Jeff Galloway in O-Town

jeff1So I got an email today inviting me to a “meet and greet”  and a 5 hour running school session with Jeff Galloway. OMG!!! If your wondering who this guy is, don’t worry, I didn’t know who he was until a few months ago either. But for anyone who has ever researched running a marathon, this is THE go-to guy. He has helped hundreds of thousands of people reach their marathon goals, whether that be finishing their first, or bettering their time. I am hoping that he can help me not make a fool of myself as I crawl across the finish line in January!

Click here for more info!

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Hang-over Running=Runner’s High

417304291_6212f4020c_mSo a good, old…as in long time… friend of ours is turning the big 5-0 this month, and we surprised him with a party last night. We had a FABULOUS time, and caught up with some friends we haven’t seen in 20 years. Needless to say, there was a fully stocked libation station…bar sounds so mundane…and since I didn’t want to offend anyone, I agreed to a drink…or two. Not a lot, as far as a night of partying goes, but that second drink was really strong, thanks to my darling husband!! We had a wonderful time and left promptly at 11:30PM since I had scheduled a running rendezvous with my niece at 7:00AM. I know, 7:00AM on a Sunday, what? Why? Because we are running 5 miles per our training schedule, and it gets so hot in Florida by 9:00AM that if you don’t get going early it’s torture! You might as well just stick yourself in the oven and crank it up to 500°F. So, yes it’s early, but it’s better! Sleep is over-rated anyway!

So I was asleep by midnight or a little after…not great but doable! At least I thought until I woke up at 4:00AM with a massive headache and feeling dehydrated! I needed water and a Motrin, but I couldn’t get myself to move. I had a dream that I went into the kitchen, filled a glass with ice water and swallowed a Motrin, but it never really happened! So when I woke up at 6:10AM with the same headache, I was confused! This time I got up and got myself the Motrin and water. I made a pot of strong coffee and readied myself for our Sunday long run. I sent a text message to my niece explaining my ailment, and as expected, she gave me an out if I wanted to take it. But I was not going to back out…no way… my mama didn’t raise a wimp! I would run these 5 miles even if it killed me!

My niece got here and we did our normal stall tactics…stretching, talking, fiddling with the ipod…etc! Finally we got on our way. I still had a faint throbbing in my head, but it was definitely going away!  My breathing was heavy and I was instantly winded. I couldn’t seem to get into a rhythm. But after about a ¼ mile, I hit my pace and game on! I was in the sweet spot for the entire 5.52 mile run! Yeah, we ran over the required 5 miles! We so rock!! This was one of those runs that you hear people talk about, but don’t believe will happen for you! I am here to tell you…the runner’s high is real, and achievable. I could have run all day…no doubt! I only hope that I can feel this good while running the marathon! I found my slow and steady pace is around 9:45, which is faster than I expected! Cool!

So how do I achieve this feeling everytime I run? Hmmm, good question! Maybe I should tie one on the night before and run with a hang over. Or maybe I should just wash down a Motrin with a glass of water and cup of strong coffee. I don’t know, but you can bet that I am going to be searching for the secret and if I happen upon it I will share! Promise!!

Rain, rain go away!

_DSC5243Help! We’re water logged! Yes, I live in Florida and yes, just last week we had a drought going on, complete with wildfires. Now…IT WON’T STOP RAINING!!! How am I suppose to keep up my training when it won’t stop raining!!! ARRGGGHHH!!!

Now, I know I could go to the gym and run on the treadmilll, but that is just not me! It’s too confining, too crowded, too congested! I would rather run in the rain! Hey, wait, why not? Am I going to melt? While some would say that I am, in fact, a witch, I haven’t melted yet! So, is it safe? What do people who live in Seattle do? Do they run in the rain?  I did a little research on the subject, and here’s what I found…

People do, in fact, run in the rain. However, most prefer not to run in a downpour. I only wish I could control it! You know, like the sprinkler system. Set the timer to sprinkle for 40 minutes, and deluge the rest of the day! Anyway, there are a few tips that were given by these rain runners that I found helpful.

  1. Be aware of the weather forecast. Because I live in Florida, the lightning capital, it’s imperative to know whether the rain will be accompanied by lightning. If so, don’t run!
  2. Wear a hat! This will keep the rain from pelting your face and obstructing your vision.
  3. Wear proper clothing. The key is to wear light, wicking fabric that traps moisture, keeping it away from the body. Don’t over dress, this will weigh you down and tire you out!
  4. Run on a familiar path. This is not the time to run a new trail. With visibility low, it’s best to stay with the status quo. Save the adventure runs for a dry day.

So, I’m going to try out these tips and do my first rain run! I will detail my thoughts if I make it back!

Run Mom Run!!!

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Photo by Mike Schubert at Creative Commons

It’s official! I am now registered for the Disney Marathon! Yep, the “Happiest Torture on Earth” takes place at Disney World on January 10th, 2010…which means I have 237 days to work up to running 26.2 miles. YIKES!!! How, exactly, does one train for this? I started researching and this is some of what I found…

Run, Fat Boy, Run

I happened upon this movie purely by accident, but found it very inspirational. This movie is about a man who is a self professed quitter. After leaving his pregnant fiance at the altar, 5 years ago, he has been blundering his way through life.  When he decides that he wants her back, he finds out that she is dating a man, who seemingly has it all…money, looks and the determination to do anything, including running marathons. As a way to prove that he is just as good as this guy, he decides to run the London Marathon, which will take place in 3 weeks. (And I thought I needed more training time!) Now, I wouldn’t call this guy fat, just extremely out of shape. He eats junk, drinks and smokes! Through a series of hilarious events, this decision begins to take on a life of its own. I won’t be a spoiler, but I highly recommend this movie to any one aspiring to run a marathon! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll laugh some more! Although I wouldn’t recommend his training methods.

marathontraining.com

So like any computer savvy person, I googled marathon training, and voila…this website popped up. I expected to have to pay for a training program, but this website offers one completely free and chalk full of information for anyone crazy enough to want to run 26.2 miles. I spent some time clicking through the pages, gathering information on everything from nutritional needs, to choosing the perfect shoe. What I’ve figured out is that I should start my mileage build up plan now. This 19 week plan will gradually increase my mileage, so that by the end I will have a decent base before starting the actual marathon training plan. Sounds reasonable, right? Well…maybe! You see my current weekly mileage is around 12-15 miles. By week 18 of this build up plan, I’ll be up to 35 miles….WHAT!?!?!? Is this even possible? Crap…what have I gotten myself into? Then by week 14 of the Marathon training schedule I’ll be running 46 miles, including 23 miles in one day. OMG!!!

So, my realization…this is going to be really hard!! Not to mention that it’s going to be a real commitment!  But, there’s no turning back now! I’ve already paid the money…so barring an injury, I’m going to “Run Mom Run”!!!

Biggest Loser – Doggy Style!

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Is she smoking?

First…get your mind out of the gutter! What I’m referring to, is my overweight cocker spaniel, CC. You see, while I’m out and about running, biking and swimming, my dog sits in the house, eating table scraps and practicing her “you gonna eat all of that?” puppy pout…and sometimes even sneaking doggy smokes. By the looks of her, she’s perfected an unhealthy lifestyle!

So, I decided to get her on an exercise regime. Are you picturing my floppy eared pup on a treadmill with a towel around her neck? I know hilarious, huh? No, I decided to get her outside, so she can sniff and pee her way through a mile long walk. That doesn’t sound like a lot huh? Well, you would think I was making her run a bloody marathon! (Sorry I’m practicing my British slang)

Now, I know that dogs don’t really understand what we’re saying, but somehow CC knows that “blah blah blah” means “let’s go for a walk”.  She runs for the door as soon as the words are out of my mouth. Then, when she sees the leash, she gets all excited and starts wagging her nub, which inturn gets her whole back side moving. It’s like she’s Beyonce!

Our walks start out at a doggy sprint, as she pulls me out the door and through the garage at break neck speeds. Then…bam…dead stop! Obviously she smelled another dog’s “doings”. So, she ads a little deposit of her own and we’re off again! And we continue like this from tree to tree and hydrant to hydrant, sniffing and depositing every 2 feet. Then, at some point, CC’s “doings” dwindle, but that doesn’t stop her from squatting. In fact, when she gets really tired, she squats even more. I call it “copping a fake squat”. It’s her stall tactic. She figures that I’ll stop walking if she has to “go”, so she “goes” or pretends to. Am I giving her too much credit? Maybe! But it’s true!

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So how long does it take for a dog to walk 1 mile? It’s like a riddle! 57 squats, fake or not…and about 30 minutes! At least that’s how long it takes my dog! I find myself talking her through it, coaching her to walk just a little bit farther or faster! I guess it’s like I’m her personal trainer. Now that’s a job I haven’t had yet!

Stay tuned for updates on CC’s progress!

I TRI-ED!!

Yep...that's me!

Yep...that's me! The one with the cap and goggles!

It’s official…I’m a TRIATHLETE! I am no longer a “newbie” or “tri virgin”! I know, I can’t believe it either! I completed my first triathlon Sunday, Mother’s Day and my 44th birthday,  with 1688 or so other women! Way to go ladies!!!! It’s true…She swims…She bikes…She runs…She Rox!!!! Wooohoooo!

I experienced every emotion during this 3 leg race. From terror as I entered Bay Lake (yeah, swimming’s not really my thing!) … to exuberance as  I sprinted to the finish line with the crowd cheering me on! (Thank you to said crowd for powering me through!) My results were better than I expected, but then again, I really didn’t expect to make it out of the lake! My personal goal was to finish in under 2 hours and I did that! In fact, I finished in 1:48:59!  Not bad, for a first timer! 600th out of 1688 women! Yes I’m bragging just a little! Can you blame me? I’m still wearing my medal proudly!!

Here’s a brief run down of the race…after a night of pasta loading, an annual jammie (as in PJ’s) trip on the monorail, and a brief stint of homelessness due to being locked out of our cabin, we finally went to bed at 11:00P.M., only to wake up before the alarm at 4:30AM. Yeah, sleep was not a big priority for me. We had coffee and tried to eat, but evidently food wasn’t high on my priority list either! We suited up, piled on the golf carts and headed to the transition area. Nerves were jumping off all over the place! I set up my little transition area (complete with a birthday balloon that sings) and then wandered over to the lake to see exactly what a ½ mile swim looks like. By this time I think I was in shock, so I couldn’t tell you if I thought it was farther than I expected or not. I was comforted by the number of lifeguards and swim angels (people treading water with swim noodles for those of us who need a little help) strategically placed every 50-100 feet on both sides of the course. Surely, they would fish me out (no pun intended) when I start flailing about!

My loving family found me on the beach by the lake, and I nervously chatted with them while awaiting the start of the 1st wave.  You see there were 22 waves, each 3 minutes apart and each with a different color swim cap. I was in wave 6, yellow caps (not a good color for me), scheduled to start at 7:15A.M, just after the survivor wave, pink caps, my friend Suzi’s wave.  As I hugged my husband, mother and children and accepted their good luck wishes, I felt the nervous tension bubbling up and tears popped into my eyes. Who knew that I would get so emotional? Why? I am a strong woman about to spend the next 2 hours proving exactly how strong I am. Starting this adventure with tears is not what I expected!

So they call our wave into the staging area as the pink capped survivors walk into water. This wave gets an amazing cheer from the crowd! They are all women who have had or currently have cancer. When you think of what they’ve been through, you can’t help but get a little choked up! They are my heroes!  And here come the tears again! What is going on?

Swim?...check!!

Swim?...check!

So, here I am, standing in the sand, tears running down my face, watching my heroes paddling their way through the course, when I hear the announcer call the yellow wave into the water. Hey, that’s me! Before I knew it, I was in the water, and then I was swimming.  Again, I think I was in shock, so I can’t really tell you what my emotions were, but I was crawling along. It was crowded and people were everywhere, with arms and legs splashing about! I think I went into a slight trance, because the next thing I knew I was watching the ladies beside me stand up and walk out of the water. And sure enough when I reached my foot for the bottom it was there! I had done it! And I didn’t even need to noodle swim! WOOOHOOO! My swim split was 22:52…not bad for a scrappy swimmer.

With the hard part done, I was on my way to the biking portion.  But first I had to run (barefooted, mind you) through sand, across pavement, grass and even mulch to the transition area which was quite a ways away. The women in front of me decided that running was over rated, so we walked. When I finally got to my transition area, I quickly pulled on my socks and shoes, clicked my helmet into place and pulled my bike from the rack.

I think now is a good time to tell you about the bikes that the women use in this race. Most experienced triathletes have invested hundreds and some even thousands of dollars on the latest, greatest and lightest bikes, with teeny weeny tires, that threatened to break the speed of light, and clip in pedals, which seems like being hand…well…foot-cuffed to your bike. Even some newbies rented these super light, super fast bikes. But for some of us, we just used what we had and for me that was a clunky, heavy mountain bike with thick tires and a hint of rust. Oh, and did I mention that the brakes rub? Yeah, that means I have to push harder to travel the same distance.  But it’s a bike… and it’s my bike!

Bike? Check!

Bike? Check!

So, we had to walk the bike out of the transition area and down the bike path until we reached the pink “mount line”. But, most women stopped as soon as they saw the line, and tried to hop on their bike, only to be reprimanded and told to mount after the pink line. So it was a bit of a traffic jam, but cleared quickly. We rode out the bike path and onto the service roads throughout Disney. Now, living in Florida, there are a couple things that are certain…it’s usually hot… sunny with a chance of rain… and flat…as in no hills. So, how then, did the organizers of the bike portion of this race find not just one, but multiple hills to torture us with? Don’t they know that there are no hills for us to train on around here? And the hills weren’t placed at the beginning of the ride…no…it was towards the middle and end, when our legs were already rubber. As if that weren’t bad enough, the course required us to make U-turns, really tight U-turns, which are tough when you’re on a bike and surrounded by bikes…not to mention doing this while being foot-cuffed to your bike! But after about 49 minutes, I was done with the second leg of this adventure!

After returning to the transition area, I racked my bike, took off my helmet and quickly covered my matted hair with a hat (bad hair day doesn’t even begin to cover it), downed some Gatorade and headed out… music free…for my favorite event…the run. OK, so let me fill you in on my running experience. I love to run! I love to run to my music! I run to the beat of the music that is playing in my ear. But, I was told that if I was caught with an ipod, I would be disqualified, and all my hard work would be for nothing! So, I made the decision to run naked, yeah, that’s what I feel like when I run without music. But, I set off strong, using my breathing as my beat. I passed up the first water table and just kept my pace and breathing steady. I felt good and strong as I ran down the bike path. After what seemed like 3 miles, I heard a volunteer tell a runner that was already on there way back from the out and back course that they were halfway there. WHAT?!?! I was still on my way out and I felt like I should be done! Where’s my music?!?!?! I need some Green Day and Bon Jovi!!

Run? Check!

Run? Check!

As I came around the first of two U-turns, I saw a woman with an Ipod! Wait…what…she has music? How could this be? I had to hold myself back from tackling her and taking her Ipod! Son of a …..arggghhhhhh! So, I swallowed my anger and frustration and picked up the pace. I needed to get this over with! Then, I saw Suzi up ahead, walking, due to a knee injury, and I picked up my pace to catch her! As I caught up to her, we turned onto the final ¼ mile! Only a couple more minutes and we would be finished with this whole #$%^^$ adventure!  We could hear the crowd in the distance and the cheers were getting closer with every step! Suzi was running through the pain…you go girl! Before I knew it, I was in the shoot with hundreds of people lining either side, cheering loudly! The adrenalin kicked in and I took off at a sprint to the finish line! I don’t know if it was the desire to finish the race or the desire to get away from all the eyes starring at me, but I turned it on and I was DONE!!!! WOOOHOOO!!!

After taking a moment to turn in my timing chip, collect a flower and a medal, I hugged my mentor-friend-survivor, Suzi, and the tears were rolling again! The emotions were unexpected and uncontrollable! I found my family and hugged all of them tightly, relieved to see them again and not from a stretcher! We made our way over to the food pavilion and waited an hour or so until the transition area opened for us to claim our bikes. The adrenalin fizzled and the lack of sleep started to make itself known! I was tired, not physically, like I thought, but emotionally.  Warning…this race really zaps the emotions!

In retrospect, my 1st triathlon was rewarding, exhilarating, surprising, frustrating, phenomenal and inspirational!  It was so much more than I expected, and by far the best birthday gift I could have given myself! I am proud of myself, but most of all I am relieved! Relieved not only that I finished, but that I didn’t make a complete fool of myself in the process!

Next challenge…hmmmm…I think maybe the Disney Marathon in January!  What do you think? Care to join me? Come on…you’ll only regret it for a little while!

Tri-24 Hours and Counting! OMG!

14744721_861d14d9fcOK, so by this time tomorrow morning I will be swimming along side 2000 of my new bestest friends! Can’t you just picture it? 2000 women wearing some form of pink and big smiles, leisurely swimming across Bay Lake. All 4000 arms (did I do the math right?) moving in unison, as if we had choreographed this entire ½ mile swim down to the last breath. Now, wake up from your dream and reality will be kicking you, no…rather it will be kicking me in the face and the stomach! This is more along the lines of what I am picturing for the SheRox Triathlon!An all out fight to the finish with women dragging themselves out of the water all bloody and bruised! HELP!

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that Sunday, May 10th is a huge day for me! I’m going to be celebrating Mother’s Day…as  I am a mother and I have a mother, (who happens to be visiting this week! HI MOM!), I’m turning double 4’s (you see it sounds better than 44! Right?) and I’m competing in my first ever, triathlon.  WOW! I have a lot going on! And if that weren’t enough, I decided at the last minute on Thursday, that I would surprise my husband and do a makeover on his home office, while he was away on a business trip! What was I thinking! Huh, I guess I wasn’t! But I did complete it, with the help of my Mom…Thanks Mom…and it looks GREAT!! He was surprised…but now I can’t get him out of there!

So, I’m leaving in a few hours to get checked in to the hotel, tour the course, check in my bike and browse the Expo! YIKES! I thought this day would never come! And now all I can think about is what I’ll feel like once it’s over! I am really excited, but more so to have it over with than to actually do it!  Is this wrong?

I will keep you updated with my progress! Wish me luck!