Skate Park

I wish I was brave.  I wish I could stand above a big hole in the ground on my skate board, or scooter and then just dive right in feeling confidant that as I raced up the other side I could do the best 360 of my life.  Since I am not the daring one in my family, I am raising or at least encouraging my children to take more risks.  I think Rob and I both have shown them that exercise, challenges, and risks create rewards, so yesterday I took my kids to the skate park. The biggest irony is that out of the 10-20 kids who were riding the bowls, hips, and pyramids, only one kid was on a skate board. Everyone else was either on a bike or a scooter.  I had no idea what the average age would be at the park, or what skill set my kids would need, but we had a blast meeting the 13 year olds and asking for tips.  My six year old son was uncomfortable on his bike, but owned that hip on his scooter.  And my 4 year old daughter was a streak of pink biking through a sea of black biker boys.  Hopefully this will help them learn that risks can be fun, but that you should always wear your helmet.

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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.

Is Pokemon a Disease?

Since I have not been following my 10 days of Turbo Jam and I don’t have another swimming class until Monday, I thought I’d take a little break from goals etc., and ask a very complicated question:  Is Pokemon a disease?  I swear it’s contagious and taking over my house.  My kids have even started making costumes and discussing the characters by name.  Sometimes they call each other by their pokemon names.  “Pica?  Pica, come quick!”  My four year old comes rolling out of her room to respond to her older brother, “Yes Grove, it is I!  Let’s attack!”  Watching them play a card game with full contact makes me wonder, perhaps we can create a pokemon workout. It would be complete with rolling, jumping, popping up, and maybe some kicking & hitting.  Still, I admit I do not understand much about Pokemon and I hope to stay clueless.  I hope everyone has a good and Pokemon free weekend.

Beginner Swimmers Beware

In order to decide if I will do the Sprint Distance Triathlon in mid-July, I am taking an adult swimming class.  Since the last time I tried to lap swim in a pool with other people I almost drowned, I signed up for Beginning Adult Swim Lessons.  Wow.  I am doing the same routine that my 4 and 6 year olds are doing in their swim lessons.  I had no idea rolling form my front to my back and back to my front again was so difficult.  So far we have mastered the arrow, front float, back stroke, flipping over for air and back into the water, side stroke, side breathing, and the first stage of the crawl stroke.  Our teacher is patient, but smug.  Let’s face it, he’s a 20 year old teaching about of 30-40 somethings how to swim.  It’s obvious he thinks he’s better than us.  For some reason, I feel the need to knock him down a peg, or become his prize student.  The best thing about this class is it’s a major confidence booster.  I have not felt like I could swim since I had children.  That’s most likely because I’m always wandering around in the shallow end chasing babies who fall under water.  It felt great to be alone in the water and swim.  Once this class is over, I might actually go to the pool and just swim on my own time, or sign up for the advanced adult swim.

Good Thoughts:

1. Good 3 mile run this morning and an even better one Saturday morning.

2. Saturday I went to an amazing foam roller class.  Wow!  I kept thinking, I didn’t know I had muscles there!

3. I’m reading a great new book.  The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory.  Read it!

4. I’m on day 5 of Turbo Jam.  I still think Charlene is annoying, but I have to admit, that workout is a little bit addictive.

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!

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.

Panic Attack

I had a few last minute errands to run this morning before Wyatt’s Kindergarten Graduation.  I can’t talk about that because it will make me cry.  So Ginger and I ran to Target and as I checked out at the red shirted Target guy asked,  “Any big plans this weekend?” A simple question, usually answered with, Oh nothing, but all of a sudden I started to panic as the realization hit me, “I’m running a half marathon on Sunday.”  I felt my heart leap against my chest and I found it difficult to breathe.  Somehow I made it to the car without forgetting Ginger inside Target.  And then drove home blindly, trying to breathe.  I know I have already run 13 miles.  I have been training for this day for 15 weeks.  My legs and ankles feel strong.  But I think I finally realized, I’m not training anymore, it’s finally here.  Deep down, I know I’ll do great.  I’m hoping to beat my practice time of 2 hours and 50 minutes, and I’m ready.  So check back on Sunday to see if I survived.

Good Thoughts:

1. It’s a beautiful 70 degree day in Bend.  The kids and I spent that last few hours playing at the boat park!

2. Wyatt had a huge day: he graduated form Kindergarten, he sang me a song, and he learned how to pump on a swing without any help.

3. Ginger looks like a doll in her new halter top dress.  She’s ready for the summer.

4. Dinner’s ready, Dad’s home, and the kids have new video games to play.

5. And I’m ready to run that last mile.

The Human Ipod

I have the coolest, smallest, pinkest ipod you have ever seen, but I hardly ever run with it.   I have friends to chat with on the run, it would be rude to bring music along.  But I must admit, I get the oddest songs stuck in my mind as we run.  I think it’s because we tap out the beat with our shoes.  So here are some of the lyrics I sing in my head, and sometimes scream outloud as I run:

Byonce: “Now that you want me, never gonna have me.”

Lady Gaga: “P P P P P P P P Pokerface.”

Glee’s Version: “Now I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger, but she ain’t messin’ with no broke, no broke.”

Handlebars: “And I can rule the nation with a Microphone! And I can ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars.”

Show Tunes: “I don’t need a lot, only what I’ve got, plus a tube of toothpaste and a follow spot!”

More show tunes: “A matchbox of a house, a fence of real chain link, a grill out on the patio, disposal in the sink!”

Preschool Songs: “A tootie ta, a tootie ta, a tootie ta ta.”

And when there are no songs in my head, and we are silent on our runs concentrating on our next breath, I hear the words of my sweet friend CM, “I am strong, strong, strong. I am fit ,fit, fit. I am strong, strong, strong.  I am fit, fit, fit.”  I am strong.  I am fit.

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