Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trekking on

Running, running, running. Haven't posted here, because everything seems rather routine recently. T and I still meet for Tuesday/Thursday runs -- of about 30-40 minutes. Weekend runs have been a bit more up in the air because I've been traveling a lot. And when I'm not, she often is. So "long run days" have often been more along the lines of a shorter tempo run. I need to fix that.

Gearing up for the fall training season. Still trying to figure out if my school schedule will allow me to run the Bass Pro half this year. Since it is a Sunday, I should be able to swing it. It would be nice to get back down to Springtown, and I'm fairly hopeful I could set a new PR.

Only problem: as of next month, I'm on my own. Moving to St. Louis, so I lose my running partner. I've run 7 miles alone, but it has been awhile -- and the thought of doing more than that by myself is rather scary. In a sense, I'll be relearning how to run. Most I've run alone in recent months is about 5k.

I've started looking into StL running groups, but nothing seems particularly appealing yet. Guess I need to wait until I'm in town and start exploring options. I don't particularly want to lose the social part of running! I've seen a lot of listings for running partners, but those folks tend to be either significantly faster than I am, or aiming for a run/walk plan.

Hoping to shed 10 pounds by my birthday -- and hoping it will shed another 30 seconds or more off my pace!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

(W)holy humidity

Woke up at 6 for a 40 min. run. It was quickly evident that we have been incredibly lucky this summer to have decent weather on our morning runs. Today's humidity caught us both off-guard. We still kept at about an 11:30 pace, but the first 20 minutes seemed especially long and killer. Our first mile was the slowest by about 20 seconds. Next two were about even. Had we finished a fourth, I think it may have been our fastest -- which may have been that we were looking forward to get back to our cars, even though we were running by time and not distance!

And, at the end of it all, there is something especially rewarding about pushing through on the not-so-great days. Of course, it helped that my legs still felt good.

Hoping to get in a Tae-bo workout tonight. I'm feeling particularly energized -- likely because of all the caffeine I've consumed to try to relieve my pressure headache (storm already, please!!). But Tae-bo doesn't sound quite as great if the headache is still here... Hoping the Excedrin and Diet Dr Pepper kick in soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Still running. T and I are meeting again regularly after a month or so of going it alone -- I was out of town every weekend and her work schedule was packed, which made getting together a challenge. So I relearned how to run alone. It felt almost like starting over -- reconquering mental blocks, finding the desire to push speed and/or distance when alone.

While I'm enjoying being back on the trail with T, I think the month alone was really beneficial. I remembered that I can do this on my own, something I've been doubting for awhile.

In celebratory news, I'm FINALLY back to my pre-first half marathon weight. I don't think it is any surprise that running also feels better now. Even though it is summer, I'm moving faster and with more fluidity. Things are clicking again, and I'm truly enjoying my time on the road.

I think we are both excited about training for the next big race -- which will likely be the Bass Pro Half Marathon on Nov. 1. I'm really hoping for a new PR. If things continue as they are now, shouldn't be too hard to accomplish (aside from, you know, sticking to the training program, eating well, getting sleep, etc.!).

Here's to base-building before official training begins. Planning a 3-miler for the morning. Likely a 4-miler on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Adding miles 2 by 2

Did another 2-miler on Sunday evening. I've enjoyed taking advantage of the not-yet-scorching temps in the early evening hours. I know that in a few weeks, Saturday morning runs will be pushed ever earlier to avoid melting onto the pavement.

Sunday's run was another alone run. Tonight's also will be... and unless I hear from Tiffany about Thursday morning, chances are, I'll be alone all week. I'm getting back in the game... probably for the first time since the marathon last November. I've been putting in miles, but doing so grudgingly. And it definitely isn't easy to keep up at 5 a.m. when you aren't even sure you enjoy running anymore.

I think that is why I've been avoiding this space. Why keep a running blog if it is centered on complaining? But I'm finding myself wanting to run on off-days and thinking about the route I want to take. Thoughts of fall races are exciting, not foreboding.

Since the two 2-milers felt good, I think I'm going to go ahead and bump it to 2.5 tonight. The low numbers feel ridiculous... but if that's what it takes to WANT to run again, I can handle these small chunks. We can probably all use 9 mile weeks every now and then, right? (Someone please assure me that I'm right!)

Friday, May 22, 2009


First run of the almost summer. Short 2-miler, but felt good. Reminder of why I run in the early mornings during the summer (and recently, year-round). Running in the heat is draining! And it isn't even the crazy hot and humid days we'll have in the legitimate summer.

Ready to start back on a regular plan to get back in race shape for the fall season. I'll probably take it fairly easy this week -- maybe 2-milers every other day, with a longer run next Saturday (maybe 5k?).

Since I've been out of town so much on weekends -- and will continue to be throughout June -- I've been running alone. It's been so long since I've run consistently alone that I feel I have to rebuild all my mental strength. I imagine it will be good for me -- it will be nice to be back to the point of running 7+ miles alone. It's been over a year since I've had to do that (whoa, I've been a marathoner for over a year now. CRAZY!).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Keep swimming, runners!

The morning was perfect. Nervous chatting as folks adjusted bib numbers, the "serious" runners logging warm-up miles. "Are you pumped?" asked a random guy, approaching Tiffany and I. He rubbed our shoulders, and I was relieved to discover he was a pacer -- and we just so happened to be standing where his pace group intended to line up. Everyone was all-smiles. And it was raining.

Race day is like a portal to another world. There is a recognition that we have all arrived for the same purpose, and the brother/sisterhood takes over. Someone need only make eye contact and the banter begins.

Fifteen THOUSAND people lined up — in the rain — to run either the half or full marathon in St. Louis.

T and I crossed the starting line 15 minutes after the race began and marveled at the mass of people spread out in front of us. We were somewhere between the back of the mid-pack and the front of the back-pack, but the folks in front of us seemed to go on for miles -- and given that the elites started 15 minutes before we reached the starting line, I suppose we literally DID stretch on for miles.

Garmin was off almost immediately. Seven minutes after we crossed the start, it beeped at me that we'd completed a mile. While we'd surged in front of the pace group we were lined up with, we knew it was impossible that we'd run that fast.

The course passes by a lot of fun things in the downtown area -- the stadium, Union Station, the brewery. The brewery is at one of the first loops, and we circled around it to the parallel road, where a Clydesdale was waiting to cheer us on (or stand there proudly as we all oohed and aahed).

I was impressed that I actually recognized a lot of the course from last year. Familiar buildings and intersections... and even remembered enough to know some of the changes. "Didn't we continue on that street last year?"

All along the route were spectators. This was especially impressive due to the rain. Favorite signs along the route: "You are nowhere near 'almost done'" (just after mile 1), and "Keep Swimming, Runners!" (somewhere around mile 6, I think). There was also a group of guys -- one playing guitar, another with a tambourine. No umbrellas.

We runners were insane for being out there, but the spectators were certifiable. I spoke to a few as we ran by, to thank them for cheering us on -- "we're the die-hards," I was told. And they were. And certainly appreciated as the miles ticked by, and I found myself daydreaming about dry socks... and a towel.

By the time the course split and the marathoners and half marathoners went their separate ways (just after mile 9), the rain got harder. While my wicking fabrics had done a good job of making me feel as if I wasn't drenched (even though I was), there was no fooling me now. And with the wind, it was no longer just wet -- it was COLD. And I was losing steam.

I took one of Tiffany's gels (granted, a bit late in the game) and grabbed a gatorade at the fuel station and began feeling a little bit better... but by mile 10 I was ready for the end. If folks in deserts see mirages of water; in the midst of all the water, I could practically see dry socks! But I still had a lot of up hills to conquer to reach the finish.

When I saw the 26 mile marker (the half and full courses came back together and finished at the same spot), I began picking up the pace. Passed the 13 mile marker and spent the last .1 mile trying to figure out if my running skirt was falling off. It wasn't, but apparently the faster pace made me realize just how drenched it was and gave me the illusion. So as I crossed the finish line, I was busy holding up my skirt!

Got the medal and stumbled over to the post-race area, which was essentially a giant mud puddle. Lots of folks were joking around "well, if you didn't twist an ankle during the race, you will now!"

We waddled back to the metro station and rejoiced at the chance to FINALLY sit down.

Overall, it was a good day. My finish time wasn't too far behind my time last year, which was amazing since I walked more this year (and encountered more hills.... in the rain!). I'm pleased with the result.

My shoes, which are STILL drying, may be forever mud covered. I'm just hoping they lose the mildew scent they were starting to develop yesterday.... hmmm, they may go into early retirement!

Any suggestions for my next half?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just over 3 weeks...

I was reminded yesterday that the half marathon is less than a month away. After Saturday's 10-miler, I'll officially be tapering. Weird thought. The training plan recently is to run more than half of the full mileage.

Running is slowly getting easier again. Pace is improving -- miles have consistently been faster than 12-minutes recently. AND, I've mostly been looking forward to my 5:30 a.m. running sessions.

I've been trying to do more strength-training. This week's SparkPeople Biggest Loser interteam challenge was a series of lower body ST exercises. Did my 50-minute session last night. I've been ignoring ST on my lower body almost entirely which, in retrospect, was really a dumb plan.

Tomorrow is weigh in day. Thus far, I know I'm down 2 pounds this week. Hoping the scale will be nice and make it 3 (as I was only an ounce away when I did a sneak-peak weigh in!).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quenching thirst

(cross-posted from View from the Rafters, my non-running blog)

Last Saturday, my running buddy Tiffany and I were excited to have a Spring-like day for our 8-miler training run. After about mile 3, my saliva turned into paste, and she commented that her mouth was turning to cotton. Our trail suddenly transformed into a virtual desert and we began having hallucinations about families standing beside creeks (no wait, we really do run by a creek...).

Our new goal became making it to the comfort station, where we knew there was a water fountain. By the time we arrived, we were imagining exactly what the water would taste like and how it would feel. I pressed down on the magic water fountain button and... nothing. I waited a few seconds and tried again. The abundant streams of water I had been fantasizing about never came. The fountain was dry.

So we looked at the door... of course! The bathroom. We each cupped our hands under the sink and cringed at the not-so-pleasant taste of the sink water, assuring ourselves we were only four more miles away from Schnucks -- the neighborhood grocery store that had not one, but TWO water fountains in the front hallway.

We vowed never to go on a long run without our fuel belts -- featuring small water bottles -- again.

Sunday, March 22 is World Water Day. My ridiculous running story is about all I know about thirst, but my friends at WaterPartners remind me that 884 MILLION people still don't have access to safe drinking water. Each year, over 3.5 million people die from water-related disease.

While I am running and marking drinking spots along my route, millions of women and children have to walk miles to find ANY water -- and often, their sources aren't nice comfort stations, but polluted water sources.

I share these statistics, not to overwhelm, but to encourage your help. For just $25, you can provide someone will clean water for the rest of his/her life. Visit my firstgiving page to find out more and donate.

You can also help simply by searching the Web. is a search engine powered by yahoo. Thanks to advertising revenue, they are able to donate approximately 1 cent for every Web search you do. I GoodSearch for WaterPartners, I encourage you to join me. GoodSearch also has a shopping feature, allowing some of your purchasing dollars to be donated. In the last two years, an estimated $134 has been contributed to WaterPartners just through Web searches.

Join me in saving lives.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Born to sing

"I was born; I was born to sing for you..."

I can always count on U2 to boost my energy level and lift my spirits. As I drove to the trail to meet Tiffany for our 5:30 a.m. run, Bono and the boys were busy making sure I was awake.

U2's song "Magnificent" blasted from the speakers. And I thought about the idea that I was born for God's enjoyment.

Several Christian fantasy writers (Madeleine L'Engle and C.S. Lewis to name a few) have touched upon the idea of God singing the world into creation; that there is some song at the heart of the world that we catch glimpses of in our best moments.

In a recent conversation with a friend, we discussed the beauty of nature. My friend suggested that he sees an example of faithfulness in the created world, as the trees are doing exactly what they are designed to do. In the most basic of terms, it is an act of worship. "Even the rocks cry out."

As Tiffany and I set out in the dark, I thought about the different parts of my body doing what they were designed to do; the information traveling from my brain to my legs and back to my brain; my lungs expanding and contracting; my heart rate rising as blood pumped through my body...

The trees, the creek, the human body all do what they were designed for... and it all happens involuntarily. Water doesn't think about rushing over the stones; trees don't ponder whether or not they will grow; I don't consciously tell my body to take in more air or pump blood faster...

And yet, when it comes to the human will, we have a choice. I may have been born to be with and sing for God... but am I? Will I?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Be the wind

While discussing our upcoming races, my friend Chuck encouraged me to "be the wind" during my long run. Honestly, I completely forgot to think about that during today's 8-miler, mostly because T and I both felt really good while we were running. But I think it will make an excellent mantra during the difficult miles that I know I'll face again!

Today's run was postponed till the afternoon due to a morning meeting I participated in. The CBF of Missouri's Coordinating Council was meeting here at my church, and I enjoyed spending time with friends I don't get to see often. There are several other runners on the council, so we inevitably ended up discussing training and past races.

During the meeting, I also received two voice mail messages from friends Becca and Mike Springstead, who both (unknowingly to the other) called me after their morning runs.

I always find it funny -- and fascinating -- how runners can't help but talk to each other about running. Chuck mentioned that it is like we know something that non-runners just can't comprehend. They don't understand the pull of the distance, and I can't imagine giving it up.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In a that great gettin' up mornin'

This morning was a 2.1 miler. No shoe issues, no muscle issues. T and I both felt this morning was the best run we've had all year. I think we're scheduled for 8 on Saturday, so I hope our good days continue. I'd really like to be able to run most of that (I'd REALLY like to run it all, but the way things have been going, I'm not sure that's possible...).

It's funny how little runs like today can be so powerful in providing hope. Maybe the post-marathon yuckiness is evaporating. And if not, at least I can be reminded that the bad days are worth it to experience the good days every now and then.

Sent a note to the ole Tuesday/Thursday group to encourage them to start waking up and meeting us again. The mornings were 7 or more would meet to run were good times. I miss that crew.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Biggest Loser - week 1

I feel like a proud mother today. We're getting to the end of week 1 of the Spring Biggest Loser Challenge. For perhaps the 3rd season, I'm leading the mighty BLUE team, a group of 24 women and 1 brave man. I haven't been a very good leader in the past and am trying to change that this challenge.

Today I just felt a surge of pride for all the folks on my team. Many have been on this journey for awhile and are struggling right now. Since we are spread out across North America, several are experiencing some nasty winter weather right now, and the winter blahs are still lingering. But they all have chosen to spend the next 9 1/2 weeks facing those challenges and pushing forward.

Trying to encourage them also has a positive effect on me. I want to do better for them -- so I'll push those extra 5 minutes in cardio or do that extra set of my ST routine in effort to set a good example.

I would really like to be pre-marathon weight before the half in April. Looked like I may just make it. Dropped 5 pounds this week (held steady all last week, so I know sodium/water retention has a lot to do with the BIG drop) which will be a pretty good way to end week 1 -- and weigh in isn't until Thursday. Woot! From there, I'll have a little over a month to lose 8-10 pounds.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Early morning meetings

Arrived at the trail early this morning and was a bit creeped out by an unfamiliar vehicle -- the only other vehicle in the lot. The owner was still in the car, motor running. "Maybe they are also waiting for someone," I thought. I stayed in my car while waiting for Tiffany, and after a few minutes, the driver of the other vehicle got out, walked to my car and knocked on the window.

"I assume this is running club?" he asked.

I laughed, shocked, and stepped out of my car. "Uh, well, yeah, I suppose it is."

I explained that we kind of took a break over winter, and that this was the first time I'd been back in awhile -- and was fairly sure the "group" wasn't showing. As it turned out, Tiffany didn't either (and I found myself thinking, "were we scheduled for Tuesday or Thursday?"). So at a little after 5:45, this guy (whose name I forget... I'm not doing well on names this week) took off down the trail. He graciously stayed at my pace, and I tried to push to not slow him down too much. My "fast" 10 minute mile definitely seemed east for him.

I kept to low mileage, but actually enjoyed the run -- and the random meeting.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Broken running thinger

I have a tendency to completely avoid this blog when runs don't go as planned. And as it turns out, runs have not been really good in 2009.

I posted awhile back that this half would be nice because it is old hat. But despite successfully completing 26.2 miles in November, 7 miles seems impossibly long now.

And it isn't just me, Tiffany seems to have the same problem. We ran 4 of 7 miles yesterday and declared it the best long run we've had this year. Both of us are staying active with crosstraining, etc., but somewhere along the way, our running thingers broke.

It's incredibly frustrating. The first mile always feels like 10 and every step past that requires all my mental strength - "WILL. PUT. ONE. FOOT. IN. FRONT. OF. THE. OTHER."

I was terrified of the half until yesterday when we decided to just have fun -- even if that requires walking a large part of it. So I'm forgetting PR hopes and plan to simply enjoy moving the 13.1 miles around downtown St. Louis. Who knows, maybe removing the pressure will help repair my running thinger.

Anyone know of any other remedies?

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Second bad long run in a row for both T and I. Last week I blamed it in sudden weather changes. This week it dawned on me -- we are both wearing the same shoes we completed the marathon in. Duh. My legs are hurting because my shoes are dead.

Looks like I get to spend Monday on a Columbia trip to buy new running shoes. Chances are, I'm hanging up the 2130s (or whatever number they are on these days) for something with better arch support.

Yay for new shoes. Boo on crappy-feeling long runs.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Back on My Feet

It's a phenomenon that is happening more often than I like. Just before Christmas, I shared that a romantic comedy made me cry. This morning, an article in Runner's World is making me pause every few paragraphs to avoid bursting into full-out tears.

Yesterday was one of those strange magazine days. I found both the February and March issues of Runner's World in my mailbox. And not wanting to get ahead of myself, I've been paging through February while sneaking jealous glances at the March issue. That is, until I settled in on this story.

I turned to the middle first, where I saw a funny pull-quote: "It's like I'm doing a butt-lick." Solomon yelled. The runner beside him looked puzzled. "I mean fartlek!"

What on earth kind of story inspires that kind of quote? I paged back. "The first time Mike Solomon smoked crack, he ran."

Surely this isn't a story telling runners they should start drugs...

Course not. It's a story about a running ministry. A group of homeless men led by a Crazy Running Girl, who believes training for a half marathon will help them get back on their feet -- hence their name "Back on My Feet."

You can read the story online here.

A little under a year ago, I accidentally provided the catalyst for an ecumenical clergy group -- men and women who meet once a month at the Salvation Army shelter. We talk about the needs of the shelter and folks who are staying there -- and the ones who are unable to get in. We talk about how our churches can get involved.

I'm not entirely sure the shelter needs us -- the woman who essentially runs the place is an incredibly gifted person. She is passionate about the people who set foot in her "home" and loves them dearly. I'm convinced anyone who hears her speak would immediate do anything in their power to help -- so she hardly needs a group of haphazard clergy and a goofy religious reporter (that would be me) to motivate church members.

But we need them. We need to be reminded that our daily actions have an impact on how others live -- or don't live. We need to step into the shelter and see the artwork on the walls and hear the stories of the individuals who rely on the location where we meet for their next meal; for their home of being back on their feet.

Back on My Feet and the Friends of the Salvation Army Coalition remind me that we all need someone to count on. We all need to know someone is with us. Whether that is a fellow runner or someone who sacrifices her time to sit beside you in a hospital room and rejoice with you on the good days.

The folks of BOMF (as they call it) have learned that there are no shortcuts in the world of distance running. The road knows when you've put the miles in. And the same is true in life. We can accomplish amazing things when we take that first step and put in the hard work of living well.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Walking with the big dogs

I had a fantastic revelation while eating lunch. I hate football. No that isn’t the revelation. But since about 95.6% (give or take) of the U.S. population would be enjoying the Super Bowl game – or at least the commercials, I would go to the gym. It was brilliant.

I loaded some lectures onto my rarely used mp3 player and prepared to listen to Madeleine L’Engle or Tony Campolo or Don Miller while trying out the 3-in-1 cardio machine.

Got in my car, put on my retired Mizuno running shoes and prepared to put my fabulous idea into practice. Only one problem. I got to the gym half an hour before it would close for the day. Who knew they closed at 6 on Sundays.

Determined not to waste my cardio energy, I decided to park at the trail head and get a good walk in.

While listening to Madeleine talk about fantasy (read more about this on my non-running blog at, I set out on my familiar trail.
About a mile and a half out -- past all the office buildings and the Italian restaurant –- I see a rather large dog next to the trail. As I saw no person with the dog, this gave me pause. It begins to cross the road, and I follow it with my gaze. Another dog. They seem to be headed away from the trail, so I keep walking. Then I see it. Something too big to be a dog following behind. That’s when it hits me –- these aren’t dogs, they are deer. My this point, I’m less than a quarter mile away and still walking -– more slowly now -– toward them. A fourth deer stops before reaching the road and looks at me.

I pause Madeleine, amazed by the scene before me. The four make it across the road about the time I reach the place they had been standing on the trail. Then I hear it. To my left, in the little wilderness area by the trail, are at least three more deer (it’s dark at this point, and we are far enough away from the streetlamps that I can’t tell the still deer from the rest of the landscape). A couple are still moving around, and one – the biggest – studies me. I stop moving and look back. We both stood there for a moment or two; both curious and perhaps cautious. I hear a clicking noise, and they all run back in the forest.

And I realize: this is not something that happens in a gym. BUT, since I’m listening (or at least was until I paused) to a talk on fantasy, I had to picture running on a treadmill while a herd (or flock or gaggle, whatever) of deer frolic by in front of me. As fun as that would be –- I think the outdoors have got something magical!

So, all you football fans, keep your game and your commercials. I’ll keep walking with the deer.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Testing the limits

I run my LSD runs at a faster pace than my weekday shorter runs. I suppose that means calling then long, slow days is inaccurate. But having long fast days and short slow runs on weekdays sounds ridiculous -- even if it is true.

Running with a partner pushes me to go beyond my comfort level. I can't get away with an easy pace because I'm accountable to someone else. So I (mostly) rise to the occasion. I will my legs to go faster and my lungs to keep working. I start estimating where the next quarter mile falls and staring at that point until I reach it -- and discover I've gotten worse at determining quarter miles!

We ran today's 4 miler in only ten minutes more time than last week's 3 miler -- and given that our pace is generally slow than a 10-minute mile, this is an exciting thing. It means we were faster this week.

Tiffany, who often morphs into my personal trainer, told me -- as she sped up -- that she had a goal for me to shave 15 minutes off my half marathon time. Days like today remind me it is possible. I'm faster in community, and I like that. Nice little theological moment showing how much we really do need each other. I need Tiffany to believe for me when I feel my body is going to give out -- it never does, but it's hard to believe that alone. She needs me to say "hey, guess what -- we're going to be marathoners." I guess I believe for her that we can tackle distance. Who knows, without each other, she may be content to be a 10k runner, and I'd be a happy 13 minute miler! With her -- as she so kindly pointed out -- I get to test my limits. And so far, I'm crashing through the barriers.

3 more pounds down this week. Hoping to lose 20 by race day...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Running rhythm

Step. Step. Step. Step. The rhythm is familiar. And this time of year, I not only hear, but see my breath. I breathe, I step. I step, I breathe. It's the way of the road.

I watch people walk to and from their cars. They look at me puzzled. The snow hasn't completed melted, ice lines the sides of the roads, and I'm out pounding the pavement. "Someone chasing you?" Yes. Myself. The non-running Jennifer is back there, reminding me of what I was before I tied on a pair of runners. The Jennifer who didn't understand what it is like to cross a finish line and feel the cold weight of a medal around her neck. She doesn't get the exhilaration of making the impossible happen.

Sometimes I feel her catching up to me. Those moments when my legs feel too tired or the bad running days get the best of me. The days when I don't want to leave my house.

Today was not one of those days. Today I grabbed my balaclava, layered up and waved at the old Jennifer as I raced past. The rhythm of the road has won.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Running therapy

There is a great onemoremile slogan: "Running is cheaper than therapy." It is ranked as one of the top contenders for the shirt I will buy myself for completing the half marathon in April (because apparently, the only time I can purchase from them is after completing races... I think I need to rethink this plan!).

However, I'm beginning to wonder whether running is therapy for me, or if I've just turned Tiffany into my counselor. Probably a combination of both.

During the last half mile of our Saturday run, we were giving ourselves a pep talk about all we accomplished this past year. Neither of us thought we'd ever be marathoners. We shared stories of how excited we were after our first 5ks (again), and I voiced aloud how with my first 5k, half marathon and marathon, I felt I had something to prove. I thought others on the course were thinking "what is SHE doing here? Like she can run this distance..." And of course, no one else was worried about me. *I* was the one who doubted. And I'm good at continuing the doubt "what if I can't do it again? what if I have completely forgotten how to run?"

And while there have been plenty of days when it felt my legs didn't remember, I keep being able to pound out the miles.

They say running is mostly mental. Seems that the phrase has two meanings. It not only takes building of mental strength, but it changes you mentally, too. I'm not sure whether it is the endorphins, the thrill of accomplishing something I never thought possible or simply time to process... but I like it.

In health/fitness notes, I lost 1 pound this week. Yay! I like when the scale moves in the downward direction. I took my fitness test at Wilson's this morning and scored Excellent in core strength (crunches), Good in Strength (sitting bench press), Average in Fitness (heart rate recovery after step test) and Below Average in Flexibility. Not sure what was up with my heart rate. It was at 116 when she checked it after I sat down. Have to say I was disappointed in that "average" fitness assessment. Guess I need to train for an ultramarathon instead!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Registration... check!

Finally took the time to register for Go! St. Louis. registration always includes the question "is this your first half marathon or marathon?" It was fun to be able to answer "no" for the first time.

Now that I'm over the winter season depression, I'm really looking forward to this race. Last time I ran a half marathon, the distance was brand new. Those last miles were REALLY hard. After completing the marathon, running 13.1 with thousands of other folks in downtown St. Louis just sounds fun. And while I plan to train hard and hope to set a new PR on the course, realizing that this race will be just for enjoyment really makes me happy.

It is strange not to have the "oh no! what did I just do??" feeling after hitting the "submit" button on registration. Half marathon, you no longer scare me! (someone remind me of that the week before race day!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New non-running blog

Also, for those who may be interested, I've started a blog to chronicle non-running things, you can find it at

St. Louis, here I come

Things have been quiet around here, as the off-season isn't very exciting... especially when said off-season is WINTER and holiday pounds and seasonal depression kick in. Saturday starts my training for the Go! St. Louis half marathon. My eating habits have been back on track all week, and I took the plunge and joined a gym today.

Since it is too cold to bike or swim, and I get bored with fitness videos, I finally decided it would be worth my dollars to invest in a gym membership so I can have access to strength training equipment and actually do cross training. Spinning classes are first on my list!

I have an appointment with a personal trainer at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning to evaluate where I am and what steps I need to take to improve fitness and shed some pounds.

Also chatting with a new friend from my favorite justice organization about running future races on behalf of WaterPartners. I'm proposing some crazy ideas about setting up a far less elaborate version of Team World Vision. We'll see.