a lot of miles, a lot of thoughts…

Archive for October, 2013

Better have your parka ready…

I think Hell may be freezing over!  🙂

hell froze over<

 

Yep, I’m taking a break!  Yep, no running.  NO running.  Yep, no walking.  Not even walking.  Yep, no working out.  Not even my upper body!  I know, I know!   What has happened!?  Oh no!  What in the world?  Is it cuz of the government shut down?  There’s an October challenge!  There’s a race on Saturday!  Martha, grab your coat!  HELL is freezing over!!!! 

Relax.  Hell is NOT freezing over.  Pigs aren’t flying.  And, the cows haven’t come home. 

In September I ran every day.  EVERY day.  No big deal.  Many runners do it.  Many runners have done it for weeks, months, years AND decades.  In September I increased my mileage every day, only by a mile, but still it was an increase.  Again, no big deal.  Ultra runners probably think increasing mileage slightly is normal.  Elite runners probably think running 100+ miles a week is simply part of being “elite”.   Please note… I’m not an ultra runner nor am I an elite runner.  I’m simply average.  😉  But!!!  And, here comes the purpose of the dreaded rest…  The last two days of the running challenge I pushed too hard, masked the pain and thrashed my right leg.  Then, cuz this is what Rhonda does, I did not rest.  I started the October stair challenge and just kept right on going.  Sure it hurt!  Sure my quad throbbed in pain, sure my knee groaned with every step, sure my mind was battling the “rest” demons!   Sure!  But, I pressed on.  Oh, yes, I’d take a day off and headed to the weight machines or maybe I’d walk rather than run.  Or maybe I’d do the stair mill rather than “real” stairs.  All because of the race on Saturday.  I’m so looking forward to this race!  I really cannot wait!

I can usually tell if I’m hurt or if I’m injured.  😉  If I’m hurt, I just run, walk, or workout through it.  If I’m injured, I have to go to battle with the little people living inside my head to get the okay to rest.  And not just rest but GENUINELY REST.  Like not even get on my feet!  And, this my friend is a BATTLE.  There’s about one sane person living inside my head.  She’s the voice of reason and she RARELY gets listened to.  Usually the crazy one, the one who is obsessed with not settling, not giving in, not quitting, not looking like a slacker, her!  She usually wins the argument and the rest of us minions simply follow along.  Yes, we belly ache.  Yes, we moan and complain.  Yes, we hobble in the mornings.  Yes, we know exactly how much ice is needed for an ice bath or the ice bag.  Yes, we know how much Ibuprofen we should take.  But when the sane person finally SHOUTS loud enough then us minions turn to her voice and follow her.   We get on board with resting, taking a break, easing up, enjoying others’ successes.  And the body in which we congregate gets a break and we heal.  Sometimes crazy girl snaps us out of la la land (as she calls it) and back into bootcamp before we are fully recovered but sometimes sane girl puts her foot down, crosses her arms, sets her shoulders and commands “SIT DOWN!”

So, that’s where we are at tonight.  Sane girl couldn’t take it any more, got on the bull horn and simply yelled “IF YOU WANT TO RUN THE STAIR RACE ON SATURDAY THEN YOU NEED TO STOP NOW!!!!  IF YOU WANT TO BE A SPECTATOR ON SATURDAY KEEP ON GOING!!!!”  And THAT got crazy girl’s attention.  What?  Spectator?  “Oh HECK NO!”  So, now she’s being all nice to the rest of us… “Here, take it easy.  Play on your phone.  No need to run with Team RockStar, just wait for them at the car.  Try another game of Candy Crush.  No need to keep up with the October challenge, we will catch up next week when we get back.  Here sit on the couch.  No need to go to the gym, we don’t want sore arms or cranky abs.  Here is the remote.  No, rest, my pretties, rest.” 

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Which really means we are gonna get our butts kicked when the race is over!  

 

Running Stats for September

I’m not much for numbers but when they are mine or my kids’ then I tend to be intrigued by them. I remember my marathon time, most of my half marathon times, my 5K times and certain other times that stick in my head. And, the numbers for September have stuck…

I used Runkeeper to track my miles, my pace, my routes, my splits, pretty much everything. Sheila (the Runkeeper lady voice) wasn’t always at the top of her game but neither was I so I can forgive her for any minor mess ups. 🙂

Here’s a breakdown…

I ran 92 different times in the month of September. That’s averaging 3 runs a day! When was the last time you did 92 of anything in a month? 😉

I spent 87 hours 33 minutes and 9 seconds running. Part time job in the beginning, pretty much full time at the end. Wish I could have been monetarily compensated! 🙂

I ran a total of 466.8 miles (since some of the days ended up being a little more than the required miles).

Week 1 I ran 28.9 miles, week two 77 miles, week three 126.3 miles, week four 175.4 miles and during the last few days 59.2 miles. That fourth week was almost as many as my highest mileage MONTHS so far!

Supposedly I burned 39,583 calories. I don’t know how true that is, but that’s what Sheila told me. And, I was ALWAYS hungry! I finally did lose some weight towards the end… Got down to my favorite “running” weight. Too bad the muscle tone didn’t stick! My legs look great tho! 😉

My average pace was 11:15 per mile. This is pretty good since I spent much of the time limping, standing at a stop light or walking cuz the right leg didn’t cooperate.

I climbed 26,113 feet in elevation. That’s just about 5,000 more feet than Mt. Kilimanjaro. Yeah, definitely not the same. 😉

I completed my 1013 miles challenge for 2013 at a record pace! At least I don’t have to worry about THAT goal! 🙂

Stefaan Engels, the Marathon Man, may not find my feat as impressive or as grueling as his but I’m pretty sure I’m still a RockStar! 🙂

Day 30, and just like that I was done!

Its taken me a while to sit down to write the recap of the last day of the challenge. Before I dwell on the why, I want to finally get it down.

It was a remarkable day. I didn’t really have a plan per se. I knew I would finish whatever miles I had at the high school track after the Cheetah’s cross country practice but that was really the only thing I had set in stone.

I didn’t know how my legs would feel in the morning. Day 29 had been such a success but SOOOO many miles. And, whenever I have a couple of good days there’s always a bad one waiting for me.

So, when I got up… I stretched. I tested my legs… And, it looked like I’d able to run in an hour or so. That was good. I had a little breakfast, took a pain killer, got dressed, yanked the hair back, brushed the teeth, laced up my shoes, put Sheila on my arm and headed out the door.

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I wasn’t sure how far I wanted to go. I was hoping for at least 5, maybe 7 miles. The more I could do in the morning, the less I’d have to do in the evening. I chose one of my new favorite routes, a little hill in the beginning and fairly flat until the final leg back home.

I walked about the first third of a mile. I really had to warm up the right leg. Had it had its way, I wouldn’t have ran, but that wasn’t up for discussion. It had to come along whether it wanted to or not AND it had to participate and be joyful about it. And, for the most part it was.

When I turned the first corner to head up the hill I started running and I didn’t stop until the final hill home. A lot of things went through my mind… this was the last day, I was actually going to accomplish this gnarly goal, would my leg survive, what was I gonna do next, all sorts of things!

When I hit mile 5 I was feeling good so I kept going and ran by a different high school and then decided to lengthen the route. I bypassed some stop lights but the ones I did hit I didn’t let get to me. My average pace was pretty slow because I had started out walking and then each light added to the time. I ran by my church and through its parking lot. I ran by my gym and then headed for home. The pain killer enabled me to run almost 11 miles in that first run. At the time I thought that was awesome! (Later, and for another post, I found that was a huge mistake!)

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I got home and my hubby asked “well? how far did you go?” When I told him 10.72 miles he smiled! The kind of smile that says “you got this! you are so going to crush this!” And, even though I was tired and my legs were sore, I smiled inwardly. He knows me. He gets me. 🙂

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The next two runs were on the treadmill. They were painful and quiet. I didn’t even watch Netflix. I simply ran. I turned the mill on, put it on a speed that I could handle and just ran. In those two runs I knocked out another 10 miles. My legs were tired. I was tired. But it was almost over. Almost.
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I went to the high school cross country practice. These kids have really grown on me. They know about my challenge and they always ask “Coach, how many miles did you run today? How’s your leg?” Today was no different. They are very excited for me and maybe even a little impressed. They can’t really complain too much when I answer “20 miles” and then they find out they must run 5 or 6. And, I’m going with them. Anyway…

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Today’s run was one of the best ones for us all. We decided to do a 5 mile route and I knew I needed to hang with them. My leg was sore and I’d popped another pain killer but I was going to do all 5 with them… come heck or high water! I started out in the back of the pack, and slowly moved my way to the middle. Now it drives them crazy when I pass them. They’re runners now you know. 🙂 And, then I pulled in front of the girls and I actually surged a bit. Not sure why, legs felt good, so I went. The Coach on the Bike called out to the girls “go with her! go with her!” And something inside me made me go faster. I lengthened my stride, calmed my breathing and ran. I was looking to catch the boys in front of me. All the while, Coach on the Bike is encouraging the girls to pick it up, “don’t let her get too far out! you gotta go! pick it up!” It was almost like we were in a race! It was pretty awesome! Finally I heard one of the girls coming up behind me. I could hear her footfalls and her heavy, heavy breathing. I knew that if I surged again she wasn’t in any condition (based on what I was hearing) to take me but this run wasn’t about winning it was a teaching moment. I called back to her “relax! take deep breaths! you’re running too heavy, lighten your steps! relax! stay calm! persist… don’t push!” And, I could tell she was listening. Her footsteps quieted, her breathing became deeper, quieter and she began running more efficiently. And, slowly, she came up on me, ran next to me and then went in front of me. Strong. As she ran beside me I encouraged her, “you got this. slow your breathing down, don’t run so heavy, pick up your feet, lengthen your stride. run efficiently.” and finally, “go!” And with that she took the lead. I called out to her “nice job! stay relaxed! run easy! Go!” I don’t know why but I got the biggest grin on my face as I watched her pull away. It was crazy! It was something I won’t ever forget. Every run isn’t perfect but every run is worth it.

I tried to maintain my pace. I still had another girl behind me and I needed her to push herself. She needed to be able to beat Coach. And if I slowed down then she wouldn’t have done it on her own. I needed her to push. I could hear Coach on the Bike talking to her “watch that ponytail! Go get her! Move up! You got this!” And then I could hear her footsteps. Not too heavy, her breathing wasn’t too shallow. She was methodically moving up and catching me. I tried to surge just a little but my energy was pretty spent. And, finally she was beside me. I encouraged her just like I did the other runner but I told her “run steady, don’t fall back, focus forward, run relaxed, you got this.” And slowly she passed me and pulled away. I probably could have stayed with her for awhile but for some reason I let her go. I had tears stinging my eyes. My cross country girls were finally “getting it”. And, this run… this run, on day 30, was phenonmenal.

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I ended up walking just a bit and then picked it up to meet them back at the school. What a great run! Seriously. A great run!

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And, then I headed to the Cheetah’s practice. I had just under 5 miles left to run. 5 miles. That number never sounded so easy but sounded so long at the same time. Once practice was over, the high school marching band came out onto the field. I wonder what these kids think of the old lady who runs around and around and around and around the track while they practice. I wasn’t running fast, I picked a speed that I knew I could maintain for 20 laps, and I willed my legs to go. I listened to the band go through their movements. Apparently they have some book that’s got 44 pages in it that they keep track of their “dots” or spots where they are supposed to be on the field at any given moment. Some of the kids don’t move fast enough or take long enough steps to get to their next “dot” and they are always getting in trouble for it. The guy in the booth always threatens them. 🙂 They must have some big competition coming up cuz he was telling them what the judges would be looking for and if they weren’t on their “dot” the judge would know! And, this particular movement they were practicing required them to move slowly so they had to have PERFECT form so they should take advantage of this practice to get it RIGHT! Meanwhile, I’m sure they were distracted by the lady who keeps running and running and running. Will she ever stop? 🙂

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When Sheila told me I had hit mile 4 you would think that I would have sped up! Get this over with! RUN Rhonda RUN! But, I didn’t. I maintained and I told myself… 4 more laps. 4 more laps. This is it. 4 more laps. I was looking for my hubby and my kids. I thought they’d be there. But, no it was just me and the marching band under the lights.

3 more… once again, I was accomplishing some CRAZY challenge that I forced myself into. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

2 more… you can do this. its almost done. you stuck it out. you never gave up. you kept going. no matter what.

1 more… and the tears welled up. I can’t believe its almost over. I’m doing it. I’m finishing. I’m strong. And, oh so slightly crazy! And the tears fell. Slowly, softly they rolled down my cheeks for the final 100 meters. Just me and the band. “Get on your dots!”

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I crossed my imaginary finished line and came to a stop. I looked around. No crowds, no cheers, no one. I picked up my jacket and water that I had left on the side of the track and walked out the gate. I knew I’d probably run here again but it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be surreal like it was just now. As I walked to my car I saw the headlights. I wiped my tears and smiled. He stopped the car right in front of me, jumped out, a dozen roses in his hands, “You did it! You did it!” He hugged me and twirled me around! “You did it!” He apologized for being late and missing me cross the finish line (he knows me) and asked if I would take a victory lap with him. My legs were sore and tired but I couldn’t resist one more lap. Especially with the guy who is my everything. My biggest fan, my cheerleader, my coach, my trainer, my best friend, Mine. So we walk back up to the track, snap a picture and start walking. I know the band really had to think something was up cuz now I was carrying a dozen white roses and had a papparazzi following me around the track! It was crazy!

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30 days. 465 miles. I ran 465 in September. A mile for every day of the month. Nothing more nothing less. All because I set a goal and someone said I couldn’t. Someone said I shouldn’t. And, someone said I wouldn’t. They don’t know me. I could, I should and I most definitely would. 🙂 And, then I did. 🙂

Day 29 (again) in video…

I forgot that I had taken a video before and after the 4 runs on the 29th. Before posting the recap of the last day I wanted to share these first.

Day 29… began with dread but finished with smiles!

Day 29, the most successful cuz I had a plan (and was able to follow it)!

By nature I’m a planner. I like routine, I like structure, I like lists. I’m basically a creature of habit. Every once in a while I like spontaneity but too much of that and I’m all out of sorts. Yeah, I’m pretty boring.

This challenge has caused me to step out of that comfort zone. I really try to plan the next day. Run this far in the morning, run this far before noon, run this far in the afternoon and so on and so on. But, sometimes when I get up in the morning my feet or my legs are just not ready to go. It derails my plans and I have to alter my game plan.

But not today! My plan was to go to Lake Murray and run ALL 29 miles there. That’s 4 times around the lake. Now, Sheila, she can’t hang for much more than 7 miles. I knew I’d have to charge her.

This is how it all broke down. Park outside the park by the Starbucks. Walk into the park to warm up the legs, start running at the gate and to the bull’s eye, snap a picture, stretch my legs, and head back to the car. Charge Sheila, drink some water, have a snack or two. Once my phone was charged enough, I’d walk back into the park and do the same thing all over again. And then again, and then again

I wanted to be able to run the 7 miles in under 2 hours (with the way my leg felt I figured I’d be doing a lot of walking) but miraculously I was able to run the whole way and kept my times under an hour and a half. I felt good, I ran well, and I finished strong!

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Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Where there’s a plan, there’s comfort! 😉

Day 28. I can do this… I can do this… I can…

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Since last night was sort of a bust, I decided to try the Hillsdale route again. Around and around the middle school I went. This time I got in just a little over 8 miles. Best part? I had a friend stop by and chat with me. He was even willing to run a bit with me but my legs were done. Still, made me feel good when he came out in support. I run a lot of these miles by myself, but I know people are “watching”. 🙂

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An hour or so later… headed to the mill. Felt strong and ran like the wind!

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My youngest had a late afternoon football game so while his team was warming up I did lap after lap around the football field.

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I don’t know if you’ve ever run around and around and around some place. I happen to do it quite a bit. In my many rounds I’ve noticed a few things. The first time around no one really pays attention to you. The second or third round, someone realizes that they have seen you before. The fifth or sixth round, they start looking for you. Some will even look down at their watch (or on their phone) and start timing you. You hit round 8 or 9 and now they are watching you the whole way. You’ve now made eye contact with many of them and you get an occassional nod or smile. About lap 11 and they are now intrigued. Some will even call out to you, “how far?” “how many have you done?” Any more laps than that and people actually stop talking and simply watch in awe. Not because of how far you ran, but because you simply keep going. When its all over and you finally come to a stop, if you are anywhere near them, they say things like, “wow, I could never do that” or “that was crazy” or “you’re a machine”. Regardless, you’ve touched them somehow and they are now a part of your run. Its touching, inspiring and motivating. If only they too would get up and lace up…

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My son’s team won! Yeah Norsemen! But, it was back to the mill for me. Ugh. It seems like all I do is run. We wanted to celebrate the win and take the boys out for pizza but I had to finish the miles. I said, “give me just two hours and I’ll be done.” Yeah, no such luck.

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I simply couldn’t get them done. My legs were tired. I was exhausted. And, I was starving! So, I did as much as I could and out for pizza we went! I’d just have to finish when I got home.

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After beer and pizza, running is about the furthest thing from my mind! But, I still had a mile and a half to go. I can do this. Slowly. I can do this.

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Day 28. Definitely a LONG day. I can do this. I really can.

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The REALLY bad GREAT idea I had!

I thought I had this great game plan for Day 27. Yeah, well, not so much.

I had to take Cody to the concussion specialist to see if he could get cleared to play again. His appointment was first thing in the morning. So I figured I’d start my miles when I got home. That was the first mistake.

I did a simple 4 mile route – simple except all the hills. It was tiring going up and my quad cried going down. 😦

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I then made my second mistake. I didn’t get the next 7 miles in BEFORE cross country practice. So I ran an easy run with the high school and then did another short route before I left there.

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I still had 19 miles to run!!

Mistake number 3. I thought I’d just go run at the middle school. It’s a little over a mile loop. What’s so hard about 19 laps starting a little after 5 pm? Oh, I don’t know. Could it be 19 LAPS or could it be that it would be dark SOON? Good lord! I’ve lost my mind.

But, I head to the school, lace up and start running. Sure enough, 7 laps in and I can’t see a thing!

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Only choice… Yep, the mill.

Ugh. By the final miles the bottoms of my feet were numb. I was tired, sore and just wanted to be done.

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If you are eating an elephant, it’s best not to wait til the end of the day to get your fork out. Just saying.

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Day 27, one mistake after another, but got it done in spite of myself!