Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Looking Back

It is the end of the year, so I'm reflecting on my year of running. It was quite a year! I had a lot of firsts. I had some good things happen and some bad things happen.

I'd say the best thing that happened is that I learned that I can do more than I ever thought possible. I learned that I can push my body and it will do what I ask. Unfortunately, I also learned that if you ask too much of your body it will eventually start pushing back and you end up injured. So, I learned that I must listen to my body.

Some highlights from my year:
  • I ran my first Half Marathon!!!
  • I discovered trail running
  • I ran my first 25K trail race!!
  • From September 10 to November 6 I ran two 25k trail races, a 10k , a 5K and a Quarter Marathon. 
  • I ran to my dad's house! It's only 9.5 miles, so not my furthest run, but it made me happy. I loved the feeling of running into his driveway and the sense of accomplishment it gave me.
This year was not all good though. The heat of the summer really put a damper on my running. I'm still really dissapointed in myself and my inability to just suck it up and get out there and run. Also? I got injured. I am now doing physical therapy and am still not really sure what is wrong. I'm hoping it is something that can be fixed soon. At this point my long runs are really not going as well as I would like. I'm constantly doubting my ability to run the kind of distances I want to be able to run. I know my problem with the long runs is trying to run too fast. I need to stop looking at my watch and just run.

I am excited to see what next year brings in terms of running. I hope it brings lots of wonderful things. Right now I am hesitant to set goals. I do have some races planned but I will write a post next week telling you all what my plans are.

It was a pretty good year for me in areas other than running also. This year Ryan turned 11, Adam turned 8, and Rick and I had our 12th anniversary. We spent some time in Wyoming with family and also went to Branson and Kansas City for short getaways. I went to Connecticut and NYC.  Ryan's baseball team made it to State and some pretty neat things happened. It was an exceptional group of boys. Adam got his first "real" grade card with actual grades. Straight A's! Rick is continuing to work on his masters and only has one semester to go! Can we say Principal Bruce? I know he will be a wonderful administrator.

I welcomed some new members into my family this year. My niece August is adorable as is Katherine, my honorary niece. On the other side of that, my family lost a tremendous person today. My uncle Mike passed away. I can't say enough wonderful things about him. In fact, I will probably blog about him sometime soon. Right now my heart is broken and I can't really talk about it.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some major things that happened, but that's ok. The fact is, I am truly blessed in so many ways and I hope those blessings continue into the new year. Tomorrow is my last run of the year and I'm excited.

Until next year.....

~Mel

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just Keep Moving

This is kind of my theme right now. It is how my life is going and how running is going. Nothing too exciting, nothing to bad. Just moving forward.

I saw the orthopedist last week. He really isn't entirely certain what is going on. Apparently, and if you know me this won't surprise you, my body is weird. It shouldn't be experiencing the symptoms that it is all at one time. Which either means I have more than one thing going on, or I'm a freak. I'm sure it's the latter. He wants me to go to physical therapy for a few weeks and see how that goes. I have my first appointment tomorrow. In the meantime, he said keep running. He doesn't think I have anything so serious that I shouldn't run while we figure it out. The more miles I run, the more painful it gets. He told me to run until I get to a level of pain I can't deal with and then don't run more. Make sense? I can run between 20 and 25 miles without too much pain. After 25 it's pretty bad. So for now, I'm staying at 25 or under.

My running is just kind of uneventful. One run from last week will probably stand out in my memory for a long time though. Last Saturday I got up early to run. I was just not feeling it, but I got up anyway. I got dressed, ate, and headed out. I ran about a block before turning around to go home. I took off my running clothes and sat in the recliner. Then Adam woke up and talked to me for a little bit. I decided he looked very comfy on the couch so I joined him under the blanket. A few minutes later Ryan joined us, then both cats. So it was Me, Ryan, Adam, Daisy and Lucy all on the couch. We goofed around a little and I fell asleep. When I woke up I was alone on the couch. You know what? I wouldn't trade that time snuggling with my kids for the best run in the world. While running is important to me my kids are more important.

I had planned to do my run after the Christmas parade and before Adam's basketball game. Unfortunately I would barely have time to run, then take a shower, so I decided against that. Instead, I decided to run home from Independence. I can run the lake way and not run into too much traffic. It is more than 10 miles, so my plan was to call someone to come get me when I got done. Rick was busy, so I asked my mother in law, Kay. Being the awesome person that she is, she said yes.

 After the game I went to the bathroom to change and had forgotten a sports bra. Ugh. So I went to walmart to just grab a cheap one and they were crazy busy. I ended up leaving about 30 minutes after I intended.

I never could get into a rythm and the run wasn't a lot of fun. I started out way too hot. It was 57 degrees and I had packed a thermal nike shirt. By the end I was super thankful I had it though. I've never run this way, and knew there were hills, but I had no idea just how bad they were. At one point you are going uphill for almost a mile. Part of it is just a small incline, but some of it is NOT! At mile 7 there is a really large, really steep hill. I already knew I was walking up it, but what I didn't know is that I would barely be able to walk up it. It was rough. The sun was also starting to go down at this point so I planned to call Kay at mile 8 to have her come get me. I knew how long it would take her to get there and was hoping to get to 9. It would have been fully dark if I had gone to 10 and I didn't want to do that.

At about 7.75 miles my cell rang. It was Kay. She didn't know I had started late. She had fallen asleep watching tv and when she woke up it was almost dark and she hadn't heard from me. I told her to go ahead and come get me. She got there right on time! There was a very hateful dog that wasn't too excited about me running past his house. He never left the driveway, but I was happy that someone was coming if he did attack me.

I came home and had a shower and made popcorn. The boys and I had planned a Christmas movie night. Problem? Our dvd player wasn't working. I shamelessly had Adam call Kay and ask if we could have a movie night at their house. He called and said, "Hey Nanny, this is Adam. Can we come watch movies at your house? We will bring our own popcorn!" It was cute. We had a lot of fun eating popcorn and watching Miracle on 34th St. I love love love Rick's parents!

So, nothing exciting running wise. I think maybe I have found my next race! I'm not positive though, so I'm not going to say what it is yet. I probably will right after the first of the year.

Happy Running!

~Mel

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let us run with endurance...

Since I ran the Oklahoma Aquarium half marathon, a phrase (actually a bible verse) keeps floating around in my brain. It pops up during all sorts of situations, not just running. During the race, we went over a little bridge. I think it was possibly just a pedestrian bridge, I can't really remember. Some people had written inspirational phrases, bible verses, etc that you read as you ran. It was pretty neat, and distracting, which was a good thing! One of the things I read was "Let us run with endurance the race set before us, Hebrews 12:1" I"m not sure why, but it was kind of an "ah-ha!" moment for me. I repeated this to myself multiple times during the race. And I thought about it and what it meant. Obviously it applies to running. But it can be about so much more than that.

Right after my race we went to Branson with my Mom and Alan. In the car on the way there I told Rick about reading this verse as I was running and how much it helped me get through the 13.1 miles. The next day we went to Silver Dollar City. In one of the first shops we went in, I saw a pretty picture of some horses with something written on it. I walked over to it and what did it say? See for yourself.
Obviously it is from a different version of the Bible, but you get what I'm saying ;). I got all excited and showed Rick and drug my mom over to see it. Neither were as impressed as I was. I would have bought it, but I think I would have had to sell one of the kids to afford it. While that sounds like a great idea sometimes it's probably not ok. Probably.

How is  it that I had never read this in the Bible or anywhere else? And why did it have such an affect on me? The truth is, I had probably heard it or read it somewhere and it just wasn't the right time for me to really notice it. While on vacation in September, I told my cousin Jennifer about it. She's so amazing by the way. She is also crafty and talented in ways that I cannot even fathom. I'm seriously in awe of her. I asked her if she would make me something to hang on my wall with that verse on it. She said to just e-mail her which version I wanted and she would do it. It took me forever to do it because I never do things as quickly as I think I will or should. On Saturday, I had lunch with her. Before we left her house she handed me a gift bag. In it was Cheez-its (my favorite food), a pair of my running socks, which is a funny story for later, and a frame with something in it. It was the verse! And it's beautiful.

This picture doesn't do it justice. I took it with my phone in my car in the sun. If I were a less lazy person I would take a nice picture of it with my camera so I could show off Jennifer's talents, but alas, I'm lazy. Anyway, I was so excited! I've been wanting to blog about this for a long time and now seemed like the perfect time.

It's truly impossible for me to explain what this verse means to me. It is a constant reminder that God is there for me and won't give me anything I can't handle. I ask God all the time while I'm running to just give me the endurance to finish. Did God set running before me? Who knows? I think God gave us free will, but I also think that he tries to steer us away from endeavors he doesn't want us to pursue.

Now when something in my life challenges me I can pray, "Ok God. You have given me this challenge. Now please help me rise up and meet it. Give me the endurance/strength/perserverance I need to make it through." I think that God set that verse before me as a lesson. A lesson that it's ok to ask for help. As it turns out, you can ask God for help with even the small things, like running. He might be a little busy with the big stuff, but me praying for strength somehow allows me to gain some. Often just admitting that you need help gives you the courage to finish on your own.

I have a friend who is struggling with something that I have struggled with all too often. It breaks my heart. I pray that God will give her the endurance to to get through this challenge like she has before.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with an orthopedist about my hip. My greatest fear is that he's going to tell me to take time off from running. But I know that no matter what happens, I will be ok. If anyone has any spare prayers or positive thoughts I could use them!

Happy Running!

~Mel

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sometimes you just need to run

This post is only sort of about running. Mostly, it is about something that happened and the courage of a little boy who stood up for himself. I'm so proud that he is my son.

Last friday my son came home crying so hard I couldn't understand what he was saying. I finally calmed him enough to understand him say that an adult who works at his school had kicked him. Over the next hour the story continues to come out of him in fits and starts. My immediate reaction was denial. That doesn't really happen. Adults don't really do that to kids. Surely she was kidding around. If she was, it was misguided and certainly inappropriate, but not true abuse. Then I keep hearing more. And I see how upset he was. Within the next couple of hours I started getting phone calls and text messaged from other parents whose children came to them and told them what happened. Shockingly, the stories were very similar. It didn't seem like Ryan was exaggerating. They were playing dodgeball in PE and the adult in question was playing with them. Ryan hit her in the head with the ball on accident. She asked who did it and he said he did and that he was sorry. Was he wrong to hit her in the head? Absolutely, without a doubt. Her reaction though? She kicked him. Hard enough for him to fall to the ground. At this point the PE teacher said to the other adult something about getting in trouble. Ryan doesn't remember exactly what. But did the PE teacher report this to anyone? No, he did not.

After the period was over the class walked back the the classroom. On the way there he saw the person again. She taunted him. When her supervisor asked about it, she made the comment, "Oh, I kicked him in the butt." The supervisor laughed. Ryan then went to his classroom, crying, and told his teacher. She questioned him and questioned the class. Did she report this to anyone? No, she did not. Keep in mind, these people are all mandated reporters. My son was kicked, then bullied by the person that kicked him. And then several adults failed to make him feel safe by not doing anything about it.

The more I heard about this, the more upset I got. All I could think was that I wish it hadn't happened. Selfish maybe, but I knew I had to do something about this. And I hate confrontation. Saturday morning I called the Superintendent at home. I won't share the details as I don't feel comfortable doing that, but suffice it to say I wasn't really thrilled with the results. He acted like this wasn't really a big deal. He wanted Ryan in his office first thing Monday to meet with everyone involved. I was not going to let Ryan go into a meeting with all adults and have to tell that story. I informed the Superintendent of that and he said we could meet with him alone. When we got to the school and he started telling the story, he started crying. I can't tell you how hard it was to sit there while my son cried and talked about what happened. After the story, the Superintendent still didn't act like it was a big deal. I informed him of the steps I planned to take if he didn't follow the law in this situation. I'm pretty sure I'm not high on his list of favorite people. Then he had Ryan write down what happened. Ryan was shaking the whole time. He was so scared.

I won't share the rest of the details about what happened, as I don't think that's fair to anyone involved in the situation. I will say that I am satisfied with how things turned out. Could I have done more? Yes. Could I keep pushing? Yes. But I'm not, for a variety of reasons. Ryan is the main one. He asked me after the meeting yesterday if it could just be over. I don't want him to ever have to talk about it again if he doesn't want to. I don't want any kind of investigation. I wanted my son to feel safe at school and he does. I hope everyone involved learned something from this. I know I did. I learned that no matter how much I don't want to do something, if it comes to the safety of my kids nothing will stand in my way. I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. And I learned that Ryan and all of the kids in his class who reported this have a lot of courage. It isn't easy to "tattle" on an adult.

Now for the running part. I was sick about this all weekend and all day yesterday. I was just miserable. Then I went for a run. During the run I went over all of it in my head and really processed what happened. And then I just let it go. The run finally calmed me completely and allowed me to put this behind me.

Hopefully next time I blog it will be about happier, more lighthearted things. Until then, Happy Running!!

~Mel

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm back!!

Maybe. I rested until I couldn't stand it anymore and went for a run Sunday. I did 3.5 miles and my hip hurt pretty bad. Enter sadness, crappy day, etc. I made an appointment with an orthopedist for December 1. Any normal person would have stopped running until the appointment, but I'm not normal. Plus, I want it to hurt for the appointment, right? Right.

Last night I ran 5 miles. I thought maybe running the gravel trail on the dike might be nicer to my hip, so I did it. I don't know if that is what made the difference, but my hip barely hurt! I did about 3/4 of a mile on the road at the end and it hurt a little worse then, but that could have been because it was the end of the run. And when I say hurt, I really just mean I could feel my hip. It wasn't really painful like it had been.

I'm not canceling my appointment. I imagine the pain isn't gone, but I'm happy to have run 5 miles and not been in significant pain.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I'm getting up bright and early to run 6 miles. I hope everyone has a wonderful day filled with lots of food, family, and maybe a little running!

~Mel

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Adventures in Bicycling

For weeks I have been overdoing the training. I was so happy for nice weather and doing a bunch of races, so I overdid it. People have also been telling me this for weeks, but I ignored them thinking my body would get used to it and the pain would go away. But it didn't. It got worse.

After a run with the Independence Running Club (if you're local, you should join!) I decided I needed a break before I started my new program. I could barely complete the run. I just didn't have it in me. So I decided to skip my weekend runs and get back out on Tuesday. I think I expected my legs to know that I hadn't run 13 miles when I wanted to and therefore be perfectly rested. On Tuesday I set out to run and made it about half a mile. I was still hurting. Honestly, I couldn't even walk without pain. I decided I need more time.

Enter bicycle. There is no way I'm going a week or more without some kind of exercise. I can't. I posted on Facebook asking if anyone had a bike I could borrow for a few days and my lovely sister in law let me borrow hers. Thanks Marci!

Wednesday morning I rode the bike for the first time. Keep in mind, I am not a complete stranger to bikes. I rode them everywhere when I was a kid and a teenager. Have ridden as an adult. In fact, I had an epic wreck that I should blog about sometime. Anyway, I thought it would be easy. It wasn't. I rode 5 miles and was almost crying at the end. It was sooo hard! I posted on the C25K forum about how hard it was and got some advice. I know, it's a running forum, but people there are always happy to give advice about anything, whether they know anything about it or not (ahem, stephanie and someoldman). They mentioned tire inflation. I thought maybe they needed more air, but also thought it might have something to do with my fat body being on the bike.

This morning I went outside to ride and aired up the tires better. While my husband watched I might add :). Holy difference, Batman!! Today was soooo much easier! Still not easy, but easier. I really enjoyed today! I'm still not going to become a bicycler (bicyclist?), but it was tolerable. The only issue now is that shifting gears isn't working well. I took it to my father in law this morning and asked him to look at it and see if he could make it work better (Marci, if you're reading, I hope you don't mind!). He said just leave it and he would fix it. I just have to say, I love my father in law. Not just for this. He's just a really great guy. In fact, he's one of my favorite people in the whole world. I feel so lucky to have him in my life, and more importantly, have him in my kids lives.

Some things I've learned so far:
Air up your tires!
It's much colder when you ride a bike than when you run. Dress appropriately
Your butt is going to hurt after riding. And during riding. Hell, maybe even before riding just thinking about it.

I was walking home after dropping off the bike and my toes were frozen. They hurt so bad! One of my uncles asked what I was doing out in this freezing weather and I told him. He laughed at me. Then I shamelessly begged him for a ride home. Less than two blocks! But my toes were frozen and it hurt to walk. I'm pretty sure he's still laughing at me. He did give me a ride though. I love living in my tiny town surrounded by family.

Anyway, I hope to be back to running very very soon! I am upset and frustrated that I had to take a break before starting my training. It makes me feel like a failure and like I really might not be able to complete this run I have planned. I just know I need to be smarter about my training and not overdo it.

Hopefully I will be back to talking about running soon!

Happy Biking??

~Mel

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A New Chapter Begins

Since I started running I've been asking myself, "what's next?" First it was a 5k, then a 10k, then a half marathon. After that I knew I didn't want to run a marathon, but wanted another challenge. Enter trail running. While trail running, I've learned about Ultramarathons. Those seem crazy for sure!

So, what's next for me? I think I could run a marathon. I know I could train for one. But I also know it would take me 5+ hours to finish. Do I really want to do that? Why do something if you can't do it well? What about an Ultra? Can I do that? Well, yes, but again, I'm slower than most people. A trail ultra? I will most definitely do that some day.

One day I was reading a running article on the internet and read about someone doing a birthday run. I think the guy was 55 and ran 55 miles. He had been doing this for years. I read it and thought "well, this guy has clearly lost his marbles." Moving on. Then I did Flatrock. I felt invincible! Shortly after, I starting reading a blog that I'm pretty much obsessed with. I've mentioned it before. It is written by someone who calls himself a Trail Zombie. At first, he seemed kind of crazy. Then I kept reading. And I started feeling kind of crazy. While catching up, I read about him running with a friend of his on a birthday run. I can't remember the amount of miles. It doesn't really matter. I also read about him and a bunch of his friends running 50k's, 50 milers and even 100 miles!

I think that first story I read planted a seed in my head. And then the seed started growing when I read the blog. Then I kept reading and the seed kept growing. All of the sudden I'm thinking "I will be 33 on my next birthday. 33 miles isn't THAT far." Well, it is, but it's doable. I sort of mumble something to Rick one day about running 33 miles on my birthday. He just didn't get it. I posted about this before. I was crushed. I really thought he would say something about how awesome it was and how I should go for it. He didn't. He did eventually say that he would support me if I decided to do it. I didn't mention it again until last night. I think I was a little embarrased for some reason. I think he still thinks I'm a little crazy, but he's getting used to it.

I talked to some ladies I run with about this and they thought it was great. Then I told someone that I admire a great deal, Stephanie, about it. Always one to encourage, she told me to go for it. I branched out a little further and told the members of the C25K forum that I'm on. With one exeption, they thought it seemed great. Or at least they didn't tell me if they didn't!

And so it begins. I'm training to run 33 miles sometime next fall. My birthday is September 4 (please mark it on your calendars. I like gifts) and it is very hot in September, so I might not do it on my actual birthday. I will do it though. My intention is to get people to run with me. If someone can run 1 mile, great! They can run a mile. Then someone else will join me. I would like to get enough people that can run a little bit so that I can have someone the whole way. Or, if anyone is up for a nice 33 mile run feel free to join me! I'm also going to have some partners from all over the world in the form of my C25K friends! They will be running miles that day in support of me. I hope. They said they would!

My ultimate goal is to run trail ultras. Gulp. I said it. I want that 50K darn it! Probably not at Flatrock next year because I doubt I could make it in the time limit. Maybe Turkey and Taturs! That's also a tough course, but maybe. Or some other race that is to be decided. I know I like to do trail races much much more than road races. The biggest issue with that is training. I don't like to spend a lot of time on the trail alone because I'm a wimp. I would like to join the TATURs for some runs in the future.

I started my new training plan this week and so far so good! I'm still a little sore from the 25K, but I'm doing pretty well. I'm sure there will be many posts about this over the next few months. So, for all of those people who have asked about my new training plan. This is it. I promise I haven't completely lost my mind. Or maybe I have. Either way, I'm excited!

Happy Birthday to my Dad tomorrow!!!! I won't tell you all how old he is. Unless you send cookies or something. I can definitely be bribed.

Happy Running!

~Mel

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Turkey and Taturs 25K

Today I ran my second 25K! My time was much better than last time, but the course was quite a bit easier than Flatrock. Also, I'm in much better shape this time.

We went down to Tulsa last night since the race started early. Picked up packet, ate, and shopped. Then we went to the motel and Adam insisted on swimming. I hung out in the hot tub for about 15 minutes before I had had enough. I then went back to the room and got my stuff ready for the race.

I set my alarm and worried over and over about it going off at the right time. Since the time changed I was concerned. It turns out I was right to be worried! I kept waking up stressing about what time it was. I finally got up to check and it was 6:10. Oh crap! We needed to leave at 6:00!! I got ready in a hurry and we ran out. I grabbed some cinnamon roll thing from the continental breakfast on my way out. Somehow I actually managed to bring everything I needed. Oh wait, did I mention we felt an earthquake during the night? Oh yes, we did. I was asleep and I woke up to the world shaking. It was quite an experience, let me tell you.

Anyway, we arrived at the race location. It is not easy to find, but I had been warned about this, so we found it the night before. Thank goodness. We found a parking space, I gathered my stuff, and got out. Rick and Adam went back to the motel to get ready for the day and check out. They hadn't exactly had time for showers. I hadn't had time to do everything I needed to in the bathrooms, so I quickly headed to the port-a-potties.

Race time came and I got lined up. The gun went off, and we started running. The first few miles were pretty uneventful. I was running with some other runners and I enjoyed listening to them talk. Then I started running with a very nice lady named Kim. I was really enjoying myself despite the really huge headache I had woken up with and couldn't shake. At mile 3 or so we had to go up a hill. My chest started feeling tight and I couldn't catch my breath. I've never had that happen and it was pretty unnerving. I fell behind the nice people I was running with, much to my dismay. I eventually caught my breath and was doing fine. Until I fell. I don't know what I tripped on, but I went down hard. My hand was bleeding and I was kind of sore all over for a couple of minutes, but I was fine. I got up and kept going. After I sat there for a few seconds wanting to cry. And give up. It just sucked for me at that point. The next two miles were just difficult. I can't think of another way to describe it. I've been having trouble with my right hip and for a while I couldn't even run without pretty significant pain. Since I was only 1/3 of the way through, I just wasn't confident I could finish. It started getting better slowly. By the time I made it to the aid station at mile 7 I was doing well. The really really wonderful people there helped me clean up my hand, I ate some food, and continued on my merry way. After that I did great. Not to say I wasn't tired at some points and it wasn't difficult, but I was doing well. I was really hoping to finish in 4 hours but didn't want to look at the time and stress about it. At mile 10 I looked. I was doing well and knew I could finish in 4 hours if I kept at the pace I was going.

I was running and getting tired, but doing so well and I knew I was on target to finish. Then I got lost. Let me just say, this was in no way the fault of the people in charge of the race. The course was marked really well. I just have a horrible sense of direction it seems. I figured out I was going the wrong way when I saw someone else. He led me back to where I needed to go and I followed him for a while. I could have gone faster, but I was scared of getting lost. Because I got lost, then went really slowly, I didn't finish in 4 hours. I think my time was 4:13. My watch said 4:10, but I had been lost and it had stopped for a bit when I fell, so it wasn't really accurate. It thought I was done before I was, so I don't really know how far I went. I think I added a bonus half mile or so. Go me! For those keeping track, this was about 17 minutes off my previous 25k.

About 3 miles from the finish, I passed Eric Steele, RD for Flatrock. Actually, I had seen him at an aid station too. The guy is just way too cheerful considering what he was putting his body through. He ran the 50k. Anyway, he said something about this course being easier than Flatrock. It was for sure. Not that it wasn't hard and didn't have it's very difficult portions. It did. I just think it was easier overall. I was also in much better shape for this race, so that might have skewed my opinion a little.

One last thing the evil people planning this race did. I got the the point that I thought was the finish. Everyone was cheering, etc. Then some lady says, "just keep going, run around this building and then you will be done!" WTF? Are you serious? Run around the building? I thought I was done! I really thought I was being punked or something. But no, you really do have to run around the building. I did and I got my medal. Then I saw Rick and Adam (Ryan didn't come, he had a birthday party) and they were the best looking guys I had ever seen! We hung around for a little while I whined and then we left. We went to Quiznos to eat where I took a paper towel bath in the bathroom. Yes, I was able to lift my leg to put my foot into the sink to clean it. My legs were filthy. I can't believe I didn't fall and hit my head and pass out or something. I guess I'm just awesome enough to have made it work.

I don't have a lot of pics because I didn't really take any.

Here is the huge medal:
And me after the race showing off my medal:

Overall, it was a really great race. If I hadn't fallen and gotten lost I really think I could have done it in 4 hours. Maybe next time.

I am very impressed with all of the volunteers and organizers of this race. Thanks to all of you!

I think that is the end of my racing season. I might do the Turkey Trot in Coffeyville, but maybe not. I haven't decided what my next big race will be, but I do have something kind of big planned. Stay tuned for details!

Happy Running!!
~Mel

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Running Route!!

I think I mentioned in my last post that I found a new running route. There is a dike that goes around Elk City. It has always been there and I've never really paid any attention. Ok, it hasn't always been there. Obviously it was built at some point. As long as I can remember it has been there. Anyway, it has been gravelled. Normally running on gravel doesn't really excite me, but in this case it does. It has been driven on and is packed down. That means I have a really nice running path! I get sick of running the same routes day after day, so this is pretty darn exciting. It clearly doesn't take much.

Sunday Rick and I walked the whole thing. If I start at my house, go to the highway, get on the dike, follow it to the end, and then come back, it is 4.5 miles. Add a little run over the river bridge in the middle and I'm pretty close to 5 miles. Tuesday I set out for a 4 mile run and decided to run the new course. I brought my phone to take pictures hoping to see some deer or something. I didn't, but that didn't stop me from taking pictures! Without further ado, here is my new route:

Just a picture of it after I turn a corner. If you could see through the trees you would be able to see my house on the left.
In some spots, the gravel isn't packed down. I walked these areas. The picture doesn't really do the depth of the gravel justice. I got quite a leg workout.
I'm thinking in this spot I wouldn't want to step wrong and fall. It looks like the roll to the bottom would be slightly uncomfortable.

The run goes right past the water treatment plant. I didn't take a picture of that, but I did take a picture of this. I will let you figure out what it is.

Did I mention that I had to climb over a few gates? It's a good thing I'm a country girl! Climbing gates is something I'm quite familiar with. You can see two gates in this picture. I cross both of them twice.



Did I mention that I'm technically trespassing?

I see nothing on the sign that says violaters will be prosecuted, so I went on. Ok, to be honest, I would have anyway. Most kids who grew up in this area spent hours playing on this dike. No, that doesn't make it ok, but it makes me think I probably won't get in too much trouble.

I think this sign looks less menacing:

After that I decided to put the phone away and acutally run instead of stopping every few minutes to take pictures. I very much enjoyed my new route and can't wait to run on it again. It isn't as easy as running on the road and I won't do it all the time. It will be fun to add it to my routes though. And who knows, maybe some day I will be able to show a picture of a deer!

Today I signed up for my next race. It is another 25K trail race called Turkey & Taturs. Here is the website if you want to see what I'm doing: http://www.tatur.org/TurkeyAndTATURs/2006/50K.html

Happy Running!! ~Mel

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Neewollah 10K

Oh dear. I had such hope for this race. My training has been going to well and my last few races were great. Unfortunately, I did not have a great race. Oh well.

I got there at 7:50 or so to pick up my packet. Ryan and I got our numbers pinned on and found Rick and Adam. They had dropped us off and went to park the car. I then met up with someoldman and decided to run with him. He looked sad and lonely, so I took pity :p

Ryan and I before the run.. How cute am I?
We lined up. The 5K and 10K have differnt start lines, so I had to part ways with Ryan. They said go and I took off. Remember last week when I said my first mile of the race was too fast? I ran it in 10:00. Well, yesterday I ran a mile in 9:45! Way too fast. I could keep coming up with excuse about why the race went bad, but they don't matter. Ok, a little more whining. I had stomach cramps most of the race. And all day yesterday. And today. Woohoo!

Ok, back to the race.I don't really have a lot to say. Every mile got harder. I walked way too much. I don't think I enjoyed even one moment of this race. I hated it last year too, when it was only the 5K. I'm just going to move past this and start focusing on my next race, which is a trail race. It should be fun.

Ryan finishing the 5K:
He got third place in his age group! He's so fast. Today he is very very sore though. Why does that make me happy? Oh, I know! Because he thinks he can do stuff like that without preparing. Maybe he will have learned a lesson.

Me finishing the 10K:

After the big races, they have a 1 mile fun run. It is insane. Tons of kids, no organization. Adam wanted to do it this year, so I let him. Ryan decided to do it too, since his friend was. He was so tired though that his friend finished way before him and so did his little brother.

Adam finishing:

Yes, he's wearing jeans. Sigh. Things like wearing appropriate clothing escape Adam. He is definitely his own person!

I had a good day overall and I'm so glad my kids participated. Rick was again our pack mule and photographer. He does everything we ask when we run and I appreciate him so very much.

Some thoughts on the race in general:

The road markings were better this year than last and that was great. Also, they had people at the turns telling you where to go.

No aid stations. I can see not having anything for a 5K race, but they really should have something for a 10K. This is the only race I've done over 5K that doesn't have some kind of drinks along the course. This is something that bugs me. Perhaps I'm spoiled, but I need a drink when I run that far!

The fun run needs to be done differently. They have way too many kids start at once. Ever year some kids falls and gets stepped on for a while until he gets up. I don't know if that happened this year because I couldn't the start, but I know it has every other year. There are people from 2 years up to probably 80 years old that do this race. Perhaps starting in a couple of groups would be helpful.

Ok, don't whining. I had a great run/walk with Rick this morning. Some wonderful person gravelled the dike that goes around Elk City. I have found a wonderful new place to run! Rick and I did it this morning and it was great until we had to cut it short so I could rush home to the bathroom. Perhaps it is technically trespassing, but I doubt I will get in trouble. I guess we will find out! I plan to run there again Tuesday.

~Mel

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tomorrow, tomorrow....

....is less than a day away!

Tomorrow I'm running the Neewollah 10k. Last year when I started running, my goal race was the Neewollah 5k, which I ran. It had a horrible run. By far my worst race. I'm hoping history doesn't repeat itself tomorrow. I need a good race!

Instead of the 5k, I'm doing the 10k this year. Why? Who the heck knows. I just like a challenge, and running that cemetary road twice is certainly a challenge. It is such a mental block for me. Anyone who has run the road I'm talking about knows exactly what I mean.

I've talked someone from out of town into coming to run with me. Mostly because I'm afraid I will get lost on the course. I've run on this course a ton, but  the course markings are almost non-existant. And I"ve never run the exact course. I normally just run wherever I want in whatever random order or direction I want to. I'm such a rebel. 

Ryan will be running the 5k again and hopes to win a medal. Adam is running the 1 mile fun run and I'm probably running with him. He asked if he could run ahead of me because he's faster. Ryan mentioned training early in the week and when I told him he could go with me he said, "no thanks. I want to run fast." Well. I'm just not sure what to think. I guess I'm raising honest children.

I will let you all know how the races go and I'm sure I will post plenty of pics!

~Mel

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Route 66 Quarter Marathon

I should start this post by telling you all how awesome I am. I rocked the race yesterday! Ok, maybe not awesome, but I did do really well and had a good time.

When I signed up for this race we had nothing on our calendar. I was happy because that meant Rick and the boys ould come. After the race we could spend the day in Tulsa. Fun times, right? Well, Ryan had a football game get rained out and they rescheduled it for the day fo the race. I had already paid my entry fee, so I decided to go anyway. I hate going by myself, so I talked Judy into going with me. We left at 5:30 am to make sure I had plenty of time to find parking, pick up my packet, get my number on, visit the port-a-potties, etc. I was about 10 miles from home when I realized I forgot my ipod and my garmin watch. Crap. I thought about turning around but decided to just run "naked." I've never done a race without Nike+ or my watch, so I was really nervous. I knew I could live without the music since I've been running without it sometimes.

We got to Tulsa in plenty of time, but finding parking was not as easy. Well, it was easy to find it, but to get in the lot was a little more difficult. I will spare you the details about my crappy driving skill, but I will say I will probably get a ticket in the mail soon for the red light I ran.I swear it was an accident! I didn't see it. Anyway, I finally made it and actually parked really close to the start/finish line. Unfortunately, I still had an hour before the race started. I went and picked up my packet and we came back to the car. It was really cold!

The race numbers were pretty cool.
I eventually left the warmth of my car to go line up.

And we were off! Not having my watch, I didn't really know what my pace was. At each mile they haoutd  a clock. I ran the first mile in 10 minutes! That is way too speedy for me. I know I couldn't maintain that pace so I slowed it down. Honestly, the race was pretty uneventful. I don't have a lot to say about it. One thing I will say though is Holy Hills Batman! I was not expecing all of the hills. I was really doing great even with the hills until mile 5.5. At that point my energy just crashed. I don't know why. I kept going though and finished with a really good time. Right before mile 6 I heard someone beside me tell her friend she wished we could cut through. I looked where she pointed and saw a huge hill. We had to run around the block, up  the hill, then we were almost done. I said, "We have to run up that hill?" She said, "yep, it sucks doesn't it?" Yeah, you could say that. About half way up the hill there were some people that had already finished the race cheering us on. That was awesome! I finished in 1:12:45! That is an average pace of 11:06 per mile. I couldn't be happier with that.

There were so many spectators you had people cheering for you for about 2 blockes before the finish. I very much enjoyed that. Judy was right at the start line waiting to take a pic of me. Unfortunately, she missed me while working with the camera on my phone. She felt bad but I thought it was funny. They gave us the medals and ushered us to where the drink and food were. I had a very yummy pretzel roll!

After the race was an afterparty hosted by Oktoberfest. Each participant got 2 free beers. It was a little early and I didn't really want a beer, but they were free, so why not? Judy and I got in line and got our drinks.

Me under the sign:
Judy and I:

We took a few drinks and then threw them away. We left and went to eat and go shopping. First I had to change clothes though. I went to a QT to change in the bathroom. I heard some women complaining about all those "damn runners." Sorry for inconveniencing you lady!

This morning I did a 5 mile trail run which was very enjoyable. Next up is Neewollah 10k next Saturday!

~Mel

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why?

Just a warning, this post is a vent. I am going to act annoyed and cranky. Stop reading if you don't want to experience that.

I came across this picture the other day on a blog that I absolutely love.

People are always asking me why. Why do I run? Why do I run as far as I do? The answer is, I don't know. I like it. It's fun. It challenges me. It makes me thinner than when I'm not running. There is nothing like the ache you feel after you have completed a long run. It is so satisfying. I could go on an on. I could come up with funny reasons, philosophical reasons, stupid reasons. There are just so many reasons I run. But my question is, why do people always ask me why? Do I ask you why you don't run?

I get tired of being made to feel like a freak because I run. Yes, I ran a 25K on trails recently. It was hard. That doesn't make me a freak. I was one of 125 people that did it. Actually, I was one of around 50. The other ones ran 50K! That used to seem crazy to me, but now I think I will probably do it next year.

Rick has always been very understanding and supportive of my running. I love that about him. The other day I was discussing something that I'm thinking of training for. Asking his opinion. He was so baffled by what I was talking about and seemed so upset about it I started wondering if I am crazy. Then I remembered other people do it and so much more and I'm not. But the conversation really upset me because I'm so tired of people looking at me and shaking their head when I talk about running. And Rick isn't that way. In the end he told me he would support me if this is what I want to do and he really meant it. I hope!

One thing Rick said during the conversation was "I just don't get it. I don't understand this need to run further and further." But why does he have to get it? Why does anyone? I get it and that's all that matters. I'm not asking anyone else to do it with me, so why do they care what I do? Ok, sometimes I ask people to run with me. They normally don't though and that's ok. I think what bugs me is that when someone asks what I'm training for and I tell them, they act like I'm a freak. They could say, "wow, that's really cool. Good job!" But instead, they say, "why would you want to do that? That sounds horrible." I get that running a lot of miles sounds horrible to some people, but stuff they do sounds horrible to me. Say I was talking to someone who at 5 cheeseburgers for lunch every day. It wouldn't be ok for me to say, "Holy crap! Why would you do something like that?" So why is it ok for people to say that to me?

Maybe I should quit talking about running. In fact, I am going to make an effort to do so. If people want to know how it is going I will tell them, but I'm going to do my best not to talk about it first. Except on here. And I assume if you are reading this then you are interested.

Here is my lesson for everyone. Try not to make people feel bad for choices they are making. Don't judge your friend that eats a large pizza for dinner every night and don't judge the person who runs several days a week. Or anyone else. Focus on you!

Saturday I'm running in a quarter marathon. I'm really excited! Since I've never run that distance I'm guaranteed a PR. Sweet! I will come back with a happier post to tell you about my experience. Oh, and I am looking for someone to go to Tulsa with me to the race since my family can't come. Let me know if you are just dying to get up at 5:00 AM and drive to Tulsa and spend the day with me!! There will be food and shopping after I'm done running.

~Mel

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Weird things I see while running

I think in the past I have talked about some weird stuff I see while running. Last weekend at the race I saw something I never thought I would see. I didn't add it to my race report as I knew it was possible that it would be linked on the race website (it was btw).

Ok, so I'm running along and I saw two people stopped on the trail. A man and woman. Not really unusual since a lot of people stopped to take breaks. They were on each side of the trail so I had to run between them. What were they doing just stopped there, you ask? Smoking. That's right. They were taking a break from the race to smoke. So not only was this weird and confusing, I had to run through their smoke. I could barely breathe anyway at that point and then I'm stuck inhaling smoke. Who does that? Who smokes during a race?

I'm not sure what else this couple did along the trail, but suffice it to say it couldn't have been all running or walking. I passed them with 3 miles to go. I finished about an hour later. They finished 2.5 hours later. That's right. 2.5 hours to run/walk/crawl 3 miles. Hmmmm.

On to other weird stuff. Lately I have been seeing lots of dead armadillos. Maybe not so much weird as gross. One run I saw three, all dead. Reminds me of the time I kept seeing dead frogs on my run. The most entertaining thing? People at houses that they do not live at early in the morning. Too early to have just stopped by for coffee. More like they spent the night. Living in a small town, I know everyone, so this amuses me.

Trash. I see lots of trash on the road. I don't know if I've talked about this before or just imagined that I did. Regardless, I'm going to. My favorite piece of trash is some Alli diet information. The box that it came in along with an information booklet. I ran by it for months out on a country road. It alwasy amused me to be out there kicking my own butt and trying to get healthy and someone else was sitting in their recliner watching soap operas taking diet pills. I wonder how that worked out for them?  In the same area as the Alli trash, there was a tylenol bottle. I have no idea if it had any in it or not. I will say there were times I was in enough pain and almost desparate enough to find out. I never did though.

Right now I can't really think of any other interesting things I see. I'm sure I will see more and think of more though. Perhaps I should start a list. When I get a certain number of items on the list I can share with all of you. What do you think?

Happy Running!

~Mel

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Flatrock 25 Report

The last time I posted about this race I was trying to decide whether or not to do it. I had decided I definitely was not going to. I hadn't trained and the furthest I had run since my half marathon in May was 10 miles. I was in no way prepared for the race. Then I got an email from the race director informing me there were still slots open. I must have been on drugs that I wasn't aware of because I signed up. I decided I would do it just to do it and who cares what the results were. I could do 20 minute miles and still finish in a little over 5 hours, so why not?

Why not indeed. This was hands down the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. And I've given birth to two children. And for some reason I'm already thinking about next year. While it was difficult, nothing can compare to the feeling of crossing the finish line. I'm not sure if I've told you how hard this trail is, but it is ridiculous. Here are some good pictures from another year.

Friday night is packet pickup and a pasta dinner. When I got there to pick up my packet and said my name race director Eric Steele said, "oh, you're from Elk City!" This race has been going on outside of town for 17 years and no one from Elk City has participated. Until now that is. Anyway, it was cool that he knew who I was. Also, the spaghetti was the best spaghetti I have ever tasted. Ryan was with me and he loved it as much as I did. Here is a picture of us filling our plates:

Saturday morning I woke up way too early and couldn't wait to get out there. I sort of compare this race to childbirth. You know it's going to be hard and hurt like hell, but you can't wait to do it anyway. And while  you know it is going to hurt and take a long time and you will be exhausted, you don't really know. You just think you do. Anyway, I got there, got everthing ready and listened to the RD brief us. Then it was time to line up at the starting line. I had my usual pre-race nerves, but nothing too bad. The gun went off and we started running. I had forgotten to turn on my ipod, so that took a little bit. Right away my calves and shins were hurting and I have no idea why. Since they hurt and I was still on the road I was kind of freaking out.

After a little bit of running on the road we hit the trail. Right away you start going up. And over, around and through rocks. Big rocks, little rocks, sharp rocks, round rocks, moving rocks, etc. Rocks are the theme of this race. Note the name. Except I'm not sure where the "Flat" part comes in. Anyway, I was prepared for this as I had hiked this trail before. I'm tough! No big deal. Yeah right. I could not catch my breath. It took me a good mile to level out and breathe normally. By that time my legs were already protesting a little. The first 4 miles of the trail are the hardest in my opinion. This also means the last 4 are really hard as it is an out and back. Right before mile 4 is the first aid station. The aid stations were awesome and the volunteers are really great. I cannot say enough good things about them.

The next part of the race had a lot of flat areas that were pretty runable. I say that because this course is really not runable for the whole distance. I suppose some people can run most of it, but I am definitely not one of them. I read a quote last week and Rick repeated it to me before I left for the race. I said it to myself over and over. "Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if must, just never give up."-Dean Karnazes. My entire goal for this race was just to not give up. I only wanted to finish and prove to myself that I could do this.

I got to the second aid station where I had the best pb&j ever made. Or I was just really hungry. I spent a few minutes shoving food in my face and drinking and headed back. I ran pretty well for about a half mile. At this point I knew I needed to walk more or I wasn't going to finish. Everything was starting to hurt. Hips, ankles, feet, blah blah blah. Everything! I ran probably half the distance to the next aid station and walked half. This was alternating walking/running. It was sometime around here that my garmin became stupid. Right before the aid station it said I had 8 miles to go. It's a good thing I knew better or I might have cried at that point.

At the last aid station I had some more food and drink. Then I was off to complete the last 4 miles! Relief is in sight! While everything was aching I was still doing pretty well. For another half to 3/4 of a mile anyway. Then I just hit a wall. I had no energy left and I was in pretty bad pain. When I got to the point where I had to climb back up through a crevice that I had went down I really didn't know if I could do it. I somehow drug my butt up there and started going again. By now the bottoms of my toes were raw and I thought I would probably have blisters and bleeding toes. About 3 miles from the end I started to hear celebrations from the finish line. It was so neat to be able to hear it. Finally I was coming down a hill that I thought was close to the end. I saw a photographer and knew he hadn't hiked too far, so I must be close. He took this picture:
When I hit the end of the trail and saw the road I cried. Seriously. I was so happy and relieved. I had planned to run the length of the road to the finish line but I just didn't have it in me. I maybe ran half. Rick and the boys had planned to arrive at 1:30 because I thought it would take me at least 5 hours to finish. At one point I knew I was doing better than that, so I texted him to be there at 1:00. I kept looking at my watch at the end and it looked like I would be really close to 1:00. As I was running down the last stretch of road I heard a vehicle behind me and hear a camera. Rick took pics as he was driving by. Unfortunately, none of them turned out as the camera was set to manual from the last time I used it. I yelled "Hurry!!" because I wanted them to see me cross the finish line. Shortly after I turned onto the gravel road and there was the finish. They were making all kinds of noise and I assume my name was called along with where I'm from. I don't think I could hear anything at that point. I was just focused on the finish. I crossed the finish line right at 1:00, so 4 hours, 30 minutes after I started. Unfortunately, Rick and the boys didn't make it to see me finish. I got my finishers prize and met up with my family who were there just a few seconds too late.

I sat down to take my shoes off. To my surprise, my toes weren't bleeding. I did have some blisters though. Ryan went to the car to get my flip flops because there was no way I was putting those shoes back on. I may never wear them again.

Here I am with my finishers award. That's right. I finished. Faster than my goal. I ran/walked/whatever 25 kilometers.  I expect applause.
My legs were so dirty. It was disgusting. Here is a picture of the dirt. For anyone who knows me at all, you know I was not very happy about this. Do take note of my pretty toenails though. I'm not going to let a little race prevent me from having pretty toes :)

As I crossed the finish line Eric asked if I had fun. I told him to ask me later. I'm still deciding. I am very proud of myself for accomplishing this. I imagine I will do it again next year. I also had fun at times on the trail. Overall I can't say if I had fun or not. It was a fantastic experience and one I hope to repeat. It was inspiring to me to be able to push myself beyond what I thought I was capable of doing.

I'm still waiting on official results and finish line photos. I will add them to a future post. In the meantime, I will still be running and training for my next race, which is the Route 66 Quarter marathon. Can't wait!

~Mel

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Support Team

Ok, first things first. I said I would update you all when I got back from vacation. All I can say is it was great! I didn't run as much as I should have for various reasons, but I did run! I had a birthday while I was there and ran that day. I thought I should start off a new year of my life with a run and was very glad I did it.

Now, moving on to the actual topic of this blog. My support team. I have so many people that support me in so many ways. I'm constantly amazed at how great people are. When I started running I really didn't think I would keep doing it or would ever want people to know I did it. At some point I wanted people to know what I was doing. I wanted to have people at the finish line of races cheering for me and I wanted people to ask how I was doing. I also realized I needed people. I need people to watch my kids while I run if  my husband can't be there. I need people to bring me water or kleenex or come pick me up out in the middle of nowhere when I have to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW!!

I'm amazed at the people that I know or talk to that don't have anyone encouraging them or supporting them in any way. They go to a race alone, run, and go home. I like to make it a celebration. Perhaps I'm vain. That is all part of the experience for me.

I would like to introduce you all to my team:

My husband: Rick is awesome. I don't know what else to say. He gets up early and brings me stuff, he comes and gets me when I need to go to the bathroom. He drives me to races and sometimes sits in the car when it is cold and raining and waits for me. I could go on for hours about how wonderful he is, but I do it in a lot of posts, so I don't need to say it all again. I can't say enough about how great he has been and continues to be.

My kids: They both ride their bikes or run with me on occasion. Ryan always has positive things to say and is encouraging. He also enjoys coming to the races to cheer for me. At least most of the time. I can always count on Adam to be honest with me. Really Mom? Didn't you say you were running 10 miles? Why did you only run 5? Or I say I was proud of a time and he says, "that doesn't seem that fast." He isn't being mean. He's just brutally honest. At my toughest race Adam was at the end running beside me to the finish line. Nothing is better than seeing his little smiling face waiting for me at the end.

My Mom: My mom has this thing where she doesn't like to say "I'm proud of you." Don't freak out. It makes sense. She says she is always proud of us. She would be proud of me if I never ran again. She's not more proud because I ran a half marathon. She always tells me how excited she is or how great she thinks I'm doing. I love that. She has also come and stood outside for hours waiting for me to cross the finish line. She came to Tulsa when I did my half marathon. She had to drive 2 hours the night before, rent a hotel room and get up before dawn to go watch. I can't tell you all how happy that made me.

My aunt Tammy. Before I did my first 5k race I found out I wasn't going to have anyone there to watch me. I really wanted someone that was at the finish line waiting for me. I asked her if she would do it and she did. She got there an hour before the race and stood out in the cold and mist waiting for me to start. She was there when I came around the corner with 1k or so left to go. Then she was at the finish line. It meant so much to me to have her there. She has come to other races since. Last weekend she was there to see me repeat the first race I ever did. When I crossed the finish line 2 minutes faster than last year I think she was just as excited as I was. It was so special to me that I got to share that with her.

I have many other people who support me. The ladies on car-seat.org are always fabulous and continue to encourage me. Also, everyone on the C25k forum. I'm constantly being asked by people in town how my running is going and people seem genuinely happy for me when I tell them. My cousins Tricia and Jennifer are always complimenting me on my running and encouraging me to keep going. They can't come to my races, but they are always cheering for me in spirit. Jennifer even ran with me while in Connecticut and Tricia got up early and drove us to a park to run.

Edit to add: I can't believe I forgot this. My friend Coleen got me a reflective vest so I don't get run over and die while running! I love that she likes me enough to not want me to die :)

Also, the ladies on car-seat.org bought me body glide and mailed it to me when I lost mine. That proves what true friends they are.

I'm sure a lot of other people have helped me at some point or will be there for me in the future. I am so thankful for every single person who encourages me or supports me. And thank you to everyone who reads this blog and listens to me complain or brag about myself.

This week is race registration week for me. I will be registering for the Neewollah 10k, the Route 66 Quarter Marathon, and the Route 66 Half Marathon!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Things I love to see and hate to see while running

You know how nothing is ever all good? It seems like no matter how good something is, there are bad things about it too. Cheesecake for instance. What could be bad about cheesecake? It's all good, right? Well, no. Eating too much cheesecake will make you fat. Probably clog your arteries and other nasty stuff too.

I've thought a lot about the things that I really like to see while running and have also thought about the things I really do not like to see. Oddly enough, some things make both lists.

Things I love to see:
  1.  Baby ducks. Seriously, how cute are they? All soft and cuddly and when they cross in front of me in a straight line I can't help but say "awwwww."
  2. The sunrise or sunset. There is nothing like running in the morning and watching the sunrise. It is just awesome. The sunset is the same.
  3. Vehicles. Sometimes people will yell good job as they drive by or honk or something and it encourages me. Also, when I'm out on a country road it gives me hope that if something were to happen someone would eventually help me.
  4. Snakes. Who knew I could run that fast?! And when I've been running forever and am zoning out it helps me remember I'm still alive.

Things I hate to see:
  • Baby ducks. I know, I sound mean. But baby ducks poop and I have to run through it. Plus, when the grass is high and a duck is in the grass you can't see it. The grass is moving and you hear rustling, but you have no idea what it is. Scary.
  • The sunrise or sunset. Sunrise is great and pretty and I love it. But in the summer it means the heat is coming. It means the sun will be shining down on you making you even more hot than you already are (is that possible?). Sunset means it is getting dark and if you don't get your butt home soon you will be running in the dark and possibly being hit by a car or stepping on something you really don't want to be stepping on.
  • Vehicles. If it's dark vehicles are scary. First, they might hit you. Second, an ax murderer might be driving. Acutally, they are scary during the day for those reasons also. Then there is the whole "just how stupid do I look while running" thing. It's plenty stupid, so I'm sure I give passing motorists a lot to giggle at. It's also awkward when they stop and ask if you're ok. One time I was so tired during a run I almost told some random guy "no, I'm not ok. PLEASE give me a ride!" Instead I always just say yes, though they can probably tell by looking at me that I'm really not ok.
  • Snakes. The granddaddy of them all. I hate snakes. Actually, that is a massive understatement. The boys and Rick aren't even allowed to say the word. They have to spell it. Ryan's friend suggested we change the name and call them waffles. I kind of like that idea. I'm not going to go into all of the reasons I hate to see snakes on a run because it is glaringly obvious. I don't want to talk down to you guys. Suffice it to say the whole town knows when I've seen one.
There are other things, but I have to save them. I may need something else to blog about some day. As you will note, I didn't mention dogs. I think you've all heard enough about that.

On Wednesday I will be heading to Connecticut for a week, so I will be running in a strange place. I'm nervous about it, but kind of excited too. I get very bored running the same routes over and over. Especially while it is hot and I have to run before dawn. I run back and forth on the three roads in town that are runnable. Since I live in a very small town I run back and forth a lot. It gets boring. Unless someone steps out of their house with no clothes on when I run by. You know who you are. Then it's kind of exciting!

If I don't die in a fiery plane crash I will update you all on my vacation runs sometime next week!

~Mel

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back To The Basics

Ok, I'll admit it. I've been slacking on my blog. I've had several ideas for posts but haven't been able to make myself do it. I don't know why. Last night I was at a softball game and someone mentioned my blog (thanks Stacey!) and it made me feel guilty, so here is a post.

As you all have heard me whine about, my running has been not so stellar this summer. I have not been able to motivate myself. One night while lying in bed pondering my running, I came up with an idea. And by the way, I'm a really fantastic runner when I'm laying in bed at night. For some reason that's when I think about running a lot. I lay there and think about how awesome it is and how great it's going to be when I get up in the morning to run. I forget about the aches and pains and sweat. I even forget about the exhaustion. Then I get up in the morning. Hmmm, maybe running isn't so fantastic?

Anyway, the idea. I don't think I ever loved running more than I did while I was doing the Bridge to 10K program. So I asked myself, why not do that again? Well, a few reasons. Number 1, did that make me a wimp? Did I really need to go back to a beginner program? What is wrong with me that I can't just suck it up and get out there and run? By the way, I still haven't found an answer to those questions. I'm just trying to ignore them. I'm great at avoidance. Number 2, will it push me enough? Number 3, it is only three days per week. And number 4, I will never run more than 6 miles at a time doing it. So, the solutions. As I said, I'm ignoring my stupid questions from number 1 as they are dumb and just my insecurity talking. Number 2, I'm the one that needs to push, not a program. Number 3, who says I need to only do it 3 days per week? The program is a guideline for me at this point, I can modify it! I can do it however many days a week I want to. I'm such a rebel aren't I? And number 4, distance. Well, again, I modified. On the 4th day I will do a longer version of the week I'm on. So week 1 is run 10 min. walk 1 min. four times. On Saturday I did it seven times instead of four. Hello longer run. It worked great!

Since starting this (a whole week and a half ago) I'm really enjoying running again. I'm looking forward to it, not dreading it. Plus, last week my kids went with me twice. They rode their bikes while I ran. It made it really fun. One day I was running with them riding behind me and I start hearing this noise that sounds like indians from an old cowboy and indian movie. Yes, they watch a lot of John Wayne movies. Don't judge. I'm a horrible parent that lets my kids watch violent television. Whatever. Anyway, I hear this noise. Then I see them pointing imaginary bows and arrows at me and shooting. It turns out they are indian braves out to kill me. I'm not sure how many times I got shot during that run. I do know I laughed a lot and ran faster! Hmmm, perhaps that is the solution for my slow running? Having people shoot at me while I run?

In other news, I did a triathlon! Ok, part of a triathlon. It was a relay. I did the running part (duh). The really cool part? We got 1st place!! It was really fun and I hope we can do it again next year.

A picture of my team:
Ummm, I'm the one in the middle. I'm assuming all of you could figure that out, but just in case.

I promise I won't wait more than two weeks to post again!

In the meantime, happy running!!!

~Mel

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Detours

So, it is summer and we are all seeing signs for detours right? Road work is going on all over the place. Everyone hates a detour. You're driving along your normal route, doing great, and you have to get off and go another way. Most of the time this is nothing but an inconvenience. Sometimes though, you end up seeing or doing something great and wonder why you've never come this way before.

My running has taken so many detours this summer (metaphorical and actual) that I barely even recognize it.  Have you ever had a new road built in your area next to the old road? You drive on the old road while looking at the new one being built. Then the new road is done and you get to start driving on it. It's all shiny and new and exciting, but you still look over at where the old road was and kind of miss it. Eventually you have to look really close and concentrate to see the old road. Why am I rambling about this, you ask? Well, my running detoured off of the road it was on and hit a dead end for a while. Whoever laid out the detour did not plan well! Then I got back to running, but I was suddenly on a new and different road. The trouble is, I didn't have a chance to prepare. I totally missed  the new road being built. When I got on this new road I kept looking and looking for the old road and I can't find it. I guess I need to learn to deal with the new one.

The worst part about this new road is that it is completely different than the old one. The old road was paved and even and covered with glitter. I loved that road. We were good pals. The new road? It is gravel, filled with potholes and hills. It hates me and I can't say I love it very much. It keeps twisting and turning and challenging me. I've had to make peace with this and learn to deal with it. I'm running less miles on this road and have learned I had built up endurance on the old road and need to rebuild it on this road. Now that I have realized this I am so much happier.

Enough of the metaphorical detours. Lets talk about the physical ones. You have all heard me complain about the heat endlessly. And btw, I blame the heat for this new road I'm on. Anyway, due to the heat (and something else that is more than you want to know) I've been running at night. This can be challenging in my tiny town as I have to run back and forth and past the same houses multiple times. Unfortunately, it is also frought with dog issues. I've been running in this area long enough I've gotten to know the dogs and their barks. A few days ago I was running and heard a different bark. I slowed down because it really didn't sound very friendly. Or small. In fact, it sounded mean and large. Well, it was dark so I couldn't tell where it was. I ran slowly for a bit until I saw it. It started coming toward me barking agressively. I wasn't hugely concerned because it was at a house with very good owners that always come out and control their dogs when I run past. Except no lights were on in the house and no cars were in the drive. Oh crap. I promtly turned around and started running the other way. Faced with a choice of fight or flight I will never fight. I'm a wimp. This caused me to have to change my route. I had to run on a gravel road and got to meet a new extremely annoying cute little black dog. It chased me for an entire block nipping at my heals. On my way back by a man was outside with a million five little dogs that were doing their business. He didn't have a shirt on. I think he was shocked to see me. Also, since all five dogs chased me and he had to chase them I don't think he liked me very much. Scratch that little detour off my list.

Last night I attempted to run 6 miles in town. No easy challenge. I had so many dog issues I gave up at 5 miles. I couldn't see the dogs and I was running in parts of town I had never run before, so I didn't know if they were mean or not. They would come running out and I would turn and go the other way. This caused me to just run back and forth in some well lit areas which was less than pleasant. I would have a new running plan in mind, run into a dog and have to change it again. I just finally gave up and went home. I'm trying to adopt a new zen-like attitude about these kinds of detours. So I only ran 5 miles instead of 6. At least I got out there, right? I am trying to quit looking for the old road I used to run on and be at peace with the new one. We will see how it goes!

Update from my last whiny post: I'm going to continue training for the trail race. I don't have to register until September, so I will re-evaluate at that point.

Happy Running ~Mel

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I'm stuck trying to make a tough decision. My training has NOT been going well. The longest distance I have run since my half marathon is 8 miles. My longest trail run has been 4. At this point, I don't think I can be ready for Flatrock by September. I'm just not sure I'm going to be able to pull it off. I don't want to do it if I'm going to be dragging myself across the finish line, which is what I think I would be doing.

Had I stuck to my training plan I think I would have been fine. The heat is just kicking my  butt though. I know, you are all sick of hearing me complain about the heat, but wow! It's hot! Yestererday I left my house at 5 am and it was already 78 degrees. And honestly, I think I have some kind of mental block going. For some reason I've convinced myself I can't run. Plus, I'm having some bathroom scheduling issues that affect my ability to finish a run. Good times, let me tell you! I'm pretty sure my husband was not thrilled yesterday when I called him at 6:00 to come pick me up because I had to go to the bathroom. Being the good man that he is, he drug himself out of bed and came to get me. He didn't even complain! Have I mentioned lately that he's the best husband ever?

So, if I don't do Flatrock what do I do? The good answer would probably be just run to run for a while, but I can't do that. At this point, if I don't have something to train for I'm not getting out of bed to run every day. I think I'm going to run the Salt City Run for the Rocks. This is the day after Flatrock would have been and is still 13.1 miles, but I think I can do that. I won't break any speed records, but that's no surprise. At this point, running 10 miles would be a huge accomplishment for me.

Anyway, I'm feeling like a wimp and a loser right now. I know scrapping my original plan for the trail run is the best choice right now, but I can't help feeling like a failure. I'm going to mull it over for a few days, hopefully get some more opinions, then I'm going to have to make a decision. Oh, and for the record, I'm not giving up on trail running. I really like it. I plan to throw in some trail runs from time to time, just not get too stressed about it.

Any opinions?

~Mel

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Heat and Humidity

Have you ever heard the saying "It's not the heat, it's the humidity?" Well, that's true,  but it's also the heat!! We are seeing triple digits pretty often around here and running is becoming very unpleasant. Even leaving the house at 5:30 am doesn't guarantee a cool run. Yesterday morning I left at 5:30, but checked the weather first. According to the app on my ipod it was 73 degrees with 100% humidity. That's right. 100%. It was like running through soup. Have you ever walked outside and the heat takes your breath away? Well, try running in that. Not good times my friends.

A monthish ago I bought myself a camelbak and that has helped quite a bit. On Tuesday I unfortunately didn't bring it. I thought "heck, I'm only running 3.5 miles. I don't need a drink." Ha ha ha ha. How wrong I was. It was already 79 degrees out and very humid. I was sweating by the time I reached the end of the block. By the time I got to 2.5 miles I was really thirsty. Being the beggar that I am, I stopped at the Keli-Mart and begged for a cup of ice water. I had no money but they graciously gave me a drink. I should probably mention I know everyone in town, the store is named after my sister, my parents used to own it and I worked there for 10 years. I promise I don't go into random gas stations begging for water. Not that I wouldn't, I just haven't yet.

According to The Weather Channel, we are supposed to be in triple digits the next 10 days. I don't know how I will survive my long run on the weekend. Thankfully half of it is on the trail and therefore in the shade. Another thing to love about trail running!

Off the running topic, my oldest son Ryan is 11 years old today!! Also, his baseball team has made it to the state tournament, which starts today. His team has worked very hard and I'm proud of all of them. Can't wait to watch them play this weekend, even if it is supposed to be over 100 degrees.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Numbers

Ahhh, numbers. I love them and hate them at the same time. Being a runner, I am surrounded by numbers. They can be very useful and and wonderful and frustrating all at the same time. Miles run, pace, elevation, etc etc etc. Running is surrounded by numbers. Lately, I have been getting too caught up in the numbers.

Todays post is all about how mentally messed up I am :) See, I have this thing with numbers. Sort of an obsession. Ok, not sort of. I have OCD and anxiety. No really. I know people joke about being OCD about stuff, but I really am. My anxiety and OCD sort of manifests itself in numbers. This is something I know and keep an eye out for and can usually control it. Lately, however, I haven't been controlling it so well. It started when I started a new training plan and added speedwork. All of the sudden I was getting caught up in numbers again. And it was so much fun! At least I was convincing myself it was fun. It turns out that it wasn't. I was not enjoying my runs and I was really miserable. I hadn't really made the number connection yet though.

I have not weighed myself since February. Knowing my issues with numbers I finally gave up on the scales since it was better for my mental health. I sort of monitored my weight by how my clothes fit. This worked perfectly. For some reason though, I weighed myself a couple of weeks ago. This started me on a nasty downward spiral. I was back to obsessively counting calories in and out. I set an amount of calories that I will allow myself to consume and won't go over that. Trust me when I say it is not enough. Most days I will end up burning almost as much as I consume. I was also counting repetitions while doing strength training and making sure I did more each time. See, once I know how many reps I've done or miles I've run or whatever, I can't let myself do less the next time. If I do less I hate myself and try to make myself feel better by eating less and doing more. Like I said, downward spiral. Eventually I get to where I can't do anything because my body is exhausted and isn't nourished. At some point, I just break down mentally and physically.

That is what happened to me last week. I realized I had a problem (thankfully it doesn't take me as long as it used to). I reached out for help and luckily I have some really wonderful friends (and the best husband in the world) that were willing to help. One of my friends is so great she has hidden my scales from me and knows not to give them back no matter how much I beg until I know I'm in a place where I can have them. Who knows when that might be. My biggest source of support (besides Rick) on this continuously comes from the wonderful ladies on car-seat.org. It's not just about car seats!! Several members sent me private messages, texted me, whatever they could to make sure I knew I had support. It's nice to be able to send someone a text saying "this sucks. I'm hungry and can't eat. If I eat I will puke" and not be judged. Well, they might think I'm crazy, but they don't tell me I am. They just support me no matter how many times I go through this. And for the record, I would probably have support from my family if I actually admitted to them what what going on. Please don't think my family and friends outside of those online aren't supportive because they are. I just need to be more honest with them.

Right now I am doing much better! This week I decided to run just to run. I didn't run on the trail and didn't worry about my speed. I did do 6x400's on Wednesday, but didn't worry about my speed. Oddly, my pace was fantastic. Faster than normal! I so enjoyed running this week. I didn't do any strength training, just ran. I have 10 mile run for tomorrow, then next week I will slowly get back to strength training and trail running.

This post may not be here long. We'll see how long my courage lasts. Writing this out makes me feel better and stronger. Admitting to what I'm going through helps me to take care of it. And some of you reading won't understand this. That's ok. Unless you've been there it is hard to understand. It doesn't make sense that I don't just eat when I should or when I need to. It doesn't make sense that I wouldn't just quit counting things. Trust me, I don't understand it either.  I just know this is something I battle over and over again and probably always will. I can only be thankful that I am learning to recognize the signs before I'm too deeply involved with this stupid disorder and take steps to correct it.

Next post will be back to normal, promise!!

~Mel

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Do spider webs have calories??

This is a question I jokingly asked myself many times yesterday. I decided to tackle the trail that the race I'm doing is on. I had read something in the description about spider webs and since I run into them all the time I wasn't really worried. Why do I keep underestimating this whole trail running thing? I kept running into them during my run. I had them in my mouth, hair, ears, everywhere! I'm hiking crazy trails running along wondering if this counts as breakfast. I just told myself over and over (and over) that surely real spiders don't live in these webs. I know they do, but let me have my illusions, mmmkay? During the couple of times I had to stop and gasp for breath before dying rest I carefully picked them off of me. I'm sure those weren't real spiders. Some mean person had clearly placed toy spiders along my route to tease me.

I was doing an out and back and smugly thought to myself, "well, at least I'm knocking them down now and won't have to deal with them on the way back." Ha! Spiders are efficient little suckers. By the time I came back they had rebuilt their mansions.

Unfortunately, I came back earlier than I wanted to. It had rained the night before and silly me thought it was still a good idea to run on the trail. I am a stickler for a schedule. Or I'm completely anal and have to do what I planned. You can decide which one it is. By the time I had a solid inch of mud all over my shoes and was facing a long muddy trail that it looked like Big Foot had been traveling on I decided to call it a day. I ended up running 2 miles instead of 3, but had run bleachers at the football stadium the night before, so I tried to tell myself I wasn't a lazy slacker.

Some good news: A friend of mine found out I was doing the race (not sure how. It's not like I talk about it here and on facebook a lot) and she knew a couple of people who ran it last year. She suggested I contact one of them so I did. He gave me some advice and assured me I'm not totally crazy for taking this on. Now that I've actually been in contact with a survivor I'm feeling even better.

On a side note, my son Ryan has a great future as a drill sergeant. Last night while doing the ab workout on boot camp he decided he would help keep me going. He yelled at me through a hollowed out bat stuck right in my ear and hit me in the head with it when I stopped. Needless to say, I didn't stop very much.

Happy Running!

~Mel

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I think I may have lost my mind....

On Friday I was searching for running courses in my area and stumbled across a local race. It is a trail run at the Elk City State Park.  Sounds good, right? It's 15 miles, which I think I can handle. I mean, I've run 14, what's one more? Did I mention it is a trail run? I've never run on trails. In fact, I've always thought it looked a little crazy. Well, the more I looked at the website for the FlatRock 25 and 50k the more excited I got. I've really been struggling to get back into a routine since my half and just couldn't get excited. I had found a race in Hutchinson that looked promising, but wasn't terribly excited. I just needed a new challenge.

I mentioned it to Rick and he said it looked like fun. I asked opinions for a few other people and they thought it looked fun. I also asked on the C25K forum I read and post on and the general consensus was to go for it. Friday night Rick took the boys and I out to the trail so we could walk a little bit of it. Oh my. That's all I can say. They all ended up with ticks. Also, it is scary. Really scary. I came home and obsessively looked at all of the pictures, results and race reports on their website. Even scarier. Then I read about snakes, possibly copperheads on the trail. Anyone who knows me at all knows how terrified I am of snakes. Did any of that deter me? Nope. I decided I AM going to do a trail run.

Saturday morning I got up early for my 8 mile run. I finished and woke Ryan up to go hit the trail with me. No, I don't force my kid to run with me. He wanted to. Well, this time. Sometimes I force him. It's fun. Anyway, we planned to do a quick 2/3 mile trail and maybe a small portion of our favorite hiking trail. We just wanted to test if I really wanted to do this. Unfortunately, the gates that block the road leading to the trailhead were closed. We went to a nearby bike trail instead. It said "Bikes Only" so I had to force my son who refuses to break rules to go. Oh my. It was hard. I learned some things though that will help me in the future.

1. Bug spray is a must. Ryan had ticks on him at the end of the run.

2. I need to eat more if I'm going to do trail running. I ran 8 miles this morning. I had a mini clif bar (100 calories) and a clif shot blok (not sure, maybe 100 calories?). I was weak and had no energy by the time I got to the trail.

3. I'm going to get dirty. Yuck. I hate dirt. I only ran .67 miles and my ankles and socks were filthy at the end.

For some reason, even though it was hard, I was tired and gross and miserable, I still wanted to do this. When I got home I was on Facebook and saw this picture:
It seemed like a sign. Rick owes me a present, so I decided to buy some trail shoes. Oh my goodness. Who knew this would end up being an excuse to buy some totally awesome new gear? Here are my new shoes:
And thanks to the super awesome salesperson (Rachel) at Fleet Feet Tulsa for helping me find some

This morning I decided to try again on the trail I wanted to run yesterday so I headed out to the lake. I talked to my dad on the way and complained about snakes, because he feels the same way. He offered to come shoot them for me if I needed him to. Unfortunately, he's 1000 miles away so I don't think he'd make it in time. But thanks Dad!

Anyway, I think I've found a new love. Trail running is fabulous. I felt so great running. Yeah, it was hard. Really hard. And I didn't even run that far. It convinced me that I really want to do this though. Here are a couple of pictures I took with my cell phone from my run.



If you're interested in seeing exactly what I've gotten myself into, look at some of the pictures on the race website. They're scary. When I run some more I'll post pictures of the trail.

Happy Fathers Day everyone!!

~Mel