Archive for Women

Gymsperiment: Water Aerobics

I hate the gym.  Over the years I have had many friends take me to classes, or offer to join the gym with me.  I have always said, No.  Perhaps I just fear that if I go into one of those classes I’ll look ridiculous.  This summer we’re doing daily swim lessons at the gym.  In order to “legally” go to the pool after lessons and swim, I decided to buy a family gym membership.  Along with this pass I have decided to conduct a “gymsperiment.”  For the month of August I am going to try different classes in the hopes that I will find something that I enjoy doing.

Yesterday I ran the new seven miler at Haulin’ Aspen.  Traditionally, the day after a race is supposed to be for rest.  With that in mind, I thought, Water Aerobics is like rest, right? That is unless you have a teacher who expects perfection:  she doesn’t want to see you bouncing when you should be walking, or making fists when you should be creating more resistance by using open hands.  I had no idea how hard core water aerobics was.  I guess I owe my mom an apology (for many things) “I’m sorry I ever doubted that H2O class was less than exercise.”  To make matters worse, I was greedily taking advice from the 60 plus year old woman next to me who was schooling my butt.  She offered one tidbit of advice early on and then I just hounded her every time the instructor gave us a new assignment.  She attends class everyday!  Her last bit of advice was, “Buy water shoes so you stop slipping.”  Yes, it was like dancing on a slip slide for a complete hour.  And every time I tried to get away with slacking off a little, either the instructor or my new dance partner would come over and correct my form.

If I decide to try it again, I think I’ll have to attempt the deep end.  After class the instructor told me, “Make sure you stretch your calf muscles all day, you’ll be surprised how much of a workout this was.”  So much for resting my legs.  Maybe I’ll sleep in tomorrow.

Good Thoughts:

1. I finished 34 out of 51 women in the 7-miler at Haulin’ Aspen.

2. Rob took the kids on a breakfast picnic while I was racing.  I think they’ll talk about it until they re 20.  It was adorable.


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?

Lap Swim

After swim class I decided it was time to venture into the 50 meter lap pool.  I have just finished a good lesson and I feel pretty confident.  My friend and I walk over to the lap pool, find 2 empty lanes and slowly slide in. Instantly I am overwhelmed by the pool.  I can barely catch my breath to even begin my lap.  I start swimming slow and steady.  As I approach the drop off to the deep end, I start to panic.  I grab the ropes and pull myself to a stop.  My friend does the same.  We stand there at the abyss laughing nervously. Finally I catch my breath and complete my lap.  I cling to the side of the pool, hovering above the deep end and under the diving board.  I feel both terrified and terrific.  I know I have to swim back to the other side of the pool, my towel is there, and the wind is blowing so hard above the water that it’s too cold to walk back.  Besides, I can’t be a wuss.  I can do it!  So I push off, determined to swim the entire way, even if I have to float on my back.  I freestyle for the first half, as I see the floor re-emerge below my legs I move into a slow breast stroke, keeping my head above water to refill my lungs.  And then I find my hands landing on the end of the pool.  I did it.  I made it back to the beginning, one full lap.  I cannot believe how winded I am after one lap.  I ran a half marathon, and yet I am winded.  Then I remember, swimming is a completely different sport, different muscles, different panic triggers.  I am so happy that I am trying this new sport.  I am so intimidated by swimming.  I will prevail.  I will conquer this fear.

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!

“So you look good Coming and Going”

Apparently running a half marathon takes a lot out of you.  Our one day of rest on Monday is now going onto day three of rest.  I think my friend Jen had the perfect reason for not running yet, “I feel like my feet are broken.”  Thankfully I feel pretty good, so I have been experimenting with new exercise videos.  Y’know the ones friends lent you, or that you bought on impulse after watching the infomercial for 10 minutes.  My favorite tape, which I regrettably don’t own, is Buns of Steal.  I just love it when Greg Smithey says, “So you look good coming and going.”  Wait, I’m still laughing.

My collection consists of: P90X, Turbo Jam, Wii Fit, Wii Jillian Michaels, some random Pilates and Yoga DVDs by Gaiam, Michelle Khai’s Kettlenetics (which I completely forgot about until I opened my workout dvd case),and the complete Windsor Pilates series.  Please do not do the math.  I have decided to start with Turbo Jam for two reasons: 1. There is a 10 day jump start program that says you should lose 10 pounds or 10 inches or 10 days of your life right a way.  and 2. It’s my friends set and I’ve had it for months without trying it.  I either need to do it or return it.  And I just hate returning something that might make me look stupid hot without trying it.

Yesterday I did the “learn & burn” CD.  Luckily it was 6 o’clock in the morning and no one was watching me, because I know I didn’t look nearly as cool as the Asian chick on the top step or the creator’s little sister who never broke a sweat and smiled blissfully the entire time.  I think I probably did look better than the guy with the long pony tail.  He just creeped me out, and we never got to see his abs, so. . . maybe they needed a guy and grabbed him off the street?  Still I’m ready to give it 10 days.  I’m even going to try to follow the eating plan for 10 days, so I guess we’re off to the grocery store to stock up on wheat germ and protein powder.  Yum!

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.

We are Miracle Women

We run.

We find ourselves.

We find true love.

We have children.

We work hard.

We fix dinner.

We do the laundry.

We hold our children when they cry.

We laugh, as much as we can, at the silliest things.

We laugh ourselves to tears.

We run, with the dog.

We fix breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner at least 6 times a week.

We kiss our partners, husbands, lovers good night & good morning.

We call our mothers and remember our fathers, especially when we smell peaches.

We smile.

We smile at our children.

We smile in the mirror.

We smile for the picture.

We smile while we run, even if we’re all alone.

We know joy.

We know pain.

We know sorrow and fear, but we run through it.

We breathe through it, until it doesn’t hurt anymore.

We drive.

We drive to the grocery store, running store.

We drive to the library.

We drive to swim lessons, to tee-ball, to play dates.

We drive our familes crazy, sometimes.

We run to school.

We support.

We support our spouses.

We support ourselves.

We support other women.

We support our bodies.

We run to support our bodies.

We sleep, a little.

We get up early to run.

We start going to bed earlier.

We dream.

We dream big.

We dream about getting a massage, someday.

We dream about lots of white, clean space, that we don’t have to dust; beds that we never have to make; and fresh coffee always hot and waiting for us.

We dream about red wine.

We run harder and faster than we have ever run before.

We run longer and stronger than we ever thought we could.

We dream.

This was taken after my 13 mile training run on Sunday. Everyone was so proud of me, but Rocket wouldn’t get off of me. I guess he missed me. I am his miracle woman!