Wanting and Wishing

My little sister has naturally curly hair. Beautiful curly hair. She has always had this curly hair…quite unruly at times, as evidenced by her third grade school photo in which my fifth grade self attempted to french braid it for the picture day.

She always wished for straight hair.

When I was little I had the straight hair, and wouldn’t you know it, I wished for it to be curly. My hair was long and boring, and all the cool kids had perms. Sure my mom fixed it beautifully everyday, curled bangs with a headache-inducing side ponytail, but I wanted more. This just goes to show that we all wish for the things we don’t have.

But, I’ve learned that it’s important to be careful what you wish for…now in my adult life I have this wavy/curly/straight/frizzy combo hair. Hair that doesn’t go out in public unless a blowdryer and straightener or curling iron has been put to it.

What I wouldn’t give to have my childhood hair back.

A few months ago, near the end of my spring marathon training, I told a friend of mine that I wished it was after my marathon and I could run shorter distances, less mileage, and strength train more. Long runs are hard and time consuming, and marathon training in general takes a toll on a person. I wished for the night I could drink a glass or two of wine and not worry about it hurting my long run the next morning.

And now that I can’t go on that long run…that’s all I want to do!

I vaguely scratched out a training plan for Chicago that started last week. By vaguely scratched out I just mean that I planned my long run schedule for each weekend. This past Saturday has an “8” written in the box.

I didn’t run eight miles. I didn’t run one mile. Girl, be careful what you wish for.

This morning I went out for a short “test” run, and fingers crossed, I think my knee is on the up-and-up. I made it a mile and a half, stopped for thirty minutes of a bootcamp workout in the parking lot with four other lovely ladies, then another mile and a half back home. All pain free.

The moral of the story friends? Be grateful for what you have going on right now. Today. I’m excited for my long training runs to come, but today I enjoyed running short, squatting low, and lunging forward.

And, I guess I’ll be grateful for this pile of frizz I have knotted on top of my head, too.

ang

Oh-My-Goodness Hardcore

It’s raining here…and it’s in the thirties. I never said I liked the cooler temps, did I? What, I did? Well, let me take that back now. Silly me.

I had a date this morning with the running group…a date that I promptly canceled (in my head) and rescheduled with the lonely treadmill for later this afternoon. I hope that the other girls had the same thought process, too, so that they weren’t waiting for me in the freezing drizzle. The truth is, last night when I checked the hour by hour weather and saw that there was still a 70% chance of precipitation at 5:00am, I didn’t even set my alarm. That is when I rescheduled today’s sweat session appointment. Sorry gals.

I have run in the rain before…for a race, nonetheless…and I didn’t like it. But I probably need to toughen up and tough it out. I mean, that’s what the hardcore, win-the-race, most awesome runners do. Run. Rain or shine. Sleet or snow. Oh wait, or is that just mail people? Or both. I bet it goes for both.

It is possible to be hardcore on the treadmill, though. I may have questioned this before, but I have seen the hardcore-ness of a runner on a treadmill in action. Let’s rewind to my marathon training days. Once again I had put off my morning run, but this time I had to resort to the treadmill at the college gym based on the heat of the summer day. I set up my machine with water and Gu, set my pace on 6.3mph and went on my way to reach nine beautiful miles.

I thought I was pretty hardcore.

Behind me in the corner of my eye I saw someone else running. It was a man wearing a very official looking red singlet and runners shorts. It’s easy to spot running shorts on a man because they weren’t down to his knees. Picture it with me. He looked like the type you’d see breaking records at Boston. He was running fast, and it motivated me to keep going…and to my benefit, keep raising my pace.

After about two miles into my run, my husband came over to check on me and upon arrival whispered to me, “Did you see that guy behind you?!” I confirmed, still feeling stellar from the 6.5mph displayed on my screen. Then what the husband said almost made me fall down right then and there on my machine. Almost.

“He’s running at 11.0mph!!!”

Okay, so my 6.5 was pretty hardcore. His 11.0 was oh-my-goodness hardcore, the win-the-race, I’m-going-to-blow-you-out-of-the-water, I’ll-see-you-on-my-cool-down-lap, breaking records kind.

Maybe someday I’ll be half that cool. For now, I’m perfectly happy running three easy miles at 6.3mph this afternoon! 🙂

ang

Running Before the Sun Comes Up

It feels so nice to have my daily workout done before the sun comes up!

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As my alarm clock (cell phone) went off at 4:55am playing Jason Aldean’s Dirt Road Anthem trying to convince me to wake up, it was much more tempting to just hit the snooze button. I’m pretty sure the song never even made it past the instrumental intro. However, after the song seemed to be playing in my dreams I decided to actually open my eyes and check the time.

5:10am.

The moment of truth. Do I get up, try to find some clothes to run in without waking up the husband, scrounge for a matching pair of socks, scarf down some food, let Tia outside, and head out the door in five minutes…

…or do I just turn the alarm off. Not snooze. Off.

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My head definitely definitely opted for the latter, who couldn’t use a few more hours of beauty sleep?! But in the end my heart won out, and I got my gooloo out of bed to meet up with the local running gals. We went for a nice four and a half mile run around town in the dark, truly in the dark, led by a couple of flashlights.

Running in the pitch black is quite a funny thing. First of all, the danger of potholes is multiplied tenfold…hence, why we had flashlights. Secondly, when you are chasing after a small circle of light that just happens to be swaying back and forth (since it is being held by another person running!) you start swaying as you’re running, also…very similar to what I think it would be like running after a few cocktails. Not that I know…because I don’t, I promise…not yet at least.

Thirdly, if you turn off the flashlights for any amount of time, even say two seconds, a group of grown women will squeal and scream like they are little girls being chased by boys with cooties. Fact.

Then, after the miles passed by and we arrived back at our starting point, and it almost seemed as if four and a half miles didn’t even happen! I mean, if you couldn’t see it, then it didn’t happen, right?! Therefore there is definitely no reason to have any tightness or soreness. No way!

All in all, I’m glad that I declined to urge to fit in a few more hours of beauty sleep and got in a fabulous workout before the sun came up. Running is always better early with the birds, and it’s definitely always better with a group of awesome girls!

ang

Did I Really Do That?

I can’t believe it has been almost two whole weeks since I ran my first marathon.

I think back to that day and have to question whether or not it actually happened.

I mean, I remember running it…I remember waking up in the morning, meeting up with all my friends, and arriving at the race sight. I remember starting the race, running alongside Dean Karnazes, meeting some amazing people, seeing my friends at the transition points, and seeing all of my family along the course. I remember my sister screaming, my mom crying, my dad running, and my husband providing me with fuel and water. I remember crossing the finish line, and I remember crossing the finish line for a second time with all of my girlfriends.

I remember hugging all my family at the finish line, drenching my mom in my own sweat, and eating strawberries and blueberries after the race. I remember sitting in the grass cheering on the final runners as they neared the finish line. I remember being too sore to climb a staircase without using all four of my limbs.

But did I really do that?

If it was actually reality (although I’m still unsure at this point) then it was one of the most amazing feelings in the world. It was a feeling that I wish every person can experience at least once in their life, and it was a feeling I want to seek out again.

I’ve been scouring race sights all week trying to pick a race that fits into my work schedule, volleyball schedule, dinner club schedule, and budget. It’s not the easiest task in the world, and I’m going stir crazy not knowing the next time I will get to challenge myself. I have a few races in my sights…maybe a 10K soon…a half marathon before the end of the year, and I definitely need to find a 5K so that my hubs and I can actually finish our bet! I have my eyes set on another marathon for beginning of next year.

It has been interesting working out this week without a set schedule or training plan. I’m such a goal-oriented person and I miss having my training plan stuck to my refrigerator, but it has been kind of nice to just go with the flow this week and enjoy the magnificent weather!

My first post-marathon run was Saturday and I ran three easy miles and walked an additional mile. I was definitely nervous as I was leaving my house that my legs might have forgotten how to run, but somehow they started moving on their own!

On Tuesday I ran four miles on the treadmill (a shame, I know, since it was beautiful outside) and did some strength training. (Yay for biceps!)

On Wednesday I decided to try some Yasso 800s (don’t worry, I didn’t know what they were either until just recently). I learned about this track workout on Emily’s blog last week, and I was very intrigued! I’ve been very inspired by reading about Emily’s running (and swimming and biking) experiences on her blog, so I thought this workout must be legit! Basically you run timed, speedy 800s on a track with an un-timed cool-down 400 in between. You start by doing four 800s the first week, and then you add another 800 each week until you reach ten. Your time during your 800s should (possibly…) reflect your marathon time. For example, if you run an 800 in three minutes and forty seconds, you should be able to run a marathon in three hours and forty minutes (I really hope I’m explaining this correctly!)

Yesterday consisted of some random crosstraining, and today I set out bright (well, it wasn’t actually bright yet) and early for a nice four miler with some of the girls from the WOW running group. It was refreshing to get in another easy run with some awesome company!

While I may not know the next time I will be racing, I do know that these shoes aren’t ready to retire!

ang

Hello August

August is one of my favorite months of the year! It used to be my absolute favorite, but my anniversary in July has made a move to number one in my heart. I love the overwhelming amount of sunshine (although it is not the best conditions for running…and I’m kind of over the record straight days of 100+ degrees), my birthday is in August, and it just seems like to most fun happens in August (however, my husband and friends might not agree since they have to go back to work in August)!

I have a ridiculous amount of things to look forward to this month, but first, look how July ended with a bang!

I completed my first eighteen mile long run last Saturday! And it was the best long run I have had yet this training period! I took it pretty slow, but was able to make it through with only minimal knee pain! I want to give a big thanks to the W.O.W. ladies for making the first twelve miles fly by!

Now, hello August!

I have Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure that I’m running in honor of my momma who beat breast cancer’s booty. My mom, along with her hubby, is also participating in the one mile walk for the cure, and my sister and her boyfriend are also doing the 5K! I’m so happy and proud of all of them! This is also the 5K that my hubs agreed to run with me…or should I say against me! We are pretty competitive people, so we have a bet on who will win…it should be a close race! (Wish me luck against those 6’8″ legs!!!)

I have my first and only twenty mile long run coming up in August. I actually think this comes before the Susan G. Komen 5K, which might hinder my chances of beating the hubs, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. You might think I’m crazy for putting this on the list of things that I’m excited for in August, but I am excited for it in a weird-I-hope-I-don’t-die-before-my-race-but-won’t-it-feel-awesome-to-finish kind of way.

I have the Katy Perry concert that my girlfriends bought me tickets to for my early birthday present! Mind you, this will be my first concert since I was in love with the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, 98 Degrees, and LFO. I’m so excited!

I have my twenty-sixth birthday, which at first I wasn’t at all excited for because of the fact that I don’t like even numbers, so I didn’t like the thought of being twenty-six. Then I realized something. A marathon is twenty-six (point two) miles. How neat is it that I get to run my first twenty-six miles just a week after I turn twenty-six years old?! Pretty. Darn. Neat. (In case you forgot…I am a dork.)

Which brings me to the next thing I have to look forward to this month…my VERY FIRST MARATHON! I can’t believe it is so soon…I am getting more and more excited (and more and more nervous) each day! I am so glad that I will have my girlfriends there running the marathon relay and my hubby and family there cheering me on! My mom told me she was buying poster board this week to make signs for me! I’m sure it is going to be just amazing (let’s just hope these 100 degree days go away before the 27th!)

And August has already started off great. Slowly but surely I’m getting the hubs to run more and more with me (I think he’s a bit nervous I’m actually going to beat him at the 5K!), and today he made two big accomplishments…the first was that he woke up before 6am with me to get in a morning run…and the second was that he ran his first five mile run! Before this morning he had never ran further than a 5K!

Go Matty!

I really enjoy our time running together. We don’t necessarily say much, but it feels so nice to have his company doing something I have started to love so much.

What is making your August amazing?

ang

Marathon Training, W.O.W., Soaps By Di, and GOTR!

Good morning lovelies! I have missed you!

I missed my Book Club post this week…I am so sorry!Tip of the DayKeep your book in a handy location. For example, I have switched over to using a very big purse so that I can fit my book in it (and wallet, and four different lipglosses, and mascara, and bottle of water, and comb, and camera, and phone, and headphones…) and take it everywhere! Therefore, it will be too hard for me to forget book club again!

So girls who are following along with the reading, I will make this week’s book club post tomorrow (only two days late), and it will just be over chapter eleven, The Bonds of Pop Culture.

In other news…I received and e-mail yesterday informing me that my first marathon is eight weeks away!

Um…what?!?! Only eight weeks!?!? I’ll be honest…that number did scare me a little bit, but I got in a great thirteen mile run this morning, thanks to some lovely girls!

So…if you know me, you know that I typically run by myself. Yes, I beg and beg and beg my hubby to join me (and he has…twice now!), but I usually end up lacing up the shoes for a long, lonely date with my headphones.

But a couple months ago I was told about a womens running group in my town for all types of runners and walkers. I joined the group on Facebook, and saw all their postings for group runs several times a week, but I was always too scared to go meet up with them. Most of you just know me through my blog, but my family and friends that do know me know that I can be a little awkward in real-life…shy with a tiny, high-pitched (mistaken for a twelve year old) voice. Awkward. On top of my already awkward shyness and not knowing anybody in this town, I was always afraid to join in on a group run because I worried about not being fast enough or going too fast, or I worried about whether or not I am supposed to make conversation or if I should be be focused and quiet, or if I am breathing too hard and they think I’m in terrible shape or if I’m not breathing hard enough and they think I’m about to die. Nevertheless…I’ve always been afraid!Last week I saw that one of the W.O.W. girls was organizing an eight mile run on the exact same day that I was scheduled to do an eight mile run for my marathon training. I thought that’d be a good time to make an appearance, but I was still afraid for all of the above reasons. Then I saw someone else ask about the pace of the run…and lo and behold, the pace matched my pace exactly! I thought it must be meant to be, so I decided that I’d actually join the girls for my first group run!

Let me tell you…I LOVED it!

Running with a group made the time and miles just fly by, and it motivated me to pick up my pace a little bit and keep it up!

For this morning’s long run, I ran two and a half miles to W.O.W.’s meeting place, ran five with the group, then ran another three with one of the beautiful ladies, then finished the last two and a half miles running back home. It was a great run, but Missouri’s humidity is ridiculous! I have never been more sweaty in my life! It looked like I jumped in a pool with my clothes on!

So, thank you pretty W.O.W. girlies for a great run!

ang

P.S. Soap It Up, Gourmet Soaps By Di has donated $42 to Girls on the Run through my fundraising website! Girls on the RunYou have nine more days to take advantage of her special (for each soap sold she donates $1 to GOTR)!!! It ends on July 15th! I just used one of my favorite scents, cotton candy, for my post-run shower! YUMMY!