Passion Post # 5 ~ Distance is Just A Number

I love being 46 years old.  Yeah you heard me.  I love being 46.  I have no desire to be a teenager or a twenty something.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked being a teen, and enjoyed my 20s and 30s, but now I’m in my 40s ~ and I love it.  I’m comfortable in my 46 year old skin.  When I look in the mirror and see the lines that are beginning to form I see battles won and a few I lost.  I see love, happiness and adventures still to be experienced ~ hard work, joy and pain.  Every line that is forming and every line that will be has been/will be earned.  Some are joyous lines others lines of pain.  They’re my lines.

I came across this link someone posted on Facebook directed at how the media portrays women’s bodies, mostly famous artistic women, i.e. models, singers etc.  The woman narrating the piece is specifically zoning in on digitally changing images that make women appear slimmer, have bigger busts and of course flawless skin.  Sending the misconception of how these women look in real life and what is considered beauty.  Hips too wide no problem digital enhancing will fix the problem.  I have no doubt this happens with male images as well.  So you’re asking yourself what does this have to do with running?  A lot actually.  I bet you would be hard pressed not to find in the top ten of “Why I run” posts/articles the reason people started to run is to slim down ~ and that is a great reason There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best you can be physically and if running gets you there great!  A runners physique is slim and muscular.  I wanted to tie this into running because I’ve had quite a few people discuss with me (mostly females) how difficult it is to be “everything”, be fit and on top of it look great and emulate all of those images you see.

You can access the link below ~ it’s a little long but you’ll get the gist after a couple of minutes.

5 Minutes Of What The Media Actually Does To Women

When I started running I was a good 40 to 45 lbs. over my normal weight.  People tell me today when they look at pictures from a couple of years ago they can’t believe it’s the same person.   I am a petite woman.  I have always been that way.  Like all normal women I was raising a very busy child and working which didn’t leave a lot of time for working out, much less running in those early years, so I gained weight.  One day I was putting on a pair of pants and they were so tight they were high waters!  Come on laugh ~ quite a few of you know what I’m talking about:)  So I finally just got fed up.  I just wanted to be able to feel good and fit in my clothes without the fear of taking out someone’s eye if a button popped loose.  So, I started eating better and planned time   to exercise.  I started to run and it stuck.  Running changes your body and running a lot really changes your body.  I’m back to how I used to be ~ plank meet world.  I’m here to tell you I’m so okay with it ~ matter of fact I’m Amen and pass the pork chops okay.  Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care.  I eat a lot and sometimes not well, but I burn a lot of calories.  I burnt 2500 cals just running the St. Louis marathon.   You get the picture.  I have more time to myself now that the kid is older and in college ~ you’ll get there too.  Let’s face it, training for a half or full marathon takes time.  Time away from family and all those necessary’s you have to do.  Don’t beat yourself up about it if you can only spare a certain amount of time each week.  It is what it is and you do the best you can.

Queue in wavy lines and “take me way back music“.  I can remember, very specifically I might add, being at a pool and jumping off the diving board and a kid I really liked yelled out “you’re flat”!  Well I was 10 and Einstein he wasn’t, but that stuck with me for a long time.  I even thought about enhancement from time to time.  But I am comfortable with my shall we just call it the female “runners” chest.  Let me be the first to say, I don’t think there is anything wrong with “fixing” anything on your body.  If you want to do it and it makes you feel better all I’m saying is keep it in perspective.  Don’t do it because you think that’s what you have to do to be beautiful to others or you perceive that’s what is considered beautiful ~ you do it for you.  Heck, who knows, I might want to get rid of some of the crazy a few years from now.

Let’s fast forward a few years ~ Circa 1995.  I’m in the Army and in the hospital fixing to be induced to receive for our little bundle of joy.  I’m sitting there and I tell my husband to go get a magazine while I’m waiting for the blessed event to start rolling.  Lo and behold he comes back with…wait for it…Cosmo.  Now I don’t know about you, but I quit reading Cosmo back in my early 20s.  I had packed up and moved on from that crazy train long ago.  I said, “you have to be kidding”!  To which he replies, “well it was that or Newsweek”.  I just stared blankly ~ really….really?  So I had to take what I could get and I started reading Cosmo.  In walks the “female doctor”, two “female nurses” and one really young Sargent (that was a little creepy) and they all started laughing when they saw the magazine.  The older nurse blurted out “hey look she’s reading Cosmo!  We stopped reading that year’s ago”!  Guffaw guffaw…snicker snicker.  Then she says, “it’s just kind of funny ~ here you are giving birth and you’re reading Cosmo”!  Ha, ha yes the joke is on me.  Nothing better than having a pregnant body reading Cosmo magazine.

The moral here ~ no one is perfect ~ physically.  Make a reasonable training plan and stick to it the best you can.  Look in the mirror and focus on that image ~ not what the world is telling you that image should be.  Realize that good results sometimes take a little time to achieve.  Let your true passionate self radiate your true beauty.

Mileage Recap 1 ~ 9 Nov

I am slowly recovering and taking my time before I start longer distances after running the St. Louis marathon.  I didn’t have any injuries but I did have pain that manifested about two to three days after the race.  The most prominent was the top of my right foot.  It was really hurting for a few days so I forced myself to do lighter “runs” if you will, using the elliptical and treadmill for about a week.  I iced and used my foam roller ~ both seem to help quite a bit.  The “rungry” also didn’t happen.  I find that amazing as well.  When I ran the half I was extremely hungry for a couple of days.  I’m chalking this one up to eating well.  I really made sure I stayed hydrated and ate enough(tried to eat the right foods).

It’s funny, I had no problem with the taper before the marathon.  It was aftermath of “still wanting to keep moving” I found more difficult.  The urge to go out and run, knowing that wouldn’t be a smart idea.  You have to give yourself time.  It’s the smart and healthy thing to do.  So, catching up with a few days this was the recap:

Nov 2 Sat ~ 3.49  walked

Sun ~ rest

Mon ~ 3 miles elliptical

Tues ~ 1:15 hrs yoga

Wed ~ 3 miles elliptical

Thurs ~ Fri  rest

Sat ~ 2 miles treadmill 3 miles elliptical

Total = 14.49 miles.  To all of you who visit from time-to-time, follow my progress, or just the curious.  I thank you and happy miles to you ~ 10,395.70 thankfully remaining.

 

St. Louis Rock ~n~ Roll Marathon Recap Oct 27, 2013 ~ Anything Is Possible

I’m happy to report I completed my first marathon, 26.2 is in the bag:)  It was a wonderful, fun experience.

0400 AM  ~  Got up ready to go.  Surprisingly I slept the night before with no problem.  I was calm and I was glad none of my cats decided to “play” during the night.  Maybe I should chalk it up to inexperience but I didn’t have a case of the jitters.  Ate a banana drank a glass of water and a cup of coffee.  Checked the temperature and it’s 31 degrees.  Not happy about that, but at least it wasn’t raining or windy out.  If you’ve been to the Midwest, you know what I’m talking about.  Put on my gear and I was out the door.

0515  ~  met Kathi at the train station.  There were a lot of other runners already waiting (this was kind of neat) so the excitement was high on the train.  By the time we arrived in St. Louis the train was already packed with runners.

Getting started

Kathi and I on the train.

0600  ~  Arrived in St. Louis and made our way to the venue.  I was beginning to worry a little because it was cold.  I’m not a stranger to running in the cold, but I was really hoping it would be warmer for this first run.  Again, oh well and suck it up.  The first thing Kathi and I do is roll on over to the porta potties.  That’s right, no line you’re going to go even if you don’t think you have to go.  It’s one of those things before you run, I don’t have to go now but maybe later I will, so you try.  After that we strolled over to the gear check.  I was still wearing my pants at this point realizing that I would have to shed them at the gear check.  After about 5 minutes of banter between Kathi and me, “Are you going to take your pants off? Yes, are you?  Yes, right now?  Yes, are you…right now?”  Crap we have to take our pants off…it’s cold:(  We finally take our pants off and check the rest of the gear.

cold morning

No estoy pantalones!

0630  ~  we make it on over to the Soldiers Memorial for a picture with one of the local running groups the Road Warriors.  They are a great group of people that enjoy running and offering support to other runners.  Always a pleasure to be around.

Road Warrior Photo

Where’s Laurel and Kathi:)

0635  ~  We decide that we want to go to the bathroom… again.  Directly in front of us is a string of portas that are heavily backed up…no pun intended.  I was starting to get nervous and I didn’t even have to go.  Then out of the corner of my eye I see another string to our far right and no lines.  I point and we literally start running to these portas.  It appeared that others were catching on as well, STEP IT UP.  The jog became a little faster.  Whew I’m in the front of the line baby! It was dark and difficult to see which ones were occupied and which ones were free.  Then there was the occasional battle cry, “don’t use this one…it’s out of paper!”  The tsk, tsk of another runner, “that is not how I want to start my day” and all the affirmations of yes, yes.  Finished there and bolted to my corral.

0650  ~  Arrive at my corral, 10, and begin the wait game.  This really was a very interesting aspect of the race.  You’re pumped and ready-to-go but waiting for the race to start.  The sun was just beginning to rise and you could see that beautiful sunrise of bright orange and yellow mixed with a splattering of clouds against a struggling dark blue background.  It was electric.  I started my Garmin at least three times before I actually got going.  Since I was in corral 10, 1 – 9 went first.  This was new for me as I’ve never participated in a race this size.  So you would move up as each corral left the gate.

0710  ~  I was off.  I started strong and felt good.  In past races I usually dislike the start.  You’re always trying to dart around to find that nice hole that you can run your own pace.  It was really difficult to do this with so many people so I didn’t even try.  I went a nice normal pace and just really enjoyed the run.  I also wanted to make sure I didn’t start off to fast and had energy for the end.

I’m not going to mark time anymore because honestly after the first two  miles there was no point in me watching the clock.  I had a long way to go.  Instead I focused on the mile markers and how I felt.

Around mile 2 my hands were starting to get hot.  I grappled with throwing away my gloves so soon, but decided to do it anyway.  I should have waited a couple more miles because my hands were cold, but there you have it.  Throw-away gloves were a very good idea.

Around mile 4 I was hot and ready to shed the throw-away headband and take my long sleeve off.  Chucked the headband, danced around to take the top off, dropped my iPod and cracked the screen and Walla finally felt a little better.

Mile 4

Here I am at mile 4. My shirt is secured. Thanks to Karen Conley for supporting me and taking this picture.

Everything was easy breezy at this point.  The run was fun and I felt pretty good.  I made sure I drank plenty of water not passing up too many of the water stations.  Everyone is different when it comes to water, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated.  I tend not to drink as much when it’s cold, so I forced myself to take little sips.

Around mile 9 or 10, I forget, they offered the first GU gel.  Let me personally testify, chocolate and GU, uh no.  I picked up the small packet, ripped it open and began to eat it.  Nasty, is not the proper word.  Let’s just say, licking the asphalt, might have been better.  Dang!  That was bad.  Maybe they meant to do that.  Here, little girl I’ve got something yummy for you.  So yes, I did need water with that treat!

My first mental hurdle was at mile 12 when they started peeling the half marathoners away from the full marathoners.  I admit I looked at them in envy.  Wow, they’re almost finished and me I’m going to run this…again.  It’s easy to get sucked into that mindset, but I made that left turn and kept fighting for every mile.

At mile 17 I looked across the street and saw mile 24 with the lead runner heading toward the finish line.  That’s a mental mountain.  Look forward and keep going.  There were a couple of points on the route that intersected.  You might be at mile 18 and to your right you could see mile 21.  It’s tough.

My right hamstring started acting up at mile 18.  There was a lot of pain.  I had to focus and slow down a bit.  When I had to slow down I did, when I could pick it back up I did.  Mental, mental and more mental.  I kept fighting for every mile.

Another GU gel was offered at mile 19.  Oh no you don’t!  I’m not falling for that again.  This gel was mandarin orange.  Oh…really…sure it is.  I took it anyway.  Yes, it tasted like man….CRAP!  It did give me a boost.  The things we must endure for a boost.

Miles 20 – 23 were tough.  The pain in my leg would come and go and I had to adjust the pace the best I could.  As Ron the pace guy neared me with his bright shiny placard with 4:45 in big black writing, I was determined that he shall not pass!  So, I pulled it together and moved forward to mile 24.

My good friend Karen was able to make it to the 24 mile marker and take a photo.  Let it be known, if you are going to do something ~ go big or stay at home.  Folks, this may be one of the best photo bombs yet.  There is no measurement for the level of awesomeness for this quality of photo bomb.  I will say this, we’re both smiling at mile 24, therefore brother, and you’re alright with me.

Photo Bomb

Mile 24

 

Photo bomb1

Just because one isn’t enough.

Mile 24 became mile 25 and you know the rest of the story.  I finished with a time of 4:41.  I’m happy, empowered and ready to do it again.  A special thank you to my husband Dave who has supported me through all my training and my friend Lorene who was at the finish line.  A hearty thank you to everyone who offered well wishes and encouragement.  Happy miles to you.  With hard work, determination and the right attitude…

Anything is possible…..

FinishedKathi and Me

….even drinking Michelob Ultra Light afterwards.  (If you follow this blog you understand!:)

After Beer

 

 

 

Pre-Marathon Expo

Let’s see if I can get this post out with proper spelling, etc unlike the night before.  I guess that’s what happens when you are blogging at 930 PM trying to get words out and thinking one thing while typing another.  Sigh.

When I went to pick up my bib yesterday there was a Running Health Expo as well, different companies selling all sorts of running gear as a precursor to the race.  I’ve never been to one so it was pretty neat, at least for women.  Sorry guys, I know they were selling stuff for you too, but let’s be honest, this was all about women.  Shirts, skirts, socks, running bras, onesies for babies and the almighty headband.

The first part of the Expo was the “Brooks” store.  I happened to migrate over to the shoes where the salesman asked me would I like to try on a pair.  Yes.  As
I was trying on the holy grail of moderate stability shoes, the young man said
oh so cavalierly “you know if you spend $150.00 you’ll be a VIP”.  I looked at him quizzically.  “You know, Very Important Potty”.  At that moment the clouds parted, light shone down and a choir of angels descended.  What does that mean, I asked.
“You don’t have to wait, you get to use the special potties”. You mean I can potty like a rock star?  Yes, oh my yes.  I began to have visions of Charmin served up on silver trays as I walked into my USDA Grade A porta potty.  Hmmm.  He continued to look at me with a twinkle in his eye.  You’re good, I said.  Again he batted those baby
blues.  Alas, I had to let him down gently, I’m afraid I’m not in the market for new shoes at the moment, so I sulked my way over to the sports bras.

So many choices and so many colors.  There is no discussion here, yes…I’ll take that one.  Sigh, yes I’ll need a small.  Walking…walking…STOP! Oh my LAWD what do we have here?  After leaving the spectacular land of sports bras I found myself in headband heaven.  All women runners are aware of the headband craze.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard “That’s so cute”!  My goodness.  They have us hook, line and sinker.  Do I need another headband, no.  Did I buy another headband, of course.  Walking…walking…ooooh compression leg sleeves.  The woman at the kiosk asks, “should I measure you”?  Yes.  I’ll take those.   Walking…walking.  Hmmm, I’ve lost my friend Kathi, oooh Jamba Juice.  Yes.  Finally found Kathi and we took our photos.

Laurel and Kathi Laurel and Kathi Arch0001

Believe it or not, I got out of there fairly cheaply.  It was a lot of fun and I came home with some good stuff.  So this is what it looks like for tomorrow.  Throw-away gloves, body glide, temporary inspirational tattoos, compression socks, new rockin’ headband and my give away ~ give away.  I have a courage bracelet that I plan to wear on the run.  When I finish the race I plan to pass it on to someone else.  Think of it as a good luck charm.

Expo Visit

Mileage Recap 13 – 19 Oct/Marathon training

Last weeks run began the slow decline leading up to the St. Louis Rock and Roll Marathon this Sunday.  I wouldn’t say I’m nervous yet, maybe more agitated.  I’m trying to focus on nutrition, sleep and those little pains that crop up.  My right hamstring is hurting, I think I’m getting shin splints in the left leg and the left knee hurts a little.  Can you say ~ overuse.  Not bad, but none-the-less they have caused me some issues on my long runs.  I am using the foam roller, stretching, icing and trying to keep all things in check.  So nervous no, but agitated yes.

My short runs during the week were fairly uneventful.  My long run on Saturday was eight miles.  I started out sure-footed and into a mile of it my right hamstring started acting up.  Not bad, but the pain makes my right leg feel heavy.  I found myself having to concentrate more on my form.  It was a little easier because I had just taken my first Gu Energy Gel.  I was trying to gauge if I really felt that kick of energy.  I think I did!

MarathonI don’t care what flavor you want to call it.  You can call it “Best thing since slice bread”.  It’s still an energy gel.  It tastes like an energy gel.  Ice cream…it ain’t!

I also ran with compression socks for the first time.  Pink compression socks!  Every so often I would look down at my calves and sigh.  I love you pink socks…eh hem sorry, but it did take my mind of the pain a bit.

compression socksI LOVE THESE ~ they really helped and felt great.  LOVE THEM.

Around mile four I actually caught myself yawning.  Thank goodness for the skunk on the side of the road.  It was a close call.  If the stink hadn’t been so bad I might have stopped for a nap and thank goodness it still stunk on the way back too.  Really.  I’m really glad.

skunk

The week unfolded as follows:

Sun ~ rest

Mon ~ 3.33 miles

Tues ~ 1:15 yoga and 3 miles on the elliptical

Wed ~ 1.83 miles (walked)

Thurs ~ Rest

Fri ~ Rest

Sat ~ 8 miles

Total for the week = 16.16.  Pain and all…grateful that 10,442.42 remains.