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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Diva is on (temporary) heitus

Do you remember the crazy detox of last January that I did?  The green smoothie on the ceiling? The shakes from not ingesting my thousands of milligrams of caffeine?
Well, I am back at it again.  Whole Living magazine is hosting another 28 day challenge and put a request on their website for bloggers to chronicle their experience.  I figured, what the heck, and submitted an application to be a "featured blogger".  Wouldn't you know I got it!  HA!
So now all the Whole Living world will see hear of my detox trials and tribulations.  Lovely...

If there is lack of posting in Dec/January, that is why my friends. But, if you'd like to catch me on their site here is the link:
http://community.wholeliving.com/profile/KimAeschliman

And, if the detox doesn't kill me, check back soon as I am sure there will be some running diva stories to share.  I am sure of it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A true confession of a Diva...

I have a confession to make. No, not the confession about secretly wanting to take the Valium last night that my oral surgeon gave me to take before my wisdom teeth operation. 
Here it is.  I am nervous to run a 5K.  Yep, you heard it right.  There is just something so *safe* about running a half marathon or a marathon. OK, OK, before I lose most of you, let me explain myself.
When I run long distances, rarely am I overly concerned about my time.  I ran the first mile in 10 minutes? Great!  The 2nd mile in 9 minutes, 30 seconds?  Right on.  The 10th mile in 9 minutes 15 seconds.  Awesome.  There is no "warming up";  that's what the first few miles are for.  A sprint to the finish?  Hell no, it's a gradual pickup the last mile.  Most of the time, it is just a feat to complete the long distance at hand.  You feel victorious crossing the finish line because you ran 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles.  The time you did it in is usually an afterthought (for the most part...).
The 5K?  It's a different beast for me.  I am in direct competition with myself, every 5K I do, to beat my last 5K PR.  I feel as if I need to bust out every 5K with full speed ahead...and feel like my time is wasted if I am not wheezing for breath by the finish.   If I go out too hard that first mile, I am screwed the last mile because there is nothing left.  If I go out too easy that first mile, I am always wondering "could I have gone faster?".   And yes, I am one of those fools that is warming up before a 5K, take a 1/2 mile jog around to prepare my legs for full steam ahead propulsion.  There is the subject of gadgets...I NEED music for a 5K, yet I run my long runs without an iPod.  I wear my watch for the 5K and like I have some sort of tic I look down at that sucker every few minutes to see where my pace is at.  I think I looked at my watch twice during the marathon! 
Tomorrow is the first 5K I have run since July:  The Jingle Belle 5K.  It is winter, it is cold, and there is (a little) snow on the ground.  I keep telling myself, "Kim, just go out and run for fun.  Don't look at your watch.  Just run."
Yeah, right.
me at the Jingle Belle last year.  yes, i appear to be having fun.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No really...where have YOU been?


So. I blog all about my training for this marathon.  I run this marathon.  Then, I don't blog about it.  I even go as far as teasing you with a little blog entry but then never follow through.  What in the heck is wrong with me?  Here's my theory: There are moments in my life that I would consider "Top 10s".  One such moment would be getting my drivers license, my ticket to freedom.  Another moment would be stepping foot into my college dorm and starting a new chapter in my life.  Getting married, another top 10 worthy moment.  Having my two children, yet 2 more top moments in my life.  And now completing my first marathon:  for sure top 10 worthy...maybe up there in the top 5.

So why can't I sit down at my ancient computer (blog entries will be a-plenty once we purchase our MAC) and write down my feelings, thoughts, anything about this blessed event?

Do you think you could write about your emotions, feelings, etc. about any of your top 5 life moments?  Can you imagine putting down into words when you were walking down the aisle, about to be given away by your dad to your husband?  How about when the doctor put your newborn warm baby on your chest and said "he's all yours?". 

Sure, I could write to you about the step by step (literally) of our marathon day.  I could tell you that we started slow, conservatively, and then went our separate ways at mile 15.  I could tell you about the awesome Baltimore crowds, my supportive friends there cheering me on, the thousands of runners we shared a smile or a conversation with over the course of 4-plus hours.  But to me, that wouldn't capture what my first marathon meant to me.  And, for the first time (probably ever in my life), I am at a total loss of words.

The only thing I can say is if you have ever had a dream of pushing yourself to do something that you weren't so sure you could do (but deep down kinda thought you could), just go for it.  Get out of your box.  Out of your comfort zone.  Because I promise you, when you achieve your goal (and you know you will) it will feel like nothing you have ever felt before. You will  be so glad you took a chance on YOU and went for it.  I know I am.

So I leave you with that.  I thank my Divas for taking a chance and coming along for the ride.  Staci who just ran Chicago 6 short days before and definitely pushed her body beyond its limits.  Amazing.  Lisa, my marathon virgin partner in crime, who shared this "first" with me.  Peg, who selflessly hopped on an airplane and came to cheer us (she too ran Chicago). And Sara, who swore she'd never do a marathon again but did it for me.  Gotta love these ladies.

And gotta love the fact that we are back at it again.  Yes...the emails are flying back and forth about our racing potential racing schedule for 2011.  Is there another marathon in this girl's future. 
You'd better freakin' believe it.










Friday, November 5, 2010

The Marathon...part I

I know what you are thinking...where in the heck has she been?  She makes us read this (somewhat entertaining) blog for almost a year, in anticipation of of this BIG marathon she is doing in October.  Then, she runs said marathon and nothing.  Nada.  No posts, no pictures, no funny stories.  Not a single word.

Well, like Hal Higdon's post-marathon training guide (titled week 0-how clever) says you need to take a break from running after the big race, I also needed to take a break from writing.  And while I am at it, I'll give you some more excuses.  Seems like leading up the marathon, I put off a bunch of stuff.  Most of which I said could "wait until after the marathon".  Guess what?  None of it magically got done!!  And...since returning from Baltimore and not needing to block off hours to run, I *had* to actually do it!  EGADS!

Well, I find myself with some time today to reflect on my marathon experience...which was AMAZING.  We all did it right by hopping on an airplane and heading out east to our destination marathon.  I love my kids, I love my husband, but it was so nice to just worry about ME for the day before and day of the race.

Upon touch down at Baltimore's international airport, we Divas had a pretty packed afternoon.  We started out with a delicious lunch (let the carb loading CONTINUE!) and then headed down to the Expo to pick up our bibs and fluorescent yellow marathon shirts.  Hell, I didn't care if that sucker was see through!  I needed proof that I actually ran this thing to strut around Dewitt in.

The Divas in front of the Expo.  Danielle, Peg, Staci, Sara, Kim and Lisa


Kim and Danielle checking out the finish line.  Looked so much different the day before then it did after 26.2...

After the Expo, the Type A excessive-ness commenced.  First we worked on laying out all of our clothing, along with our sneakers, hats, iPods, spibelts, making sure said spibelts were filled with the appropriate amount of GUs.  And speaking of GUs, there was also a *minor* bit of obsessing about that.  When did we say we'd GU (it was, of course, discussed at an earlier date but forgotten)?  How many did we need?  Lisa went as far as to write that business on her arm to remember.  At any rate, we also needed to attach our bibs and decorate our shirts.  Yes, we were the dorks that adorned our clothes with stickers spelling out our names and let me tell you, WELL WORTH IT.  Here's what Sara, Lisa and I came up with:

as my friend told me after I completed the marathon:  You are no longer a virgin; you are a marathon WHORE.

We continued all of this lengthy preparation until our stomachs growled for dinner.  Time to eat AGAIN!  Being I was the unofficial Baltimore tour guide, I took my girls to Sabatinos restaurant in Little Italy where we scarfed down about 5 loaves of bread (that bread was sooooo good), pasta, and salad.  A quick trip to 7-11 for Reeses Peanut Butter cups and cookies (protein!) and breakfast fixings and we were ready to call it night, while visions of mile markers and chiming Garmins danced in our heads. 

Although I am not sure how much sleep we all got since all that was on our minds was our big morning looming ahead of us.  Oh, and I am sure my elbowing Sara a few times in the middle of the night didn't help her sleep either...sorry Sara :o)

The Marathon...Part II- 26.2 miles on a beautiful Autumn morning in Charm City....to be continued...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Climb

In 48 hours, everything we have been working towards will begin with a starter's gun.  And the funny thing is, I have come to realize that it will not be that 26.2 miles that will define me as a person, as a runner.  It is the in between.  It is the 18 weeks leading up to this that have made me a stronger person, both physically and mentally. Sure, runnning for 4 1/2 hours (or more) proves you have physical and emotional stamina, but I believe it is the 500 plus miles leading up to it that shows your resolve.  It's the sacrifices you make to get those runs in:  missing kids events, not going out with friends because of a long run the next day, trudging through a 8 mile "mid" distance when you'd rather be curled up on the couch watching The Food Network because you ran 15 miles a few days before.

To my friends and family that have had to listen to my pre-marathon stories and complaints.  Thank you so much for all of your support and words of encouragement.  They mean more to me than you'll ever know. 

To any members of my running classes, thank you for being a part of my running dreams for our community and the YMCA.  You all tell me that I inspire you, when it is YOU that really inspires ME.  I have seen you all dig deep and accomplish things you never thought you could and that is amazing! It is most of you that I will be thinking about at mile 20... 

To Sam and Tyler, thank you for hanging out with the babysitter and in tot watch all those times mommy went out for long runs for hours at a time.  Mommy loves you both very much!

To Zach, thank you for all of your support throughout this running spurt of mine.  I know you work hard long hours and travel like a madman and sometimes put your running on the backburner for mine.  I so appreciate that more than I tell you.  You are my biggest cheerleader and even though you'll be back in Michigan (doing the most important job of watching the boys), I'll be able to hear your words of encouragement and support in my head the whole 26.2 miles.  Love you babe xoxo

To my running divas, I can remember running around Lake Geneva when we were training for the Capital City 1/2 Marathon last summer and discussing the possibility of "someday" doing a marathon together.  And now here we are. 
To Danielle-our original running coach-thank you so much for your words of wisdom when we were first embarking on this journey.  If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have ever thought I could teach at the Y and inspire others like you did for me. Can't wait to run with you on Saturday!
To Staci: Our newest Diva, I am so glad that you are in our little running group and I have gotten to know you better.  Thank you for pushing me to run harder and faster.  Your speed and grace have me in awe!  Fantastic job in Chicago on Sunday and I am so grateful to have you cheerleading for us in Baltimore.
To Peg: What would we do without Peg...the momma of the Divas.  You take such good care of our group and we love you for it! The fact that you are making the trip to Baltimore just to cheer us on shows us how much you care!  I only can hope that I look, feel and run as good as Peg does when I am a "grand master".  Peg you are a true inspiration!  You rocked Chicago and we are so proud!
To Lisa:  I am so glad to have my "marathon virgin" running Baltimore with me!  Thank you for always making me laugh during long runs, sharing stories to make the miles go by a little bit quicker.  I am so glad we stuck together in running after those cold Lake Geneva swims when training for the Tri together and have become closer friends because of it.
To Sara: What can I say girl, you are the one who got me into this whole long running gig!  If it weren't for you, I'd still be doing my 3 miles on the treadmill.  Thank you for pushing me when I didn't think I could do it and believing in me.  You have a heart of gold and I am so fortunate to have you as my long lost sister ;o)  Even though you said you'd never do it, thank you for coming to Baltimore with me to run your 2nd marathon.  Too bad it wasn't NY...maybe next year ;o)  Love you xoxoxo

I have had this song in my ipod for a while now and everytime I hear it, I can't help but think about the last few months.  (who knew Hanana Montana/Miley Cyrus could be so inspiring?)

I can almost see it.  This dream I'm dreaming.  But there's a voice inside my head says "You'll never reach it".
Every step I'm taking.  Every move I make feels lost with no direction, my faith is shaking.
But I gotta keep trying, gotta keep my head held high.
Always gonna be another mountain.  Always gonna want to make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. Ain't about how fast I get there.  Ain't about what's waiting on the other side.  It's the climb.
The struggles I'm facing, the chances I'm taking.  Sometimes might knock me down but, no I'm not breaking. I may not know it, but these are the moments I'm gonna remember most, yeah, just got to keep going.
And I, I gotta be strong.  Just keep pushing on.
Always gonna be another mountain.  Always gonna want to make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. Ain't about how fast I get there.  Ain't about what's waiting on the other side.  It's the climb.
Keep on moving.  Keep climbing.  Keep the faith, baby.
It's all about the climb.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

7 days and 7 miles

This time next week my toes will be touching the start line.  What started as me registering for the NYC marathon to "just see if I would get in" has led me and my closest running buddies 1 week closer to hitting the pavement in Maryland for the Under Armor Baltimore Marathon.  Just writing that gives me butterflies in my stomach and goosebumps on my arms.  I still can't believe it!  7 more days and 7 more miles (literally...our training calls for a 3 mile run and two 2 mile runs before the race) until I hit the ground running for 4 1/2 hours of running bliss.  Oh my.  Did I just set a goal?  Hmmmm...let's just say 26.2 miles of running bliss...

And if that isn't close enough for comfort, tomorrow morning Peg and Staci will be hitting the streets of Chicago for 26.2 miles.  I know they are on their way to the Windy City as we speak but I wish them the best of luck.  I sure wish I was there to cheer them on but I think they know we are all there in spirit. I know they are going to rock it out and be BOSTON BOUND!

This next week will be pretty tough for me both physically and mentally.  The last week before the marathon is the dreaded taper, where you drastically decrease your miles to conserve energy for the big event.  For me, it is when I second guess my abilities to actually run 26.2 miles.  Already I am having "marathon dreams" where I am replacing actually running miles with dreaming about it.  Good Lord.  I can't get away from it!!!

I've come to believe training for a marathon is a bit like having a baby.  Your body is put through hell for an extended period of time (marathon training: 18 weeks. pregnancy: 40 weeks). You can't stop eating..especially towards the end.  No matter how much you prepare in the days leading up to it, mentally you are never really ready.  You are super excited at first but as it comes closer you start to get nervous and anxious.  You second-guess yourself:  Can I complete the marathon?  Will I be a good mother? You are an emotional disaster. 

But once the day comes, you can't believe what your body is capable of doing.  You push it (literally) to its limits.  And you are rewarded with a miracle, an awesome accomplishment. 

Except instead of nursing a beautiful cherub faced baby, at the end of the marathon you'll be nursing nasty blisters, swollen feet, cramped calves and sore quads.  Oh well.  It's still worth the effort.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

a prayer to the marathon gods

Since my visit to the church at mile 18, I have been feeling especially spiritual.
Here is my prayer (plea) to the marathon gods.  Feel free to use it for your marathon effort as well.

Dear Marathon gods (and I do know there has to be more than one of you to get me through this ordeal):
I don't ask for much, but if you could see to it that the following criteria are met leading up to and on my event in Baltimore (enter city) on October 16, 2010 (enter date) I sure would appreciate it:

1. Please keep me from injury from now until my event.  This includes, but not limited to, any mishaps on my last training runs, any stupid klutzy injuries resulting from day to day activities (as in tripping down stairs, walking into walls, etc.), any other random accidents and the like.

2.  Please keep my health intact in these last couple weeks before the marathon.  I will do my best to Lysol, Clorox wipe and bleach the crap out of my house, wipe down every door handle and light switch and hand sanitize like a motha around germy children, but I may need you to intervene.

3. Please assist in maintaining my sanity while I taper and keep me true to the taper.  When Hal says "3 miles" that means just 3 miles. Nothing more.

4.  Please help me so I don't eat my family out of house and home.  Help me recognize that I am tapering so there is no need for me to stand in front of an open fridge every hour on the hour.

5. On that note, please help me make smart nutritional choices that will be good fuel for the race. Steer me towards whole wheat bread and not beer.  Grapes and not wine.  Peanut butter and not peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies.  You get the drift.

6.  Please let me get to Baltimore (enter city) with no issues.  No delays and no lost luggage.  Hotel room in order and ready on time. Packet pickup runs smoothly. Look, my type A self will already be on level "orange".  No need to bump it up to "red" quite yet.

7.  The weather.  I can't talk to you enough about the weather.  Here is what I am aiming for: overcast, with the sun peeking out just as we cross the finish line.  Dry with no humidity and absolutely NO precipitation.  I mean it.  None.  Race start time temp around 55.  Finish temp mid 60s.  After that, feel free to do whatever the heck you want Mother Nature.

8. Please let me pick out the appropriate clothing to wear for above said weather without bringing my entire closet to Baltimore (enter city).  If you comply with #7, you can skip fulfilling this request.

9. Please let mile 20 feel like mile 5.  I know this is asking a lot but I have faith.

10.  Please do not allow me to pee in my pants, poop in my pants, vomit, snot, drool, dry heave, or emit any other bodily functions inappropriately throughout the run.  In fact, if I could keep all bodily fluids inside my body for the duration, that would be fabulous.

11.  Please let there be lots of cheering smiling faces encouraging us along the way.   If I look like hell, please forgive them for lying to me when they tell me I "look strong" or "look great".

12.  That being said, please do not allow said fans to say at mile 24-25.5 that "you don't have much further to go!".  If there are fans that feel the need to utter these words, please place them at miles 26 through 26.1 when I truly do not have much more to run.  I mean it.

13.  Please let me finish the race with a smile on my face and without collapsing after the finish.  If I could actually run across the finish line that would be super, but I am not beneath crawling across it.  And please, DO NOT let someone pushing a double jogger stroller with 2 heavy preschool children in it and/or an 80 year old granny pass me just before I finish.  It could ruin the moment.

14.  Please apply this prayer to any of my girls/guys running this marathon with me, or doing one on another day.

15.  Please give me the will to want to run again after this endeavor.

Thank you.  I hope I am not asking too much. Amen.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The tale of the 20 miler-Part 2

OK.  Where was I before pesky work got in the way of my blogging?  Ah yes. The adventure started as we headed through MSU campus and hopped on the river trail.  We were pretty shielded from the elements throughout the 6 mile stretch of the trail.  We debated taking a pee on the trail but decided against dropping our drawers (well, shorts) when we saw a colorful looking gentleman hanging out by the bushes.  We thought, no need for him to see our *bushes* (sorry, I had to say that).
At any rate, we decide to press on to our first water break (of five...hey, we like to stop every once in a while).  As we approached, we couldn't help but notice a rather sketchy looking man holding a rather Cujo-esque looking mutt (we guessed Pitbull so if that makes the story more interesting, go with it). The couple was right next to where our water was hidden and wouldn't you know that Cujo mutt lifted his hind leg up and took a tinkle frighteningly close to our hydration?  Since we didn't have Peg the Dog Whisperer on this venture, Lisa and I decided Sara should get the water for us.  Hey, she placed it there...she knew where it was, right?  The man held Cujo tight on his leash and we (well, Sara) got our water, hoping there wasn't a little extra on our bottles. Sara offered Cujo the rest of her water and we were on our way. 
The next stretch was up Turner Road in a not so pretty part of town.  Let's just say certain areas made us run a little faster, for example when we saw 2 brothas in sideways tilted hats dancing and hooting across the street from us.  Definitely put a little pep in my step.  And there were a few cat calls from an apartment complex further down the road.  But, the smell of bacon and pancakes from a hole-in-the-wall joint called "Golden Harvest" almost stopped us dead in our tracks.  Come to find out this place is the best breakfast place in Lansing...there was a line out the door when we passed.  May have to be a post-marathon Diva excursion.  We dealt with some pretty nasty wind gusts as we left our 2nd water stop around mile 9 but all and all the weather was cooperating.  Well, maybe it was a tad warmer than I would have liked. (picky, picky).  We pressed through and weaved into Staci's subdivision for water stop #3 (around 13 miles).   She and Peg hammered 12 out earlier but Staci left us a cooler full of hydration goodies.  Never was I so excited to see water and a bit of Gatorade...although I could have done without seeing Staci happily sipping on her Diet Coke, all finished running, when I still had 7 to go. 
As we pulled out of her sub, I started day dreaming about the big foamy Oberon I'd be drinking in about an hour.  We continued on and came to our only official cheering section (besides the cat callers on Turner).  Sara's co-worker Phyllis and her husband were outside their house cheering us on.  Phyllis's husband even ran with us for a few steps.  And they made a sign in the window that said "GO SARA GO".  It definitely gave us a push to keep going. 
We chugged some water at the second to last stop and it was pretty quiet.  No laughing, no joking.  Not even a smile. I was just ready to get "the bitch done" as Lisa would say.  And, I knew Cutler Road was coming up, which is a 2 mile stretch of country road where there is no protection from the weather.  The wind was to our back on Turner, so we'd be running into it on Cutler.  What's more fun than running into 20 mph wind gusts after running 16 miles?  Hm. Perhaps scratching your eyeballs out?
I ran that stretch alone.  I got a second wind and just wanted to be done.  I was cranky. My knees hurt.  My feet hurt. I wanted beer and pizza.  My house was the last water stop and I realized that we would be running too far if went there.  So we decided to cut into town and stop off at our favorite unofficial water stop, Sweetie Pie, and then pick up extra by Rellis, where our journey would end in mozzarella bliss.  Sweetie Pie couldn't come soon enough so we detoured into St. Jude Catholic Church.  Yes, church.  Thankfully there was a water fountain there or else I would have been sticking my head in the holy water (sign of the cross).  We made a brief potty stop (why not? Not the bushes...), had a quick prayer with Jesus for strength, and we were on our way.  Can't call me a Christmas/Easter Catholic anymore...
Anyway, the last couple of miles were rough, I'm not going to lie.  Amazingly I started to feel pretty good around 19.5 and picked it up a little bit.  Some people say a mantra like "I AM STRONG" or "I AM SPEED" to get them through the last bit of a run or race.  My mantra for this 20 miler was "GET THE BITCH DONE".  Peg cheered us on from her car right around that point and I gave a 2 fist pump in the air and a "whoo hooo!".   I turned around and Lisa and Sara weren't looking so happy. I am not sure, but I may have seen an obscene finger gesture coming from Sara.  So, I put on my coach Kim hat because I knew if I was struggling, they'd do the same for me.  We got through the last 1/2 mile until all of our Garmins chimed for 20 miles.  We got the bitch done.

And then we stumbled into Relli's where a big, cold pitcher of Oberon was waiting for us.
cheers!  we did it!

We sat our sweaty smelly behinds down (hopefully Relli's cleaned those seats after we left!) and relived every moment of our epic run.  We inhaled our bread sticks and pizza and beer, relishing every bite.  And why not?  According to my Garmin I burned 2,020 calories!

The "piece de resistance":  warm, doughy, buttery breadsticks

Looking pretty good after 20 (and 12) miles ladies.  Chicago and Baltimore, here we come!

Now I know why Hal Higdon and every marathon trainer makes you run a 20 mile run.  Yeah, I guess it is for the endurance and to teach your body how to deal with the physical and mental stress of running over 3 hours. And I am sure it is to practice your nutrition, hydration, and what you will wear for race day:  a dress rehearsal if you will.
But for me, it gave me the confidence to finally say, "I am running a marathon in October and I know I am going to be able to finish it".  We can do it ladies!  It's all downhill from here...

The tale of the 20 miler-Part 1

**Disclaimer**Just like the actual run itself, this post may be epic in proportions.  It's been a while since I detailed a long run to you all, so why not do it now? Sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy.  I also cannot be responsible for the use of naughty words.  Feel free to skip over those that are offensive to you.

Twenty F-ing miles (I won't bust the big dog out.  Yet.).  This is what I was thinking ALL week.  I was wound tighter than a spool of string as I listened to the wind HOWL outside my window Friday morning at 5:30 am.  I checked weather.com for the millionth time and there were no changes.  Chance of thunderstorm and winds at 20-25 mph.  At least I'd be distracted for the moment as I rallied the kids to get ready for school.  As I finished brushing my teeth, Sara walked in the house.  She didn't want to be alone thinking about the run, so she played bus driver with me as we shuttled a car full of kids off to school. We dropped one of our beloved crates in it's rightful water stop and headed to Rellis, our end point, to wait for Lisa.
As we waited there, and used the potty quickly, I couldn't help but think "Holy Shit, the next time we come back here it will be about 4 hours later and we will have RUN the entire way from East Lansing!".
Momma Relli even thought we had fallen off our rockers.


Our beloved crates...always ready for the Divas

Lisa arrived and she looked about as freaked out as we were.  On the ride, we bantered back and forth about weather, the technicalities of when to eat our GU and drink water, how much water we would drink, etc. Type A runners...gotta love it.  We dropped a meijer bag full of water in Old Towne Lansing (water stop #1) and prayed it would still be there an hour later.  Lots of sketchiness surrounding that water stop, but more on that later...

We make it to the start of our run in East Lansing at Plante Moran, the accounting firm where Lisa's husband worked.  We all take advantage of the basement potty because let's face it, for the next 3 1/2 hours we could be peeing with weeds sticking up our butts for all we know...

We set out on our journey which will take us through Michigan State University campus, on the Lansing River trail, passing Potter Park Zoo and downtown Lansing.  We will then head through Old Towne Lansing and up Turner Road (with lots of interesting things to look at...).  Then we will weave through 3 subdivisions in DeWitt, run through country roads and finally make our way to downtown DeWitt and our final destination: Rellis for beer and pizza.  We will run through 2 counties, several cities and townships, 5 water stops, 1 official cheering section and 1 church.  Yes, everyone needs a little Jesus at mile 18.

Find out all about it on my next post...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I needed further inspiration for tomorrow...

A quick shot of me finishing the Playmakers Autumn Classic 8K (39:03)
typically i take horrible running photos so i figured i might as well post this half way decent one :)
click below:
Gallery: 10PAC-42:20 & under

And here is Sara: (click below)
Gallery: 10PAC-42:20 & under


And here is Lisa: (click below)

The glass is half full

Tomorrow is the day of this marathon training I have completely and totally dreaded.  The 20 miler.  Yes, I did run 18.  And 19 miles.  But 20 miles?  Gulp.  That is going into another numerical bracket and getting out of the teens.  Being as type A as I am, I have been voraciously studying weather.com to see what Friday's skies have in store for us.  As of 6:12 pm Thursday evening, here is what we've got:
Scattered
Mostly
9am: Scattered Thunderstorms.  21 mph winds. Chance precip: 40%
10 am: Scattered Thunderstorms.  21 mph winds. Chance precip: 30%
11 am: Isolated Thunderstorms (hey, it's getting better!).  22 mph winds (shit, spoke too soon). Chance precip: 30%
12 pm (yes, we will still be running): Isolated Thunderstorms. 23 mph winds. Chance precip: 30%
1 pm (you got it...still could be running:  WINDY. (you know you're screwed when it just says that) 24 mph winds. Chance of precip: 20%

Let the obsessing begin:  What to wear?  Will it rain?  Will we get struck by lightening? We are already jammed up about when to drink water and eat GUs and hell, I am freaking out a bit to run 20 miles but now we get to add mother nature to the mix.

So let's do the flip-side and make it all sound better.
-Instead of 20 miles in this weather, we could be running our 26.2 in this junk.  Doing it now ensures that we'll have nice weather for Baltimore, right?
-It could be 90 degrees instead of 70 degrees
-It could be a 90% chance of rain instead of 20-40% chance.  So that means it's 60-80% likely it WON'T rain.  I'd take those odds in Vegas.  I think.
-23 mile per hour winds.  Not too much I can come up with that other than at least it's not wind with hail, ice, sleet and the like.  Perhaps that wind will push our rears from behind the whole time and make us super speedy?
-I could be doing this alone.  Thank goodness for the Diva's, or else I'd call 19 miles two weeks ago good enough.
-The end of the run is at Relli's where we will feast on greasy pizza, over sized bread sticks, and large Oberon beers.  Ahhhh...that will get us through.  I hope.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Only 12

Here we go...only 4 more long runs until the big kahuna.  Today it was "just" a 12 miler on a beautiful overcast 60 something degree day.  Normally, "overcast" and "beautiful" do not coincide but in a runner's mind, they do.  No sun to contend with, just the cool breeze in our faces as we ran a couple of loops around East Lansing. And after trotting along for almost 2 hours, we treated ourselves to some Bigby coffee:  for me a big old steamy Bigby mocha (chocolate, caffeine, and milk-it was the perfect recovery drink, right?  Scratch that, the perfect recovery drink is a big old frosty Oberon beer...but we'll save that one for post 20 miler). 

It seems hard for me to believe that after the dreaded 20 miler next week, we'll have "just" 12 and "just" 8 miles to go for long runs.  So many months of training, planning, speculating, dreaming...and it's almost over.  It makes me kind of sad that the training is coming to an end (what am I crazy?!?!?!?) but I am sure the Diva's will come up with some other crazy race to get us through the winter months.

Our flights are reserved.  Our hotel room is secured.  Pre-race dinner plans are being thought of (Dinner at Little Italy in Baltimore...yummm...).  We even have our massages scheduled already for crying out loud (something to look forward to for sure).  It's really almost here.

Just that big old 20 miler looming ahead of us next Friday.  But don't worry, we've got even better post run plans in store for that...look forward to a photo documentary of this last big training run.  I am sure it will be quite classic...(promise I won't take any pics of anyone pooping in the corn field.  you know who you are...)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

You know you are training for a marathon when...

Having trained for this godforsaken marathon for 13 glorious weeks now, I have had time to experience many aspects of getting ready for this race.  I would like to present to you:

YOU KNOW YOU ARE TRAINING FOR A MARATHON WHEN...

You know you are training for a marathon when:
-weeks away from the race, you are already thinking about what you will wear on race day (this may only pertain to us "Type A" runners)
-during the last few weeks of training your long run is "JUST" a 12 miler
-a 3 mile run doesn't even seem worth running
-you can't stop eating everything in bless'd sight (like blowing through an entire jar of peanut butter in a week)
-on that note, you run more miles per week than you ever have, yet you have gained 2 pounds (READ: unfair)
-you find yourself discussing your nutritional intake on yesterday's 19 mile run to someone at a party (and you can't understand why he isn't engaged in when/where you should take your GUs)
-you can perform a myriad of bodily functions (i.e., pee, poop, snot, spit) just about anywhere during a run.  Pop a squat on the River Trail? check.  Poop in the corn field?  check.  Farmer's blow on command?  check.
-you have more running shorts, running tanks, and Smartwool socks in the laundry than you do jeans and Tshirts
-on your "rest day" your kids ask you why you are not running
-you hear the distance alert chime from your Garmin in your sleep
-you eat the same meal before a long run every week (That one is for Sara and her goulash)
-you are slightly amazed at the fact you just ran for 3 hours consecutively, but don't toot your horn too much knowing for the marathon you need to go another hour or so.

please feel free to add to the list...
5 MORE WEEKS!  5 MORE WEEKS!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Sign

OK. Now I promise you won't see this invention on an infomercial with Billy Mayes's (RIP) predecessor barking about it's value and screaming "BUT WAIT!  THERE'S MORE", but I think the running community out there would dig it for sure.  My invention is a sign that you can pin on your Tshirt that says a little something about the run you are doing.  Almost like a race bib, but dry erase fashion so you can change what reads on the sign daily, hourly or by the minute.

Let me give you an example:
Last Friday the Divas and I were running our 3rd to last loonnnnnggg run before the BIG ONE (EEEK).  We were on the "4-mile loop" in DeWitt (that everyone and their brother runs around) and at that point we were at mile 16 or so.  I am sure we were looking a bit whipped.  Maybe just a liiiiittle bit tired.  On the other side of the road a spunky little lady runs by, fresh legs and all. She's just a-bopping along, big old smile on her face.  She probably just left her house a moment ago.  She breezed past us and waved.  I could almost see the pity in her eyes, as if she was thinking, "Oh My.  They must be beginner runners if they look that beat running the 4 mile loop".  Tsk Tsk.
This, my friends, is where the sign comes in.  I'd have that sucker pinned to my chest and it would scream in all caps: "I HAVE JUST RUN 16 MILES!".  And since it would be a dry erase sign, I could quickly erase it once I hit 17 miles.  And 18.

Or how about this one?  You ran 13 miles and then taught a really tough "BootCamp" class all in one day.  You are sore.  You can barely walk down the stairs without wincing.  Sitting on the toilet is a chore.  Not that this has ever happened to me, I can only speculate...
Anyway, you need to push out a 5 mile run and you run it realllllly slow.  I mean, turtles are passing you by.  Now, couldn't that sign come in handy?
"RAN 13 AND TAUGHT HARD BOOTCAMP FRIDAY.  STILL SORE".

Yet some more ideas for "The Sign":
"THIS IS MY RECOVERY RUN"
"I HAD WAY TOO MANY OBERONS LAST NIGHT"
"JUST HAD A BABY. LET'S SEE YOU RUN FAST POST PARTUM"
"RACED A 21 MINUTE 5K YESTERDAY" (not really, but a girl can dream)
"MY WEEKLY MILEAGE IS UP TO 40"
"I JUST DID 10x400s.  SUCKA."

Or it could be a warning system for other runners too:
"THAT HILL BACK THERE IS A BITCH"
"CUJO TYPE DOG 2 HOUSES AWAY"
"CARCASS IN THE DITCH UP AHEAD:  PLUG YOUR NOSE"
"CUTE RUNNER AHEAD.  SUCK IT IN"

Maybe someday we'll have "The Sign".  For now, we'll have to keep them all guessing.

Friday, September 3, 2010

There is something a-matter with me

I am not quite normal.  You see as I type this it is 4:30 AM (yes, AM).  I sit before you on the computer with my running clothes on, sneakers laced, with a banana and peanut butter and a strong cup of joe.  We are all meeting here in about a 1/2 hour for a 13 mile run.
Since when do I think it's OK to wake up at this ungodly hour and do these things?  Abbey, our 9 year old yellow lab who has perfected the art of lazy-dog, actually gave me a dirty look when I stepped over her on my way down the stairs.  I am certain if my coffeemaker could talk it would say "STOP! Wait!  Don't brew yet...do you realize it is the middle of the night?"
You may ask, "If you are running at 5:15 am, why do you wake up at 4:20 am?"
Let me explain.
First of all, it's 4:20 and not a minute more.  4:15 seemed horribly close to 4 am and that is stupidly early.  Then, I need to be sure I get a little nourishment down for the run, along with coffee, which gets...er...the system going.  Let me tell you, you need to get ALL things out of the lower GI before embarking out on a long run.  So, we need some time for *that* to peculate.
Then there is the water situation.  Far be it for us Divas to carry our own water, we need water stops.  First we had some garbage bags full of bottled water, but those got stolen.  Now we have 2 full-time full on crates, complete with labels ("Do not DRY out the DIVAS") with water bottles in them.  Along with GU, jelly beans, gum, bandaids, wet wipes, toilet paper/tissues (because sometimes things don't come ALL the way out), extra hair ties, advil, and perhaps a tampon or two.  You just never know.  Anyway, I need to drop the water in carefully planned out locations so we are properly hydrated.  Oops.  I should probably leave now...gotta get that water out there and I think *something* is brewing down there.
And I ain't talking coffee...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The line has been crossed...

I have just crossed the line from a "recreational runner" to a "psycho-crazed-training-for-a-marathon" runner.  OK, admittedly I stopped being a recreational runner last summer, when our Running Diva group emerged and started training for craziness such as half marathons, 25Ks and the like.  But this week I have turned the corner.  I have been obsessing about missing training runs like someone from the TV show "Obsessed" thinks about flicking light switches.  Up until this week, my runs have been automatic, enjoyable, and natural.  Visiting my mom this week, without the normal distractions of taking care of my house, teaching classes, and juggling a crazy schedule, I've had lots of time to obsess about my running. Or lack thereof. In the Carolina heat and humidity, the only time for me to get out for a jaunt is super early in the A.M., before my momma heads to work. Since I threw the phone across the room yesterday morning and blogged to you all about skipping out on my track workout, I came up with a grand plan.  Note:  Here comes the psychosis.

I thought, "WOW!  What fun would it be for me AND the boys to run along the track?!  I could get my workout in, they could play outside, and we'll all be happy".  I raced to put my running clothes on and brought the kids down their sneakers and sleeveless shirts.  "Boys! We are going RUNNING!", I proclaim.  They glance up at me from their DSs with glassy eyed blank stares.  Oh yeah, I think, these kids need exercise.  We lace up our sneaks, fill up the water bottles, and grab our ipods.  I am having visions of my 5 and 7 year old trotting alongside me on the track, me listening to Lady Gaga and them jamming to Alvin and the Chipmunks. We open the door and the sun blares in our faces and the heat hits us like a ton of bricks.  "Mommmmm...it's hottttt".  "It's fine," I protest, "get in the car and let's hit the track".  I glance up at the thermometer in the car.  87 degrees, it reads. At least it's not 90, I rationalize. 

We park the car and walk down to the track, the boys at least 50 steps behind me, already with looks of boredom and disgust on their faces.  "Won't this be soooooo fun?", I ask.  I show them the long jump sand they can play in, the football field they can run on, the bleachers they can climb.  Mild interest creeps on their faces, but I still see a hint of "what in the HECK are we doing here" behind their already sweaty brows.

I set off to begin my planned 4 mile run:  1 mile warm up, 6 x400s, and cool down.  My first lap around the boys are doing some long jumps and give me big, smiley waves as I pass.  Lap 2 both boys, on the football field, join me for about 100 feet.  Lap 3 I get tentative high fives.  I am sure I detect the start of protests and frowns but I keep on truckin.  Lap 4 (1 mile) I pass them sitting down on the field as they are saying something to me but alas, my ipod is turned up too loud to hear them.  Lap 5 I find them laying on the field and at this point I decide I might only be able to get in 3 miles.  I do a couple random 200s (man...it is warm out here...).  Lap 6 they are both yelling something at me.  I'm no lip reader but I could see the words HOT and GO.  I yell back "Go play under the bleachers...I think there is shade under there.  Drink your water!" and I press on for some more random 200s.  Lap 7 I don't even look their direction but blurt out "2 more to go and I will buy you toys and slushees at Walmart!!!".  If I can just get to 2.5 miles I will be happy... Lap 8 they are near tears, faces flushed, begging me to leave because they are so hot.  Guilt is setting in for sure. I tell them to give me one more time around the track and we'll leave. I finish my lap and stop the Garmin at 2.25 miles and they trail behind me as we head to the car.  I am still desperate for 2.5 miles though (don't ask me why...I think I was dehydrated and being totally irrational) so I plop them in the A/C cooled down car (gotta love remote start) and I continue to RUN LAPS AROUND THE PARKING LOT until my Garmin rolls to 2.5.  Seriously?  Laps in the parking lot? Am I insane?

Probably.  But as we headed to Walmart to buy treats (the only public place I felt comfortable going to stinky and dripping in sweat), I felt pretty good that I got out there and did something.  No, it wasn't the 4 miles I planned...but it was more than half that and it was something.

And I felt even better that I did that measly 2.5 miles because I had to miss this morning's 11 miles because of a wicked thunderstorm rolling through at 5:30 am.  I am not crazy to run in that nonsense.  Not yet, anyway.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Just Go-Go

Vacation all I ever wanted.  Vacation have to get away...

Gotta love the Go-Gos. But I am quite certain Belinda Carlisle wasn't knee deep in her marathon training when she pened that tune.  Like I said in the previous post, when it comes time for vacay, I am quite lax on the normal routine.  I eat more.  I drink more.  Trans fats ooze out of my pores.  I exercise less. And, usually I don't feel guilty about it one bit.

Fast forward to this vacation. 8 small weeks left until 26.2 and I am on a 2 week excersion to Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, NC (to visit mom) and Connecticut (to celebrate my nana's 80th).  Along with packing my bathing suit and sunscreen, I pack my Garmin, Spibelt, and GUs.  30 miles or so per week, with a long run of 17 and 11 miles thrown in the mix of some short and mid-distance runs. Really?   At home, no problem.  I have my running classes that keep me honest, knocking out the short runs easily.  I actually look forward to the weekly long runs with my girls (whether there is 1 or 5 of us out there).  The mid distance runs are a sunday morning treat where Zach mans the boys solo and I clear my head for an hour or so.

Down here, it's a different story.  Last week at the Beach, I dragged myself out of bed to do my mid-distance (7 miles) and my long run.  Looooonnnnnggggggg.  17 big old miles.  I did (in a freaky sort of way) look forward to it because we did it along the ocean. I ran part of it solo and Zach joined me for the last 11. I wouldn't have done it without him so thanks babe (even though he left me the dust for the last 1/2 mile.  Whatever).

Now, I am at my mom's where I have a full week of runs to accomplish and zero motivation to do ANY of them.  My 8 mile run turned into a 5 1/2 mile run yesterday morning.  This morning I was supposed to do a 4 mile track workout.  The alarm went off on my phone and I chucked it across the room and went back to sleep.  Tomorrow I am supposed to crank out 11 miles.  Hmmm.  We'll see how that rolls.

Instead of the lax vacation attitude, I am totally guilt-ridden that I am missing these training runs.  I know in the grand scheme of things, missing a few runs here and there won't make me crumble at the 20 mile marker in Baltimore in October.  It's like I have the angel and the devil on my shoulder, like the old Tom and Jerry cartoons.  The angel is Hal Hidgon (whose running training program I am following), perched on top of my left shoulder, telling me that every mile counts and to just get out there and do SOMETHING.  And then the devil, is Belinda Carlisle, crooning in my ear "vacation all i ever wanted...." and drinking a big Blue Moon and laughing "maaaawwwhaaaahaaa".

OK.  This morning Hal is winning.  As I type this I am guilted into doing "something".  So the boys and I are strapping on our Saucanys and hitting the track down the street.  I can't promise it's gonna be a quality speed workout or anything...it might only be a few laps.  But at least it's something. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On the road again

Greetings from somewhere in the foothills of North Carolina. Our journey began at a mere 5:30 am, when we shoved 2 bleary-eyed boys, still in PJs, into our Acadia, packed to the gills with unnecessarily large amounts of stuff. A travel mug full of coffee, vacation had begun, with yours truly behind the wheel to start our 12 hour road trip to Myrtle Beach. Have you ever noticed something about a road trip (and vacation for that matter) erases all the rules regarding diet, behavior, habits, etc.? Case in point: my snack bag for the car. Non-road trip Kim would happily munch on roasted almonds and make the boys munch on a cereal bar from Trader Joes. Road trip Kim, however, has managed to pack every high-fructose corn syrup/partially-hydrogenated oil/trans fat laden snack known to man. We've got goldfish (with marshmellows in them for god's sake!), Pringles (I believe you cannot go to the beach without them), Blow-Pops/Smarties (read: bribes), Chex Mix, Bugles, ChipsAhoy, Combos...oh, I could go on. There is something magical about putting the car in drive, embarking on your journey, with a fistful of sour cream and onion Pringles.
Not only do we eat with wild abandon, but all rules regarding technology get thrown to the wayside. 2 straight hours playing Pokemon on the DS? GO for it. You want to watch UP, Wall-E, and Cars all in a row? Knock yourself out! Just keep those headphones on and don't touch each other, please. No license plate games in this vehicle.
Hell, I am even letting Zach play his Ipod which is chock full of family favorites from Motley Crew, Pantera (really?), and Metallica. Rock on brotha. Just let me read my magazines (another rule: nothing less than smut and celebrity gossip allowed) and type my blog.
Directions? What exit? Uh oh...I'd better look like I am paying attention...
BTW-who knew there were so many "biscuit stores" around here...may have to add that to the road trip menu!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Believe in YOU, sista!

I am a lucky girl.  I've got good friends all over the place and each one of them hold something near and dear to my heart.  I truly feel God did not give me sisters so I would cherish and love my girl friends as if they were sisters. 
One of these "sisters" I met just a few short years ago.  The local YMCA had opened and like me, she was traipsing her preschooler around the gym to check it out.  We probably exchanged a brief smile and a hello and then went about our thing.  Pretty quickly, our little boys became the best of buddies in the Tot Watch at the gym, introducing their mommies to each other as we breezed in and out to pick them up. 
At some point, Sara and I were side by side on a treadmill when she asked me what the furthest I had ever run.  I told her a 5K, and all I ever ran on the treadmill was 4 miles.  Rarely did I even run outside. She countered, "Have you ever tried to run more?" I told her, "Nope. And don't really think I could do so, nor do I want to". Then she asked me on our first "date", doing a 6 mile run with her.  6 miles????  I thought I would DIE.  And, could I even keep up with this skinny little thing who has ran countless races, including 5Ks, half marathons and...GULP...a marathon?
But she believed in me.  So I believed her.  And I did it. 
Then she asked me to do a triathlon with her.  After that, would I run a half marathon with her in the Fall? And all throughout the training, when I didn't believe I could endure that swim in Lake Geneva, or I could do that 11 mile training run, she believed in me.  So believed her.  And I did it.
If it weren't for all this believing, I'd probably be clocking my usual 3 miles on the treadmill, not pushing myself beyond what I thought was possible.  I wouldn't be able to motivate other women through this blog or my running classes to get out of their comfort zone and go for their goals.
So now Sara, it is time for me to believe in you.  You have an awesome goal set out for yourself this Sunday at the Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon in Chicago.  And I KNOW you can do it, there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind.  So get out of your head, take it steady, and have fun.  Take all that belief that you had in me and the other girls and put it all into yourself.  And no matter the outcome, I admire you for setting your sights, getting out there and just trying.  We all believe in you sista!  GOOD LUCK!!!
PS.  I think a boatload of post-race Oberons are in order when you get home!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

enjoying the fruits of labor

This will be a short post today, as I have 4 hungry boys (nope, didn't sprout 2 more kids...friends that slept over...) looking for pancakes and running class to teach this morning.  Sunday a group of us ran Ele's Race 5K here in Lansing area.  The group is from my running classes, either looking to just walk/run a 5K or blast through with a PR or placement. 
I was excited to run the race, however was not feeling the love of a PR Sunday morning.  And, I don't say that just to say it and then bust out and come in first (not that I could compete with this group Sunday).  I think you can feel when you will run strong and awesome, and when you won't.  I had a good time (about 10 seconds over my personal best) and placed 5th in my age group and got a really cool mug that I am currently drinking some good Peet's coffee out of as we speak.

check me out (all black on the side) looking at that dragon thing and thinking WTF is that?

I think the biggest accomplishment of the day, however, is my group of "running 102" girls who wanted to break that 30 minute 5K barrier.  I can't describe the feeling watching them all cross that finish line at 28 min, 29 min, even 29:5something (it's before 30 minutes and that's all that counts).  These girls started my Running 101 class in March not thinking they could even run a 5K in it's entirety.  Now, 4 short months later, they are crushing their goals with some amazing times.  Kudos to you Linda F, Kristin D, Kris D, Ellen S, Meggan A, Candace H and Leah H!!!  

 kristin, me and kris gutting to the finish

The whole fam got in the fun...Zach PRed, getting under 25 minutes.  Sam and Tyler ran the mile race with us following the 5K and did great.  Tyler, Taylor and Logan sprinted to the finish (Moms and Dads trailing behind...we were tired!).

me and Logan (sara's son) crossing the finish while Tyler collects his medal
zach and sam approaching the finish...love those "yittle" legs!

My Diva girls did awesome as well...of course!  Staci and her 8 year old son Parker took first in parent/child, Peg placed 1st in her age group, Sara placed 11th in her age group and Kara placed 2nd in our age group.  Smokin' :o)
the usual cast of characters: kim, sara and peg

Monday, July 19, 2010

3 short months to go

July 16th we ran 12 miles
August 16th (or the week of) we will run 17 miles
September 16th it will be a *short* 12 miler

And October 16th the mack daddy:  26.2 miles.

Gulp.

And ya'll...3 months goes by pretty darn fast.  But ironically it is not the 26.2 miles I fear doing at the moment.  Nope.  It is the 20 mile training run that we are slated to do week 15 of our training. Everything I have read says if you can do the 20 miles, you can do the 26.2.  They say the last 10K is a mental game.  But what they DON'T examine is what happens if you can't do the 20 miles?  What then? It's not like you can turn around at week 15 and say, "Oh well.  Couldn't do the 20 miler.  I guess I am not doing the marathon".  So you sort of have to push through it, I suppose.  Jeez.  A lot of pressure lies in that training run on September 24th. 

At this point in my training, I am putting my faith in Hal Higdon, my Saucany's, and my Divas. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hooked on a feeling

I suppose it's the feeling the gambler gets when she walks into the casino and hears the clink of the slots and sees the dealers at the blackjack table.  It's probably the feeling the car enthusiast gets when he hits a classic car show and smells the exhaust of a 1957 Camaro or spots the shiny red paint job of a souped up Mustang.

That's how I felt walking through the doors at Playmakers Thursday morning, coffee in hand, ready to face the madness of the semi-annual sidewalk sale.  I got that jolt of excitement (coupled by caffeine), butterflies in my stomach and a skip in my step like I couldn't get in there fast enough.  Once I walked through the doors, got a whiff of that "Playmakers smell" (akin to a "new shoe" smell) and grabbed a big red shopping bag to stash my treasures in, I was in my glory.

front of store (picture from Playmakers website)

Background:  I love to shop.  I love to run.  When I can bring both worlds together, it is like mixing chocolate ice cream with Reese's peanut butter cups in a DQ Blizzard:  Heaven.  Playmakers caters to the running population here in the greater Lansing area and sells everything from sneakers (yes, SNEAKERS. not TENNIS SHOES), Uggs, running clothes, yoga attire, kids stuff, and any kind of accessory to running you could think of, down to GU and 26.2 stickers. 

Every January and July they hold a "sidewalk" sale where they close the store down on a Wednesday, mark down prices, and open their doors Thursday morning at 6 am so crazy individuals like myself can storm in looking to stock up on gear for the season.  The place is madness.  Think day after Thanksgiving sales...but worse because you have lots of type A runners (like myself) looking for specific things in a very calculated manner. 

picture of the sidewalk sale from Playmakers website

My first rule for the sale:  Get there the first day. Earlier the better.
Second rule:  Bring NO kids. 
Third rule:  Hit the clothing items first, hit the shoes second.  If there is time, shop for hubby and kids. 
Fourth rule: Try not to calculate the cost of the collective items in the gigantic red shopping bag. 
Fifth rule: Try to get only what you need. 

I guess this July I "needed" lots of things:  2 pair of sneakers (the tried and true Saucanys plus a Brooks trail runner), 2 pair of shorts, 3 tank tops, 1 visor, 1 cute t-shirt (everyone needs a cute t-shirt), pair of unders and bra (can't neglect the nether regions), sports bra (impulse purchase that may be returned) and 6 GUs.  Oh, and 2 sleeveless shirts for the hubby (don't worry, he went Friday and purchased his own bounty).
The piece de resistance?  When you leave the store, they hand out chocolate covered Dove bars.  Hey, it ain't no Reese's flurry, but I'll take it.

Last rule: Once home, lay out ALL of your goods and justify OVER and OVER the uses you will have for each said item.  Try everything on again because you know your mirror at home is much more truthful than the distorted ones in the store.  If satisfied, ceremoniously rip the tags off of each purchase, declaring the items officially YOURS. 

Now all that's left to do is take your new goodies out for a test run :o)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

For the love of Avocados...

I'm really into Avocados right now.  That's right...with a capital A.  Between breakfast, lunch and dinner (and snacks) I swear I could eat at least 2 per day.  It's all healthy fat, right?  This week I've concocted some pretty yummy things with this Mexican (or Californian) gem and thought I'd share with you.  If you have a favorite avocado recipe, please feel free to comment...the more ways I can 'em, the better ;o)
Think I could throw them in my green smoothies????

Kim's Guacamole
2-3 medium avocados
2 limes
big handful of cilantro
1 garlic clove
1-2 jalepeno peppers
red onion
1-2 plum or vine ripened tomatoes
plenty of sea or kosher salt

mash avocodos and squeeze juice of both limes.  give a generous sprinkle of salt.  chop cilantro, garlic clove jalepenos and red onion with a mini chopper and add to mashed avocados.  coarsely chop tomatoes and mix in.  salt more to taste. 

BBQ chicken wrap with...avocado
chicken tenderloins (i used a whole package so i'd have leftovers)
bbq sauce with a sprinkle cumin mixed in
1/2 avocado
sea salt
1/2 tomato
cilantro
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
whole wheat tortillas (burrito size) or wraps

Salt and pepper chicken and grill, brushing with BBQ sauce.  OR pour BBQ sauce on top of chicken and bake in 350 oven for 20 minutes or until done. Let cool.
Lay out tortillas (2).  Slice chicken and put into wrap.  Top with sliced avocado sprinkled with a little sea salt, sliced tomato, a little cilantro and some shredded cheese.  Roll up and slice in half!  Makes 2 wraps. I kept leftovers of all ingredients on hand and ate one of these almost every day this week for lunch!

Simply Laughing Cow and Avocado wrap (thanks to Sara)
Take one wedge of laughing cow cheese and spread on a tortilla.  Mash 1/4 to 1/2 avocado with a little lime juice and sea salt and spread on top of cheese.  Roll up and enjoy!

Kitchen Sink Spinach Salad with...you guessed it...Avocado
Baby Spinach
1/2 cucumber-chopped
2 tomatoes-chopped
1/4 cup red onion-chopped
2 grilled chicken breasts (i marinated mine in italian dressing overnight)-chopped
2 hard boiled eggs-chopped
chopped bacon (a few slices...or more)
1 avocado chopped

Layer the ingredients in the order above (or however the heck you want to).  Serve with your fav. dressing.  Mine would be ranch :o)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Take me home...country road...

I have to say, there is a marked difference between running in the country rather than the 'burbs.  I can't say I prefer one over the other as they both have their strengths and weaknesses.  And here in Dewitt, we get to do a little of both.  Take it to the South around here and you are running in the 'burbs.  Running on the pavement, dodging kids riding bicycles and curious dogs, smelling summer bbqs and freshly mowed grass, hearing the occasional hoot/holler from a car-load of teen aged boys (we are a good looking group of runner girls after all).

Take it to the North though, and you are in a different world.  Pavement turns to gravel and dirt, a delight to the knees for sure.  The cookie cutter houses of suburbia give way to scattered farm houses and rows and rows (and rows and rows) of corn.  The smells out here...not so pretty...a mix of cow manure (sometimes so unbearable you have to breathe through your mouth) and stinky farm animals.  And speaking of animals...you get so many spectators along the way.  From the random farm dogs that greet you on the road, to the cows and horses that stand quietly by the fences and look at you as if to say "what in the HECK is that THING doing?".  Country runs are so peaceful and quiet....just listening to the crunch of your feet on the dirt road.

And the occasional SCREAM of the divas.  Which is what happened at the end of our 11 mile run Thursday evening.  After winding through the country roads of Dewitt we paired off the at last few miles of our sweaty journey.  About 1/2 mile away from my house and sweat soaked, Staci and I are happily chatting about something food related I am sure when out of nowhere we hear a strange guttural noise and a loud hissing from the side of the road. Staci (closer to the source) screams and lunges toward me.  I scream because she is screaming. All the while...we are still running and screaming!   I turn to look to see what is causing this reaction from an otherwise quiet gal.  Crouched on the side of the road is a crazy looking raccoon...NOT your Disney movie variety for sure.  This guy had WILD looking eyes, crazy fur that was half missing on his body, and he just kept hissing at us with teeth glaring!  Our hearts skipping like 10 beats, we pressed on home, figuring the crazy looking 'coon had scampered away.   Don't they say animals are more afraid of us than we are of them?  Not the case with Ricky the Raccoon here.  He paid a little visit to Sara and Danielle who were a minute or so behind us, equally scary the bejesus out of them!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm meltingggggggggggggggggggggggg...

So you know those really HOT days of summer?  I mean those REALLY hot days where you walk outside and you *try* to take a breath in but you feel as if you are swallowing water instead?  Those sweltering days where you go outside to grab your mail and you have sweat trickling in between your boobs? (sorry, men out there...in between your back...) You look on your street and there is NO ONE, not even a dog, outside playing.  Then, in the distance, you see some crazy ass fool be-bopping down the street.  Is she...?  Nah.  She couldn't be.  But as she gets closer you realize, yep, that insane person is actually RUNNING in this scorcher.  IS SHE NUTS??!?!

That would be me.

I would have gone on the treadmill.  Really, I would have.  But, I promised my running class I'd do a group run with them. Besides, my car thermometer is *only* reading 81 degrees (ps. it's 10 am).  Compared to the 90 degrees I ran in yesterday, this is some cool weather.  I might grab my running tights.  Brrrr...

Anyway.  I meet up at the Y with 2 other hardcore fools and we start off on our 6 mile run.  2.3 miles into it, one of the gals veers off, taking the shorter route back to the Y.  Smart, smart girl.  Staci and I press on. My tank top comes off mile 2.5.  Let me digress here about running in just a sports bra.  I have NO shame.  If it is hot, and you are running with me, you might see a little bare stomach.  Hell, today I would have run naked if it weren't against the law (Is it?). So, I say whether you have a flat iron tummy or a little love handle action on the side (like I do), let her all hang out.  Maybe just try to tan the belly a little bit beforehand so it isn't so blaring white, OK?

Anyway, here we are, be-bopping down the street.  Me in all my sports-bra-clad wonder, sweating and panting like my dog when she doesn't know better to come inside on a day like today.  1 mile feels like 10.  I make Staci stop with me at the park for a small shower in the water fountain.  I make Staci stop so I can pick up my discarded tank top from earlier (good excuse, huh?).  I make Staci stop and walk with me because I am hallucinating.  Staci, by the way, is trying to chat with me in an effort to keep both of our minds off the heat.  It would have probably worked better if I wasn't moaning every 2 minutes "OH MY GOD. IT IS SO HOT. ISN'T THIS AWFUL? OH MY GOD.  IT IS HORRIBLE OUT HERE".  So much for a positive attitude, Coach Kim.

Finally we are on the home stretch.  We may be picking up our pace a little as we know the end is in sight. I even start contributing to the conversation instead of grunting and groaning. I glance up at sign in front of the high school that reads the date, time and current temperature.  92 degrees.  Are you freakin' kidding me?  No wonder there was NO ONE out on the roads with us.  We passed not a single biker, runner or even dog walker.  Not a one. 

Crazy ass-fools, indeed!  But oddly enough, afterward when we were walking back to the gym and discussing cold Oberon beers and 5K races, it didn't seem all that bad.  :o)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Not sure what hurts more...

Not sure what hurts more...my head or my hamstrings.

Just because I run, doesn't mean I am in shape.  I have learned that the hard way after a torturous Bootcamp class at the Y.  What kind of instructor would inflict that kind of pain on her students?  Um...that would be me.

Michelle asked me to sub for her bootcamp class a while ago and I (too) eagerly agreed.  I mean, what could be so hard about that?  I run.  I'm fit.  No big deal.

I sensed I would be in a little bit of trouble when she gave me her list of exercises to do in class.  Then, I decided to swap out some of the lunges (she had lots of lunges going on) with some "fun" speed type drills.  I think I got a little overzealous with the old school PE drills...was I thinking I'd be sporting the track suit and whistle while my students ran cone to cone?

What I forgot is when you teach a class you also have to do the moves yourself.  And everyone is watching you so you have to do them 1. correctly  2. at maximum intensity  3.  for ALL the repetitions.  Yeah.  Wasn't really thinking about that when I added those suicide-type drills to the workout. 

I knew I was in trouble when I felt the stiffness in my hamstrings and butt about 1 hour after class ended.  By the end of the day, the only thing that was easing my soreness was the frozen vodka lemonades I was sucking down like slurpees. (Recipe for this lovely concoction to follow on "Downright Sinful" section of blog)

This morning, I hobbled down the stairs with the grace of an 80 year old (no offense to any 80 year olds out there reading this blog). My ever so observant 5 year old pointed out, "Mom, you can't walk right?".  I am hoping the 3 Motrin I popped serves dual purpose:  to stop the pounding drums residing in my head from excessive vodka lemonade consumption AND to make sitting down to go pee not such a challenge.  We'll see...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Excuses, excuses...

I find it interesting that when I have a particularly crappy run, like my 10 miler this morning, I have tons of excuses swirling around my head for the entire 90 minutes or so as to why the run sucks. But, I find it even MORE interesting that most of those excuses for why the run was crappy, well, they also have been reasons why I have had a stellar run in the past.  Let me show you what I mean...

Here is the collection of the excuses I was saying in my head during my junky 10 mile run today:

1. I am running too late in the morning and feel sluggish after breakfast
2.  I hate these sunglasses.  They are slipping all over and distracting me.
3. It is too sunny outside and too freakin hot
4.  These dirt roads are uneven and annoying and I feel like I am running on the beach (yes, an exaggeration)
5. I hate running by myself.  (well, except for the annoying fly buzzing around me for 2 miles because I smell like a garbage heap)
6. My playlist is horrible on my iPod and it's making me run too slow. I should have left my iPod at home.
7.  I didn't eat the right thing for breakfast.  I forgot to eat a banana. I NEED to eat a banana before I run.  What was I thinking???
8.  I didn't drink enough water before I left and I am dehydrated (which I was because I was getting the chills)
9. I planned my water/gel stop to late in my run (mile 6.5).  The last 3 miles now feel like I am running through sludge.
10.  I think my shoes are tied too tight
11.  This black tank top attracts the sun and makes me too hot.
12. I haven't ran this distance in a few weeks so my legs are not built up for it yet.
13. The horses on the farm are staring at me funny (OK.  That wasn't really an excuse but I did lose my footing a couple of times because I was watching them)
14. I forgot to shave my legs.  That must be causing some sort of wind resistance slowing me down...don't swimmers need to shave their legs so they can swim quicker...?

as I got more tired...the excuses obviously got more ridiculous...

OK.  About a month ago I ran almost the SAME route in about the same conditions as I did today.  I had the best 10 mile time I have ever run in a long time.  Here's my spin on the above excuses for that day:

1. I love running later in the morning. It gives me a chance to digest my breakfast and ease into my run.

2. Wow!  I am glad I wore sunglasses. If I had the sun in my eyes it would be a total distraction.
3. What a beautiful sunny day for a run!
4. These dirt roads are so easy on the knees...ahhhh....
5. Sometimes I love running alone...just me and my thoughts
6. This music is motivating me to push it faster!
7. Thank God I didn't eat a banana this morning because all I would be doing is burping that sucker up.
8. I am glad I didn't drink too much water or else it would be sloshing around my stomach
9. Having my water/gel later in the run is helping me to hammer out the last few miles.
10. I hate my shoes too loose...I am glad I tied them tighter today.
11. I think this is my favorite black tank top to run in
12. My legs really needed a break from the long mileage so I am glad I took a break.
13. The horses on the farm are staring at me funny.  No matter the run...they always stare at me funny.  They are probably thinking "What in the heck is that thing doing running around?"
14. I can't remember if I shaved or not that last run so I got nothing on that excuse

Oh well.  I think some days you got it and some days you don't.  Perhaps next run I'll try to do it early in the morning, with my running divas, leave my iPod at home (along with my sunglasses), eat a banana and drink plenty of water, run on pavement most of the way (avoiding those pesky horses) and be sure to shave my legs.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where in the heck have you been?

So I run a 25K and I think I am a running goddess and I never blog again.   Is that what you are thinking?  Or, it could be "thank goodness that girl shut up for a little while, doesn't she have a life??".  Well, yes, in fact I do!  The month of May happens to be the most insane month of my life.  On top of the end of school festivities, field trips, and warm weather hoopla May brings, we also celebrate our anniversary and the birth of our 2 sons.  For crying out loud, we even celebrate our freakin' dog's birthday!  If I were to blog, it would most certainly be a laundry list of things that I need to get done (like today I need to wrap Tyler's presents, bake his brownies for school, go to a play date with Sam, teach my running class, order my Dad's birthday present (oh yes, he is a May baby too!), blah blah blah).  So I figured I spare you the boring to-do lists of my life and take a bit of a rest with the blog.  Just like I am taking a bit of a "rest" from my running training.  Well, it is supposed to be a rest but I still find myself going out there for a run 4 times a week (I guess 2 times are a given since it is my job now!).  You could say I am addicted.  Or sick.  Either one is fine.

I am feeling a little like a slacker I have to admit.  I've got friends all around me training for another 1/2 marathon (and my husband for the marathon) that is this coming Saturday. I am not running in either as I will be a cheerleader and overseer of my children.   And then all of my tri-buddies are training for the Hawk-I Triathlon which is the following weekend but I will be in Balitmore whooping it up with my college gals (believe me, even though I am missing doing that event I'd rather be drinking wine with my girls than sloshing around in open water in my hot swim cap).  Oddly enough, when Sam and I cheered on the ladies as they took their inaugural swim across Lake Geneva, among the sea snakes (thanks Kara), I was jealous I was not in there.  And to think, last year I SO dreaded that open water swim (if I was blogging back then, you would have had some really good laughs).  Maybe because last year it was freezing and this year it was close to 80.  Yep, I am going with that reasoning because if ya'll thought I missed it for swimming in the fishy, weedy lake you might have me committed at this point for sure. 

But, I tell you what...sometimes it is nice take a break from the hard training and just appreciate the sport of running.  Nothing taught me that more than the 5K race I did this weekend with some of my Running 101 buddies.  There were 6 of us that showed up to the race on a threatening rainy morning.  4 ladies were running the race with personal goals in mind, whether it was to complete the entire 5K running, hit a specific time, or beat an old time.  I paced with my good friend Kristin to help her get close to beating a 30 minute 5K.  Now, typically when I run a 5K I take off with abandon and do not pay attention to anyone, or anything, until I hit the finish line.  It was so nice on Saturday to take the focus off of myself and watch everyone around me trying to make their goals a reality.  I could see the look of determination and focus on the faces of each runner.  After Kristin and I finished (30:08 this time...next race we will crush it Kristin!) we watched the other ladies come in.  Every one of my running 101 gals crossed that finish line with a Personal Record.  I can tell you that I feel the most amazing sense of accomplishment when I finish a race and know that I beat my old PR and have had an awesome race.  But I cannot describe the feeling of watching someone you have helped over the course of 7 weeks cross that finish line accomplishing her goal.  I swear I felt like crying...but I fought back the tears for fear of looking like a crazy sap.  Did I mention that three of the ladies took top 4 in their age groups??  What did it for me was when we were walking in the parking lot to go home, Linda F held up her medal and exclaimed "I have never won anything like this in my life until today!!"

Me either, I thought, as I got into my car.