Battle Wounds

It is a battlefield out there on the pavement.  It is a war between me and running.  I know I once talked about how most people have a love/hate relationship with running.  Well, today I wasn’t feeling the love with running.  No, actually, we went to war.

First of all, I dreaded getting up the minute my alarm clock went off.  Wait, that happens all the time, right?  Well, today was a bit different.  I had more of a right to feel some lack of love towards running.  You see, I had just run a half-marathon on Thursday.  You know… gobble, gobble.  That was just 2 days ago.  Since my running buddy and I decided to be slackers and not run an extra 3 miles that day to fulfill our training requirement of 16 miles for the week, we had to do it today.  Actually, we didn’t HAVE to.  One of our running coaches told us that we would be crazy to do that and one of the other running coaches said to go for it as long as we took it nice and slow.  So, my running buddy who is way too hard-core for this ragged, old mommy made the decision to run the 16.  Guess what?  This mommy is a bit competitive so she had to run 16 too.  Therefore, when I woke up this morning I was already not so happy.

Well, this little thing I call “running” must have known I was getting a little bit of that hate churning up inside because she decided to throw some punches.  Yep, at mile 6 she decided to knock me down.  It wasn’t a very graceful fall either.  I nearly knocked my running buddies down as I stumbled over a crack in the sidewalk.  Yep, I crashed and burned right on my knees.  If you are runner then you know that knees are precious commodities.  My knees were bleeding and my palms were burning with road rash as I struggled to stand up (thanks to the help of my buddies who actually stopped to make sure I was okay).  Fortunately, one of the running coaches was with us, but I told them to go on ahead and that I would walk back to my car.  They could just check on me after they made it to the turnaround point and headed back in my direction.  So, after clearly stating that I was okay and that I could walk just fine, they headed off in one direction while I limped off in the other direction.  Oh, did I mention that I was bawling my eyes out?  Not because I was in pain, but because I felt defeated.  Running had won this battle… no, what was that stirring up inside of me?  Maybe a mix of madness, ego and pride… not sure, but it caused me to stop in my tracks and turn around.  Slowly I started running again.  My left knee gave a little, but once I got going it actually felt better to run then it did to walk.  As I ran to meet up with my buddies, I couldn’t help but think that maybe I was making a mistake.  I didn’t want to get injured this late in the game, but I also didn’t want to walk away and be defeated.  I wanted to win this war!

I met back up with my buddies and we all made the full distance together.  At the end, I was so thankful I had continued because I knew I would have regretted it if I didn’t.  Well, I wasn’t totally thankful because I could barely bend my left leg and I was walking around like I had just gotten off a horse.  At least the kind lady at Starbucks was nice enough to give me a bag of ice that I strategically placed on my knees while driving.  Oh, the driving part.  Yeah, the pain was a bit excruciating especially when I had to push in the clutch to shift.  I was yelling at the cars in front of me to stop putting on their freakin’ brakes!  Why couldn’t they just drive!

So, I am sitting here still slightly sore, but at least it is only my legs and not my pride.

Gobble Gobble

Okay, okay.  I don’t want to be a blog slacker!  I can’t believe I didn’t post anything after I ran my half-marathon on turkey day!  Oh, maybe it was because I had to come home, take a fast shower and prep my first turkey ever!  Yes, I was a turkey virgin… but no longer!  I don’t know if I ever want to do it again though.  You see, I am not a big fan of touching uncooked dead animals.  Yeah, so sticking my hands inside that turkey was not so pleasant.  Yuck!  I don’t even like to eat anything with skin and bones!  EEW!

Okay, anyway, I did say that I ran a 1/2 marathon and I guess this is a running blog, not a turkey blog.  Why would I run on Thanksgiving?  Oh, so I could come home and eat whatever I want.  Or maybe so I could forgive myself for eating those two Krispie Kreme doughnuts right after the race…. well, I guess if I hadn’t finished the race then I wouldn’t have eaten doughnuts anyway.  And why do some people spell donuts this way and other people spell doughnuts that way?

Okay, I am getting off topic again.  The race was…. well… kind of difficult.  First of all, I had my competition running right next to me so I had to keep up the pace to prove that I could be fast if I wanted to.  And, why in the world is it over 80 degrees on Thanksgiving Day??  So, that didn’t help.  I definitely needed the water stations to be every half mile instead of every 1.5 miles!  Well, despite it all, I set a PR (personal record) of 2:07:11.  But I about keeled over at the finish line.  Before the race started we talked about how we actually needed to run 16 miles this week as per our training schedule.  We talked about finishing the half-marathon and then continuing our running till we made the 16 miles.  Ha!  That was just a silly suggestion.  So, now we have to run those darn miles tomorrow.  Crap.  Will we make it?

Why a marathon?

Dear Mom,

Why did you obsess about running so much?  Why did you decide to run marathons?  Maybe it was an escape from reality.  That is kind of how I look at it too.  It is a chance for me to be free from all of those daily responsibilities that cause unnecessary stress in our lives.  I suppose you had many things to escape from.  I can respect that.

I have all of your ribbons and medals in a box in my closet.  I look through them every now and then.  When they came into my possession 10 years ago, I was bewildered with the fact that none of them had your name on them.  Then, I ran my first race and realized that they just reach into a box and hand one to you when you cross the finish line.  Silly me.

If you could only see me now.  I will be running a marathon in January.  A few years ago I never even imagined doing something like that.  Actually, I probably shouldn’t say this, but I hated running when I was a kid.  I really wasn’t a big fan of those so-called “fun runs” you would drag me to.  Fun?  Really?  Didn’t you know how much I dreaded P.E. in Junior High and High School?  I guess maybe we should have talked more often.

Well, I have to admit that you did spark something inside of me otherwise I don’t think I would be running 14 miles in my free time.  You didn’t always choose the right path, but I think you scored points on this.  I can picture watching you cross the finish line of the Portland marathon.  Remember that trip?  Yeah, I got fired from IHOP because I told them I needed that weekend off (fortunately it didn’t put a damper on my career goals).  I remember watching you use those machines at the gym as I tried to figure out how they worked.  I remember how depressed you were when you weren’t able to run because you couldn’t get out of bed.  I don’t know if that will happen to me or not, but I want to make sure that I make the most of the life I have now.  I think running is a big part of it, but nothing will ever come above the wonderful family I have acquired along the way.  I wish you could meet them.  Maybe my daughters will become runners too, but they have to choose that path on their own.  That is what makes it more meaningful.

Well, Mom, I will tell you that I love running even though I am not entirely sure why.  I know that just made you smile.  Keep watching if you want to see me go the distance.

Love, me

Almost a slacker…

Almost a slacker… but definitely not.  Just hear me out.  I nearly went to the dark side, but I resisted!  Yes, I prevailed!

So, it all started on Tuesday night when I met with the team to run those wonderful bridges that we enjoy running every week (nope, not a hint of sarcasm in my voice).  Well, it was the last Tuesday for a few of our members because their goal is fast approaching… tomorrow, actually, they will be running a 1/2 marathon in St. Petersburg.  It was quite sad to see them take those last run photos and give each other hugs in anticipation of the upcoming race.  One of my running buddies who decided to show up (the other one was complaining of knee issues) started talking excitedly about how we should continue running together after we finish the marathon with TNT.  That sounds good to me!  Nothing beats running with someone!

Yeah, seriously, running alone just isn’t quite as fun.  On Tuesday night I also found out that none of my running buddies would be participating in today’s early morning 10-mile run.  Not that they were slackers… actually far from it.  One was going to run the St. Petersburg 1/2 marathon for fun (yes, I did say “fun”… we runners do like to run races just for fun).  The other one decided to do some sort of crazy relay race that went from the west coast of Florida all the way across the east coast (seriously, how do I even run with her?).  So, there I was on my couch on Friday night after my husband and I had just finished watching a movie.  “I don’t know… I think maybe I will just run from home tomorrow… I mean, what is the point of driving somewhere at 5:00 in the morning if I am just going to end up running alone anyway.  I don’t know…”  Basically, I spent at least an hour pondering what I was going to do.  My husband talked me into just staying home with the simple words “well, at least you wouldn’t have to wake up so early.”  Yep, that did it.  My decision was made.

So, I set my alarm for 6:00.  Woo hoo!  An extra hour to sleep in!  Well, my alarm did go off at 6:00 in the morning and I did hit snooze… or so I thought.  No, I had actually turned the alarm off and fallen back to sleep.  Needless to say, I was pretty surprised when I woke up at 7:00 to the sound of my 2-year old asking her older sister to read books to her.  Oh man, I almost plopped my head back on that pillow and said “forget it, I will run later.”  ALMOST.  I knew without a doubt that if I did not get up and run right then that I would not run at all that day.  Oh, it was way to tempting.  No one was expecting me.  I was running alone.  I have a 1/2 marathon coming up on Thursday… did I really need to do the miles?  The excuses kept pouring in, but I refused to let them consume me.  I got up and got dressed and was out in the door in 10 minutes.  Whew!

Oh wait, there is more.  I continued to have that constant mental battle with myself.  I was doing an out and back run.  Pretty simple.  Yet, as I was running to the turnaround point I kept saying to myself “oh, maybe this is far enough.  I can turnaround now.  I don’t need to run the full mileage.  Who is gonna know?”  Dang it.  I had my running phone application turned on.  As soon as I hit “end” it automatically posts my run to facebook.  That means that whoever reads anything I post (sure, not many people but I didn’t even want to disappoint the few that might) would know that I didn’t run 10 miles. So, I pushed myself to that turnaround point and got annoyed when I looked at my phone to see that it said 4.68 miles.  Keep going Heidi.  You can’t turn around until it says 5!  When I got there, I had no choice but to run all the way home (it would have been too embarrassing to call my husband and tell him to come get me).  And you know what?  I ran exactly 10.0 miles.  Not 9.6, not 10.2, but exactly 10 miles.  I did it.

What is the moral of the story?  I truly like the idea of having other runners around to keep my head in the game.  I know that I have to show up when someone is expecting me and I know that I must stick with my training if I want to keep up with the Superwomen I run with.   If you want to do it too, I recommend finding one or more running buddies.  They are the best motivators!

Treadmills really do suck!

So, the other day I was reading an article in Runner’s World about this dude who was complaining about having to run on a treadmill because he was recovering from an injury.  He just went on and on about how much it sucked and he couldn’t believe that he was in his parent’s basement running on their crappy old treadmill.  At the end of his treadmill run he pretty much considered himself cured and decided it was time to get back out on the pavement.

While reading the article I was a little annoyed.  I was annoyed mainly because I occasionally run on a treadmill, but not by choice.  You see, the YMCA is such a swell place to go because I can drop off my KIDS.  Yes folks, when you have KIDS you actually have to factor them into your running schedule.  It didn’t really sound like that dude had kids or that his wife could care less about his time spent running. However, is that real life in most cases?  Probably not.  You see, I take my kids to the YMCA because that is the only way I can possibly work out.  I can’t even run on my treadmill at home because I have to stop every 5 minutes to console a crying baby.  Therefore, YMCA = time I can run on a treadmill… yes, I did say treadmill.  I must say, though, that I am very lucky to have a supportive husband who doesn’t mind when I run with my team OUTSIDE on Tuesday evenings and very early Saturday mornings.  I do want to be home sometimes when my whole family is present.

So there you have it.  Sometimes treadmills are a necessity.  Okay, my story isn’t quite finished.  Today I ran on the treadmill at the YMCA and I think I had some of those negative treadmill emotions harboring in my mind (thanks dude from magazine!).  First of all, it sucks running and not getting anywhere.   Second, the sweaty gym members are not my idea of tranquil scenery.  Lastly, I just don’t feel like I can go as fast or as far on the treadmill (they must have it rigged or something because I felt like I was running much faster than what I actually was… why was I so tired??).  Never in the history of my running have I ever blatantly stated that treadmills suck… but really, they DO!