Saturday, October 30, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 6

Monday - 40 minute run
Tuesday - 30 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 30 minute run, plus form drills
Thursday - 60 minute ballet class
Friday - rest
Saturday - 6.5 mile run
Sunday - rest

Had a great week of training/tapering! It was a funny week because it seemed to drag on - I actually had to look in my training calendar to remember what I did, because it felt like there was no way that the 10K was only last week.

Added up my mileage for the month and was excited to see that I had run more miles this month than ever before - 73.3 miles! Only one month came close and that was July. July did kick butt with the biking though, doubling this month, because I biked twice a week back then. Maybe I'll start adding a weekend bike ride in the afternoons, since biking in the neighborhood is driving me insane.

Just one more week until the half. I am still really nervous about running a half in this area - hills! ACK! Well, I'll do the very best I can - one foot in front of the other! :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Won! I Won!!

Several weeks ago, I entered a contest on my favorite running blog: Run Faster Mommy! The contest was for a "bibfolio" from Gone For a Run. You may be wondering... what is a bibfolio?? Well, it's a handy-dandy place to store all of your race number bibs! Isn't that clever?

So I entered the contest and waited patiently. One morning, while I was out running, this wonderful thought came into my head. If I actually won the contest, I could give the bibfolio to my BFF and running partner! After all, she had paid for my entry into the Thanksgiving Day half-marathon after I had to bail out on her due to my son's medical bills from his ankle surgery (sliding into 3rd base, in case I hadn't mentioned it before - yes, he was safe @@). I knew there was no way I could repay her anytime soon, and I thought this would be a great way to say "thank you"!

So I came in from my run, checked the blog, and low and behold - I had won!!! Amazing!! I had never won anything on a blog before, so I wasn't sure exactly how it worked, but the entire process was very smooth. Here are some pictures of the bibfolio, with a special thank you to my BFF for taking the pictures since I was so excited about it arriving that I forgot to take pics before I gave it to her! (Do you know how hard it is to keep a secret from your BFF???)

Here is the front cover - the quality of the picture is very good. I was really expecting something much different, much less quality. This is really durable, and the picture isn't just printed out and put into a sleeve, it's actually part of the cover art.

Here is the inside, so you can see your bibs. This is her bib from her first race ever on Memorial Day 2009. Next week, she's running her first half-marathon! :)
Here is a side view so you can see how durable it is. I guess I was expecting it to be made of chipboard or something, but this is much sturdier. The quality is very good. I love how she attached her jingle bell from last year's Jingle Jog! :)
And here is the back of the bibfolio.

So overall it's a very well-made item, and quite a clever concept! Thanks so much to Heather at Run Faster, Mommy! and to the folks at Gone for a Run for making this surprise possible! :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 5

Monday - 50 minute run
Tuesday - 30 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 40 minute run, plus form drills
Thursday - 90 minute ballet class
Friday - 1/2 mile swim
Saturday - 10K race
Sunday - rest

This was the first week of the taper and it was a good time to start tapering... it seemed like everything else in my world was going crazy, so it was nice to have a little extra time to recoup!

Today was my long run, and I had the privilege of accompanying another friend of mine during her first race experience. She chose the Fast Pace Race 10K (which was my first 10K last year) except this was her first race ever, and she just started running 3 months ago! She was nervous, as you can imagine. I found one of the most intimidating parts of racing was just the whole logistics of what you're supposed to do... where do you pick up your number, where do you wear it, where is the start line, and on and on. I don't like my running friends, especially the ones that I really jump-started into running, to have to do that alone. And this is a great course, plus I was excited to see how it compared to last year's run when it seemed SO long and lonely!

Everything went really well, I thought. She walked just a bare minimum, which is especially impressive considering her training went awry and her longest run was 4 miles. And she finished in under 70 minutes, when the limit was 75! She accomplished her goal of getting an official time to be used for corral placement (hopefully) in the 2011 Disney Princess Half! It was fantastic to be able to encourage her and keep her moving forward to the goal that I knew she could accomplish! Her brother came out for the race, too - all the way from VA - and together we flanked her and kept her going. At least we did until she saw the finish line... when she sprinted! LOL She's gonna be one fast runner when her endurance catches up to her competitiveness! ;)

Swimming went well this week... practiced my new stroke and some of the other tips my coach gave me. Biking was more of a challenge. I'm really getting bored just riding around this little stretch of my neighborhood. It's hard to even get motivated to get out there. I think I'm going to have to try to add some weekend biking after all the half-marathons are over, weather permitting. I really love my bike, but it's so hard to just ride in the same little circles - especially when they are mostly the same circles I run in during the week, too. Hopefully there will be some pretty December weather which will allow me some afternoon bike time at the park or something.

Just 2 more weeks until the Zooma half!! I'm getting excited!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's my birthday! :)

Two years ago today, I took my first real step on this journey to becoming an adult-onset athlete. I still don't completely believe that the term "athlete" is appropriate for me, but I'm not sure what else to call it! I run 3 days a week, bike one day, swim one day, and do a ballet class one day. I guess I just think of "athletes" being folks like my son and husband who play baseball, tennis, etc.

Regardless, two years ago I set out on this wonderful adventure that has changed my life! I could never have imagined that two years later I would have run two half-marathons (including one clear on the west coast!), and be in preparation for 2 more within the next 5 weeks!!

And to think it all started with Couch to 5K! And a decent pair of shoes! ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 4

Monday - 60 minute run
Tuesday - 40 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 50 minute run, plus form drills
Thursday - 90 minute ballet class
Friday - swimming (lesson)
Saturday - 10.4 mile run
Sunday - rest

Well, the last week of the Zooma training is complete! And let me tell you, it is only that fact that got me out of bed at 5:45 AM on this cold, dark morning to meet my BFF at the park for my long run! I felt dreadful - all of you ladies will surely understand why - and I just wanted to stay in bed. But knowing that the taper would begin as soon as I finished was a great incentive! I wore the outfit I intend to wear on race day, and it looked and felt good.

Today's run FELT awesome, once I got into it. It's a funny thing that I should feel so much better after I ran 10 miles than before it. I felt really strong through the whole thing. And I felt really fast, too. Of course, when I got home, Garmin let me know exactly how incorrect my perception of my speed was! :) This was actually about a minute and a half slower than my 10 mile run before the Disneyland Half. However, I don't think I've felt better. I remarked to my BFF about 90 minutes in that I felt like I could keep going forever. I was just cruising along - well, if you can call my pace "cruising"! LOL I even ended up continuing on for .4 of a mile since my BFF was doing 12 miles today and I had around a mile to get back to the head of the trail. I ran on with her until there was half a mile left for my cool down! :)

Yesterday I got a swimming lesson from Bill, a older gentleman at our church who used to do triathlons and marathons. He's been offering for quite awhile, and I just haven't been able to find the right time to do it. But yesterday it all worked out! He had me start off with a 50 yard (1 lap) swim to assess my stroke. When I got back he remarked that I wasn't as bad off as he was afraid I was going to be! LOL I guess that's a compliment! The main thing I have to work on is my arm stroke. Bill showed me the correct stroke, and let me borrow some hand paddles for when I practice. The paddles will help me feel the resistance more easily, so I know I'm doing the stroke the correct way. It was really hard though. It reminded me a lot of when I first started ballet. There are SO many things to remember, and it's hard to remember all of them at the same time. I would be concentrating on making my arms go in the right places, and then I'd forget to breathe correctly! I'm sure I looked pretty dreadful! Also, it took a TON of energy. I would do one lap and be completely out of breath - when I'd been able to easily do 4 laps. For now, Bill said just to do 50 yards at a time while I'm using my energy to work on my stroke. Once it becomes second nature, then I can build up my endurance again. There are also a few other things I need to work on later, but for now, the stroke is the most important! I'm excited!!

So now the taper begins... the next 5 and a half weeks are going to be very busy, and very exciting! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's official! :)

"Congratulations! You have successfully registered for the 2010 Atlanta Half Marathon which will take place on Thursday, November 25 at 7:30 a.m."

In last week's training post, I commented that I hadn't yet decided if I was going to run the Atlanta Half on Thanksgiving day to earn my Half Fanatic status. It dawned on me after I posted that I hadn't really mentioned it on my blog before. "Half Fanatic" is a website/club for people who run lots of half marathons. There are qualifying criteria, and the lowest one is to run two half marathons in a 16 day time period, or 3 in a 90 day time period. Well, in looking at my schedule of Disneyland and Zooma, I realized that I only needed to do another by the first weekend in December to become a Half Fanatic! (And yes, the Half Fanatics are something I learned about on the ROTE boards - it's a dangerous place!).

Anyway, I'd been saving up the money for the registration while trying to determine if it was possible for this old, injury-prone body to run two half marathons 19 days apart. But then it seemed the decision was made for me on Sunday when I checked our health care plan's information online and saw the first of the bills from Austin's ankle surgery starting to come in... and seeing how much we would owe. And in December, I have to pay for dance recital costumes for Riley (not going to do the recital myself - that would be an additional costume expense, and I spoke to my ballet teacher about it last night and she said that one of the other ladies in our class came to her separately and said she wasn't comfortable about the recital, so that solves that!). Anyway, I informed my BFF - who I was, of course, going to drag along for the occasion. I felt so bad since it was my idea. :(

The next day she asked to stop by the house on her way to do errands. She had with her a paper she wanted me to sign... the registration for the race. I told her that she couldn't do that, it was too much money, etc. but she simply refused to hear it. In fact, she told me if I didn't sign my name, she would forge my name and then I would cause her to be a felon!! ACK! She plays dirty! :)

So, it's now official... I have the best BFF in the world! And no, you can't have her!! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Balance

A new (I assume, since I don't get many comments here lol ) reader, Annalise, left this comment on my Once Upon a Time post yesterday:

"I am also a homeschool mom of a son on the spectrum. Running is a great outlet for me but I struggle with feelings of guilt and balancing my responsibilities with my own needs! Would love to hear more about that."

I took some time during this morning's run to think about that and formulate a response. Being a mom is hard work. Being a stay-at-home mom is very hard work. Being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom is very, very hard work. Being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to a child with special needs is extremely hard work. This really isn't coming out the way I want it to. I don't want to start a mommy wars, really I don't. And I don't mean to suggest that certain circumstances are harder than another. I've been around the block long enough to recognize that all of us are struggling with something in our lives. Nothing in life is easy.

But for me, being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to two children with autism (and their typically developing sister) is extremely hard work. It is draining and exhausting, both physically and emotionally. I am sure others are out there who have more on their plate and handle it with much more grace and class and ease than I do! And I think that's fantastic! But for me, it's truly a challenge.

When we started our therapy program for autism - called Relationship Development Intervention, or RDI for short - one of the first tasks we were given by our consultant was to make a chart with the responsibilities we have and block off the time that each of those take. Then we had to block off time for the daily RDI work with each child. And finally, we had to block out some segment of time for rest and rejuvenation. Yes, the parents need time, both independently and together, away from the responsibilities of the children. This was a hard concept for me and my husband as we had never had a babysitter at that point (and our oldest was 10 years old). My mom had watched the kids for us twice in that time. She lives out of state and works full-time.

So basically how I deal with the guilt of tending to my own needs is knowing that I need to take care of myself to take care of my kids. I need to recharge, and I found running does that for me.

As far as how to balance the many responsibilities, I do my running in the morning before the kids wake up. My kids are older, though, which makes it possible to leave them home alone. Back when I started running, and my son's seizures weren't under control so I couldn't leave him alone, I would run as soon as my husband got home from work. I have a very understanding husband, who has always supported me to get the time away I needed. I wasn't a morning person when I started doing this, but I have since become one out of necessity! :)

So this is how it works for me! :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 3

Monday - 60 minute run
Tuesday - 40 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 50 minute run, plus form drills
Thursday - 60 minute ballet class
Friday - 1/2 mile swim
Saturday - 6 mile run
Sunday - rest

It's the second to last week of build-up before the half marathon. Training went very well this week. It was the first time since I tweaked my leg in August that I've run without any sort of twinge to remind that I had hurt it. That's a huge relief. I've been focusing on my form quite a bit during the past few weeks and I think that helps. Too often, I tend to push forward from my shins/lower leg, which is really not good for me. I've been focusing more on using my upper leg and keeping my lower leg neutral. Also, I've been focusing on my footstrike and making sure my stride is not overly stretched out.

I'm trying not to be nervous about this half marathon. I know I've done two before so it shouldn't be a problem, right? Well, those were in Florida and California, where the biggest hills were the overpasses for the highways! LOL This one is in north Georgia - land of "rolling hills" which come close to resembling mountains! ;) It's intimidating. I am looking forward to seeing how I am able to perform in a race where I haven't spent the days prior to the race walking around Disney! :)

We had an abbreviated ballet class on Thursday because we spent part of class looking at and being measured for costumes for the recital in the spring. Yeah, freaky, huh? Last year I joined the class because it said, "Recital Participation Optional" and she has kept that policy this year. But Miss Dorinda (how can I call her anything but that when she taught my daughter for the last 4 years!?!) is really encouraging us to participate this year. There are 3 in my class, and we were talking about it and looking at costumes. We found one that I think we all agree upon, and it's a lovely shade of blue which is my favorite color. And it looks like we would dance to "Old Rugged Cross" which is a beautiful hymn. It sounded so good and so do-able when we were at the dance studio... then I got home and thought, "You've gotta be kidding me!?!" LOL The recital will be the week after the Warrior Dash, too... so I'd have to be really careful not to hurt myself there!

I still haven't decided if I'm going to go for Half Fanatic status and run the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day. I need to save up the money for the entry fee, which is a good way to give me time to decide how badly I want to be a Half Fanatic! ;)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Zooma Women's Half Marathon Training: Week 2

Monday - 50 minute run
Tuesday - 42 minute bike ride
Wednesday - 50 minute run, plus form drills
Thursday - 90 minute ballet class
Friday - rest
Saturday - 8 mile run
Sunday - rest

This was a crazy week to get my training in. Last Saturday, my teenage son hurt himself while sliding into 3rd base in a steal attempt. On Monday, I took him to the pediatrician to have him checked out and they referred us to the orthopedist. On Tuesday we went to the orthopedist to be told that his tibia was fractured at the ankle and he would require surgery to insert a screw into his ankle. That surgery would take place on Thursday morning! To say I felt overwhelmed would be an understatement. I was able to get nearly all my training in, except for Friday when I couldn't go swim my laps since my son couldn't be left alone. It was Ok, as I was way too tired to swim anyway! LOL

Saturday I had the opportunity to volunteer at a race for the first time! This race was the Georgia Race for Autism, which is near and dear to my heart as my son (the above mentioned base-stealer) and my younger daughter both have autism. My older daughter and I got up at 5:15 AM to serve the runners at this race. We manned the post-race refreshment table, in addition to assisting with walk-up registration. My daughter cheered on the racers as they crossed the finish line! It was absolutely fantastic! We had such fun!

We left the race at 9:30, and I went home to change clothes and do my own 8 mile run! I hadn't considered that all I had eaten was 3 Krispy Kreme donuts at 6:30 AM and that I had been on my legs nonstop for 3 and a half hours! The first mile of my run was really, really hard! My leg muscles had already been used, and I'm not used to standing for such a long period of time! I was afraid I might have to cut my miles short, but thankfully I was able to get all my miles in! And, to my shock, I actually ran it faster than I have before (only by a minute or so, so don't get too excited! LOL).

When I got home, I was able to use my new compression socks that I had ordered from RunningSkirts.com. They seem to work really well! :) I wanted to get them as I am preparing for (potentially) multiple half marathons in a month, and ultimately a full marathon. My right leg has a harder time with circulation, brought on during my last pregnancy. It isn't painful, but after a long run, my leg looks really awful. I'm hoping that using compression socks will help!

2 more weeks of increased mileage ... the weather is turning beautiful, so I'm going to have to remind myself to take it easy! LOL Also, I need to be thinking about what I'm going to wear during the race, and to try my new capris out! :)