Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring has sprung, and the sap is still running.

It's supposed to snow today. Most of it is hitting south, but we still have strong winds. The ground is still partially covered with old snow. It is pretty miserable out. The calendar says it is Spring. Like most Chicagoland seasons, the weather doesn't match the calendar.

It doesn't look like this, not even close.
It was with the likelihood of a warm up during March (last year we hit 80) that I decided I would streak through March. Actually I didn't start my streak until March 2nd and figured that I would run through April 1st; an April Fool's Day ending seemed appropriate. As of today I have run 23 days in a row and it looks like I may make it to the end.

My friends, Bobbi and Kim, ran a 5k everyday in December. I thought that there was no way I could run everyday. (By the way, I ran 140 miles in December. I like underestimating myself. I keeps me pleasantly surprised.) The March running streak challenge had some promise for me. I only had to run a minimum of one mile. I've run a mile in jeans on my treadmill (dreadmill) a few times just to get my mile in. And I thought it would warm up as the month went on. (Ha. Ha.) My favorite running weather is 50's with a slight wind. It's supposed to hit 50 on Friday, and I am ecstatic. The bitter wind and cold has held on strong this month. The sun's presence and the temperature going just above freezing has caused some personal excitement.

Although I am not at the end of my streak, I've noticed a few things:

1) I can run everyday. The slow short milers have been great recovery. I am not going all out every run and keeping the next day in mind.

2) I will make time to keep the streak alive. Even at 10 pm I can squeeze in a mile. I am normally kicking myself for waiting so long in the day.

3) When I decide to do a short run, I almost always want to run more. I've gotten into a habit of running. My body enjoys it, and time slips away a bit. I feel better. All the things I love about running come out.

4) My treadmill may be my second choice, but it is sure nice to have an option to running outside on crappy days. My dreadmill has some programs on it, and I've had the chance to hike mountains and do intervals this month. I haven't done the programs in a long time. It was almost fun. Close but not quite. It is still a treadmill.

5) I have gotten faster. This I didn't expect. (Disclaimer: For me a 10 min/mile is fast.) Last week I managed to hold on to a 10:17 average for 8 miles. (I did get a quarter-sized blister but am refraining from posting the picture. You're welcome.) One of my runs had had a 9:58 average. Craziness. And then running again the next day. Sheer craziness.

I have almost put in 30 miles this week. My weekly mileage is up (which I expected with a daily run).The streak is alive, and I look forward to ending the month strong.

Who knows? I may just keep streaking.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What's Up with My Cup?

Which cup to chose? THE BIGGEST!
We have a nice spread of cups our house. I'm a tea drinker, and my husband is a coffee drinker. We both need a little jolt of caffeine to start the day. I've noticed that I choose the biggest cup I can in the morning, like a small bucket. I continue to chose the biggest cup among my mugs until THE biggest cup is clean again. Sometimes I will wash the biggest cup to be able to use it THAT day anyway. On weekends there is some bartering for cups between my husband and myself.

We have our favorites. The tall striped cup is my current favorite. It has nice cover and insulated band to go with it. The stouter striped cup was my husband's, (I mean is) but when the cat's away the mice will play. I think it holds the greatest volume and some mornings it's necessary. I love the plaid ones, but I only use them occasionally. The Starry Night cup is a girlio favorite for cocoa and tea. Yes, I'm raising them as little tea drinkers. They already have favorite flavors and favorite cups.

Are you cups normal sized? Or are they supersized like mine?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tri Me ~ Esprit De She

I am so excited and proud to be an ambassador for the Esprit De She Triathlon on June 9th in Naperville, IL. It will be my first tri in five years. Did I mention that I'm excited? The third is the charm. Right?
At the beginning of the year, we joined a gym with a pool. Last week I swam 36 laps in the pool. One full mile. A quarter mile of it was breaststroke. I had ask the life guard if I could do one more lap because the pool was closing for the night. My feet and calf cramped, and it took me over an hour, but I did it. I am pretty proud of myself.

Before I ran my first marathon (and the four after it) I did two sprint tris. I had a few things working against me back then. Six years ago my running and spiritual mentor of the time, Yvonne, asked me if I wanted to do a tri. It was nine months after the birth of my second daughter, and I was just getting my body back. And my sleep. We ran together. I biked and swam at the local outdoor pool. Yvonne is amazing. Not only is she the mother of six, when she had done the tri before she would get dropped off, do the tri and ride her bike home. Eight or nine days before the tri, I felt tired. Really tired. I woke up one morning knowing why I was so tired. I was pregnant. A complete surprise to me. I had to take it easy on tri day. It was also about 90 out. Not ideal tri conditions.

I did my second tri a year later. I had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. I had also had an appendectomy five weeks before the tri. I was supposed to see the surgeon for a post operative consult at six weeks. I decided to ask for forgiveness rather than ask for permission. Not ideal conditions. It turned out to be fine, and the intern at the surgeon's office asked me what my mileage was. He was a runner too.

Even though the conditions for the tris were not ideal, the thing that really haunted me was the swim. I had such a hard time with people swimming over me, kicking me in the head and all the splashing water. I had a hard time being a lefty with a left wind. The swim angels would come over and tell me to move the other way as if I didn't already know. One actually said, "Honey, you're going to swim a full mile if you keep zigzagging like this." I felt like Nemo with one weak little arm. When I got to the middle of the lake, I was a little spooked.

Today, I'm already stronger in the pool. With regular pool time, I can't wait to have a successful tri. And it goes along with my running goals for the year, a little whimsy and off the beaten path. Tri me.