luckily I made it to my brother’s house and drank lots of gatorade and the saltiest chips I could find.  But now. . .I’m even more afraid to get out there and run in this Texas heat.  I know I should just get up early and go, but I hate going alone that early.  Ugh, I guess I need to suck it up, stop whining, and join a class at Run On!.  I also need a goal.  I’m toying with White Rock Lake’s Half Marathon in December, but part of me wants to push me to train for the whole sha-bang, the marathon.  I need Missy and Jenn to live here too, then I’d have running buddies.  Ok, enough whining.  The good news is that Rob signed us up for 24 Hours Fitness and I actually went to the building today and let them finger print me.  Tomorrow I have a date with a treadmill in an air-conditioned room.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Haulin’ Aspen

We arrived at Miller Elementary just in time to wait in the 10 minute port-a-potty line. Luckily our 7 miler didn’t start for another 40 minutes. After re-locating our water bottles we made our way to the start line to watch the half marathoners take off. I didn’t recognize the crowd. After doing so many races around town, I usually know a few people, but today had a different feel. The crowd was young. And I think they were out-of-towners. They had that oxygen-deprived look in their eyes. And they seemed to be panting ever so slightly as they crossed the street to enter the trail. I’m still amazed that I can run 10 miles at this altitude, but find I’m out of breath at the top of my stairs.  I watched from the sidewalk and cheered for runners.  I even saw someone I knew, a first timer–Anna.  Afterward, I sat down on the curb and waited for my race to start.  The cutest woman came over to me looking very concerned and said, “Aren’t you going?  The race started!”  I love moms.  I gently explained that I was in the next race, the half of a half marathon race. I sat on my curb and found my locals.  The ever awe inspiring Connie, and many other friendly faces from the learn to run group.  We found more friendly learn to runners working as volunteers along the way.  It felt great to find smiling faces.  The first four miles were on Phill’s trail, which is where I ran the Dirty Half in June, so I tried to remember to keep my feet up .  It was a true roller coaster with lots of short steep inclines and declines.  I felt great unless the sun got through the trees. That’s when I remembered to pour water over my head instead of in my mouth.  Once we found the first (and only) water station I realized we were only about two and half miles away from the finish line.  I dumped water on my head and took off into the heart of Shevlin Park.  At one point we found a perfectly tree-lined path to run down and we crossed the river on a rail-less bridge carved out of a fallen tree-trunk. I absolutely love running in Shevlin Park.  At the mile six marker I paused to check on my friend and have a quick sip of water.  The trail in front of me was flat and familiar, I knew there was nothing but a nice long flat stretch and a short, but steep decline to the finish.  Something in me clicked and I took off.  According to my Nike plus band I ran an 8.30 mile.  It probably had me confused with someone else, but I have to admit I couldn’t believe how quickly me feet and legs were moving.  As I ran down into the crowd and over the finish line I felt great.  I even had a beer and ate some brownies before catching the shuttle back to my car.  If you’re in Bend in August you should try the Haulin’ Aspen race.  Next year, I think I’ll run the half, who knows maybe by then I’ll be running marathons.  This is where you roll on the ground laughing.

Kids Duathlon

Running is a positive action.  I don’t always want to go and sometimes I roll my eyes and shake my head because I don’t want to wake up at 5:30 to go running, but afterwards I feel great.  I have learned a lot about myself from this journey: I’m naturally lazy, I actually enjoy long runs, having a dog isn’t horrible they’re good company on runs, I feel stronger and healthier, and I want my kids to be active adventurers. Last weekend the kids got a triple-dose of race day activities. They watched me finish my 10K race at the Deschutes Dash, they competed in the Splash and dash, and they watched their dad bike and run at the Duathlon.  I love having this opportunity to influence my kids at a young age.

A few nights ago W & G wanted to ride bikes after dinner at the park.  It was early and super sunny still, so we ventured across the street and took advantage of the cool night air.  All of a sudden the park was transformed into a transition area and race track.  My 6 year old started barking out orders, “M-O-M, you’re the timer.  Ginger, we run one lap, bike the next, and then run again!”  “OK Wyatt, but I don’t like that big dirty loop.”  Replied his sister.   They ran 1/4 mile, biked 1/4 mile, ran 1/4 mile. They used the water fountain as their aid station, made me the timer, and yelled as they ran into their transition area, “I’m transitioning onto my bike now!”  It was beautiful.  Wyatt finished in 10:57 and Ginger finished in 8:50 (she took a shorter path after her first run to avoid the “dirty part of the loop”). When the race was over they biked timed sprints.  I am so happy to have taught them that participating in sports can be fun and good for you.

And I will forever have the image of Ginger running in the dirt in her pink skirt and red sparkling shoes.

As Light as a Feather as Stiff as a Board

Remember middle school sleepovers?  We would hold seances, contact spirits over the ouija board, and then lift each other up and over our heads with only one finger, chanting “As light as a feather, as stiff as a board.”  I fear that I am going to feel as stiff as a board later today.  Last week in attempt to increase our pace we added fartleks to our weekly routine, which is basically running at max speed for a determined distance.  Last week, we ran to stop signs, houses, corners, yard gnomes, or parked cars and then walked in between to get our heart rate back down.  This morning we decided to run in between our sprints.  I’m glad we did it, because the extra running made our sprints much more difficult to sustain.  And I really felt like I was accomplishing something when I’d made it to our end spot.  I also found it difficult to go back to my slow pace.  My body was ready to run, so I think that it will ultimately increase my overall pace, which is the goal.

After our first round of fartleks last week I was sore everywhere.  To the point that I must have said out loud, “I can’t believe my abs are sore.  I can’t believe my legs are so sore.  I can’t believe my butt is so sore.”  Finally I opened up my mouth to discuss my sore bootie again and Rob just started laughing.  When I asked him why it was funny he said, “You’ve said it at least a hundred times.”  I tried to refrain from saying it anymore, but I was still thinking it.   So today  I am eagerly awaiting the stiffness to creep over me.  I love that feeling.  It makes you feel alive and it reminds you that you did something hard and succeeded.  Maybe I’ll do some quick yoga or deep stretching before anyone else wakes up to decrease the stiffness.   I highly recommend a sprint day.  It almost feels like a day off from running!  Just remember to be as light as a feather as you run, and be prepared to feel stiff. Maybe that night you should invite your old middle school friends over for a seance and lift.

Good Thoughts:

1. I’m all signed up for Haulin’ Aspen, and now I have an itch to run the half marathon instead of the 8 miler.  I must be crazy.

2. Last night my kids had their own duathlon at the park.  Super cute!

3. Rob is all about riding his bike again.  I’m so happy for him.

4. I’m going to try to alter my diet today, I’m ready to drop some weight.  Any suggestions?

Samson and Delilah

For those of you unfamiliar with the Bible story of Samson and Delilah, it goes like this:  Samson was born with great strength to fight God’s battles.  In order to do this he never was to cut his hair.  He fought for God, he won many great battles, then he fell in love with Delilah.  She was greedy and wanted to know his power, so she seduced him, got him to tell her that his power was in his long hair, then she cut it all off and let the Philistines destroy him.  Because of Samson, I have not cut my hair since I started running in January.  I considered it for awhile and then I thought, “No. If I cut my hair now, I will be just like Delilah robbing myself of my strength.”  I have splint ends and mostly grown out highlights. It’s been so long since I had my haircut, that when I called to get an appointment with my hairdresser, I found out she had moved to Idaho to sell Lorel products.  With the race finished and my goal behind me, I really need a haircut.   I am looking for Delilah.  It’s time to get my hair fixed.  I’m sure my 6 year old son would be happy to cut it for me.  Or my 4 year old daughter would love to style these long locks, but I need someone who can tell me if I need a clean shave to start over,  or just some good conditioner.

Good Thoughts:

1. We went running this morning.  First time since the race.  It was a quick 3 miles, but we needed to start back slow and steady.

2. Day One of Turbo Jam is over.  Let’s see if I can convince myself to listen to that music for a second day.

3. I got to catch up with my good friend down the street.  She made me laugh!  And her hair looked fabulous!

4. The kids and I went Roller Skating!  So much fun!

Goodbye Dirty Half

I did it.  I ran a half marathon.  It took me 2 hours and 47 minutes.  If a fortune teller  had ever told me, “One day you will run for almost three hours.”  I would have asked, “Am I being chased? No, you’re just wrong.  I’d never do anything that stupid.”  And yet, here I am 4 months shy of my 40th birthday and I just ran for almost three hours.

For those of you who don’t really know me, I did not grow up participating in organized sports.  I played softball in first and seventh grades, and I did one summer of swim team. We did spend countless hours waterskiing, but we were never very good at it.  Other than that I was a drama club kid.  My life’s ambition in high school was to be as dark and brooding as Ally Sheedy was in The Breakfast Club.  I even bought an enormous purse to hide behind.  The most running I ever did in High School was the mile and half you had to complete for the presidential physical fitness test to pass P.E.  So a year ago when I ran the Heaven Can Wait 5K without any training I thought, wait a minute, I just ran 3 miles, maybe I could become a runner.  After all I had just watched my husband drop 40 pounds, and 100 points on his cholesterol by running.  I was inspired.

As the race director promised right before we took off, the race was difficult.  Running uphill for the first 6 miles takes a lot out of you.  The trail climbs 1000 feet before you finish running, but it was worth it.  The second half of the run was gorgeous.  At about mile 8, I looked out into the forest and I thought, this is beautiful.  I didn’t feel tired or hot or stupid, I was just enjoying being alive.  When I saw Rob and the kids at the end of the trail I started crying.  I was so happy to see them, to be done, and to know I had reached my goal. By the end of the race I was exhausted and if anyone had asked me then if I would do it again I would have yelled, “No!  I’ll never run again.”  But now with a day behind me, I think I will do more races.  I don’t know if the Dirty Half is in my future, or if a full marathon is, but I know I will keep running and training.  I’ll keep you posted.

I know that I would not have succeeded without a support group. My family was an excellent source of support and I thank them. I could not have done it without Rob taking the kids every Sunday morning so I could get in my long runs.  I would not have made it without Missy and Jen.  The three of us kept each other going when one of us was ready to give up.  I could not ask for better running partners.  I owe a huge thank you to Chris Cooper at Therapeutic Associates at the Athletic Club of Bend.  He encouraged me to keep going when I thought my injured ankle had shut the door on my goal.  His Physical Therapy helped me to heal and become stronger.  I also need to thank all of the folks at the Footzone and the Learn to Run participants.  What an amazing support group!  I loved seeing all of the blue shirts throughout the race.  I knew I was never alone.  I also owe a huge thank you to all of you who have been following me on this journey.  Thank you for all of your support, comments, and emails.  I felt your presence as I set out for my Half Marathon Sunday morning.  I left feeling so uplifted and joyous knowing that there were so many good thoughts for me out there. And last, but not least, Super Star Connie Austin. She was our fearless leader, friend, mentor, inspiration, and magic dust sprinkler!  The second half of the trail was much harder without Connie there sharing funny and sad stories. Instead we followed her lead and listed what we were grateful for during this process, our lists included Connie herself.  Connie inspired us to be grateful and strong.  Thank you for believing in us!  You helped us to believe in ourselves. Thank you Connie!

What’s next?  Well I start my swimming class in a week, so I’ll let you know if I drown or if I decide to compete in the Sprint Distance Triathlon in July.

Interviewed by Chubby Mommy

So there is a great blogger here in bend named Julie who writes the Chubby Mommy Running Club. She’s a hoot, as my friend Jen would say.  In fact reading her blog has really inspired me to strive to be a better writer, and not so robotic.  Last week, when I went to pick up my Heaven Can Wait packet our paths crossed.  Of course I ran up to her professing my love of her blog and told her that yes she too could run a half marathon. Some of her readers are trying to convince her to do one.   Anywho, she interviewed me about running at the Dirty Half.  And I have to say, I’m so glad she posted it yesterday on FB, because it’s just the kind of encouragement I needed for tomorrow.  Thank you Julie!  Yesterday I was feeling so skeptical, but after watching the much more confident me from last Saturday I feel l like the running girl I have become.

Here’s the link to the video: Valerie’s Ready for the DIrty Half.

And don’t forget to vote for Julie to get her own show from Oprah’s OWN network: Every Day Fitness Adventures with Julie

Good Thoughts:

1. Carb Loading potluck tonight with good friends!

2. Rocket let me sleep in until 7 am this morning!

3. Saturday morning cartoons.