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Monthly Archives: February 2013

If There Was A Comfort Zone Cliff, I’d Be Jumping Off It Right Now

Like many humans this time of year, I have been battling a super annoying cold these last five days.  So what productive things have I done while lying around hacking and sneezing?  Well, I lathered myself up with some Vicks VapoRub, took a deep breath and did something out of character…I signed up for a training group to prep for an upcoming half marathon this May.

I know signing up for a training group isn’t earth shattering for most people but you have to understand that I am a loner runner.  I’m not a loner in other parts of my life…just running.   I have several concerns about running/training with a group:

  • I’m slow.  What if I’m the slowest one?   Who’s the poor person that is going to get stuck ‘mentoring’ me?  I know the slow pokes will be grouped together, but what if I’m the pokiest?   I just don’t want to be the one that everyone has to wait for…Please God, please have one other person there who is as slow as I am!
  • I don’t want to talk to anyone during a run.  Sounds anti-social but I need all the oxygen I can get and a casual conversation with a fellow runner could be disastrous for me during a run.  One of my biggest challenges when I run is getting winded quickly.   If I have to engage in polite conversation, I won’t be focusing on running…I’ll be focusing on trying to catch my breath (insert  Kelly Clarkson’s “Catch my Breath” song here).
  • This goes hand in hand with not wanting to converse while running – My hearing is HORRIBLE so I wear hearing aids…except when I run which means I really can’t hear jack $h!t when I’m running.  So, I must pray that there’s not a lot of running chit chat that takes place because I won’t hear it.  As a result of my hearing issue, a great deal of my focus is devoted to being visually aware of my surroundings.  I will wear my iPod while out on a run but being the deaf and paranoid person that I am, I spend a great deal of time checking things out.  I’m always asking myself if there are cars behind me, is anyone else out running, are there any suspicious deer hanging around, is anything out of the ordinary?   I suppose these are things all runners should take into consideration, hearing impaired or not.

On the flip side, I envision a lot of positive aspects to joining a running group:

  • I’ll be dealing with people who have a great deal of knowledge and insight.  These experienced runners will be able to coach me in a hands-on way that reading a book could never accomplish.
  • I will have regularly scheduled runs twice a week with the group.  This is a great way to stay motivated and hold myself accountable.
  • I will have the opportunity to enjoy outdoor runs.  Sometimes I’m too chicken to run outside alone so it will be wonderful to know I’m running with a group…safety in numbers!
  • I will be inspired by others’ successes.
  • I will enjoy the company of other runners, which can only be a good thing!
  • I plan to set and accomplish new goals that I may not have been able to accomplish on my own.

So there I go…..Weeeeeeee!   I put my insecurities aside and jumped off the comfort zone cliff.   If I can just get the trainers to talk REALLY loud during the instruction time and make sure I don’t have to converse with anyone during the run time, then I’ve got this in the bag!

comfortzonecliff

Have you jumped off your comfort zone cliff lately?  Did you land softly?

Side note:  I asked my son about the “artwork” above.  Conversation went like this:

  • Me:  “Does this look like someone jumping off a cliff?”
  • Son:  “Yes.  Who drew that?”
  • Me:  “I did.”
  • Son:  “You’re not thinking of suicide are you?”
  • Me:  “No, honey.  It’s a comfort zone cliff…I made it up.  Thanks for asking though.”

I thought it was sweet that he asked.  He was relieved that I wasn’t thinking about jumping off an actual cliff and I was relieved that the drawing was so amazing, he knew what it was.  Yes, I will keep my day job.

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So You’re Going to Run a Half Marathon Part 6 – When the Race is Over

This is the final segment of my “So You’re Going to Run a Half Marathon” blog-a-thon.  If you want to catch up on parts 1 – 5, you can check out my deep thoughts (with a sprinkling of hilarity) here:  Researching Your First Half Marathon, The Training Plan, Acquiring the Gear, The Mental Stuff and The Day of the Race.  I know, it’s a lot of amateur advice to take in.  But like I said, deep and hilarious – if you like it like that.

So here is my not so sage advice on what to expect when the race is over.  Once you finish a half marathon and you’ve let your awesomeness sink in, you will need to come up with 3 (yes, THREE) versions of your race day story:

  • Version 1 – This is what you tell clueless acquaintances.  These are the folks who don’t really know you all that well and don’t even really know what a half marathon is.   You just tell them that you ran a race and it was fun.  So, your conversation might sound something like this:
      • Chuck, the clueless acquaintance:  “Hey, how was your weekend?  Do anything fun?”
      • You, the half marathon finisher:  “Well, it was a pretty busy weekend.  I actually ran a half marathon. “
      • Chuck:  “Dude, seriously?  Did you win?”
      • You:  “Well, no.  It was my first half marathon and it was 13.1 miles so I really wasn’t trying to win, just trying to finish…which I did, by the way.”
      • Chuck:  “So, you didn’t win?  Bummer.  Sorry about your downer weekend.”
  • Version 2 – This will be for people who love to run…People who have finished a half marathon, a marathon or any long distance race.  This is where you can go crazy and describe all your gory race details.  We want to know what miles 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 were like.  Tell us all about miles 5, 6, 7 and 8.  And did you hate miles 10 and 11?  Were you stoked by mile 12?  Were you falling down by mile 13 or were you sprinting to the finish?  We want to know about running hills, hitting walls, temperature, pace, what your medal looked like.  Did you cramp up?  What did you eat?  What was on your playlist?   Were the lines long at the porta-potty?  Did you experience any chafing?  Did you cry?  WE LOVE THE DETAILS!!!  So, please do your non-running family and friends a favor, save Version 2 for the runners in your life and come up with Version 3 for your other friends and family.
  • Version 3 – This is for the people close to you who know how hard you trained and understand all the work you put into finishing the half marathon.  You can tell them the details of your story but don’t do it mile by mile.  Tell your story emotion by emotion…they’ll relate better 🙂  And, by all means, if they ask for details, do not hold back!

Other important “When the Race Is Over” things you should know:

  • You will feel like a bad ass.  Quite honestly, you should feel like one.  And you can even act like one for a few days if you want.  I’m pretty sure it’s in the half marathon policy manual somewhere.
  • You should reward yourself in a meaningful way.  Here’s how I rewarded myself :  1) The day after the race, I took a vacation day.  I honestly wasn’t sure  I would be able to move, so I thought I better play it safe.  I actually felt GREAT the day after the race!  Nice, relaxing day off…Check!  2)  I promised myself a new pair of running shoes.  The weekend after the half, I went to a local running store and had a pro assess my running situation and make a couple of shoe recommendations.  New Shoes…Check!  3)  I got a pedicure.  My poor feet deserved that pedi.   Cute toes…Check!  Those were the things that made me happy.  I’m so easy to please.
  • You should sign up for another race.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a half marathon, a 5k or a 10k.  Just sign up for something so you have a race to look forward to and you keep yourself in the running groove.
  • Lastly, in my experience, I had a lot of bone head moments shortly after the half.  My not-so-scientific explanation is that running a half marathon takes a great deal of focus and I’m pretty sure the week following the race, my brain was taking a breather from the half marathon focus factor.  Maybe it’s just me.  But if it’s not, please let me know your experience so I don’t feel like a weirdo.

So, first time half marathon finishers to be, my advice is to enjoy your journey.  From figuring out which race you’re going to run, to tracking all your training progress to crossing that finish line.  It will make you proud and you will inspire people around you…maybe even that dumb ass acquaintance Chuck will be in awe once he figures out what a half marathon is.

Go forth and train, run, finish then be a bad ass!

A Week of Small Miracles

So these past seven days have been filled with many ‘firsts’ for me and whenever I maneuver my way through a ‘first’ and survive, I consider it a small miracle.

Last Friday I had all of my wisdom teeth pulled and it was my first time to be under the affects of anesthesia.  I was a hot mess over this procedure…like super obstressed over it (I know…pretty great pretend word, right?).  I even wrote about 20 “what if” scenarios to panic over.  Besides what I believe to be a tiny bit of brain impairment (which didn’t even make my list of “what if” scenarios), I survived unscathed.

Except for the allergy.  I was prescribed quite a few medications and for someone who does not take a lot of meds, I think my body rebelled and rashed out.  That was a ‘first’ for me, too.  My oral surgeon says the rash on my back is definitely not an allergic reaction but I beg to differ.  With all due respect Dr. Oral Surgeon, I have a degree in Liberal Studies and I know my stuff.  But just to be on the safe side, I will visit my primary doctor on Monday to confirm my diagnosis of A) allergic reaction or B) possible leprosy.

Another ‘first’ for me this week was I’m pretty sure I swallowed one or two of my wisdom teeth stitches.  Does that make you want to toss your cookies a little or what?  I’m just saying.  A stitch swallowing could turn into a nasty choking situation but it didn’t.  The miracle list keeps growing.

Small miracles are the best.  Thursday night I took some Benadryl for my self-diagnosed allergic reaction and/or possible leprosy situation.  Apparently, Benadryl can cause severe zone out syndrome because my hearing aid, which I remove every night, went missing.  In my Benadryl induced state of mind, I removed my hearing aid but had no recollection of what I did with that $1,000 piece of hearing enhancement equipment.  Friday morning I could not find it anywhere.  I was devastated.   So I did what all normal people do, I called my mom and asked her to pray to the saint who helps losers, like me, find missing items.  So, being the great non-Catholic mom that she is, she sent me the prayer to St. Anthony and I read it and I kid you not, I found my hearing aid 2 minutes later…in the couch cushion…where my husband and I had already looked…multiple times…Is that a miracle, or is that a miracle?  I knew sending my son to Catholic school was a great idea.  Thanks mom.  Thanks St. Anthony.

Another exciting ‘first’:   My son, who has been in Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts since he was 6 years old, ‘graduated’ to a new rank of Tenderfoot.   Moving up in the Boy Scout ranks is a big deal for these kids and they work hard to accomplish their goals so I was very proud of his achievement.  Way to go son!!

new rank

This last ‘first’ is not really miracle material.  I met a creature that I’ve never seen before and never knew existed.  I met Syd, a Sugar Glider.   I know it sounds like I made him up but here he is:

sugarglider

He’s kind of an Australian version of a flying squirrel-like creature but way cuter.  Other sugar glider fun facts:  They are nocturnal marsupials, like sugary foods, can glide through the air, weigh up to 5 ounces and can live up to 15 years as long as your other household pets do not get a hold of them.

So it looks like a week full of small miracles is a good week.  Any small miracles happening in your life?