Archive for running

Racing Myself

It’s been awhile since I posted a running update.  After the half marathon, I felt like you guys could use a break.  Well, break’s over!  I’ve always hated losing.  Card games with my sister would inevitably end in my bottom lip thrust out, arms crossed, and hot tears streaking down my face while I hiccuped “nuffair!”  That translates into “not fair,” for those of you who don’t speak child.

One thing running has helped me with is the realization that I’m not the best, and that’s okay.  So instead, I find myself racing against myself.  It’s not about crossing that finish line first.  It’s about challenging myself to go faster, be less tired afterward, pass just one, maybe two more people at the finish.  I’m happy to say that for the majority of the races I’ve done, I’ve accomplished a personal best.  It’s crazy to see times from two years ago for the same courses.  For example, there’s a local 5K in early October every year.  Here are my times for the last three years:

10/4/08  34:52  (11:15mi)

10/3/09  31:13 (10:04mi)

10/2/09  29:09 (9:19 mi)

So, the first time I ever ran it (and actually, that was my first race ever), I finished with a 11:15/mi pace.  I remember my goal for that race was to finish it in under 35 minutes and I was so excited when I came in so far under.  Then last year, I wanted to break a 10 minute mile and when that didn’t happen, I was bummed.  Until I realized how very very close I’d come.  This year, I really wanted to get in under 30 minutes.  I was secretly hoping to come in under a 9:30 pace but decided it was probably a long shot.  My fastest 5K to date was in June, when I had a 9:36 pace and that felt crazy to me then, even with fewer hills.

I would be willing to bet that the fastest runners finished the course in around 15 minutes.  And that’s cool.  They’ve probably dedicated a lot more time to this and no doubt look like this.  I may not be the fastest, but I can sure as heck be faster and stronger.  And that’s pretty cool.

Upcoming races:  Tufts 10K (next Monday), Gobble Gobble Gobble (Thanksgiving morning).  I’m wicked excited.

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Exhibit A

After getting my ass handed to me on what should have been a lovely, refreshing 5.5 mile run this morning, I have come to the realization that I am in no way ready for the 10k I’m supposed to run on July 4th.  I knew you guys wouldn’t believe me, so I’ve taken it upon myself to give you photographic evidence.  Pull out your smelling salts.

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The Shark

Its prey lingers ahead of it, slowing down foolishly, unaware.  He wavers a moment, looks back.  He is oblivious to the fact that it is watching him, waiting for its moment.  A smile curls the corners of his lips:  he is just a man out for some morning exercise.  Surely there is no threat of sharks today.  His partner labors behind him, trying to catch up.  She crests a hill and begins the descent.  He speeds up again.  It has missed this opportunity.  It won’t be so foolish next time.  “Stay with me!”  She calls out but he makes a comment about finishing in great time.  Perhaps he is aware of its designs, and her treachery in helping it.  He must know the waters are not safe today.  They never are.  Even at his speediest, there are always moments.  The shark is always hungry.  Its mouth is starting to flex now, jawing in practice for the tasty meal.  Jaggedy, mean teeth that look strangely like fingers are flashed, but he does not see it.  Could this be its moment?  She speeds up.  The mouth is now going wildly then fixes in a tight grin, ready.  Dunuh.  Dunuh.  Dunuh dunuh dunuh dunuh! *CHOMP* The menacing jaw comes down around…air.  “Oh come on!  Just slow down already!”  She calls.  “Missed me!”  He teases. She speeds up on him again.  Stealth shark.  No theme music.  Just as she’s behind him the threatening music begins again, faster, more frantic.  Finger like jaws clench down on the raw meat of his hide and he shrieks, realizing he has fallen prey yet again.  The shark will always win.

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Laughable (AKA, AK coming soonish)

“How are your legs doing this morning?” Mr. Cookie queried when I told him I was going to go for a 3 mile run.

“They’re actually okay,” I responded.  Both of us were a little surprised because I made a huge mileage jump yesterday up to 6 miles.  “Only six miles,” you ask.  “Didn’t you just do a half marathon?” Yes, well.  Be ye warned:  he who shalt sit on his ample bottom for a month shalt lose all semblance of athleticism.  And he shalt be SMOTE by the powers of the asphalt and bad pacing and the miles and a terrible sense of direction and his thigh cellulite chafing together.  You’ve been warned.

Well, my response jinxed me and my whole run.  Clearly it was all my response’s fault.  Not a lack of running.  Not a lack of eating properly.  Nothing so trivial as that.

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Top of the World

Okay, so maybe Alaska isn’t exactly on top, but it’s the closest I’ve gotten to that distinction.  Mr. Cookie and I just got back and it was heartening to see that you guys didn’t abandon us completely in the long period with no posts.  For now, you’ll have to wonder what the answers to the following questions are until a real post with pictures comes out:

* How many types of animal did we eat?

* What was the largest elevation change Mr. Cookie conquered on a run?

* What types of wildlife (and their poop) did we see?

* True or False:  we discovered a book titled Tracks and Scats

* Did Mrs. Cookie make friends with any taxidermied animals this time?

* Did  we see Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin, or anyone else with the last name of Palin???

* Did we abscond with Mom Cookie and her fiance’s adorable dog, Flash?

* add your own questions and we’ll try to answer them!

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Tightly Wound

I’m jittery.

I told a kid to get out of my face today.

In my defense (and believe me, I’m taking my side on this), he deserved it.  I’d booted him last period for

1) doing no work

2) not getting his stuff (binder, pencil) out

3) partially getting his stuff out, but only and inch from his bag and then only to say “see, I have it” before shoving it back in

4) interrupting me every two seconds to try to rat out someone else for doing something they weren’t doing

5) making faces at kids when he thought I wasn’t looking

6) saying “whatever” under his breath as I walked away after telling him to “start doing some work NOW!”

This is the kid who tells the guidance counselors he suffers from anxiety and the other kids pick on him.  This is the kid who will purposefully break his pencil by pressing down as hard as he can just so he has an excuse to make a leisurely, chatty trip to the pencil sharpener.  This is the kid has abused his mother.

This kid did a fist pump and shouted “yes!” when I told him to go to the office.

I’m usually very long on patience and sympathy.  I’m usually very good at giving kids the benefit of the doubt and seeing things from their point of view. I’ve bent over backwards trying to help him get caught up on his work (that he missed when he was out for two months because he wasn’t over the anxiety of his grandfather dying three years ago). I’ve been very patient with him when other teachers have booted him immediately.  I’ve taken him into my homeroom when his homeroom teacher told him to leave and gave him a place.  As evidenced by the list above, I go through a lot more redirection and I give a lot more chances to this guy than I would ever give to someone else.  Because I want him to succeed.

So today, when he came back to my room after school and accessorized his apology with rolled eyes, snickering, and giggles, I told him to get out of my face.  I told him that his apology was bogus.  I told him it was insulting how much had been done for him and how little he appreciated it.  I told him I don’t ever want to hear an apology from him again unless he truly means it and realizes just how much he upset me.

I got personal.

And for once, I’m totally okay with that.

In other news, I’m in a great mood today!  “Why,” you may ask.  Because my nails are a lovely shade of red.  Because my haircut is awesome.  Because tomorrow we’re going to Alaska.  Because my husband promised to make me dinner tonight.  Because A helped me pick out some seriously awesome new sunglasses yesterday.  And because she also just invited me to do the Cape Cod Relay with her team and I’m so excited to have a goal again.  Kick butt!

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The Stages of Racing

This post is dedicated to Mr. Cookie, without whom this race would not have been the same.

Thanks for putting up with all my ridiculousness, handsome.

I want to give you a little background into the above picture (taken race morning).  Compare my half grimace and squinty eyes to the cheerful countenances of Mr. Cookie and our friend, A.  Over the last several races I’ve done, I’ve noticed a trend.  I seem to go through stages surrounding a race that almost always mimic each other.  The Austin Half Marathon was no exception.

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