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 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.


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
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 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 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 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 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 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...