Zoo Run Run

Well, this was a big weekend! I ran my first ever 10K race, and nailed it thankyouverymuch.

I look back over this past summer and almost can’t believe that I couldn’t run any distance without getting seriously winded back in April. I had goals all along the way:

Goal 1: Complete a Couch-to-5K running program (3.1 miles)

Goal 2: Be able to run the 4 mile loop in my neighborhood.

Goal 3: Run 10K (6.2 miles)

Check, check & check.

I’ve gotten so into running, in fact, this looming winter had Andy and I trying to figure out how to keep this fitness regimen from coming to a screeching halt for the season. I mean, I don’t mind dressing for cold weather, but unless you have running spikes, there is no way to run on ice and snow safely. And 5 months of unrelenting snow and ice is what we had last winter.

After much discussion, we decided to buy a treadmill. I actually found a like-new one on Craigslist this week, and we brought it home yesterday. While moving this [extremely heavy] piece of fitness equipment into the house, I tweaked my back. This usually means pain and complete muscle lockdown until I can get a chiropractor to look at it.

Yesterday was spent on my back, with ice, popping Advil and googling how to know whether or not you can compete in a race due to injury. And no, the irony is not lost on me that I almost botched a race I’ve been training for for 6 weeks because I was busy making sure that I could continue to run through the winter months.

Thankfully, I woke up less stiff this morning, and running – as it turned out – didn’t aggravate the injury at all. Huge thanks for tiny blessings.

So, this morning, this is what I was staring at at 8:55 a.m.

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And after 1 hour, 4 minutes and 42 seconds, I looked sort of like this:

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A little bit about the race itself:

It was incredibly difficult not to run too fast out of the gate. Usually I’m comfortable pacing at 10:30 min/mile to start with, but this time I felt like I was really putting on the brakes and my pace was right at 10:00 min/mile. So I went with it. Being Wisconsin, there were hills a-plenty, but I’m used to that, so it wasn’t a huge deal. After about 3 miles, the pack who was running my pace stabilized, and with a mile left I turned up the heat and left them all behind. :)

The boys cheered me on at the finish line. And maaaaybe 30 seconds after I finished, Graham was whining for a snack. Glory doesn’t last long when kids are in the mix.

Next up was the Roo Run Run, a race for the little guys. There was a 1-mile, 1/2-mile and 1/4-mile event. I signed Graham up for the 1/4 mile because he’s been fascinated with my running while I’ve been training. We had to wait around for quite a bit for his event to start, but we found ways to keep ourselves occupied.

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Baby Reid has already begun his Rocky-style training for next year’s Roo Run Run.

We had a little hiccup with Graham’s race. The starting line was so congested with parents and kids that I sort of had to direct him through a crowd of parents to the crowd of kids at the starting line by shouting and pointing my finger. Not the best plan. I got him where he was supposed to be, and I took my place in front of the starting line to cheer him on except… all the kids ran by me and Graham didn’t!

My heart was in my throat. But after all the kids cleared out, I saw a race volunteer holding Graham’s hand. I ran up to him, and with red eyes he said, “I didn’t know where the starting line was!” Poor baby. BUT, he rallied really quickly and took off.

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He ran the entire thing by himself, worked SO HARD the whole time and at the end, he got a medal with all the other kids.

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He was jumping up and down and said, “I ran it all by myself!!!!!” It’s a solid 5 hours after the race concluded, and Graham is still wearing his medal and his race shirt.

So that’s our day! Two successful races. It consumed our morning, but we had so much fun!

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Let it Go, On-the-Go

Graham has a LeapReader and thoroughly enjoys it. I think he’s a little young for the “read on your own” features, because he seems a little overwhelmed by sitting down with a book. But – something I didn’t realize when we bought it put it on Graham’s wishlist* – it also plays audiobooks and music. Basically, it’s a little like a mini mp3 player.

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He totes this thing on car trips and to “the boring places” like haircuts and oil changes. He plugs in his headphones and plays his own little set of tunes.

Funny thing is – there is only one audiobook and a couple songs on there: the demo versions that the LeapFrog company preloaded on the device. Today, I changed all that. Graham is now the proud owner of the Frozen soundtrack.

His reaction was priceless. In fact, he wanted me to shoot some video so he could tell us about it.

(I didn’t edit the clip, it lags a little at the end, but I thought the “I just sing it…” was hilarious.)

Other than 24/7 access to Frozen songs, we’ve had a pretty slow week around here. We made some cookies this weekend. Reid’s teacher in the infant room resigned to be a nanny, and has now become our a-mazing babysitter, so we made for the hills (figuratively speaking) and went on a date night last night.

Other random updates:

– I have now run 6.5 miles two additional weekends and have suffered no ill effects from the distance like I did that first time. The actual 10K race is next weekend, and I’m feeling equal parts confident and ready for it to be over. Graham is also entered into the race for the 1/4-mile kiddie sprint. Should be fun.

– We lost the caterpillar I wrote about last entry. I replaced it with a big fat woolly worm (pictured below) and we mysteriously LOST THAT ONE TOO. I am going on the record to say that I’m not OK with the number of larval insects on the loose in my house. Probably they are both inside Hugo’s tummy, if we’re being honest. No more caterpillars will be coming indoors this season.

That’s about it from here. Hope you had great weekends wherever they may have led you!

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*Brainfart! We didn’t actually buy this for Graham! I thought really hard about it and researched it thoroughly but the people who made it happen? His Grandpa Craig and Grandma Sue. :) talk about a gift with longevity!

Running Update and Our First Fall(ish) Weekend

It’s been a great weekend around here, per usual. Trying to soak up the last few weekends we have before we hibernate for our 5-month winter.

Andy has continued to be an amazing support for this running thing I’ve been after lately. My 10K training plan is completely relentless and has me running both mornings of my weekends now – about an hour each time. He keeps the kids entertained while I go completely obliterate my large muscle groups and other major organ systems.

This Saturday, I ran 6 miles – which, for those who don’t know, is a mere 0.3 miles shy of a 10K. Why didn’t I just go for broke and run the entire 10K? Because my training program didn’t tell me to, that’s why. ::shrug:: I put much faith in those who have done this before, so I’m rather rigid about doing what it tells me.

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I actually felt amazing during the run. Never really out of sorts, but after I finished my run – I was in all kinds of GI distress. Totally disproportionate to how I felt during the run itself. Never winded or draggy. Sorry not to overshare or anything. I just felt cheated.

Dr. Google tells me it’s a phenomenon that happens to almost half of the long distance running population. Blood supply is directed to the extremities, away from the gut. Turns out that makes for an extremely unhappy tummy. Who knew?

Today I took it easy on my 4 mile run and no issues whatsoever. Next week, I’ll be ready for my longest run ever: 6.5 miles. Dun-dun-DUN! (I will also plan to not have events, such as Andy’s company picnic, following my long run like I did this week. “Hi! My name is Debbie, I’m Andy’s wife, willyouexcusemejustaminute??!“)

I would also like to note that the above route is the actual route (again, save for 0.3 miles) of my 10K race. I’m not sure about how Andy felt about me running my longest run ever in a new place fairly far from home – what with my propensity for getting lost. But I have Andy’s Garmin to thank.

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While not the most user-friendly device ever, I was able to load the 10K course into the watch ahead of time, and it directed me where to turn to stay on track. I am happy to report that I made it right back to my car. No problems!

As for other goings-on around here. It’s a pretty typical weekend in Wisconsin-land. We had Andy’s company picnic in the morning yesterday and a visit to the park yesterday afternoon. In the evening we built a fire in the fire pit.

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This one was notable because we needed jackets when the sun went down, and I ultimately had to get a blanket to throw over my legs by the end of the night.

Today, Graham, Reid and I went for a walk in the woods nearby while Andy cut the lawn. There, Graham found a caterpillar that he just had to bring home to put in his bug house.

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Do you see him? Of course you don’t.

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Because I think Graham found the TINIEST caterpillar in all of the upper Midwest. 😉 His name is Simon.

As for Baby Reid, he has been big on addressing people this weekend. As in, instead of, “Hi,” it’s, “Hi, Mommy!” and, instead of, “All done!” it’s, “All done, Daddy!” He also has learned the word, “Meatball,” which is hilarious because I’ve called him that a time or two. I’ll say, “Hey, silly meatball!” and he’ll parrot back, “Hi, meatball!” (Guess I deserve that!)

That’s about all from here – hope you all had wonderful weekends too!

Debbie Runs a 5K

My alarm went off at 5:10 a.m., and I swear it felt like I’d just gone to bed a minute ago. I groaned and laid there for a second, realizing that I’d gotten chilled because I didn’t throw the comforter over me before I fell asleep last night. The compulsion was strong to not just pull the blanket up around me, warm up and fall back asleep.

Instead, I kicked off the sheet and got moving. Today was the last training day in my schedule for a Couch to 5K running program, and I wasn’t about to blow off the day I actually make it to my goal.

Morning after morning, I’ve honed my prep routine through trial and error. I put my contacts in, drank a glass of water and brushed my teeth. Took a hit of my puffer, stood still while I held my breath and let the medicine work, exhaled to let the medicine back out and went to put on my running clothes. Dressed to shoes, I took my second hit from my puffer, grabbed my phone and earbuds and snuck out the front door.

I’ve tried various forms of eating something before running, but it results in stomach cramps every. single. time. One morning I forgot to grab breakfast and was fine. These aren’t long runs, so not eating isn’t really a problem at all with energy.

Out the front door, I was hit by a blast of cold air and fog.

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Nice

I had a friend tell me once that her favorite running temperature was 55 degrees. I thought she was crazy at the time, but then another friend of mine – when I complained about having trouble dressing for the weather appropriately – told me I should dress how I normally would for temps 20 degrees above actual.

Basically, even though I was shivering through my warm-up walk, my run felt like a run in 72-degree weather. Absolutely perfect.

With about a minute left to my warm-up walk, I stopped in front of a neighbor’s house to stretch. My lower back is getting cranky on me as I persist with this whole running thing, but I’m able to pretty much keep it in check through the help of stretching and copious use of a foam roller in the evenings.

As soon as it was time to run, I hit “start” on the MapMyRun app and started hitting the pavement. The MapMyRun app automatically starts my playlist, so – though I prefer the quiet, sleepy neighborhood walk for my warm-up – music started blaring in my ears.

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I used to think that fast & loud music was the ticket to forgetting the physical pain I was experiencing… but it turns out I prefer alternative (old and new). You know that feeling you used to get when your favorite song came on the radio? That giddy glee like, “YEAH, I LOVE this song!!” That’s the kind of music I like the run to.

I started running and didn’t stop until I hit the 30 minute mark.

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Bam.

That, ladies and gents, is a first since 2010. People who run probably giggle at this post, because 3.1 miles isn’t actually all that long in the grand scheme of the long distance races people take on these days. But I’m still throwing big confetti, because it’s a goal I’ve had for 8 weeks (okay, probably 6 months but it took me awhile to get running in the first place), and I nailed it!

Today is a great day. It would have been so much lamer if I’d pulled that blanket around my shoulders and ignored my alarm this morning.

Think you can run 5K? I know you can. I know you can, because eight weeks ago I felt like I was going to die when I ran 3 minutes straight. I lamented that Wisconsin has hills (Dallas didn’t). I fussed because I needed new shoes when money was tight. My stomach hurt when I ran (it doesn’t anymore). I had to get up early (still do). I got lost – a lot – because I still don’t know my neighborhood. My phone battery is so weak I have to run on a full charge in order for it to survive all the way to the end.

There will always be things that stand in the way. In the end I wanted to be able to do this more than I wanted any of those things to be dealbreakers. And I followed Andy’s advice. I didn’t plan my life around running. I just planned my next run.

I’m Not Alone!!

Apparently I’m not the only nincompoop getting lost on the trails.

An excerpt from our Parks, Rec & Forestry Commission meeting minutes this week:

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If you can’t read that, it says that a committee member recommends that the trail staff assess the trails to see if they need route maps so users (aka wayward trail-users like myself) can note where we are and help us find our way.

No kidding. I wholeheartedly endorse this motion!

I also need to see when this committee meets next so that I can propose we name our trails and add route markers. I still think this is a good idea.