Friday, October 31, 2008

So I did the marathon.

8 months prior to the 33rd Marine Corps Marathon, I had baby #2 via C-section. 2 months later, I decided it would be a good idea to sign up for my 5th marathon.
Now, how to train (and shed those extra pounds). Well, there are the seemommyrun groups...there is a FREE charity training group (and you don't have to fund a charity)...there's Hal Higdon online...So I tried to do all of that. And then the ear infections hit. And the fevers. Sick kids put a damper on the best laid plans.
I ended up getting about 3 days a week in. I took days off of work for those long runs, but still only made it up to 16 miles before getting a nasty case of strep myself...which lasted for 3 weeks, right up to the week before the marathon. Great!
2 days before race day, I mapped out a course to cheat. I really did! I went out for a run, made it about 10 minutes with my beaten up lungs, and mapped out a course to cut out a few miles.
Then race day came. I hoped for a good running day. I woke up at 4:45 and arrived at the Pentagon IN THE DARK. It was dark! And cold!!!! So we waited. I used the Brooks VIP restroom (which really wasn't all that, but it WAS warm). I moved with my sister in law to the 4:15 pace group, thinking at least I wouldn't be at the back of the pack. I'd have a head start! My sister in law WHO IS 29 and childless finished in 4:16. I won't state my time.

Now the good stuff:

  1. I didn't cheat! You can't cheat on race day! You lose all bragging rights and it can't truly count as a completion. I couldn't live with myself.
  2. The weather was the best weather ever.
  3. I kept a fairly decent pace throughout the first 16 miles, which is as far as I had trained.
  4. I finished. The bus didn't meet me at the bridge!
  5. It's not even a week later and I am fully recovered.

This race is reminiscent of my first marathon, especially time-wise. I am calling it a re-building year. I needed the goal of a marathon to get my body back in shape post-baby, and now I am preparing for the next one: Philly in 2009.

I enjoyed myself, and I proved to my son that I could get out there and do it. Honestly, I think that is what got me through. This was Harry's 4th marathon he's been to in 4 years. He gets to experience that there is such a thing, and all different types of people can complete it. I bought him a book about Miles, the MCM mascot which explains the marathon, and he couldn't have been prouder about his experiences when he took it to school the next day to share it with the class.

A father and daughter team were running near me for a few miles. their shirts read "Father" and "Daughter." I thought that was so great. My own father has spina biffida. He walks with a limp, but he won't be running any marathons, so it's not something we can do together, but Harry and I are BOTH looking forward to our first marathon together. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dust Dust Dust

Now that my half marathon is done and my fun trip to Austin, Texas to participate in the LIVESTRONG Challenge has past, I thought it was time to get back to thinking of my house before my miles. Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously. I had no clue just how bad it had gotten! I spent the entire day cleaning today! I had dust bunnies the size of cows up in here! I need to sign up for another race because I had totally forgotten just how much I hate cleaning!

The Yoga Face

Way back when, when I was an early 20 something, tall, thin (think really thin. no. think thinner than that. I'm telling you, go thinner than that. okay. now you're close. 5'7" 119 lbs. disgusting.) and so wonderfully young, I was pretty sure that I'd never get old--old being over 30. However, in the event that I did, I would never ever ever try to hide my age or be ashamed of it.

Well, let me tell you. Being over 30 happens. Gray hair happens. Pregnancy does a funny thing to your hips and breasts and it takes quite a bit of effort to make the whole thing look voluptuous and, well, effortless. The one thing I wasn't ready for was the face slide, the droopy lids, the stern mouth. (or, as my daughter says, Don't look at me like that! Trust me, honey, if I could wipe this look off my face, I would...)

Yesterday at the library The Yoga Face literally jumped off the shelf at me. I tried it last night and already today I looked at myself in the mirror and winked! It's amazing.

Make sure you do it where nobody can watch you though. I'd hate for your Yoga Face workout to become an Internet viral sensation!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

6-wheel Circus

What has 10 arms, 10 legs and 6 wheels? My whole family out on a run!
(That is 2 adults, 3 kids and 2 strollers.)

When we had just one stroller, whoever was faster at the moment, depending on who was training for what or whether I was pregnant or not, would push it to slow him/me down. This is the conundrum that my husband and I have encountered when trying to run together.

There are four possible scenarios:
1. If the woman is pushing the stroller and the husband is struggling to keep up, he's a wimp.
2. If the woman is pushing the stroller and the husband is clearly faster, he's a jerk.
3. If the man is pushing the stroller and he is clearly slower, he's a control freak.
4. If the man is pushing the stroller and he is clearly faster, he's a show-off.

What's a guy to do? ;)

So now that we both have to push a stroller if we want to run together, I'm glad that I can keep up (i.e. save face) for the shorter distances, at least, despite the 2-month-old baby!

childbirth and marathons

I am an anxious person. I had relatively easy pregnancies. But, both times, I was so anxious about giving birth that the experiences became harder. I dreaded the actual day. How was I going to get through it, be strong enough, remember all the advice and training? I feel as if all the latter went out the window once actual labor began.

Both times, my blood pressure went way up (it is usually low), either when labor began or in the day or two before my due date. The midwives did not think “preeclampsia,” though they monitored for that. They, and I, knew it was anxiety. My mind over body powers are enhanced by anxiety. I swear that the anxiety prevented regular, productive contractions during my second labor, which was induced. The monitors did not help. When I was un-hooked from them, my contractions improved (if “improved” can possibly be the right word here). In the end, the painful pitocin was necessary (but quick!).

Unfortunately, I am feeling the same way about the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23. I have not run a marathon in six and a half years. I have started three and finished two marathons in my lifetime. The first was the best experience and time: New York City in 1999. The second, New York in 2000, I did not finish (calves turned to stone at mile 19). I ran the third, the National Marathon in DC in 2002, with a pace group; the pace leader was focused on catching us up to the clock (isn’t that what the chip is for?), that we ran each mile 20-30 seconds faster than advertised, and I had to slow way down and even walk some after mile 20.

I want to get it right this time. But my anxiety may psych me out. I know I am a strong, determined runner. And I’m even kind of fast. I followed my training schedule and am well-trained. (Though I do feel a little beaten down by the training, but that is why we taper for three or more weeks, right?) People do this all the time and even have fun – which is what I want. (And I’ve not heard anyone call childbirth “fun.”) So I need to calm the heck down, right?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My First Yasso 800's

Since I'm new in town (read: desperate to meet people) and am tired of being in the back of the pack, I made time in my schedule to meet up with a running group this evening that puts on free track workouts. (Yes - FREE COACHES! Austin is a runner's dream!)

After a mile or so warm-up run to the "track*," and a few shuffles here and there to prepare the rest of the muscles, Coach announced we'd be running Yasso 800's: Select your marathon goal time and run approximately a half mile using that number.  Say you want to run a 5 hour marathon: run your 800 in 5 minutes.  4 1/2 hour marathon goal?  4:30 minute 800.

This was my first time and I really enjoyed a sadomasochistic kind of way.  We did four and I managed to pull out an average of 4:14.  Guess that means a 4 hour 14 minute marathon**, and if it can be applied to half-marathons, a 2 hour 7 minute goal time.  Since I'm aiming for a 2:11 next month at San Antonio's Rock and Roll Half, I think I'll make time for next Tuesday track practice too!

Has anyone else tried the Yasso 800?  What were your results?

*Doh!  The Junior High we planned on running at had a school football game, so we ran the roller-coaster street behind it.

**Considering my one and only marathon was WELL beyond the 6 hour mark, I should be skeptical.  Of course, I have come a long way since then...literally!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Let the Race Begin

My run today was to the local polling place to cast my early vote! Let the race officially begin!!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

That's Amore!

My son has not taken to speech at the same lightening speed as his older sister did, but he tries. This morning from the jogger he was fascinated by the beautiful full moon! (Yesterday was my mother tells of the tremendous full moon that sat fat and heavy in the sky on the night of my birth...wait for it...many moons ago) Anyway, he kept pointing towards it and saying, "Bah!" (Allow his mommy to translate: "Look, Mommy! Did you ever notice that the full moon looks like a ball?!") So naturally I mentally sang to myself: "When the moon hits your eye/like a big pizza pie/that's amore." Over and over and over again while he pointed and said, "Baa!"

It was a good run.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Now What?

On Saturday, I ran in the half marathon held at the Baltimore Running Festival. It was an incredible day - perfect weather, lots of happy people and a very successful time. I'd been training for this race for the past 4 1/2 months and essentially, it's all I've been thinking about. And now, well, now I think I've got a case of post-race blues. I've not felt this before because after my first half, back in May, I right away started thinking about Baltimore. This is totally different. I'm wandering around in a fog and don't quite know what to do with myself. My legs were pretty sore after Saturday's race because there were some killer hills but now I'm feeling pretty good so I suppose I could run. Or maybe take up something new like yoga. Or spinning. Hmmm.... Help! What can I do to lift my fog?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The 90-minute Mile

My daughter is in kindergarten at the neighborhood school this year so we've been walking back and forth. The younger two kids generally ride in the stroller on the way over in the morning so we can go on our run after we drop her at school, but in the afternoon, the baby rides in the infant carrier and both the 2 1/2 - year old and the 5-year-old walk. Some days are slower than others. The kids like to play with sticks as we go. Sometimes one is eating a snack as we meander home, but the other day I timed it and projecting the pace into "runner's terms," we were doing a 90-minute mile! Wow! That is slow. Painfully slow. It is hard, as a grown-up, to walk that slow.

So, "Why torture yourself?" one might ask. I think that they are learning a good lesson. Walking is good exercise. It is better for the environment than driving. It is a nice opportunity to talk about our day. We can watch as the leaves start to change colors. It is a routine that they can expect everyday. I think that it is even good for their self esteem to see that they can accomplish this - because sometimes they find it difficult...or so they say.

It is also good exercise for me since sometimes I do have pity and give piggy-back rides. My 2 1/2-year old coined it a "Mama sandwich" with the baby on the front and the toddler on the back! I continue to have the highest respect for Sherpas (

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Grand Dad ran me in!

I ran a 10 K today out of Camp Lejeune. Around the 5 1/2 mile mark I was getting a bit fatigued and bored. Just then, another runner caught up with me and struck up a conversation....nothing big, just a bit of chit-chat. He was a bit older than me but I had no idea his age. He got me throught the final stretch. As we crossed the finish line at the exact same time the staff was shouting happy birthday to him. I turned and asked, "Wow! Is it really your birthday? How young are you?" His answer...................................SEVENTY FIVE!! What an inspiration! I was so impressed. They handed him a water which he insisted that I have first. A true gentleman. I was so happy for him.......but I really need to speed up!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ahem, I am a Mommy Runner

Wheww, ok move stuff done, Hurricane Ike leaving us without power for 12 days done, 3 weeks of poison ivy all over my body- prohibiting runs and any exercise done. I'm ready to get going. I'm watching the other Mommies in the morning and have asked one to run with me next week. I feel like I'm in the 10th grade looking for a new friend. Wish me luck. I need a running Mommy real close by. No Army comfortable shoe to put on and find other runners. I'm in the real world now and must step up literally and figuratively....

It's Here!

This weekend is the The Phedippidations World Wide Festival of Races!!!

Way back in June I posted the challenge.

Think Nike Human Race, only grassroots style (and free).

I'm definitely doing the 10K. ANyone else?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'll Only Run to There

Am I the only person who runs 'Only to THERE' (that lightpole, that stop sign, that bush, to the top of the hill) while assuring myself that once I get 'THERE', I will stop, when I know good and well that there is another THERE waiting after this one and I'm not fooling anybody...if I space my THEREs then the run will be longer than if I didn't. After all, once you get THERE then THERE really isn't that far.

It's a runner thing, right?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Run With a View

When running gear companies film commercials, they often show clear blue skies and crisp air cool enough for gloves & a hat yet perfect for shorts.  The runners are focused but have just enough curl in their lips to show inner contentment.  Film crews should have been at the Army Ten Miler on Sunday morning.

Approximately 20,000 lined the perimeter of the Pentagon and wound their way past monuments and parks for brisk 10 mile tour on foot.  There were brass bands and adoring families on the sidelines; stories of infantry reunions and demonstrations of remarkable comebacks.

There was also another moment worth recounting, though it could hardly be classified under "inspirational" or "commercial worthy."

It involved a struggling runner, who, deceived by the cool air, went out way too fast and was hurting near mile 8 (that would be me).  It also includes an old friend who eternally considers herself coach & running mentor to everyone pounding the pavement.

Well, when Coach noticed that my head was pretty close to giving up on my goal time, she directed my attention to the most perfectly round, tight-enough-to-bounce-a-coin-off-of-it, beautiful rear end on a man about 15 feet ahead of us.  She said 'chase that bottom and don't let it out of your sight.'  For a good half mile, we cracked up about stalking a random body part and I forgot I wanted to slow down....but then HE started to slow down significantly.

Coach jumped into action.  She pounced on our 'hare' and told him that this race wasn't just about him anymore.  He's got people counting on him.  "I have a friend in this race that is watching that perfect butt of yours and if you slow down, SHE slows down, and if SHE slows down, I slow down.  Now, get your head in the game and lead this team to the finish line!!!"

I'd like to think that he picked up his pace based on the flattery (rather than fear), but never-the-less in an instant: two struggling strangers became partners under Coach, indivisible, with empathy and blisters for all.  One, a handsome black man humbly striving to lead and the other, a painfully embarrassed plodder, trying not to appear as pathetic as she felt.   In that final mile, we ran side-by-side glancing at each other to make sure we'd both finish (and to silently concur that Coach's effortless trot was annoying). As we came around the closing turn, we both screamed "OH THANK GOD! and clutched hands in an enthusiastic shake.  

In a sea of remarkable finishes- runners who found strength from the memory of lost friends or who battled war wounds- depending on a Perfect Butt (or knowing someone is literally watching your backside) can seem pretty shallow, but, hey, we can't all have epic stories!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Running with Three

A reader recently inquired about how I was running with three kids. I should clarify.

First point, they do make triple joggers. I have a couple friends, God bless them, who actually run with three kids across. Wow. These strollers are expensive, however, but very useful when all three kids are too young for school. You will not fit through doorways with this stroller!

Second point, when I chose the witty name "runningfor3" I did not actually know I was pregnant with my third child yet so I was counting myself. Sort of like the time my husband and I purchased a brand new lightweight tent for all those long backpacking trips we were going to do. Then I figured out I was pregnant about ten days later. Sure, that tent has gotten a lot of use...

Third point: If I have all three kids with me, I can't actually run, but I can walk with the infant in a carrier while the other two ride in the stroller. Transporting 90+ pounds of children plus equipment is not really enjoyable though you will feel the burn AND possibly earn your honorary Sherpa status.

Solution: Divide and conquer. I run while Turkey #1 is in school. Sometimes on weekends, I take the baby or the baby and another so Daddy doesn't have to deal with all three at the same time. I have friends that have taken their kids to do track work. Park them right in the middle and then you can seem them all the time as you run in circles.

PS. There is also the stroller playdate. If you can find a friend that has an older child in school and he/she can push one of your kids while you push the other two. That could be fun for all.