Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Race Recovery...

How do you recover after a 5K PR race and 1 mile PR "fun run"?  Go out the next morning and run 8.15 miles!!  Well, at least that's how I did it.

Last week I had two fantastic runs.  Monday I ran my usual trail with Daisy and didn't stop one time for a walk break...and came in STRONG.  Tuesday I ran the race course-again, no walk breaks and in a great time.  (Not to mention Monday night I ran 1.5 with the NOBO group, and Tuesday I did Hard Body's ab torture, and then did laps at the pool.)  But I hadn't gotten in a long run.  Speedy and another gal were getting together to do eight (GASP) Sunday morning...and when I realized I still felt great Saturday night, I decided I'd join them.

Well, by the time we all got there, the eight miler had dwindled down to a four or five miler.  I secretly jumped for joy that I could do four or five with them and then do three or four alone.  Only because I was very nervous and scared--just not sure if I could do it or not.  Being alone means not having to slow someone else down, and not having to worry about letting someone hear me gasp for air!

We got started and after the first half mile or so my legs loosened up.  There ended up being four of us and we were running at a decent (read:  slow enough for me) pace of about 11:30-12:00.  We chatted the whole time and it was really fantastic.  When we got to about the four mile mark, one of the girls pealed off because she's been battling a foot injury and knew that was enough for her.   The rest of us decided we'd do another couple to get in six.

As we were headed back to the cars, I told them I was going to keep going to try for eight.  Speedy decided she'd come with  me after a quick (like maybe two or three minute at the most) pit stop for water.  We didn't have a route in mind so we sort of circled around close to the cars and talked the whole time.  She challenged me to surge up the hills (killed me, but I did it), and when we came in for the home stretch I said, come on, let's go, and we sprinted full blast for the cars.  We were neck and neck but I think if there had been a camera on the imaginary finish line, she'd have crossed a fraction of a second before me.

What an amazing run.  I had just put a comment on someone's blog a few days ago that I couldn't wait until I was running eight miles...and now I can say I have done it!!!  I ran the whole time (other than stopping for a couple of traffic lights and the water pit stop), and truly felt GREAT the whole time.

We are considering doing the Women's Half Marathon in Nashville in TWENTY FOUR DAYS!!  We looked at that one originally but neither of us thought we'd be ready for that distance that soon--but, hey, we're practically THERE now!  She'll use it for a training run for her target race-St Jude's in Memphis on December 4th, and I'll use it for a long run for my target race Rocket City Marathon on December 11th.  I'll get to run a Half with her, and she'll (possibly) hold back since it's a training run.  Plus, have you SEEN those finisher's medals?? 

Hello??!!  It's a medal and a charm necklace all in one!  Too cute!  I want all three (Nashville, Arizona and St. Petersburg, FL)...but I think I'll have to choose just one a year or my husband might make me go back to work to pay for my race habit!

The one drawback (well, the main drawback) is that it's on the most important football game day of the season for me--the Alabama/Arkansas game!  (Hubs is from AL, I'm from AR--I cheer for the Tide in all games but that one.)  Speedy promised me she'd go with me and suffer through watching the game some where on TV.

What do you think?  To race or not to race, that is the question!

Thanks for stopping, come again soon.


This is a two part post.  Just think of me as someone with a split personality.  (My husband, and probably anyone who has known me well for long, would argue that's only a fraction of the personalities I have...)


I have a list of excuses as to why I didn't do my very best on the Running of the Bulls 5K...but they don't matter.   What matters is that I didn't make my goal.  I wanted negative splits.  I decided the day before the race I wanted to run the first mile in 11, second in 10 and third in 9...and sprint in the last tenth of a mile at top speed.  Well...after I did a fast-for-me warm up at just under an 11:00 pace, I thought I was doing pretty good.  It felt "slow enough" for the first mile....but the problem was, when the starting siren went off, I started off at about an 8:30-8:45 pace.  It didn't feel that fast, but my trusty Garmin virtual partner was telling me it was much faster than the 11:00 pace I was racing against.  I kept telling myself to slow down...but when I hit mile one at 10:00 I "knew" I was in trouble.

There were a lot of people passing me.  I'm sure there were people that I passed, although it felt like I was just getting left further and further behind....by old ladies and five year olds alike.  In mile two I decided to try to hang on to the 10:00 pace I ran mile one in, BUT, my mouth got so stinking dry.  I am very used to running with a hand help mouth-wetter.  I know the water you drink on short runs doesn't do anything for thirst or dehydration, but it does wet your mouth.  It's become sort of a crutch for me I guess.  ...A crutch I decided not to take with me.  

At mile 1.5 we ran around a parking lot to head back.  Here's where I made yet another mistake.  I didn't drink any water.  Now, I'm saying it was a mistake because my mouth was just so darn dry.  Maybe having some water would have helped.  Probably not if I'm being honest.  Again, water you take in on short runs doesn't hydrate your body, so I was probably right not to drink it because then it would have been sloshing around in my stomach (I really dislike that sound, and even more than that, I really dislike the feeling).  But, if I had stopped and had some water I might not have made the next mistake....

When I got to mile 2 at 10:22, I had a terrible side stitch.  I "never" get those.  I really think it was from being just a little dehydrated.  Note to self--make sure I'm drinking enough water.  At that point I felt like I'd just blown it.  I "knew" there was no way I could hang on to that pace for another mile, and there was certainly no way I could get faster.  About that time someone I knew caught up with me and told me they were "bonking" (against the wall).  We comiserated for a minute, but that person pealed off to walk.  I felt really good because I kept running at that point.  

And then, the stretch of greenway I had been dreading the whole time was there--it's a "long" straight stretch.  On the way out it doesn't seem very bad, but on the way back it's just "brutal".  I was basically all alone...okay, I FELT alone, other than a really smelly teenage boy wearing headphones who kept playing leap-frog with me--he'd RUN up ahead of me and then would walk until I passed by him, then he'd RUN up ahead of me again.  Did I mention he smelled REALLY bad?

I hate to admit it, but I'm going to anyway....I WALKED.   I told myself I would allow 60 seconds of pity-party if I would just run the rest of the way.....and I'd love to say I did, but I didn't.  I got almost to the end (like a quarter mile to go) and I walked again for about 30 seconds.  After that point I turned up the heat, surged up the last little incline, and then sprinted for all I was worth to the finish.  

Although I did set a new PR (32:46 official time), and my final sprint pace coming in was in the 6:30 range....the very fact that I allowed myself to walk AT ALL is just killing me.  Why on Earth couldn't I just keep running???  Negative splits aside, I should have been able to keep running.  There was NO reason to walk.  I simply did not leave all I had out on the course.  It was not my best effort.  I'm very disappointed in myself.   I WILL DO BETTER in the future.  Period.

What a beautiful day for a race!  I decided, as a goal to shoot for, to try for negative splits.  I didn't want to set the bar so high I couldn't make it, but I didn't want to sell myself short either.  I really had no idea what kind of goal to set, so I decided since the time I had set on that course a few days before was just over 33:00, anything better than that would be good.  At the same time, since that was a training run and this was a race, I wanted to do significantly better.  I set a goal of running 11:00, 10:00 and 9:00 splits.  I've never run a 9:00 mile, but, I have run pretty fast sprints so I was hoping the race atmosphere would pull me along.
I also decided to warm up in my trainers, and then change into my Newtons to race.  1.5 miles is the longest I've ever run in them, but I feel fast with them on, so I decided I'd try to put my best shoe forward hoping to help my time as much as I could.
When I started warming up, I realized I was going much faster than I usually do and it felt GREAT.  I was so proud of myself for doing a full 1.3 mile warm up!  I changed shoes and got ready to race.  My husband and daughter showed up JUST before the start.  It was so good to see them before taking off.  It was also really great to see so many good running friends out there.  I was in the process of telling one good friend my goal--sort of the "make it public without fear" kind of thing that I don't do very well--when the siren went off.  
I felt like a race horse--at the sound of the siren, I took off.  I knew I was going too fast, but at the same time with everyone passing me I felt like I was standing still.  My Garmin virtual partner was panting in my rear-view as I was leaving him behind.  I kept telling myself I had to slow down but it didn't seem to be having any affect on my feet!!  When I got to one mile in 10 minutes, although I felt good, I was very worried about being able to keep that pace up the whole time.
I started talking to people who were on the greenway walking (not racers, but just people who were out for their morning stroll).  I love talking to people when I run.  I love by-standers and on-lookers.  I can get energy just chatting it up!!  That was one bad thing about this race--there was no place for "fans".  It was all just racers (and an occasional Saturday morning walker).  I'm sure I did pass some people, but I was oblivious to anyone passing or being passed.  I just tried to focus on me.
When I got to the 1/2 point I knew negative splits weren't going to happen.  I had a terrible side stitch and my mouth was like cotton.  After seeing a good friend start walking, I decided to get over my pride and just walk for a minute...which I did.  When I started back up I had the chance to chat with another lady who had started walking. I encouraged her to just keep running slowly up to the next light pole with me.  She was just as grateful as I was to have someone to run alongside of.  We talked for a bit about starting out too fast and the course and the kids who were out there.  Her husband came up and was saying how most people don't allow themselves to get into a comfortable rhythm.  I tried to take that to heart and just run without thinking about time.
And then I realized the last little incline was coming up...and I walked again for about 15 seconds or so...maybe 30??  I rounded the corner and SAW MY HUSBAND AND DAUGHTER!!!  I was so happy to see them right before the little incline that leads to the finish.  That gave me such a HUGE boost.  I surged up the hill and ran with all my might to the finish line for a NEW PR of 32:4(something)!!
Some good friends were cheering for me which made it all the better.  I was able to get some water and cheer in some other good friends.  How blessed I am to have made so many good relationships from running!!
After the 5K was finished...I ran the one mile fun run.  I had originally wanted to just run all out as fast as I could go.....but quickly realized that "race" is not a race at all---it's a fun run, mainly for kids.  I'd like to say I was holding way back, but I wasn't.  I just RAN.  Toward the end there was this little boy, maybe 4 or 5 years old who was up in front of me.  He would RUN as hard as he could and then walk until I got close, then he'd take off again.  At one point he started walking and he fell behind me.  I told him  he couldn't let me pass him because he was my "pacer"and that I needed him to stay in front of me.  I slowed down just a bit and he sped up.  I told him I wanted him to run right with me the rest of the way, until we got close to the finish and then when I told him to, I wanted him to run as fast as he could...and he did!!  I'm not going to lie, the thought crossed my mind many times that I really wanted to beat him...but I don't know that I could have even if I had made my mind up to try it.  The kid was FAST!  I ended up running the whole thing in 9:45--with him just in front of me.  
Not bad considering I had already run 4.5 miles before, and considering that's my fastest full mile to date and considering I was already starting to tighten up after the 5k.
What that one mile run told me is that a 9:00 goal for the final mile of my 5K was just a bit unrealistic after all! 
Sorry for the long post, but it's hard to tell both sides of a story with a short version!!
I think if I could stop being so hard on myself, but at the same time PUSH myself to keep going even when I don't feel like it, I'd be a MUCH happier, and better, runner.
Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Voices in My Head

Tomorrow I'll run my second REAL 5K--Running of the Bulls. (If you've been around a while, you'll remember I have participated in three "Race for the Cure" 5Ks, but they were just for fun-I was NOT a runner then.)

My time on my first real 5K was 33:19, BUT, I was paced by the "meth head" coach from my training group.  You know, the one who said I could beat Speedy...uh...you know, the one who was RIGHT!!  (So, I guess I shouldn't still refer to him as a meth head, huh??)  BTW, that same coach will be running his first 100 miler tomorrow while I'm running my first un-paced 5K.  Wow.  ONE HUNDRED MILES!!

Anyway, enough about him.  As usual, I want to talk about me! :D

I have spent a lot of time visualizing what it will be like finishing the marathon.  But I when I think about tomorrow's race I get a little, okay - a lot - nervous.  I think the marathon is still so far away it's a complete dream to me.  I can "daydream" about it (something I truly have a hard time doing, but I'm getting better thanks to my darling, fiction-writing husband!)....but tomorrow's race is REAL.  I can't allow myself to daydream about it because it's here, it's going to happen tomorrow.  Not only that, my dreams about Rocket City are just finishing, and I believe that's doable.  There's NO chance of me not finishing tomorrow, but to daydream/visualize/...dare I say "PLAN" to do anything more than average is scary as heck to me.  That would be tantamount to setting a goal that could be unreachable.  GASP.

Until I looked at my Cookie Dash time (again: 33:19), I had set a goal of having negative splits tomorrow, and not caring what the time looked like as long as I was able to get progressively faster the whole race.  But 33:19 was darn good compared to anything I had done up to that point, so there's no reason to think I couldn't do better on this race tomorrow compared to what I've been doing in training runs...and my training run ON THAT COURSE Monday was 33:06!  (And that was with talking most of the time...although I was huffing and puffing, I hadn't gotten to where I couldn't talk.)

I have all these voices in my head.  I can "hear" the various coaches from my 10K training group--breath, pull your elbows back, pick your knees up, lean from the ankles ((all things I've now repeated enough that those tips are all in my own "voice")).  I can hear Daisy saying "You've got this girl", and "from here to the car is only six minutes...you can do that".  I can hear my sweet daughter screaming "GO DANA" at the Cotton Row finish line.  I can hear the meth-head telling me, "you're going to beat her".  (Well, he didn't say those exact words, but that's what he's saying in my head.)

One problem is that I also have some very negative thoughts in my head that are all telling me not to get hurt.  They are all very well intentioned voices, because they just want me to be careful.  But, those voices hold me back from reaching my "full" potential.  And, sometimes those voices try to convince me it's better to not try as hard as I can because it would be better to make the decision to hold back and "fail" than to go all out and have the same result.  At least if I consciously hold myself back then I can have the consolation prize of "knowing" I could have done better.  I think that's why I had set the goal to run negative splits.  You sort of HAVE to hold back in the beginning to accomplish that. 

But...how far back??  If I hold on to the "get progressively faster" goal then I'll have to stay "slower" in the beginning than what I think I can really go...and only turn on the speed in the end.  If I end up meeting that goal to the exclusion of any other time goal then I will have succeeded.

But..."succeeded" at what cost?? 

I have a STRONG desire to do really well tomorrow....and I'm really scared of not doing well.  I'm scared enough that I can see myself making plans to hold back, to make excuses, to make a conscious decision to NOT do my very best. 

"What if I fall and hurt myself??"  (If you have the sound off...you should listen to the song that's first on the list....)

There are a lot of voices in my head... But, please, "tell me like it is", and give me some more words to bounce around in my brain as I'm pounding pavement.  Don't worry if you're reading this after my race tomorrow, there will be other races. 

THANK YOU in advance for all your encouragement.  You can't know how much you all mean to me!

...Thanks for stopping in, come again TOMORROW to hear about my big race!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Exponentially Stronger

First of all...let me give a disclaimer.  Although I'm married to one, I, myself, am not a math geek.   So, please don't leave any comments about how the following statement can't be correct...it's just an analogy!!

I think I'm getting exponentially stronger each day (as opposed to incrementally stronger)!   When I first started running I was happy if I ran a full minute before needing to walk.  The other day I was excited to be able to run about three and a half miles with just one walk break.  Today I went a full 5K, not only with no walking, but pretty darn fast.  After that I did Hard Body's ab torture session where I only laid down a few times (hey, don't judge until you come to the class, okay!)... After that I went swimming!  (And...for the record, it was pretty close to real swimming this time (as opposed to splash, splash, splash--rest, rest, rest, rest, rest--splash, rest, rest).  I lost count but I think I did around 400 meters of freestyle, back stroke and legs only with a kick board!!

Okay, as soon as I get over my bad self, I'll write a real post!


I had the pleasure of running with Daisy again.  We went out to a new to us greenway so I could check out the course for the race I'm running on Saturday.  As usual, I was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  My stomach was rolling and my shins were screaming.  I warned her that quite possibly from now on I will start our runs with a disclaimer of, "Okay, I don't know how I'll do today...but, I'll try my hardest."  ...and we started at a pretty decent pace.  I resisted the urge to look at my Garmin, determined to just run...and I still haven't uploaded the data to know exactly what pace we were keeping.  It felt a bit fast for me, but my training plan called for an uptempo run today anyway so I thought I'd just give it a go.

We chatted about various things and I started wondering how long I could hold out before I would have to tell her I needed to slow down or even walk.  It is a BEAUTIFUL greenway.  I wanted SO BAD to take some pictures, but the run was feeling really good.  If I'd have been alone, I surely would have used that excuse to stop for a breather, but I had Daisy to think about and she's not accustomed to stopping mid-run the way I am. 

We got to the half way mark and I was pleased.  I decided to try to make it at least 3/4 of the way before I walked...but if you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know the problem with that is I'm certifiably directionally challenged.  Not only that, remember I was not looking at my Garmin.  I kept playing the "just run to 'there'" game with myself.  And before I knew it, I saw a familiar landmark--THE PARKING LOT!!  It was a few minutes away but I could hear Daisy's voice in my head, "it's only six minutes"...and "you got this".  So, I sucked it up and probably even sped up just a bit until we got about 25-30 feet from the "finish" and I made like a barn sour horse and sprinted in with all my might.

When I told Daisy I had been really dieing almost since we turned around, she was surprised and said she would have never guessed.  After I caught my breath, and assured myself I wasn't going to toss my breakfast...I looked down and saw that we were well under an 11:00 pace!!  I started telling myself it was just a matter of it being much cooler...and that could very well be a big part of it...but I didn't run that well in cooler weather earlier in the year.  (Meaning...I AM getting better and faster!)

I'll skip the tooting of my horn for ab torture...but I do want to pat myself on the back for my swimming efforts today.  I actually made it FIFTY whole yards swimming freestyle!!  I took about a 10 second break on the side in the middle, but still!!  The gal I was swimming with today....I'll call her Sunshine...was AMAZING.  She and Flipper should be swimming side by side as I flail and splash in the kiddie pool.  But, today was the first time I felt like I was actually swimming laps!!

The best part??  I don't feel like I need to just die!!  Although, I think I will have to hire someone to mow my lawn.  ...My husband and I take turns mowing, and it's mine....but, really?  How could he expect me to mow when I have a marathon to train for!  I only have ONE HUNDRED and SEVEN days left!!   (((Okay...that was all just said in the hopes my hubby would read this before he got home and think the lawn was STILL not mowed...but he just got home so the surprise is foiled. ...I mowed the lawn even after all that working out!!)))

Tomorrow is a much needed, and well deserved rest day!.

I'm sorry for all the self-adulation.  I'm just so darn shocked with how well I've been doing.  I'm a complete "in the moment" kind of gal so I tend to think how I'm feeling now is how I have always felt and how I will always feel in the future.  It's good for me to stop and record this moment because one day not too long from now I'm going to forget how I started today wondering if I would even be able to make it 1.5 miles without walking...and I'll need to be reminded of what all I did AFTER that thought almost had me stopping before I even got started!

Thanks for stopping in, come again real soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

What A Day to Forget the Garmin...

Daisy and I had plans to meet up for a 3.(something) on the trails this morning.  I almost bailed at the last the last minute because my leg was NOT happy to be going out again today after yesterday.  I didn't feel good.  I was tired.  I was an emotional mess for a number of reasons.  I feel bad enough not being able to carry on conversation....but combine that with having to tell someone, "Okay, I'm a weenie, I have to walk now--OVER AND OVER," and it makes for a real confidence crusher that I just didn't think I could handle today on top of everything else (see above for the list of "everything else").

But, I told her I would be there so I didn't want to back out for such a pathetic list of excuses....and more than that,  I really like being around her.  She has NEVER once made me feel bad for any of my wimp-outs.  She knows what she's getting into, and, for whatever reason, she keeps asking me if I want to run with her.  So I try to keep that in mind and stop beating myself up.

I realized when I got there that I had left my Garmin at home.  I have almost NEVER run without it...but today I was glad there wouldn't be a record of what I knew would be a pathetic attempt at running.

I told Daisy when we started out I wasn't too sure what was going to happen because my legs were not feeling too hot.   (Cough....excuse....cough)  We got to talking and I launched into the story about the food allergy testing (between huffs and puffs).  (It has GOT to be hard to listen to a story where every few words are punctuated with breath.)  Anyway, I knew I had gone further than a mile and I knew I had managed to keep running up some of the "incline" section....but I really wasn't paying attention.  I told her I needed to walk a little bit, which we did (maybe a minute, maybe a little longer???).

We started up again and I was feeling great...thinking surely we had gone a couple of miles (yes, I am THAT oblivious to where I am at any given moment in time-it's bad, I know).  About the time I was wondering where exactly on the route we were, she told me we were almost at the pavement!!  (If you read about our first run together, it was the section she screamed at me to SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP AND STOP ASKING FOR STINKING WALK BREAKS YOU BIG WIMP--not really, that's what I screamed at myself.....it was when she very sweetly told me there was only SIX minutes left.)

REALLY???  I had made it that far with only one walk break that I probably really didn't "need"??  Well, I hate to admit it, but I was dreading that last six minutes.  It's HARD.  (Can you hear the whine in my words??)  Last time I kept thinking it was the longest six minutes I had ever run.  But, before I even knew it, we were at the last little up hill section---and I FELT GREAT.  GREAT I tell you.  I honestly felt like I could do the whole thing again.  I kicked it in the last 25-30 feet (maybe?) and pushed in a little farther than I did before!!

I didn't even have to play the "just run to that tree...just to that sign...just to the fence" game with myself!!

What a FANTASTIC RUN!!  And....then it hit me--I didn't have my stinking Garmin!!  What a day to forget it.  Now there would be no record of one of the best runs I've had in a while!  I don't have any idea what kind of pace we were keeping.  Daisy said she thought it was considerably faster than the last time we did that trail.  I do know that last time I probably walked maybe five times, and I felt like I was going to die at the end.  Today, however, I only walked ONCE, and (like I said but I still can't believe) I felt really amazing at the end!!!

It's a good thing because I have a 1.5 mile run with NOBO tonight.  I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Streak Through the Woods!

Friday's near face-plant almost ripped a hole in my shoes!  When I told my darling husband about it, he jumped up and down enthusiastically saying, "Oh PLEASE let me go buy you some new trail shoes!!"  Well, not exactly, but yesterday he did mention that maybe it was time I get a pair.  I didn't wait for him to even put a period on the sentence before I was out the door headed to Fleet Feet.  (See, my darling husband brings home ALL the bacon in this house so any purchase outside the ordinary is one we discuss...and a THIRD pair of running shoes is anything but an ordinary purchase!)

I tried on three pairs....and really wanted to love the Gortex Montrail Masochist.  Who wouldn't want to run trails wearing a shoe called the Masochist??!!  But neither it nor the really feminine looking third choice (can't remember what it was now, it was that unmemorable) felt anywhere close to the STREAK.  The guy who helped fit me was one of my coaches for the 10K training group and he's been working at FF for who knows how long.  I trust him.  He said these three choices were going to be the best for my needs (a somewhat stability shoe for local trails that he is all too familiar with).  One of the pairs I had my eye on were more for seasoned trail runners-much like a racing flat.  He said I could very easily end up with a stone bruise or a stump through the sole if I wasn't careful.  So after running around the outside of the store a bit, I chose the shoe that felt the best (Montrail Streak).

If I hadn't been completely pooped from my six miles on Friday, then helping to set up a million bike racks for the sprint tri, then helping with the actual race that morning, I would have taken those puppies out for a spin right then and there!!  I managed to resist, until this morning.

Originally I had planned to run a greenway because I wanted to try out running with a camel pack and didn't think it was a good idea to try that out along with new shoes, especially on a trail that had rain pour on it all night long.  But, in the end, I couldn't resist.  I love the shoes...I don't love running with the extra FIVE POUNDS on my back.  I've got to consider other options.  However, if I keep running with the extra poundage, surely it will make me feel lighter (and therefore translate into faster times) when I take it off to race (since they have aid stations at races).  In hindsight, I wish I had only tried out one or the other, but not both on the same run.  All-in-all it was a decent run.

Tomorrow I have plans to run with Daisy again.  Depending on what time we get done, I'll go do Hard Body's ab torture session and/or swim.  Flipper just did the sprint tri Saturday so I don't think she'll be ready to dive back in just yet.

Thanks for stopping in; come again soon!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thank You Ma'am, May I Have Another?

How blessed could one person be?  I got to run with BOTH Daisy and Warrior yesterday!

Daisy had asked me earlier in the week if I wanted to do six with her on Saturday.  I had already planned to volunteer at the Sprint Tri Saturday so I had moved my long run to Friday.  I thought I was running with Speedy, but I had my days wrong (that's next Friday).  Daisy and Warrior have had a long standing Friday morning run date on the mountain....and they graciously invited little ole me to come along!!!

I was so nervous I could hardly sleep...it was bad enough to slow down one runner, but slowing down two?  The relieving part of it was the fact I wouldn't have to worry about not holding up my end of the conversation.  I could huff and puff my way through the run and just listen to them chat it up as if we were on a Sunday stroll!!  ....well, that would have happened, if I had been able to keep them within earshot the whole time--which did NOT happen.

I had originally planned to run six.  Warrior had to get to work and Daisy had some other things on her "to-do" list for the day.  We decided we'd do the 4 1/4 trail run and I could tack on a couple extra at the end if I wasn't totally dead by then.  Amazingly enough, I managed to stay right with them, and even TALK the first couple of miles.

Not too far into the third mile I saved myself from face-planting after my foot hit a stump.  Immediately, my heart rate jumped about 10 beats.  That was pretty much all she wrote.  Not that I quit, but I rulked the rest of the way.  Although I managed to keep them in sight, for a good part of the rest of the run they were well outside of earshot for normal conversation.  When we neared the end of the trail, I sucked it up and sprinted full on so I could "finish up" with them.....

And then they let me in on the discussion they had the last quarter mile....the one in which they decided to tack on another 3/4's of a mile!!  That wouldn't have been too bad, except over half of that was UP HILL.  (It was a loop, not an out and back where we would have been able to also go DOWN HILL!) Sweet Daisy said, "you got this girl!!"  How could she say that??  Didn't she hear me breathing like a race horse?  Couldn't she see I was about to die??!!  But, alas, she was right...I did have it.  I didn't have it as good as she and Warrior had it, but I had it.

As if those hard miles weren't enough, after getting some more water and saying good bye to my running mentors...I tacked on an extra mile and a third!!  It was the slowest mile of the day--because 1) it was rolling hills on the road the whole time, 2) I didn't have two amazing runners to try to keep up with, and 3) I was TIRED!!  But, even still....I did sprint in to the finish.

Here's the thing.....

I wish I could just keep my pace nice and steady.  Instead I RUN, walk, RUN, walk...my pace varied considerably every single mile.  If I've got the strength and energy to basically "sprint" (relatively speaking), then it seems like I should be able to maintain a steady pace somewhere in the middle.

Here's my pace data/splits:
  1. best: 8:16, average: 12:06, total: 12:07
  2. best: 9:19, average: 11:40, total: 11:41
  3. best: 8:55, average: 13:03, total: 13:04 (the mile I just about face-planted, I slowed way down!)
  4. best: 8:56, average: 12:25, total: 12:26
  5. best: 8:29, average: 11:29, total: 11:30
  6. best: 9:00, average: 12:39, total: 12:40
  7. best: 8:16, average: 13:17, total: 3:44 (last quarter mile)--notice my best pace was the same for mile 1 as it was for this last little bit.
----------Total: 6.28 miles with an overall time of 1:17:12 on the trail most of the time.

I think when I'm alone I can better maintain a steady pace--it's just a lot slower.

...You know what??  This kind of run is basically a fartlek.  I'm going to be okay with it.  No, more than that---I'm GOOD with it.  ...No...really, I'm GREAT with it.

It was a great run.  Period!!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grab Bag

I have a lot of pretty random things to talk about today.  That's not any different than usual, but I can't seem to collect my thoughts into a "topic" like I've been trying to do lately; so today is just a hodge podge of stuff.

First of all.  Like I mentioned in my last post I found a fantastic blog radio show/podcast called The Marathon Show.  I'll probably mention this show over and over from now on because I love it.  Monday's show was called Down to the Running Store.  ((I would link it, but I can't figure out how to do that since it's an iTunes podcast.))  There is an incredibly interesting section on proper fit of running shoes.  I HIGHLY recommend listening to this discussion before you go out and buy your next pair of kicks.  I harp on proper fitting shoes all the time because it's just about the most important thing you need as a runner.  The show's guest gives excellent information about the fit process that I've never heard anywhere else.

You should also listen to the show because in the intro the show's host, Joe Taricani, gave little ole me a shout out!!  (Thanks Joe!)

Running With Daisy

I had another GREAT run with Daisy Monday.  It was funny because I had planned to go to Hard Body's spin class and then follow it up with her Ab Torture with my neighbor (I'll call her Mrs. Rogers--as in "Won't-You-Be-My-Neighbor" Mr. Rogers---come on, laugh, you know you want to!).  I was all ready to go, with my fancy spin shorts on, but Mrs. Rogers hadn't confirmed yet when I got a text from Daisy asking if I was running and did I want company.  I quickly changed clothes and told her, "why yes, I'm running!"  We did a four mile road loop.  I was able to keep up with her for two miles then I had to throw in some walk breaks and slow down....until the last maybe 30 feet when I was magically able to sprint.

This brings me to the question---when I'm in the middle of a run and I feel like I just can't keep running anymore, is it just a mind game?  I almost always have a little something in the bank which enables me to sprint in at the end of every run...but in the middle I feel like I just can't keep going.  Am I able to sprint because I've walked some in the middle, or am I fooling myself thinking I can't keep running?  I had "decided" that it was a mind game when Turtle hit the wall.  I had "decided" that I needed to keep running no matter how I FELT...but doing it is a lot harder than "deciding to do it".

I think I need to go back and read my own post about Behaving in Accordance.  The problem I'm running into (no pun intended--when I typed that, it was a complete fluke...)....the problem I'm running into is the fact that I can "decide" anything.  "I'm going to run 10 miles today."  That would not be something I could realistically do so, just telling myself to behave in accordance with something I previously decided to do really isn't enough.

I think the key is looking at where I'm at realistically and setting achievable goals.  My main problem is that I'm an optimizer.  I want to make sure I'm training to the very best of my ability.  I don't want to do less than the very most I'm capable of.  If I'm capable of running without stopping, then that's what I want to do.  I think the real issue is that I really don't know exactly what I'm "capable" of.   Sometimes I surprise myself and afterward I think "WOW, I never knew I could do THAT!"  But, other times, like Monday with Daisy, I think, "wow, what a loser, you should have been able to do that, you just didn't gut it out."  But, at the time, when we were running and I said, "I have to walk", I really believed I HAD TO walk.   I think even if she had said, "you can do it, keep running" my mind would have told my mouth to say, "NO, I really can't" but is that true???  

The very fact that I'm questioning it makes me think it's not true.


Today I did (EASY*) speed work with Turtle.  We went to a local track and started out with a warm up lap.  I was pretty sore** so all I wanted to so was walk that first one.  Now, I have to say, I'm a pretty fast walker so it's not as bad as it sounds.  Then we sprinted the straight-aways and ...cough... recovered (read: walked) the ends.  I'm not gonna lie-it was TOUGH.  There's no way I would have given the effort I did without Turtle there to "compete" with.  Yes, I admit it...I'm competitive okay.  

We started our first sprint, and Turtle took off.  We discovered the couple on the track with us at 5am had two unleashed dogs--lab puppies actually--who just LOVE new people!   Consequently we didn't really finish the first sprint.  The second time she started up, I dug down, sprinted my legs off and flew past her (top pace...are you ready for this??  4:22!!!  WOW).  I was able to do that the second time too (run past her).  The third time she started a bit earlier than I did and I was never able catch her.  The fifth time she pretty much pooped which gave me permission to slack.  It's funny because you can see a drop in my pace from 4:33 to 5:28.   We finished off with a "slow" cool down jog.*** (Yes, we only did a total of about1.25 miles-(*)that's why I said it was "easy" sprint work--but we're beginners, cut us some slack, okay!)

*NOTE:  I was sore because I ran 4 miles with Daisy Monday morning, then another 1.5 with the NOBO group (in my Newtons) that night.  Then Tuesday morning I did Power Yoga.  I love those shoes, but they certainly work different muscles in my calves and ankles.  My hope is by doing some limited distance runs in them I will build up those weaker muscles which I hope will help make me a better runner.  I wasn't so sore I couldn't run this morning, but my calves weren't exactly happy to be going at it again.  ((I wore the Newtons for this morning's speed work, too.))

Advantage of Speed Work

**NOTE:  It was very interesting...when Turtle and I did our cool down lap, I thought we had slowed down to about a 12:00 pace.  That was my goal anyway. When I took a look at the Garmin data...lo and behold...it was actually an average of about a 10:30 pace!!  That's what speed work can do for you!  Just like hill work, it makes everything else seem that much easier.  It reminds me that it's all relative.  Slow for me isn't slow for someone else...and slow after running fast isn't as slow as it is when I'm starting from walking.  There are a lot of technical advantages, but that's the practical application advantage.


It's only Wednesday and, already, it's been a FANTASTIC week.  I'm heading to Hard Body's Ab Torture class, then I'm swimming later today with Flipper.  Tomorrow is a (much needed) rest day.  Friday I'm running six with Daisy and another runner*.  Saturday I'm volunteering at a Sprint Tri**.

*NOTE: This other runner {I'll have to come up with a name for her (at some point I'll have to make up a "Cast of Characters" list on the side bar so you can keep up with who's who)}...this other runner is a woman I saw at the very first race I entered here.  I vividly remember seeing her before the race and thinking to myself that I wanted to be like her one day....that thought was completely confirmed at the race.  She is a little older than me, very fit looking, very encouraging, and (if I remember correctly) took first in her age group.  I couldn't resist, I had to tell her just how amazing I thought she was!  A while later I met her when I volunteered at Cookie Dash packet pick up.  She is one of the ladies I ran trails with recently, and the runner with whom I ran Saturday's first two miles.)

I'm more than just a little intimidated to be running with two ladies I admire in so many ways, not the least of which is running ability.  They are both amazing women and fantastic runners.  I will undoubtedly slow them down, but they are going into it knowing that, and have welcomed me to come along (enthusiastically even!!).  I feel like the ugly/nerdy kid in high school who was just (sincerely) invited to the popular girls' house for a party!!!  I CAN'T WAIT!!  I need to pick out my outfit and make sure it's ready to go Friday morning.  Maybe I should get a new one.  It's important to look good for these kinds of things!

Well...I have a lot more words to get out, but Hard Body won't wait for me to get there to start the torture session, not to mention I've blathered on long enough.

Thanks for stopping in, come again real soon!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


In tribute to my SIX mile "long" run today... Here are my six sixes.

1) Six new terms I could have used today (for explanations, click on the link):
  1. FIRM//Step Sister
  2. Jog Itch
  3. Land Mines
  4. Releasing the Crackin
  5. River Nile
  6. Rulk (note--this is one of my additions to the glossary!!)
2) Six joys from today's run:
(Much prettier in person.) 
  1. BEAUTIFUL greenway--a full mile of which I'd never seen before today.
  2. Passing by no less than THREE people who smelled just amazing.  Not in a "I'm-going-to-douse-myself-in-cologne-so-I-won't-stink" way, but "I-just-stepped-right-out-of-the-shower-and-just-took-my-clothes-out-of-the-dryer" kind of way.  (Yes, I have to admit it--I LOVE passing by someone who smells good.  I don't know why, and I fully admit it's one of the stranger things about me....but it makes me smile every time it happens.)
  3. Running six miles with a pace of just about 12:00 on the nose.
  4. Getting to see all my running buddies who are in the 13.1 training group, and a couple of other running buddies, too.  (Including Daisy.)
  5. Getting to run with a running friend I totally admire for the first two miles.
  6. Sprinting in the last maybe 30-50 feet!
3) Six lessons learned from today's run:
  1. I need to either get a bigger water bottle, or better yet, buy a fuel belt.  I ran out of water at about mile 3.5.
  2. Gu really does work.
  3. Remember to take a sweat rag.  I want to try the Chilly Pad...but then again, I'm not sure how well it would work to mop up the buckets of sweat that pour off my face?
  4. Listening to a great podcast on running is INCREDIBLY MOTIVATING.  My choice du jour: The Marathon Show.  Love this show; can't say enough good things about it-entertaining, inspiring, informative.
  5. Short goals WORK (ie: run to the next phone pole; run to that leaf in the path; run to that place where the asphalt changes to concrete...as opposed to "run six miles today" or "run another mile")
  6. I can run.
4) Six pieces of gear I want (because it's all about the gear!!):
  1. Fuel belt
  2. Trail shoes
  3. Running bra--not quite sure I need this, but I think I'm going to try it out (brand to try: Moving Comfort) and see-I'll let you know the results.
  4. Halo headband 
  5. New running socks (no link because I'm not sure which ones to get, which is why I'm still running in the Nike moisture wicking socks I bought a year ago...I have six pairs but still...they are just about worn out.)
  6. when it comes out--an armband for the Otterbox I now carry my phone in after I shattered not just one but TWO screens within a three week period!
5) Six tips for new runners....some of which are repeated, but are well worth saying again:
  1. Start out slow.  Low distance and slow pace.  Don't increase either of those too fast.
  2. Make sure you are hydrating as a way of life.  Your urine should be pale yellow-any darker-you aren't getting enough fluid; any lighter-you may be getting too much.  (Going to the bathroom is a small price to pay for proper hydration.)
  3. Make sure you're eating enough calories to support your efforts--in all three categories-protein, fat and carbs.
  4. GET FITTED FOR SHOES BY A SPECIALTY RUNNING STORE.  (Along the same vein, if you're a woman-get properly fitted for a running bra.)
  5. Listen to your body.  If you don't know what it's saying to you-slow down and listen harder.
  6. Cross train.  Swimming, biking, rowing.  Strength training is something you should do in addition to cardio.
6) Six marathons I want to do one of these days (in no particular order):
  1. Athens
  2. ING New York City
  3. ANY Rock 'n' Roll
  4. Maratona di Roma
  5. Marathon to Marathon (because of what I heard about it on The Marathon Show)
  6. Marathon du Medoc
I'm telling you, after looking up the links for all of those, it is taking all I have in me not to sign up for every single one of them right now!!  I can hear my husband's voice in my head right now, "Slow down there killer...let's just get you to Rocket City in December and then we'll think about those others....maybe."  

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Running With Daisy

I've been trying all day to come up with a nick name to give the dear woman I was blessed to get to run with today.  I decided on Daisy because she is beautiful and cheery.  Yeah, I'll admit, it's really corny.  But, hey, that's me-corny to the core.

Daisy is a "real" runner, much better than I can imagine being.  She used to run marathons but following a severe injury she has had to run much shorter distances.  After a few years of recovery (re-read: severe injury), she is working her way back up to a half marathon.  She asked me if I wanted to run the trails with her back after Cotton Row was finished...back when I first had to stop running because of my own (NOT severe) injury.  So, I reluctantly told her I couldn't do it.  She said when I was recovered to give her a shout.  I can remember thinking at the time I wouldn't "ever" be able to keep up with her.

And, I didn't keep up.

But, I did manage to speak up at about the half mile mark to let her know that her "very slow" start was still not slow enough for me!  She said, "no problem" and slowed down to what must have felt like a crawl and we kept on going strong.   When my Garmin beeped at me to say I had, amazingly enough, survived a whole mile, my body started telling me it was time for a walk break.  I think that's just more confirmation that I've been conditioned like the Pavlov dog to think it's time to walk when my Garmin beeps--not really when I've reached a mile.

Side note:  see, usually when I run that route, I do my warm up on the trail.  After the warm up (maybe 5 minutes or a half mile depending on how I'm feeling), I reset my Garmin.  So it usually beeps at me at about 1.3-1.5 miles.  Today, because I was so worried about not doing well, I did a little 1/2 mile warm up before Daisy got there.  We started out running from the start of the trail head...  If you're following what I'm trying to say, you see that I usually think I "need" to walk at 1.3 or 1.5 miles but today it was 1 mile---when my Garmin beeped at me.

Anyway...I kept on running and managed to make it to the little uphill incline and then wimped out and told her I was going to have to walk a bit.  She said, "no problem" and walked with me until I could breath, then we started running again.  I told her that for that whole section of the trail I would probably be doing walk/run intervals because it just completely psychs me out knowing that it's almost a mile long stretch of incline-that you can clearly see.  Just seeing it moving upward makes me breath harder.  She said, "no problem" and did the intervals with me the whole time.

Until the last little stretch of run.  We hit the road that leads back up to the parking lot and I was just about to wimp out again...when she said, "Okay...from here to the car is six minutes at a nice, slow, steady pace."  (Meaning...."suck it up buttercup and get it done already!"--although she would never say that.)  I told her I had just told another new runner how important it is to finish strong and to "always" run in the last bit."  So I put my big girl panties on and said, "Okay, I can do it." 

And...I did!

Let me brag just a bit on myself.  The last tiny little bit is a slight uphill that I walked on my warm up.  I knew it was coming up and my insides were crying.  I just fell in behind her and kept putting one foot in front of the other.  She gave me a couple of tips that I've given out several times--move your arms a bit faster because that will help your feet, and pick up your knees a bit more.   I was breathing harder and harder...and I kept having to play little games with myself.  I would think "get to that leaf...that sign....that fence post...the edge of the parking lot" and then I was there!!

She had barely even exerted herself at all, evidenced by the fact that she filled for in my inability to speak with wonderful stories.  She asked me how I was feeling when we stopped; I managed to gasp out that I thought I was going to puke.  But on the inside I was doing the Rocky dance!!

Needless to say--I do believe that was my very best time on that trail!  Even with the walk breaks I took, my average pace was just over 12 (best was almost 9, which was not my best ever sprinting pace on that trail, but that's understandable given the fact the over all pace was better).

I have been on cloud nine all day.  Talk about a confidence booster!!  I'm SO ready for my six miler on Saturday!!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Was THAT??

This morning I went running with Turtle.  My plan called for 30 minutes at an easy pace.  Her plan called for just a mile, but she was doing more than that before the program started up.  We were running along at a sssllllloooowwww pace, talking as usual... when all of the sudden she just stopped running.  Without the warning she usually gives, "Okay, I'm done, I have to stop/walk," she was just walking.  Then, to make it even stranger...she said, "DID YOU SEE THAT?  I just stopped running.  What was THAT?  Why did I just stop?  What happened??"

Now, I don't know for sure if what I said was completely correct, but I told her she had just experienced "the wall".

Now, I would never presume to know what's going on in someone else's body/mind...but at the same time, I've run with her enough to know she doesn't "ever" just simply stop.  That combined with the fact she was completely shocked as to why on Earth she stopped, I believe what I told her was the truth.  I know I've hit that point in my runs in the past where I couldn't have run another step if the Boogie Man was chasing me with an ax.  I firmly believe that's exactly what "they" mean when "they" say "hitting the wall".

It really struck me, too.  Here's the thing...in the past she (because it's easier to talk about her rather than talk about me because it feels much more objective rather than subjectively looking at myself)....as I was saying....  In the past, she has said at some point in the run, "I can't keep this up.  I'm going to have to stop/walk."  (something to that effect)  But, almost without fail I've told her, "YES YOU CAN, come on....'this' much more."  And, she's able to keep going for "this" much more.  

I think our minds try to get us to stop before our bodies really do "give out".  What that tells me, I think, is that I can do a lot more than I think I can and if I'm thinking to myself, "I can't keep this up" then I probably certainly can keep it up, even if it's just seconds longer.  I can trust that when it's time, my body will just stop and I'll look around and ask, "WHAT WAS THAT?"  Well, okay, I won't ask, because I'll know already-so maybe I'll just say, "BONK"!!

This lesson has come at the perfect time, too....Tomorrow I get to run with a dear lady I met when I volunteered at a race.  We're doing a 3.5 trail run.  I'm so excited about it, but incredibly nervous.  She's a REAL runner (read: FAST).  I sure hope this is just a recovery run for her...and I hope I can be in top form.  I'd really like to make the whole run with her without thinking I can't do it and stopping myself short of the "BONK".  Wish me luck.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon.

Great run this morning, by the way.  (Turtle took a short walk break, ran a bit more then stretched out as I was finishing up my 30 easy minutes.)  Later on I went to Hard Body's Extreme Ab Torture Session.  I am getting stronger, I can tell...but I'm still no where near being able to do the full class without slacking a bit.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tips for New Runners

One tip I've been passing out like water and bananas at a race is this:

Don't go out "too fast" on runs.

Here's the thing, when you're just starting out, you really don't know what your pace is.  You don't have a clue what people are talking about when they say to "slow your pace".  It's something you have to learn about yourself.  Play around with it, but start out SLOW and build up, not the other way around.

This is something I just didn't get until I got hurt....and what (probably) caused me to get hurt was going out too fast in the beginning.  I didn't want to walk.  I didn't want to slow down.  I convinced myself that slowing down hurt but going faster felt better.  (That was just a lie my body told me to get me tired quicker so I'd quit sooner!)

When you are just starting out, decide what it is you are working toward.  Are you going to run a mile?  Are you going to run for 30 minutes?  Are you trying to lose weight or work toward a healthy heart?  (Not that those two are mutually exclusive, but running is NOT--I repeat, NOT--the best way to lose weight.  Obviously the goal can, and most likely will, change, but it's much harder to "hit a moving target" so it's best to know what it is that you want to accomplish.

If your "A" goal is to run distance, then endurance is key.  You need to train your body to stay on its feet and train your muscles to keep working for longer and longer periods of time.  If your goal is to run a 5K faster and faster...then you will (eventually) incorporate speed drills into your routine.

But, no matter what the goal is...one of the biggest mistakes is to go out too fast.  No matter where you're at in your training, you "never" want to start a run at a dead on sprint.  First of all, your muscles won't be warmed up.  But, beyond that you won't be able to sustain that pace and it will be harder to come back to even after a recovery jog (or walk).

It takes discipline to slow yourself down in the beginning, but there is a pay off for your work.  Your body begins to learn how to manage its resources (namely: oxygen and fuel) to sustain greater and greater demands.

Let me know if you have specific questions about training.  I'd love to help sort things out with you.  I'm still new, but I'm reading more and more every day and feel like I'm starting to get enough information to at least give out my opinion on things.  **NOTE:  I am not a doctor, nor am I a trainer--my opinion is just that-an opinion.  Please consult a health care professional before beginning any exercise plan. 

--Opinions are like brains, everybody's got one, but some are more useful than others!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Coach Dana"

I LOVE mentoring.  I love it that I really do know quite a bit about running now, but more than that, I love helping people get as obsessed with this sport as I am.  I'm like the crack dealer who gives free samples!!  I love helping people reach their goals and seeing the look of accomplishment on their faces when they realize the CAN run.  One woman in the group came with a cane last week and this week she not only walked without it--she knocked 10 minutes off her time from last week!!  That's FAN.TAS.TIC!!

I went early to the group run tonight so that I could put in some extra time, which I did.  I did a little warm up, then ran about 21 minutes at an easy pace (12).  After that I got with the 13:00 pace group and ended up being the pacer.  I was really nervous about that because every time I start running I get the overwhelming fear of "what if I can't do it?".  It's not so bad alone, or even as a member of a group...but as a pacer??!!  Not doing it is not an option.  And, when I'm supposed to be "Coach Dana" I shouldn't be huffing and puffing...or, worse, limping along.  As a back of the pack mentor it's much easier because I can slow down with someone who is struggling.  But, as a leading pacer there is no slowing down.  If I'm being honest....it was incredibly EASY!!  I could very easily kept going. 

Now...mind you...my first couple of miles did NOT feel that way at all.  I wondered a few minutes into it if I'd be able to keep going.  I had the thought after a mile that it would be fine for me to take a little walk break.  But when I "checked in" with myself I realized there wasn't any part of my body that hurt....and my breathing was not labored at all.   I could have "easily" talked someone's ear off.  I think my heart rate monitor isn't working properly because through the whole night it only got up to about 165.  During the 13:00 mile it hovered around 150.  Either it's broken or my heart is much stronger than it was...  But, nevertheless, there was no reason for me to take a walk break.   So, I didn't. 

The first mile is "always" the hardest. 

Tomorrow is Power Yoga and swimming-hopefully with Flipper.  Wednesday is 30 minutes "easy" running with Turtle-I'm going to try to keep our pace about 12:30.  Thursday is my first "speed" day of 10 warm up at 12:30ish pace, then 10 at a faster pace (going for 11), then 10 cool down.  Friday is rest.  Saturday I'm going to attempt a 6 miler with no walk breaks-12:30ish (maybe 13) pace.

So much to say, so little time!  Thanks for stopping, come again soon!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Parlez Vous Swimming?

I went swimming again today....and...I think I got a little bit better.  YEA ME!

I don't think I shared this before, but I didn't learn to swim until college.  I mean, sure, I could dog paddle, I could swim under water, I could splash around all summer long...but my first swim lesson (that I remember) was when I was five years old.  It consisted of my brother and cousin (both four years older) taking me to the deep end of the pool and telling me to swim or drown.  Obviously I made it out alive, and not overly traumatized....but I wouldn't say that lesson was terribly successful!

In college I needed a "PE" credit and I figured it was probably time for me to learn to do more than tread water, so I took Swimming 101.  I do remember a few things from that class, but I believe that particular sport is more like speaking a foreign language than "riding a bike" in that if you don't practice, you can quickly forget how.  Let's just say it's been more than just a few years since college....and since that class,  I haven't "spoken" more than one stroke....until the other day.  (And, in keeping with the analogy, what I did in the pool the other day was like saying, "Can me flopping your mother's fish dog in the soup fan, yes?"   ...if you know what I mean.  I may have had the components "right" but I didn't put them together in a meaningful way.)

When I learned to speak French, one of my professors told me it was a process.  First you translate from English to French.  You have to think about every word, the sentence structure, pronunciation and so forth.  She said eventually, with enough practice, you begin to simply speak, and understand, the language without the added step of translation.

Flipper and Me!! :D
I just spent the last hour and a half watching youtube videos on learning to swim freestyle (thanks to the suggestion of my swimming buddy-I'll call her Flipper from now on).  Tomorrow...I'm going back to the pool again for some "translation practice".  I'm not going to focus on putting it all together, but instead I'm going to break it down into chunks.  Just like when learning a new language you don't start out conjugating verbs, you learn some simple nouns first.....

((I'm also planning to go to Hard Body's Extreme Abs class before hitting the pool.  Later tomorrow night is the first NOBO group run!!!  I have to say, out of the three activities planned, I'm most excited about the NOBO run.))

Thanks for stopping, come again soon!