Monday, June 29, 2015

Running Update

It's been a while since I posted about running, so I thought I'd take a minute to do that!

First, here's a quick update on my resolution: I was starting to get worried that I wouldn't make it to 500 miles by the end of the year, after the slow start I got thanks to weather and various illness-related setbacks. But, now that summer is here with it's better weather and longer daylight hours, I'm running strong! As of my (epic, PR-setting) 10-mile run on Saturday, I'm officially at 251.9 miles for the year so far! That's right, I'm over halfway there, before the year is halfway over!!! Wooooo hooo! It's nice to have that little reassurance that I can make my goal, even if I hit some bumps in the road on the way there.

Speaking of bumps: I've had my fair share of those when it comes to running recently. I've been doing a good job, running a race every month in April, May and June, but my May race was pretty rough. I'd decided to find a 10k to run on May 16th, since that was the distance I wanted to run that weekend. So, I looked for races nearby, and found an evening trail run close to my house that day. It seemed perfect! Everything was lining up just the way I wanted! An evening run would be great, since it would get rid of all the pressure of getting out the door at a crazy hour. So, I registered the day before the race, and showed up on race day, full of anticipation.

I should have been full of dread. It. Was. Awful. First of all, the day the hottest we'd had in a while, and I was totally unprepared for that. Sure, I carried my own water for the race, but that just wasn't enough to combat the heat of the day combined with the direct sunshine at the start of the race. Yeah, evening run didn't mean nice, shady run. It meant, full-on, blazing sunlight when we took off! Yowch!

The race was a small event, which I'm usually good at. I can generally count on starting toward the middle of the pack, and doing well there. Apparently, this race was full of speedsters, though. They all started out crazy fast, and it wasn't until I heard my split for my first mile that I knew I'd gone out too hard. On a cooler day, with more shade, that pace would have been fine; but that wasn't the race I was running.

I tried to pull back and run smarter, but the damage had already been done. I had to take multiple walk
This is early in the race, which is why I look so happy...
breaks, and spent most of the race utterly alone. I wasn't the last person on the course, but there was no one in sight of me, in front or behind. It was pretty lonely and miserable, and I imagined myself passing out as soon as I crossed the finish line (if I made it that far).

I managed to tough it out and cross the finish line. No question of setting a PR, but I was really proud of the fact that I finished, since it was pretty much the worst race I'd ever run. I drank a bunch of fluids, and then got myself home, where I discovered a hitchhiker on my ankle. Yup. I'd picked up my first ever tick!!! YIKES! I totally freaked out, and made hubby come take care of the interloper. I still get the wibblies, just thinking about it. Ick.

Anyway, after all of that excitement, I started to feel really crappy. I had a huge headache, and my muscles were really sore. I could tell something was off, but it wasn't until I threw up spectacularly that it dawned on me: heat exhaustion. To add insult to the injury of that race, and as if I needed further proof that I hadn't run a smart race, I spent the evening being violently sick. Fun, fun, fun!

I didn't do much better the following weekend, when I had to cut short a planned 8-mile run after wiping out on the sidewalk. Fortunately, I didn't do anything worse than skin my left knee and right palm, but I knew finishing the run was out of the question. I was able to pick up running again without any lost time, but it was a few weeks before I went back to doing's really hard to do most of the poses when you're down to one useable hand and knee.

Luckily, my most recent race was a much more enjoyable experience! Hubby and I ran the DePauw Almuni 5k Challenge for my 10th college reunion earlier this month, and it was fantastic! We ran together the whole time, enjoying a part of the campus that wasn't around when I was there, and feeling mildly smug that we were up and active while a lot of people were still in bed, hungover from the night before. That was a really smart run for both of us, and it did a lot to offset my May race.

And that brings me to now! I'm feeling really strong (as if evidenced by my aforementioned PR-setting 10 mile run), and really enjoying my running so far this summer! I've been doing yoga at least a couple of times a week, and I think it's starting to pay off. I'm focusing on the positive in my runs, and thinking about making plans for another race soon.

Next up on the calendar is the Things' first race!! We've signed them up for a half-mile fun run on the 4th of July! I'm looking forward to seeing what they do when we let them loose--it should be a lot of fun!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Saying Goodbye

The Things were very lucky when they were born, to still have three great grandmothers living. They were also lucky enough to meet two of them at a very young age, and they've had several visits with both GG and Backy so far. Unfortunately, we hadn't been as good about getting them out to visit my dad's mother, since she lived in Ohio.

I knew we needed to change that, and we all made plans to go see her over Mother's Day weekend. Sadly, we waited too long, and she passed away the day before the babies were supposed to go meet her.

I feel so many things about this situation. I'm so sad that the babies never got to meet her, and that I never got to say goodbye. I'm mad at myself that we didn't try to make the trip sooner. I feel so guilty that I let myself fall so out of touch with her. If I'm honest, I'm a little mad at her too, for not holding on one more day.

My second Mother's Day ended up nothing like I wanted it to be, although I'm trying to remind myself to be grateful for the weekend I had. The babies got to visit with both of their Great Aunts and Uncles from that side of the family, and really enjoyed exploring a new place. We also went swimming at the pool, and got to spend time with GG on Mother's Day. It wasn't what I wanted for the weekend, but I know the babies had a good time, and that makes me happy.

Fun with Nana
Exploring the great outdoors

Together after the service

One thing that make me feel better about the situation is the fact that we all got to say goodbye to Grandma, together. At the end of May, we had a memorial service for her in Ohio, and we all got to go. The Things got to meet two of my cousins for the first time, which makes me so happy. Sarah and I got to sing "Danny Boy" together at the service, which was hard, but wonderful. I'd never sung at a funeral for a family member before, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make it through the song. As much as TV shows romanticize singing and crying, I know that I don't do it well. But, Sarah and I made it through, and I like to think it would have made Grandma happy.

Obviously, we've been up to more since the end of May, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about this, since it had such a big impact on me recently.

Grandma, I hope you know how much I loved you. Big kisses!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

REAL Women Move

Okay, I've been working on this post for a while, so it's time to just write it, already! I know I've mentioned my involvement as an Ambassador for Skirt Sports before, so I wanted to take a minute to talk about a new mission they've started, called #REALwomenmove. It's all about getting women to embrace their inner awesome and promote fitness at all levels. You can find out more about it here.

For those of you who know me, you may know that I was not always a runner. I watched my dad run all through my childhood, but never really got it. Sure, I ran a couple of races (I was that obnoxious kid who made her mom walk with her when she got tired, and then blasted away at the finish line), and owned a pair of running shoes, but it wasn't something that I was interested in doing more than a couple of times a year.

Instead, I kept busy with dance and theatre and choir. I was active, just in more artistic pursuits, and I'm really glad my parents were okay with that. I played soccer and softball when I was a kid, but they didn't pressure me to keep with it, when it clearly wasn't something I was interested in (or very good at).

Once Hubby and I moved to DC, though, something just clicked. It may have had something to do with the fact that my BFF was living in the same town, and she liked to run, or maybe it was getting to run past national monuments all the time, but that's where I became a runner. Running through the brutal DC summers made me stronger, and the winters were mild enough that I could keep running outside year-round. DC gave me the bug, and I brought it back home to the Midwest when we moved.

Now, I'm still running happily, more than 5 years (and 2 babies) later! I've had my setbacks, but I know it's something I'm stuck with. Getting out there, having that time to think about nothing but putting one foot in front of the other, always brings me back to real life feeling refreshed.

I run to keep myself sane, and to keep myself in shape. I want to be a role model for my kids as they grow up. I want them both to know that being active is fun, and that sweating is okay. I'm sure Thing 1 will be encouraged to try different sports as he grows up, and I want Thing 2 to know that she can play, too. They can dance, if that's what they want, or they can run, or play baseball, or soccer. Whatever.

Running may not always be pretty (ask me about my colossal wipeout the other week), and it may not always be easy, but it's a part of who I am. I'm glad to know there's a group of like-minded women out there, moving with me, doing what they can to stay active.

If you're interested, check out Skirt Sports--they've got great gear for whatever keeps you active. Check out their #REALwomenmove initiative, and see some of the inspiring women I've teamed up with. Oh, and if you realize you need new activewear, you can use the discount code SSAMB20NE to get 20% off your order!

Whether it's running, biking, swimming, or something else, get out there, stay active and just keep moving!