Sunday, September 18, 2011

Almost there...

Good Evening Good People!

I sit here literally on my kitchen countertop in my HMTT (half-marathon training team) t-shirt as I type this quickie post. Sometimes it helps to try writing in an unusual place... at least for me... for those of you germaphobes... I will definitely be cleaning this counter once I hop off it so you can breathe a sigh of relief :-)

So it just dawned on me that this weekend marked the half-way mark of my 14-week half-marathon training... it was week 7. This week we had a little over 7 miles to complete this past Saturday which I did successfully without much issue. A total of 7.26 miles! It was also a little chilly (high 50's) and somewhat rainy and overcast but even with the not so great weather, I felt GREAT and it really dawned on me that day that this 13.1 mile race was really going to happen and I was going to be successful.

According to the official Richmond McDonald's half-marathon website, I have 54 days, 8 hours and approx 7 min. That's plenty of time to get those extra 6 miles... I. CAN'T. WAIT.

You can't really see it but I. AM. EXCITED!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Hello there to the 2 or 3 people who actually read this blog. You are appreciated. I'll try to keep this post short and sweet. It's been a minute since my last post but it's also been an interesting couple of weeks. I survived an 5.8 magnitude earthquake and a hurricane (category 1 but a hurricane nonetheless). No, I don't live in Cali nor Florida (my home state). I live in good 'ole Richmond, VA and managed to find myself in 2 weather events within 4 days of each other. Yikes! But by the grace of the Big Man upstairs, I came out of it unscathed. I say all of this because as a result of earthquakes, hurricanes, which caused a power outage at mi casa for 81 hours, I was little (OK... a lot) off of my weekly running schedule. To put it simply... I didn't run my 3 miles, 3 days a week with lil 'Ames. I just worked out at Gold's (mainly weights and some yoga). Oh AND I was sick towards the end of last week. I say all of this because I honestly don't how I successfully completed my almost 6 mile run this past Saturday.

To recap... I hadn't followed my weekly training schedule (at all) and I was sick (flu type ish) for part of the week and yet I ran a total of 5.92 miles on Saturday and felt SUPER AWESOME afterwards... like I could run at least 2-3 more miles AND conquer the world. :-) That runner's high I tell ya! It's REAL!

The fact that I was able to do that only reaffirmed in my mind that I WILL cross that finish line on November 12th. Sure, 13.1 miles are no walk in the park but the Amy K a year ago would have bet a large sum of moo-lah that I would NEVER run 3 miles, let alone 13 of them. However, I now know that I can do it. I have 64 days left before the race which is PLENTY of time to get those training miles under my belt.

Tonight I did 4.26 miles on the treadmill because it was raining gatos and  perros today and has been alllll freakin' week. Tonight's run will be the only run before my long, group run on Saturday but I'm not sweating it. If I could do 6 miles without running the week before, I surely can do a mere 4 with 1 run for the previous week under my belt.

My good friend, Clapptastic was right... there will come a time when I'll look at 6 miles as an "easy run," and I think that I'm pretty much there. Who knows... I might try for a full marathon in 2012 but let me not get ahead of myself... I need to actually do the half first. I'm considering the half done and mentally marking it off of my bucket list. Just call me Forrest (Forrest Gump that is)!!! Pow!!!

P.S.- I kinda failed at the "short and sweet" post thing... my bad. I'll try harder next time.

Lil Ames & I reaching the end of our almost 6 mile run and STILL smiling.

Week 5 - Saturday Group Long Run

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's the Journey that Matters Most

"Every day is a good day when you run." -Kevin Nelson

I'm sorry Mr. Nelson, but I think I'm going to have to disagree with you. I think in most cases (for most situations in life), there will be good days and there will be a few bad ones sprinkled in so that you really appreciate the good days. This is exactly how I feel about my running "journey."

Today I did things out of turn from the usual. 1) I ran today which is not on the schedule as Mondays are supposed to be rest days 2) I didn't run in the early AM like I've been doing on my short runs with AK Tuesday through Thursday and 3) I did my workout BEFORE I ran... big mistake apparently.

I completed a total of 5.4 miles today but 0.75 of that was on a treadmill because I needed to calibrate my Nike sportsband. Apparently it thinks that I run a little faster and little further than what I actually do, so I had to test it and compare the treadmill's info to the sportsband and it turns out that I have been running those 4.8 and 3.5 mile distances; well almost. The sportsband is only off by 0.02 miles which is fine by me. It may not be the most accurate device but it pretty d*mn close and it's relatively inexpensive; a mere $39.99. Anywho, I digress (yet again).

Oh yeah, the good days versus the bad ones. Up until now I hadn't experienced a "bad day." In fact I felt SO incredibly awesome on Saturday after doing 4.8 miles, that I felt that I could have probably done even more. Today on the other hand, I just wanted our run to be OVER! Truth be told, if I wasn't running with lil AK, who is all about finishing what we started, I would have turned around and went home a looooong time ago. My body felt tired, both of my knees (not just the tricky left one that bothers me from a old dance injury) were KILLING me and honestly, I don't really know how I was still running. My usual words of encouragement, you know the "just keep pushing," even seemed to somewhat fail me. I wanted out. I wanted to stop, call it quits but I could never bring myself to say it out loud, although my mind was screaming it over and over again.

Although, I feel pretty crappy, you gotta finish what you started and AK was trying to be encouraging as well. At one point she even told me to think about what I was going to eat afterwards, in order to take my mind off of running. For those who know me, you know that whenever I work out, I have this habit of daydreaming about what I'm going to eat after my workout is completed. I don't know why this happens but 9.5 times out of 10, you can bet that floating around in my mind are thoughts of food. However, in this case not even the thoughts of my post-run meal nor my words of encouragement were satisfying enough... hence why I call today a "bad day." Having this "bad day," has made me appreciate all of the good and sometimes "great days" that I've had thus far though. One little blip isn't going to stop me. November 12th, it's on and I'm taking what's mine... The sense of accomplishment, the 13.1 magnet that I plan on slapping on the G35 and self-satisfaction knowing that I finished what I started.

A new/old friend of mine commented on my Facebok wall after I made a status about my no so fun run today and said, "It's more of a journey than a destination. I promise that you will look back on 6 miles as a "easy" run in a few months." I look forward to the day that I can call 6 miles an "easy" run and I know that, that day will come soon. Just gotta keep pushing and try my best to enjoy this journey of mine.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Just Keeping Pushing...

Yesterday, I completed my second long run with my small group, The Zebras. My friend Amy was out of town so I was flying solo and was slightly nervous; for what reason, I do not know. Somehow though, I felt ready. I had my double chocolate protein bar, my water and lemon-lime Gatorade, my iPod shuffle, my Nike sportsband and my shades.

I got to the Richmond City Stadium at a 6:45 AM because my coach, Mary Kay was VERY adamant that they would leave at 7:05 AM and if we weren't there, we'd be left. So early is on time and on time is late according to my Pops and I was there early. Ret-ta-go!

I did 4.8 miles that morning in under 46 minutes and felt awesome! So awesome, that I even took an hour-long Body Pump class afterwards. I wouldn't say the run was easy but I've learned to know when to it's really time to quit versus when my mind says "I'm tired of doing this... let's stop now." When my mind tries to say "stop," I just start saying the same thing over and over again... "just keep pushing." It may sound kinda lame but it actually works. And when I say it, I smile because I think of Dory from Finding Nemo when she says "just keep swimming."

I imagine that when November 12th finally arrives and I'm on mile 6 or 7 of my 13.1 miles, I'll say that to myself and although I may be a little tired, I'll smile to myself and I'll cross that finish line.

My sweet t-shirt that I got on Saturday. Half-Marathon Training Team bay-bee!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Journey to the finish line...

"If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don't spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it." -Pricilla Welsh

So a little over a week ago, I began my "14-week journey to the finish line." This is what the Sportsbackers half-marathon head coach, Ro calls it. My friend, Amy convinced me to drop a good amount of coin on this 14-week half-marathon training group which guaranteed that you'll make it to the finish line on November 12, 2011. Seeing how I am totally new to this whole running thang, I figured it was probably in my best interest to join the group.

So last Saturday, Amy and I headed over bright and early to the Richmond City Stadium to do our first group run; a mere 3 miles. It was pretty great actually... I felt awesome after I completed the total 3.2 miles. And I discovered that apparently there are A LOT of runners in Richmond. According Ro, a little over 940 people signed up for the training alone which means there will be sh*t-ton of people at the actual race who decided not to pay the $125 to be "taught how to finish this race."

Since there are sooooo many people, they divided us up into 9 different groups. These groups were arranged by your level of experience and your average pace. Amy and I are on TEAM ZEBRA which is a novice group. There's an intermediate group called "Red-bellied Cooter," which I don't know what that is and I'd rather not find out. I'll take being a Zebra, thank you very much! ...Anywho, the cool thing about this half-marathon group, is that it's supposedly a great way to meet new peeps which is pretty great because you're guaranteed to already have at least ONE thing in common... RUNNING.

Anywho... at the end of our 3.2 mile run, we received our training book which I'm basically referring to as my "Runner's Bible." The book is great with some pretty kick-a** inspirational quotes and the most important thing of all... our training schedule which goes a little something like this:

Sunday - cross-train
Monday - rest (although I will be at my local Gold's doing some weights instead)
Tuesday - short run (3 miles)
Wednesday - short run (3 miles)
Thursday - short run (3 miles)
Friday - rest
Saturday - long run (4+ miles)

Each week, the long runs get longer and after about a month the short runs during the week increase as well... Oh joy! lol I figure, if I follow the advance of my personal trainer at the gym and my Runner's Bible then I have no doubt in my mind that I'm crossing the finish line and poppin' some champagne bottles in celebration of the completion of my half-marathon journey! Wish me luck ...although I don't think that I'll need it ;-)

Just call me Forrest.

Me in the pink tee (on the right) just cruisin' along on my first group run :-)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Directions, Schmections

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go." -Dr. Seuss

I've never had a problem following rules. In fact, I enjoyed following the rules laid out for me throughout my childhood and adolescence; I wasn't one of these rebellious teenagers. However, when it comes to following directions and I typically don't. For example, I recently purchased one of those stand-up remote controlled tower fans because apparently Virginia apartments don't believe in ceiling fans like those of Florida and so instead of sweating my a** off each night, I decided in addition to the thermostat set at 72 degrees, I'd also require a fan. I don't typically get a lot of sleep so the few that I do get better be good. But I digress... the purpose of my mentioning the fan was due to the fact that the pieces seemed simple enough that I should have been able to put it together without much issues, right? Wrong. I ended up having to take the whole thing apart and finally utilize the printed directions that came in the box. You would think that I could have saved myself the 15-20 minutes, had I only taken the time to look at those directions the first time around but nooooo, I decided that I didn't need them and tossed them aside; only to have to come back them a little later.

I have a habit of doing this... if something seems simple enough, I assume I can just do it (like Nike ::wink:: ok, bad joke) without issue. Like running... the only thing that I need to do is throw on a part of workout clothes, running shoes and grab a bottle of water, right? Wrong....

I haven't been running for all that long and the majority of running that I've done has been indoors. Hellooooo cardio cinema! I can count one hand how many times I've run outside. I found that I'm kinda doing this by the seat of my pants. Up until recently, I haven't read anything about proper stretching techniques or even the basics for running. Most of the information that I have has come from my friend, Amy and a WHOLE lot of trial and some error.

Looking back, I'm pretty sure it would be more beneficial to actually try to go about things the right way to avoid making the mistake. I say this like I've made a ton of costly mistakes and thankfully, I haven't. I did however almost spend a good chunk of money on a pair of customized Nike running shoes before I even tried them on. I didn't even know if they were the right kind for my foot. I assumed they were. They were made by Nike, super light and listed under the "women's running" category, so wouldn't you think that they would be the right shoe? Wrong. First of all my dumb behind almost purchased these customized shoes online before I even tried them on in the store and they weren't going to be cheap. Thankfully, a friend just happened to ask if I'd tried them on yet, when I showed her a picture of the shoes that I was planning on a purchasing and it made me stop and think... I had not. And what's scarier is that it never occurred to me to. I'm pretty sure Nike isn't going to let me return a customize fluorescent colored pair of shoes that have "Amy Kay" stitched on them... so, basically I would have been stuck like chuck with a pair of shoes that I couldn't really use for their intended purpose.

Although, I normally like do things without direction/instruction, this is one activity that I can't afford to do that with. So, I've started reading some running blogs, met with my personal trainer at the gym and actually went to a running store to get fitted for the proper running shoes for my feet. Apparently, I overpronate... who knew?!
The shoe that almost was... pretty, yes. Functional, hell no!

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Can't?" That's not in my vocabulary.

“If you want me to do something… tell me I can’t do it.”
-Maya Angelou

I've heard this quote before and I believe it to be VERY true but I was reminded of it after reading another blog that was suggested by my friend, Gail (a fellow runner). Apparently, some people have read my blog which is surprising, because I didn't expect anyone to actually read it... I guess I'll try not ramble too much in my future posts (can't make the same promise for this one though... Sorry). 

Anyway, I decided to open with that quote because the whole reason that I got really immersed in the gym; making Gold's my second home was in large part due to someone doubting me. Several months ago, I was talking with a (former) friend about working out. I mentioned that I wanted to start working out 5-6 days a week so that it would pretty much become a part of my a daily routine. From what I recall, it takes approx 21-28 days to create a habit so I suggested that I would work out for 4 weeks straight without interruption. And if I remember correctly, that particular "friend" scoffed at the idea. 

Not only did I do the 28 days, I actually ended up doing 31. It was during those 31 days that I really got 'jazzed' about running. Since I was going to workout everyday, I had to mix it up and keep it interesting. There would be cardio days, strength training, a class or two and then a mix of several things. If there was a good movie showing in the CC, I would hang out in there for a while. Each time I went into the CC, I tried to improve upon my previous time and distance. For awhile I was stuck around 3 miles and then the day of "The King's Speech," things changed and from there on I just kinda ran with it (no pun intended).

Anywho, I guess I should actually thank that "friend" for underestimating me because I honestly don't know if I would where I am today. I found that if you put everything out there and let everyone know your fitness goals (and goals in general), your friends and others will hold you accountable. I've pretty much told the whole world that I'm running this half-marathon on November 12th, so I kinda have to do it OR.... come up with a pretty solid excuse as to why I didn't (ex- bad food poisoning or a knee injury perhaps). Hmmm... I'll reserve either of those for Plan B even though I fully intend to ride out with Plan A which includes finishing the d*mn thing and slapping one of those "13.1" magnets on the G. :-)