Friday, April 29, 2011

Smashing Records

Do you know what is really cool about being a new runner? You get to beat your old records pretty often. This week I beat my 5 mile record twice! Tuesday I ran it in ??:?? (seriously, you didn't really think I would tell you did you?), which was about 40 seconds faster than my previous fastest time. Wednesday I ran it 1 minute 20 seconds faster! That means two days in a row I set a new record. I also ran 5 miles on Thursday and my time was in between the Tuesday and Wednesday times. As that is 3 days in a row of running I'm pretty happy with that. Actually, I'm thrilled! After two weeks of horrible runs I'm feeling a lot better.e

Saturday(tomorrow) I am running the Therapetics K-9K Race for Independence. As this is my first time running this distance I get to set a new record! Woohoo! This will  also be the first race I've done that Rick won't be at. I'm sad about that, but I've been thinking lately that I use him as a crutch too often. I rarely have to run against the wind because he's willing to drive me somewhere to run back home, or come pick me up at the end. I've never had to figure out how to hydrate myself on a long run because he always brings me a drink. I'm not saying I'm going to quit taking advantage allowing him to help me. I'm not. But I'm going to try to quit whining when he can't. Notice I said TRY. I won't quit whining entirely. It's not in my nature. Have you ever heard the phrase "The squeaky wheel gets the grease?" Those are words I live by.

Random funny story:
Saturday I couldn't run in the morning because it was raining. I decided to go in the afternoon instead. Stupid. It was hot. And sunny. Also, I was wearing shorts, which caused an issue that is the subject of a future blog post. Needless to say, I didn't finish my run. I ran by a little creek and decided it looked mighty refreshing. I ran another half mile or so and came back to it. I was waiting for Rick to come pick me up, so I thought I would walk down and put my feet in the creek. Unfortunately, I wasn't where he would be looking for me and you couldn't see me from the road, so every time a car came by I had to jump up out of the ditch in case it was him. I think I frightened a couple of people. I kept hurting myself on the sharp rocks when I jumped in and out of the creek. I'm so glad no one was there to see this. I was done soaking my feet and Rick wasn't there, so I went back up and sat on the bridge. I was wearing a bright purple shirt and sitting practically on the road and he still almost drove past. I jumped up and he finally saw me.

Ok, now that I read that story it isn't so funny. Perhaps if you could have seen me getting in and out of the creek you would be laughing.

I will be back with a report on tomorrow's run. Oh, and my son Ryan is running the 1 mile fun run tomorrow, so I will be reporting on his race too. After the run I am going to a friends house to shower (thank goodness, I will be gross) and then meeting some other friends at the Tulsa Zoo. It should be an awesome day.


Friday, April 22, 2011


Wind is something I both curse and am grateful for at different times. Sometimes I curse it an am grateful at the same time. Today was one of those days. When I ran, the wind was 20+ mph. As I run out in the country, there is often nothing to block the wind. It was strong enough today to kind of knock me off the road a couple of times. Miserable! However, it was also 65 degrees with 94% humidity. Since I can't remember when I shaved last, I wore pants. I'm not sure why I cared. Perhaps I don't want my dog friends to see my hairy legs. Anyway, the weather. Hot, humid, windy, pants. I was so darn thankful for that wind. I was sweating my butt off (oh, how I wish you could actually sweat it off). Had the wind not been blowing I would have been even more miserable. Hmm, perhaps my butt would have been smaller though? Something to think about.

I have learned to work around the wind. Last week the wind was out of the north, so I ran south. If the wind is out of the south, I run north. Thankfully I have that fantastic husband who will come get me. The most important lesson I have learned from running is the need to adapt. Weather, illness, my level of busy, so many things can interfere with my running if I let it. I know that I have to figure out a way to keep running no matter what.

My half marathon is less than 1 month away! It seemed so far away when I started training in November. I'm starting to wonder what's next.

I have been sick this week, so my running has taken a little hit. I think illness is my body begging me to slow the heck down.

I met a new dog today. It was big. At least as big as my car. Also, it had teeth. Huge ones. I think they even grew 6 inches during our encounter. Ok, I might exaggerate slightly, but he was less than pleasant. Again assuming is was a he. Who knows for sure? I know I quickly changed my running route so I wouldn't have to pass him again.

And this has nothing to do with running but I have a date with my husband tonight! Prom last week didn't count as it was a work thing for him and good wife thing for me. I have no idea what we are doing. Any ideas? Please keep in mind I live in the middle of nowhere.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

How far did you run?

That's a question I get asked a lot. Most of the time people say it with a slight "you must be crazy" to their tone. Well, yesterday I hit a record with my mileage. I ran 13.1 miles. That was my first time running a half marathon distance. Hopefully when it comes time for the race my body won't be in too much shock since I've done it before.

People keep asking how it went, so I will tell you. Plus, I like to talk about running, particularly my running, so here goes!

First, on friday night I really didn't think I would be able to go. The forecast was for a lot of wind and I did not want to fight the wind on my first attempt at this distance. I finally asked Rick if I just ran straight south could he pick me up at the end. He said yes, so I decided I could do it. The wind was out of the northwest, so it shouldn't bother me. Miles 1-4 were pretty good. I was pretty slow, which was good, since I had a long way to go. The next couple of miles were a little tougher. I started on a pretty hilly section of the run and I kept getting a cramp near my ribcage. Also, I was getting thirsty. I hadn't planned a drink stop, which was just stupid. By the time I got to mile 7 I was pretty miserable and wasn't sure I could finish.

Right at mile 7 I turned and had to run directly into the wind for about a mile. A large portion of that mile was uphill also. I'm also getting very thirsty at this point. Like, I'm looking at the ditches that were full and wondering how gross it would be to drink out of them. I'm ashamed to admit how close I was to testing it. At 7.5 miles  I heard a car coming behind me. This isn't unusual, I run on a blacktop road. I could hear the car slowing down though. I'm thinking. "Terrific. The car is going to stop and the person driving is going to ask if I'm ok. Since I'm pretty much dying they probably aren't going to believe me when I say I'm fine." Oh wait, that's my car. And my husband! Praise God! I'm going to get a drink. I don't know if I've told all of you how fabulous and supportive my husband is, but I'm going to right now. He got up really early on a Saturday morning to come check on me and bring me a drink and Kleenex. Yeah, my nose runs a lot when I run. It will probably be a subject for a future blog post. Beware. Anyway, I drank an entire gatorade, blew my nose a couple of times and kissed my super duper fantastic husband.

After that I hit a really flat portion of the run and did great the next few miles. It had warmed up, the sun was shining and I really enjoyed myself. At mile 10 I was getting  kind of tired. And the hills had started up again. By mile 12 I was pretty much done. At 12.5 there was a huge downhill. I went way too fast and my side was pretty crampy when I got to the bottom. That is when Rick showed up to pick me up. I told him how much further I had so he drove to that spot and waited. After the long downhill was a pretty steep uphill. I did it and had about a quarter of a mile of flat ground to finish the run.

So, yes, that's 13.1 miles, but how far is it? For you local folks, that is the distance from Elk City to Independence. Or, the route I did, which is from Elk City almost to Havana. I am in shock that I can run that far! After the run was over I jumped in the shower and then went to soccer games. Both boys won!!

Saturday night was Elk Valley prom. Every few years I go with my husband who teaches there. This was on of the years. I thought I would share a couple of pics with everyone. Oh, and everyone please take note of the fact that I'm wearing heels. I ran 13.1 miles in the morning and wore heels at night. I'm obviously super-woman.

Here I am with Rick:

Here I am driving my dad's GTO. This picture really doesn't do it justice. The car was awesome and I looked very cool driving it (ummm, at least in my very humble opinion. If you disagree just hush!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Positive Inclines

First I need to disabuse you all of the notion that Kansas is flat. Yes, parts of it are, but my corner of the state definitely isn't. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with these hills. I love how they are helping me become stronger, but hate actually running up them.

One day I was complaining about hills and my husband (who I am certain was just sick of listening to me) pointed out that I could think of them in a positive light instead of a negative one. In all of his science teacher glory, he says, "Hey, you could think of them as positive inclines instead of hills!" I laughed at him and we made jokes about it. But you know what? It worked! So often now when I'm running up a hill I think "this is a positive thing. It is helping me. It's not a hill, it's a positive incline."

Sometimes, we have to climb metaphorical hills in life. I had to climb a hill this week. I'm not quite to the top, but I know I will make it. I keep trying to to tell myself this is positive. I am growing stronger while I climb this hill. I started up the hill last Saturday when I had my crappy run. Then Monday came. A little bit before noon, my phone rang. My husband was calling to tell me that Mr. Art Haibon, Principal and Superintendent of Elk Valley had passed away. I could hear the devastation in his voice. He had great respect for Mr. Haibon, as did many other people. My heart goes out to all of his family and friends.

Tuesday morning I went for another run. It was horrible again. During the run I thought a lot about Mr. Haibon and kept thinking if he could fight against cancer as hard as he did, surely I can run 4 miles. Not so. At this point I was upset about death and was certain I was facing the death of my running career. I came home beaten down. I logged onto my favorite forum in the whole world, This place is filled with some of the most caring, wonderful people I have ever come accross. I reached a particularly tough point on the hill when I logged on. One of our members, a young, beautiful mother had passed away. Leila Potts, aka Neia, had passed away a few days before and we had just found out. I cannot describe the depth of my devastation over this. I was angry, hurt, and confused and still am. The fantastic ladies in the community (which I'm so proud to be a member of) are gathering together to raise money to help the family with expenses. We've done this all too many times lately. How much more can one community take?

I know that this too shall pass. I will reach the top of the hill and enjoy a nice, easy downhill. I feel I started the recovery today when I ran 4 miles, which is what I set out to run.

Next up: 13.1 mile run Saturday morning!! First half marathon distance. Hopefully I will be back with a much happier post.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Big, Fat Fail

I often have people tell me that they admire me, look up to me, etc. due to my running. While I love that, and it motivates me, I also fee like a fraud. First, I'm so new at running. It's scary when people ask me questions and really want to hear what I have to say. What if I say the wrong thing? What if they take my advice and get injured? Second, I'm really not that good at it. I will probably never talk about times on this blog because I'm slow. SLOW. It's ok, I'm only competing against myself, but it gets frustrating sometimes. I can run long distances, but I don't do it very well.

Enough about that. Let me tell you about my big fat running fail this weekend. I don't think it's fair to only tell you all about the good, so here you go. Like a good runner I got up at 5:30 so I could have something to eat, get dressed and get my long run of the week done before I go watch my kids play soccer. Before I tell you about this run, let me tell you what I did last Saturday. I ran 12 miles! That is why yesterdays run is so baffling to me I think. I checked the weather and realized the wind was out of the south. My plan was to run 7 miles. 3.5 of those would have been running south. No.Thank.You. I decided to alter my route. I let Rick know my plan so if I didn't come home he would know which ditches to check.

I start my run and am feeling kind of icky. Oh well, I'll get into it. Two blocks in I had to go to the bathroom. I had no intention of trying to hold it for 7 miles, so I turned around to go home. Thank goodness. I barely made it. Perhaps this is the time to mention you might find a little TMI in my blog from time to time :). Anyway, I get back on the road. After 1 mile I was miserable. My stomache wasn't feeling great and I felt like I was running through syrup. I went a little further. Still miserable. I decided to walk a minute. While walking I'm thinking "Really? I want to be this miserable for 6 more miles?" I decided it would get better. I started running again. Gah, did the syrup get thicker? I make it maybe 1/10 of a mile when I decided to just scrap it and go home. I did the walk of shame all the way home, feeling like  failure. I just kept thinking how people always say how great I am and what if they could see this? They would know the truth. I'm a fraud.

I'm mostly over that feeling, but doubt always creeps back in. I could probably come up with a bunch of excuses for why my run was bad, but the truth is, sometimes they're just bad. I'm hoping for a great run on Tuesday to make up for it. Oh, and next Saturday I'm supposed to run 13 miles! Anyone want to join me?

Quick update from the soccer games: Adam's team did not win, but Adam learned an important lesson about trying his hardest. Ryan's team won!

P.S. News on dog situation: Barking doberman barked at me 4 times Saturday, starting at 6:30 am. His owners should thank me since they probably don't have to use an alarm clock.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Dogs, Dogs and more Dogs!

Remember how I said in my first post that I live in rural Kansas? What that really means is that I live in a teeny tiny town of 300 or so people. Do you know what also lives in my town? Dogs. I'm starting to think they outnumber the people. Some of you might ask why I care. They are in pens or on leashes, right? Ha! Towns with leash laws are for wimps. We're Elk Citians!!! We don't need no stinkin' leashes! Our dogs get to enjoy freedom to go anywhere they want and do anything they want. Ahhh, to be an Elk City dog. They are probably the envy  of dogs all over the world.

Ok, since we've established there are lots of dogs and they just run wild, you might still be wondering why on earth I care. Well, remember that thing about me being a runner? That doesn't always mix well with dogs. The most annoying dog I encounter almost daily lives just a few houses down from me. You know what? He's actually in a fence! He barks though. A lot. Sometimes I run at night so I have to run where the streetlights are. That might mean I pass the same house more than once. This dog barks every single time. One night I ran by 5 times. He barked every single time. I'm sure his owners are my biggest fans. I wonder if they would be interested in sponsoring me? Maybe paying some of my entry fees?

My true nemesis is a little black dog. I've been running past his house for several months now. Oh, and for the record, I don't know what the actual gender of these dogs is. I assume male because, well, most males are annoying (Rick, if you're reading this I don't mean you. You never annoy me. Things are sunshine and roses with us all the time!) Anyway, back to the dog. He doesn't just bark at me every time I go past, he chases me. And tries to bite me. He's little though, so I sort of punt him like a football and he goes away. Until the next time I run by. Depending on my route or the length of my run, that might only be 10 minutes away. But you know what? The little furball chases me, barks, tries to bite me all over again. He never learns.

My most interesting dog encounter happened a few weeks ago. I was running along, having a great run when a huge pack of dogs run out of a yard barking at me. By huge pack I mean 3 or 4. But it seemed like 15. I stopped running and sort of stood there. Oh, look, a couple of them are friendly! We played nice for a minute. Then one of them turns not so friendly. Thankfully the little boy that lives there came out and got them. I told him I'd be back by in about 15 minutes so hopefully the dogs wouldn't be out. As I'm running back the little boy is down at the creek fishing (how cute is that?). I stopped and asked if the one dog was mean. He said "He's not mean, he's never bitten anyone." I thought, "oh good! I was just overreacting!" Then the little smartass says, "Of course, people don't usually run by our house either, so you never know." Thanks kid.

Just so you don't think all Elk City dog owners are bad, there are plenty of nice ones. Sometimes they join me on my runs and I kind of like having the company. Other times they just want me to stop and pet them and go on my way. I'm sure I will have many more interesting dog encounters as I continue running. Unfortunately for my followers, you will probably have to keep hearing about them.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Things I've learned while running

Sometimes, I learn deep, profound lessons while running. Sometimes I learn random things that I really wish I didn't know. Today was an example of the latter. It seems that spring is prime season for roadkill. No, this isn't what I learned. What I did learn is that buzzards (vultures, whatever you want to call them) eat and poop in the same place. As I was running past a carcass of unknown origins (seriously, this thing was picked CLEAN) I realized I was also running through lots and lots of bird poop. Gross. Evidentally these nasty creatures must make room for the roadkill somehow and they aren't afraid to do it where they eat.

Some other things I've learned:
  1. People will throw anything out of their car. ANYTHING! The worst? A hypodermic needle. I don't even want to know what they used it for.
  2. Some things never break down, whatever the weather. I've been running past the same diaper since October.
  3. It takes about a mile and a half of driving to drink a can of beer. Why do I know this? About a mile and a half from the bar there are always beer cans by the road.
  4. If someone smokes in their house you can smell it when running past. I don't know why, but I can. I can tell you who smokes along my running route because if it is early in the morning or late at night when I run I can smell it.
Someday I might share some of the more serious things I've learned since I started running. Right now though, I guess I just needed to share with someone the nastiness that I encounter on a daily basis.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

All about Me!!

I thought I would start this blog by telling you about me. My name is Melissa (aka Mel). I live in rural Kansas. I'm married to a wonderful man named Rick and have two little boys named Ryan and Adam. They keep me super busy, but when I'm not  busy with them I run. I'm currently training for a half marathon and am trying to fit in runs with being a wife and mother.

I started this crazy running journey in June 2010. My friend and neighbor was out walking with me and suggested maybe we could start the Couch to 5K program. I thought, "heck, I can run. I've been working out for 6 months already and have lost weight. No big deal." I was wrong. Painfully, sadly, wrong. As it turns out, running is hard. Especially in the middle of summer in Kansas. Somehow we plugged away and finished C25K. At some point in the program I decided I liked running, so I decided to keep doing it after the program. While still doing C25K I looked into other programs that would help me run further. I didn't want to do intervals anymore, so I found One Hour Runner. Two weeks into it I hated it. I scrapped that plan and decided to get over my dislike of intervals, so I started Bridge to 10K. During that program is when I found my true love for running. I've since finished B210K and moved on to training for a half marathon.

I find that I always want to talk about running but no one really loves listening! Enter blog. Now I can post all of my random running thoughts for random strangers to read! I hope some people can enjoy "running" with me!