Benefitting from other people's misery

 It's springtime in the desert, which means all the lovely desert plants are blooming and I am surrounded by the melodious sound of sneezing, wheezing, and moaning at work.  At home, my toddler has decided to challenge his father for the title of "Are you Serious???" snore master.  However, my sinuses are perfectly happy and even more so, my desert runs are GORGEOUS.  Delicate little flowers as far as the eye can see interspersed with cotton tailed bunnies and desert hares.  I can't decide who I like more; the bunnies with their little white butts scampering into the underbrush or the desert hares with their massive and charming ears.  Guess it's a tie.

No, I think the hare wins.

This morning Dex performed his usual Saturday ritual of crawling into bed with us to snuggle at 5:30. (I know I should break him of it, maybe when he's driving)  Only, as previously mentioned, once he fell asleep the snoring cacophony began.  I took that as my cue to get up.  I wanted to run early today anyway because I knew it was supposed to get pretty warm.  I mosied around the house, made myself some toast, drank some water, checked email, and finally after an hour decided to head out.  I went to grab my ipod and.....damn...dead. I checked the thermometer outside, it was still only 50 so I had some time I decided to give it another hour. 

At 7:30 after I had kissed toddler belly, nibbled toddler toes, and paid enough bills to get the blood pressure boiling; I headed out the door.  I really need an invisibility cloak for the first mile of my run to keep my neighbors from thinking I'm a sadist.  It legitimately takes a solid mile for me to find my form and get the stiff legs warm and happy. Unfortunately, for that first mile I know I look incredibly funny and awkward and like I'm in some sort of unique form of pain.  Truth be told, the only reason I run as far as I do on my runs is because I'm not even really enjoying myself until around mile 3. It takes me awhile to find the "zone" however once I'm there it's worth the ENTIRE run, so that first three miles is actually just an investment.

This morning's run was important.  Last night I tried everything to convince myself to workout even getting as far as the treadmill.  Once I learned the batteries in our Wii were dead (no Netflix) and that my ipod was dead (yes, I knew last night and forgot to plug it in) I said "no dice" which sort of depressed me.  I don't like it when I really don't want to workout and I really, really did not want to. I'm usually either stupidly excited to run or neutral.  It's rare I just do not want to and this week has been that week.  And in my defense,  I'm normally fairly chill about giving myself breaks during the week, but I think because I had only worked out once this week - it was bugging me.  Mentally, I'm used to five solid workouts a week but with the conference and half marathon I just haven't been able to do it.  I really, really don't want to overdo it this week either because I have my other half marathon in a week.  After I've recovered from that, I'm going to go back to low, regular miles.  However, the run today had the needed effect, I feel like myself again.  I'm stinky and good sore - familiar territory.

The other thing I have to remember is how far I've come.  I've only been back in to regular running since October. I had to laugh this morning when I hit the driveway and felt disappointed to see that I had "only" run 7 miles (I really thought it was at least 8)  I immediately pinched myself with perspective - "only" 7 miles?  Really Hodge? Plus, I had FUN this morning.  I hopped off my normal trail and did some desert exploration.  I love that I'm really beginning to know my way around all the land that surrounds our development.  There's a ton of four wheeler tracks and I'm starting to feel emboldened enough to want to explore them all.  At some point they all lead back to or near our development, not like I could accidentally end up in Mexico.

Alright, alright I need to shower and do some cleaning.  One week until Hollywood!  (hope the legs keep behaving)



It's like childbirth, right?

So I ran my first half marathon today.  Overall, I actually enjoyed myself.   By the time I got to the race, pinned my number, and checked my gear it was time to line up.  I put myself in the 2:15 group and got ready.  I was pleased to see my racing friend, James weaving his way through the crowd.  We said hellos, compared goals, discussed nerves and wished each other luck.  The gun went off and no one moved; that was fairly amusing.  There were just so many people it took awhile to actually get a chance to start running.  The pack finally thinned out and we were off, the first half mile or so was just getting out of the medical complex; we then turned left and there it was - a loooong, gradual hill.  Okay..let's do this.  I stayed focused on my music, by this time Blur was done and Eminem was in telling me I only had one shot, fair enough Em, thanks for the pep talk. Normally, my policy is to attack hills, however I worked this hill slowly and focused on my breathing.  By mile 2 I was questioning my decision/ability to get this done.  I was already tired, the shin splint was coming on, things were not going well.  I shook my head to get out of there and chose a fixed point in the distance and kept moving forward.  I also did the thing I always do - I thought of Brian and Dex, by the time I got to the halfway point they would be leaving to come see me.  I told Brian he didn't have to come since it was an hour drive, but I know him, they would be there. Just then a breeze kicked up and I realized while I hadn't been paying attention two miles had passed, I was already at mile 4 and I felt strong, really strong.

 I realized I was going to do this.  At that point I had no doubts that I would be finishing this race.  I tore open my first gel, chugged some water, and set in.  I started thinking of myself as the "turtle" I think that's my running persona.  I really just stay the course, keep the same speed, and focus.  I was surrounded by a lot of fast run/then walk people; that style just doesn't work for me.  I am a consistent and focused runner; I feel like it's just easier on my body.  My mantra was attack the hills, turtle the flats, attack the hills, turtle the flats.  It really worked well for me.  By mile 6 we were still climbing hills and had lost about half the group to the 5K and 6 mile turnarounds.  I was looking really hard for our turn around, I felt if I could go "round the horn" and start coming back it would give me a new wind.  They had us turn down this side street for the loop around and that street felt 10 miles long, I was getting really frustrated, I was tired of hills, I was tired of being on the "outgoing side" and I was really starting to lose my perspective.  I FINALLY reached the horn and I looked up and saw the giant clock and it read 1:07:54.  That's when I realized I wasn't actually going as slow or terribly as it felt.  As I had hoped, it completely energized me and I was ready to go.

The second piece of good news was that there were only a few minor hills on the way down, most of the ride would be downhill.  I felt great and strong and was loving my music until about 8:30.  I had it in my head that I just had to get to 11 and at that point it was a little 2 mile jog.  Getting to that point was easier said than done, at 8:30 I felt the "shut down" creeping up.  I hurried to the nearest water station, allowed myself a break to stop for just a minute, refilled my bottle, ate a gel, and gave myself a 30 second pep talk.  I'd love to say I took off like a rocket, but I'd be lying.  Miles 8 to 10 were rough. Really rough.  But I kept going thanks to Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters, and Jay Z. Finally, I saw the magical number 11 looming in the distance at the top of a long downhill stretch no less.  That's ALL I needed.  I took a deep drink from my water bottle and I hit it.  The last two miles were...well....easy?  It was kind of crazy.  I rolled over the finish line feeling really strong, relaxed, and happy.  I realized that out of my 13 miles, there probably only about 3 or 4 mildly unpleasant ones.  I was not expecting that.  I felt awesome....and normal?  Crazy.

After the race I saw James again, turns out he was pretty much right in front of me the whole time.  HOW did I miss the barefoot runner with a mohawk?  I think that speaks to the running tunnel more than anything.  I honestly don't know if I could run races with a partner.  I think I like being able to pick my own pace and do my own thing.  My races are evidently very personal things for me; I think I prefer to keep them sort of individually sacred.  Turns out, I'm a running misanthrope.  James and I chatted for awhile then I went to retrieve my backpack.  I was texting with Bri when I looked up and saw all my friends and Bri and the doodle.  Dexie yelled "MOMMIE" and came running to me; best thing ever.  Poor doodle did not enjoy his race as much as I did, he did strong on the second half but he was feeling pretty fussy and kind of yanked around.  Bri and I decided to meet up for lunch on our side of town; Dexie perked up considerably on the drive and we had a nice chat.

After some lunch, I barely made it home and into the shower before passing out into a deep sleep with my little guy curled up under my chin.  Naptime with the toddler is a sweet reward I don't often allow myself.  I usually use that time to get "things" done; however along about mile 7 in the race, I made the firm decision that Dex and I were taking a nap together in mommy's bed.  Yet another little mental reward to keep one foot in front of the other.

Now it's time to get off my very tired butt and go make some dinner. As I had hoped I am already thinking about the Hollywood half marathon in two weeks, and fully intend to research any other races I could squeeze in before it gets too hot.  13 miles is kind of the perfect distance; it's challenging, so you feel like you've accomplished something.  However, it's not so challenging that you don't also enjoy yourself.

A girl could get used to this feeling......


I think that doesn't mean what you think it means

I had a total toothbrush epiphany this morning.  I have my first half marathon tomorrow and the thing that's been weighing on me more than anything is not the run, or my issues with leg pain, but my running playlist.  I'm fatigued by my 8 miler list and I have been spending all my free brain time for the last week trying to think of "those songs" the ones that have gotten me so excited over the last decade.  So, I've crafted a fairly stellar list with only about 5 or 6 songs to go and it hit me.....I don't love running.  I love listening to music.  Running is just an enjoyable way to make time in my mom/wife/career schedule to listen to freaking music.  As a teenager and then twenty something growing up in Kansas, my favorite thing to do was to make a completely stellar mix, throw it in my car, and DRIVE. I would drive to Abilene and back just to listen to a new mix. (I had a Geo Metro, I could afford this hobby) I loved losing myself in the music and imagination. Hell, if you take it even further; when I was a little girl my absolutely favorite activity was to bring my jambox (damn straight. Jam. Box.) out on the patio - drop in some True Blue, Duran Duran, or mebbe a little Purple Rain and daaaaance.  For like...hours.  Sometimes my little friends and I would dance partyin the front yard of my parent's apartment building.  (It's amazing they were able to keep renters)
Running is the best of both of these worlds.  I get to lose myself in the music, and if you get the right mile split/song, running is just dancing in forward motion.
 I'm a walking (running) cliche, I did start my half marathon mix with Blur's Song 2.

  I'm sorry, if sexy panted Damon Albarn yelling "whoo HOO' doesn't get you going - you aren't a girl.

 After that, admittedly the mix resembles the ipod of a teenage girl from 2000.  I can't help it, I'm a bitch for a hook and even more so when running.  I don't want to wax philosophic; I want to bubble and jump and move. I'll save the Whiskeytown for the drive from Salina to Manhattan. On the mean streets of Oro Valley tomorrow it's all JT and Jay Z.

Wish me luck!


I'm a terrible blogger

I have no excuse for not writing anything for a month.  Life was neither more or less exciting; my thoughts were certainly no less rampant - just didn't do it.

I'm home with a sick little doodle today so I thought that might be as good a time as any to post a few words.  I'm a tired girl, I checked, I'm officially 16 different kinds of tired.  I returned home late last night from a five day conference.  It was actually a really good conference; I learned a lot and had a little fun here and there.  When I got home last night Brian and I probably stayed up too late having a really nice chat (apparently he'd been to Nashville with his robotics team???? I told him that MIGHT be nerdier than a bunch of higher ed people) and riiiiight as we were falling asleep Dex started screaming.  Not just crying or whining, but screaming.  I ran into his room and right as I got to him the little guy vomited; I bundled him up in blankets to get him to the bathroom and he promptly unleashed.....all.....over.....me. Welcome home!  Without missing a beat I got him into the bathroom and over the toilet and started wiping him down with a cool cloth and taking his clothes off. I got him down to diaper and in a clean towel and finally made it into my bathroom to clean off.  Poor little guy was shaken up, so we got him into some jammies and I brought him into bed with me.  Needless to say, there was not a ton of sleeping; I'm counting the minutes to naptime...for both of us.

So, I run my first half marathon on Sunday and then another in two weeks in L.A.  I did a 5K at the convention and ran 6 miles the day after that, but beyond that I haven't done much since last week.  I'm thinking I might try to squeeze in a little 5 miler today and then be lazy tomorrow and Saturday.  I'm kind of jonesing for a nice long run and I plan to spend tomorrow night crafting the two hour run list of perfection.  I'm actually looking forward to Sunday, I don't think I'm going to move any mountains but I think I'll be alright.  I am resolutely going in with no expectations.

The only fun things to report on food are the uh-mazing meals I had at the conference.  I had my first pate on St. Patrick's Day in this Irish Pub in the hotel.  It was pretty good.  I don't think it's anything I could "gorge" myself on - it's pretty rich - but still I enjoyed it. In addition to ye olde chicken liver; we ordered a plate of pickled well...pickles, brined cherries, pickled haricot verts, and homemade crackers.  Insane.  I mean just SO good.  We finished the evening with fall apart corned beef and cabbage.  When the waitress asked how it was I said "I want to rub it all over my face" She said "I SAID THE SAME THING!  The cook thought I was weird"  We agreed he just hadn't tasted it yet.  Every meal at the hotel was absolutely top notch- I haven't really experienced that before.  Definitely an inspiring couple of days; I'm heading out to 17th street this weekend - I want to COOK.

Alright...five days of work to catch up on and a toddler to talk into a nap.