Monday, March 30, 2015

We Came, We Ran, We Were Pretty Sure We Were Dying...

The way every race for me starts and ends, with a trip to the Porta Potty.

This Saturday I ran the "Flattop" 5K Roadrace in Lamoine. I will be 100 percent honest and say that I did not want to do this. Well, I did want to at first, but then I got the Stomach Virus From Hell, and I felt as if I were dying for the days that followed all the glitz and glamor that go into having a stomach virus. Seriously, if the people in this house could stay healthy for more than 2 days at a time, it would be fantastic. I am starting to think we have a slow gas leak somewhere. So, long story short, I wasn't feeling my best by the time race day came but I had posted on here that I was going to run, and I am nothing if not a woman of my word. Also, I told my friend, Dotty I would run. Dotty is a cop, and though she is smaller than me, I find her intimidating in the nicest of ways, and I didn't want her to see that I didn't do it. My last reason for going was that my best friend and I had made a pact that if one of us didn't feel up to it, the other wouldn't go either. It's the best kind of buddy system really. Neither of us were feeling up to it, but neither of us were willing to call "uncle" first, so we both went. Thanks for that, Mand!

This is us starting out. Don't we look warm? photo credit: Richard Small

When I ran my last 5K of 2014, it was in December and I really thought that by the time I ran my first 5K of 2015, it would be spring, and it would be much warmer. Ha! Not so much. Why? Because, Maine. That's why. It was a balmy 30 degrees and boy oh boy was there a biting wind that day! I actually had an older gentleman run past me (as everyone does, because I am s-l-o-w) that had a 4 inch spitcicle attached to his chin. I don't know if he knew it was there, and I didn't really feel like pointing it out to him. I'm just sorry there is no photo to show you, because it was disgusting and impressive all at the same time. But I digress...

The whole point of this post is that I did it. I ran. I was not great. It would be arguable to even say I was good. I know that about halfway into the race, my body started screaming profanities at me in German (Side Note: My grandfather rarely got drunk, but when he did, he would call his friends and swear at them in German, the only actual German that he had picked up while fighting in the war, was apparently obscenities. You're welcome for that tidbit.) and it took all of my effort to just get across the finish line. It is no exaggeration to say that I had an old lady pass me. Like, Sophia from the Golden Girls, old. I mean good for her and all, but damn it!

She was pretty kick ass.  

I seriously considered not posting my time on here because of how terrible it was, but really what is the point of this blog to begin with? I'm never going to be a great runner, and might not even be a good one, but I did it. If I did it, while recovering from the flu, on a blustery March morning in Maine, than you can to. Who cares if it takes you 47.11 minutes (yup, THAT slow) to run a 5K? Just do it! If nothing else, you might get some bling to show off to your friends.

No, I am not having a seizure, but thanks for asking!

 The day after the race I was dead. Totally dead. My body refused to do anything, including eat because I had pushed it way too soon after being ill. Overall though, I think it was worth it and I am glad that I have plenty of chances to redeem myself.

Here is a link to some upcoming 5Ks in Maine. The first few have already happened, but there are many more on there. This is by all means not an exhaustive list of all that is out available, so use our friend Google, and find a race near you to try. You might find that you get oddly addicted to it as I have, in this strange love/hate relationship I have with running.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Awesome Mix Vol. 1

This is a nod to my husband, who has given me many a mix tape, and happens to be mildly obsessed with the movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, which is where this "mix tape" is from. 
So I am hoping that this isn't too much of a stretch to equate music with personal fitness, but it really goes hand in hand with motivating me, so I am hoping that you, Dear Reader, and you, Dear Professor (especially you!), feel the same way. You see this week's post could have been about what I did the week before last, which was walking and running for 5 days straight. It was pretty amazing, actually. It was somewhat warm, things were melting, and I could actually see a shoulder on the road for me to walk on so I could get out of the oncoming traffic. Those days are gone now. Or at least it feels that way.

I would feel a bit better if Johnny Depp would hold me, too.

 Next I thought about writing this week's post on what last week had been like, but I don't think anyone wants a play by play of my 4 year old vomiting like Old Faithful for days straight.

Imagine this, but with less bison and more vomit. I'm keepin' it classy, folks.
In short, I spent all of last week as a triage nurse in my own home and because of this, my body decided that it needed to expend all of it's energy fighting the virus that wanted to take me down along with my son, so I got almost no real exercise in.

So, back to the reason for that mix tape! Mother Nature has been specifically brutal this winter and early spring, which has meant that a lot of my fitness time has been indoors. It's hard to stay motivated to walk or run in place when you are in the same living room day after day. The one thing that keeps me motivated is finding songs that make me want to get up and move. This also applies when I am outside running. I notice a huge difference in how fast I can run if I have on music that is fast paced with a good beat. This doesn't mean it has to be "good" music, just good music to run to. My daughter sweetly downloaded my Ani DiFranco albums to my new iPod. This was so great because I do love me some Ani, but I didn't realize it was the only music on my iPod when I left for my run a few weeks ago. I'll be honest, it was terrible music to run to. Terrible. Now, maybe you LOVE to run to Ani DiFranco! I am cool with that. In the words of my 6 year old, "I don't want to yuck someone else's yum" (seriously who came up with that phrase?!), but it just didn't work for me, and honestly neither does that phrase! So, I thought I would give you  my current 5 favorite songs to run to, and if you want, you could leave me a comment here about some of your favorites.

I will be running my first 5K since December this Saturday, March 28th. It has been a while since I have been able to train for a 5K, so this run will be particularly brutal. It's called The Flattop 5K, and I guess that means I won't be too badly wrecked afterwards.

I am hoping that with our powers combined, we can come up with a good "mix tape" that will get me through this run!

Try not to make too much fun of me for this list!

1.) Uptown Funk You have to get off your butt when you hear it. My four year old got me addicted!
2.) Can't Hold Us It's upbeat. It's empowering. It's Macklemore!
3.) Thrift Shop Because you can't have one Macklemore song and not this one too!
4.) Don't Stop Me Now First, I love Queen. Second, I love Shaun of the Dead. Third, great song!
5.) Shake It Off Now don't you judge me! This song just makes me want to move, damn it!!

So that is it. Chuckle if you will but those are my top 5 workout songs at this point and time. You can think I am wrong, and you hate them all, but at least give me some songs worthy of my time if you want to complain! Next week I will fill you in on how the 5K went, if the songs worked, and some of the other upcoming 5Ks in the area that you might want to check out.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Snot rockets be damned!!!

I have really been dreading making this week's blog because I have spent almost 2 solid weeks so sick that I haven't been able to really do much physical activity. The whole point of this thing was to show ways that I could be active in the winter, and though shoveling has provided PLENTY of activity, I was hoping that there would be more that I could write about. So, I purposely put off writing this week's post, hoping that I would feel well enough to write about something other than me and my shovel shenanigans. As luck would have it, my purposeful procrastination has paid off and I do get to write about something else. Woo Hoo!

Today was the first day in a long time that I have felt even quasi human. With the warm weather and sun shining it felt like the awesome chance to attempt a run. The melting has started now so there is at least a tiny bit of a shoulder to the road. Now I won't have as high of a chance that I will get mowed down while running. All the signs were telling me to go. Before I could tell myself I wasn't well enough to go, I got on my running clothes and headed for the door.

This totally happened.

I don't know that you could call what I did today, RUNNING. There was walking, slow jog, tiny sprint, walking again, and then kind of a run all mashed into one. It wasn't pretty, and neither was I, but I felt pretty fantastic doing it. There were a lot of little victories in today's "run". First off, my running pants were sooo much more loose than they had been since I had worn them last! That was both exciting, and then mostly annoying as I tried to run in them. Next, it was fantastically beautiful outside and things are melting!

Do see what is happening here? For the love of all that is holy, that is actually snow that is melting!!!

The sun was shinning, and I didn't need a winter coat on to be outside! What isn't there to love? Lastly, I noticed that even though I was sick, and wasn't able to give it my 100 percent, I went so much further than I thought I would be able to go.

What this photo doesn't show is the crazy amount of neon I was wearing. It looked like a unicorn had vomited on me.

I used to classify being a runner as being one type of person. A runner was fit, they wore tight, body revealing clothes, they had their running cliques, and they thought they were, and probably are, better than me. As I have become a runner (yup, I can call myself that now) I realize that I was being a jerk. I am sure that there are a lot of runners out there that fit into the box that I described, and many that would point and mock me if they saw me running. Mean people are everywhere. Being a runner is about really loving running and just doing it no matter how good or bad you are at it. I don't even love running while I am doing it! I just love the way I feel about my accomplishment after I have finished, and that is good enough for me.

There are still some things that I want to feel more comfortable with while running, that I may or may not master. One of my friends told me I should learn to spit and blow "snot rockets" if I was going to run.

It's stuff like this that makes me terrified to snot rocket.

Overall I think that she is right. Those things are kind of necessary as running gets all your nasty juices flowing, and though I have gotten pretty adept at spitting, I just don't think I can ever be a snot rocket kind of girl. I am kind of a dork and instead of using the nifty little pockets on my gloves for my key or emergency money, I stuff them with Kleenex.

Yup, the sign of a seasoned, hardcore runner, ladies and gentlemen.

The point is, there is no wrong way to do this, boys and girls! So even if it wasn't my smoothest or my best run, I feel like today was the sign that spring really is on it's way, and that this first run was just the beginning of many more to come.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Today's Secret Word is...

I will have to be upfront and honest that I have not been nearly as active as I would like to have been this week. For one thing, I have been sick since Wednesday, and this mess just keeps evolving into one illness after another so that I end up feeling like I am sick with every virus possible. I am currently sick even as I type. Pretty sure that I must be nearing the final stage of this sickness which will inevitably look something like this.

This is my best case scenario of how tomorrow will feel.

On top of feeling like anyone that comes in contact with me should be given a hazmat suit, we also got hit with more snow. Again. Lovely. At this point, I feel unfazed by the white stuff. It's kind of like knowing that you are going to have to do dishes each night and the laundry every other day. You wake up, it's there, you deal with it. Of course once I finally decided to make peace with this fact,  life decided to smack me around a bit. The state plow truck pushed down a huge wall of snow that I had built up to keep between my husband's car and the road. This wall of snow was a compact snow/ice hybrid that had been formed from the plow trucks coming through our road, and my shoveling our driveway for every storm we have had this winter. It was roughly 15 feet long.

This is the before and after of my Everest.

 All that snow was pushed into my driveway and I was the only one home to deal with it. Luckily, my children just happened to be inside watching PeeWee's Playhouse on Netflix so they were unable to hear me let out a string of profanity that made me sound like I had Tourettes syndrome. I am pretty sure that I may have even made up a few words that were so foul they hadn't been invented yet.

Yeah, "FUN" wasn't the F-word I was thinking of, Pee Wee.

Now the point of this blog is supposed to be about being physically active in the winter, and I promise you, I am getting to that part. You see, we needed that space to park our car, and to use as a pathway to walk to our house. I had to shovel it. There was no option. I spent nearly 6 hours shoveling that day, and at least half of that time was spent just clearing away that wall of snow. I was upset and discouraged when I realized what a task I had in front of me, but I did it and I did it on my own, minus 30 minutes of shoveling that my cousin helped out with. This same time last year, I could not have tackled that task. I was not even remotely fit enough to attempt it. It was brutal, but I got it done and I was incredibly proud of myself. I could have called someone to plow it, and I almost did. Deep down I knew I could do it, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could.

Making the changes that I have in the past 6 months (eating healthier, being more active) has changed me in ways I hadn't expected. Smaller sizes of jeans have been great, but nothing has compared to the rush that I get from being able to do something that I hadn't been able to do before, like running, keeping up better with my kids, walking 11,000 steps a day, and moving mountains of snow. These are the reasons I keep shoveling on.