Saturday, March 28, 2009

T-minus 4 Days ...

Saturday was our last TEAM run before the big event on Sunday (just 4 days to go!), and Mother Nature made sure it was unforgettable. Here lately I've been spoiled with sunny spring weather in the 70s -- I've even dusted off my flipflops and stashed the sweats in the back of the closet.

Weatherman warned that a cold front was moving in Friday afternoon, but I didn't pay attention. I left for work in short sleeves ... and nearly froze my butt off walking to my car that afternoon. The temps had dropped 30 degrees in a matter of hours, with me waking Saturday morning to a windy 34. Dang it. I went digging through the laundry pile trying to find my fleece pullovers. (Don't judge me ... sure, they were dirty. But, a little smell was worth the sacrifice so I wouldn't freeze to death.)

Layered, gloved and grumpy, I huddled with the rest of my TEAM while we waited to get started. After quick announcements, we were off ... straight into 20mph winds. Grrrr, I kept thinking to myself, keeping my head down and hoping that the four miles would go quick.

About a mile in I started to notice stuff hitting my face. It was dark so I couldn't make out what it was. At first I thought dirt, but it was too soft. Then I thought gnats ... which made me paranoid and resulted in constant spitting. But seriously, there can't be that many gnats. I could catch a glimpse of something in the glow of the street lamps. Rain maybe? But my clothes didn't feel damp.

The sky began to grow lighter about two miles in, with grey clouds hovering up above. Something was blowing in all around me, so I stuck out my black sleeve to catch whatever it was. No, it couldn't be ... it looks like ... Small little crystals of ice. But it wasn't ice. It was snow. It was freaking snowing! The little ice flakes slowly turned into big, beautiful white flakes that swirled all around me as I ran. I just couldn't believe it!

I instantly forgot about how cold it was, or how the wind was making it hard to breathe, or the blister forming on my right foot, or the ten million things on my to-do list that day. There was something soo calming about it all and I wanted to keep going, as if the snow would stop if I did.

It swirled on for another hour or so after I got home (and of course I woke the hubby up to see it). It was kind of neat knowing that I got to experience it, while many others were still tucked in their warm beds. Kind of like a little secret between Mother Nature and those of us out there running ... and an amazing way to wrap up this training season!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday Catch Up

Okay, I guess I really lost track of time over the last week! Things at work are picking up and, after spending all day working on the computer, I've been keeping the laptop closed at night. I'm sure many of you can relate!

The weather at our TEAM run last Saturday started out really crummy. It was cold, rainy and windy when I awoke at 5:30. But, by the time I arrived at our practice and we got started with announcements, the rain stopped and the wind calmed down. Sidestepping the rain puddles in the dark was the only challenge, and a fun one at that. I think I had more water in my shoes than the lakes around here. But once dawn broke, the weather turned beautiful.

We're tapering at the moment, so I only had six miles to hammer out. I thought it might be a struggle -- especially since my iPod wasn't charged -- but it felt soo good. It was the longest I've run since my 14 miler over a month ago. I just took it nice and slow, and didn't have to stop once to walk. I never felt any pain in my ankle during -- just a little stiffness after -- and it seems my lungs are finally catching up. Coach was truly happy to see me back out there -- I just wish I hadn't missed as much as I did. I found part of me wishing I could still do the full ... maybe next time ...

A good portion of my TEAM left Friday for the Rome Marathon -- I haven't heard how everyone did, but I'm sure they all rocked the house! I couldn't imagine a cooler race than that. But I'm sure Big D will hold it's share of thrills ... or at least I'll be able to read the street signs ...

Anyhoo, I've been thinking a lot lately about my goal finishing time. And I'm not really sure where to start in predicting it. It took me over 3:20:00 to do my 14 miles, but I stopped and hobbled quite a bit. It took me 1:21:00 to complete my sixer, which is probably a pace I can keep up for awhile. I definitely want to finish in under 3 hours. So maybe 2:55:00 for the half? Seems kind of slow on paper, but is probably realistic.

Speaking of times and half marathons, I must say I was pretty darn impressed with The Biggest Loser contestants doing half marathons last week. I couldn't believe some of the finishing times!! Not to take away from anyone's amazing accomplishment, but I think the inside track runners had a slight advantage over those running outside in the elements and non-flat terrain. But still, kudos to them all. Tara's 2:24:00 finish will surely beat mine!

Tomorrow I get to finalize all of my paperwork / donations and pick up my race-day jersey ... exciting!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

No Dodging -- It's Friday!

Well, I won't harp on the obvious fact that it's FRIDAY, but I'm sooo glad it's here! 50/50 is officially on it's way down the road to dowtown Dallas. With this weather, I probably should have strapped on a life preserver! Hopefully the rain will simmer down enough to get in a dry TEAM run tomorrow morning.

I'm thinking of running up to the gym to drip a little sweat before work, but I have the end-of-the-week-don't-really-want-tos weighing me down. I'm a little jittery just sitting here though. Maybe putting on my sneaks will be enough to catch my lazy mind up with my ancy body. I watched Dodgeball the other night, and just love the scene with Lance Armstrong. So I had to share. Who couldn't use a dose of motivation (and chuckles) today?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On the Way Back Up

While yesterday was a cloudy 77 degrees, today is a rainy 37. The bipolar weather definitely has my lawn confused, and I went around the house this morning turning off fans and turning up the heat. Guess I'll be working out inside today!

I made it to our TEAM practice on Saturday, for the first time in what feels like forever. Coach was down south with several of our mentors and other runners at the Texas Independence Relay -- a 203 mile, 30+ hour relay from Austin to Houston. Talk about crazy!

Those of us who showed up practiced with the summer team. I was surprised how many runners and walkers there were. I guess our team started our fairly large in the beginning, but now it seems relatively small. All of the summer team participants had on matching TNT t-shirts and name tags, and the mentors had made breakfast snacks for everyone to munch on after they finished.

Envious? A bit. But I guess I have the luxury of training with seasoned runners, which is always nice. Anyhoo, after the raffle winner was drawn, I ran about 1.5 miles and walked another 1.5. My ankle felt great -- it was my lungs that had trouble keeping up! Ohwell. I really just wanted to test my ankle with a short distance. It felt great being back out there.

I worked out at the gym at work for a bit yesterday. I put in two miles on the treadmill, selecting the "variety" workout which switches the incline every few minutes. My ankle felt great and my lungs kept up. Hopefully I can just keep building (quickly) from here. I will say that, after training outside for soo long, I felt clumsy on the treadmill. I just wasn't sure what to do with my arms, or what to look at besides the person's behind in front of me. Definitely different than being outside, but it was nice to mix it up a bit.

Just 24 days to go! :-)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

50/50 Winner!

Well, it's 81 degrees outside and I'm trying to talk myself into a short run. I'm sooo enjoying this break in the cold, and hope it sticks around for awhile.

Looks like the 50/50 book will be staying in Texas for a little longer -- congrats to the fabulous That Pink Girl!! While I'm not quite ready for a challenge like Dean's (the book is inspirational, not magic), it does get me thinking towards my next adventure after Big D. Not sure what that is yet, but I guess it'll hit me when it's ready.

Happy (almost) Friday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

50/50 -- Will YOU be next?

It's finally time to pass along the highly motivating 50/50 book!! I know some of you are wondering why the book was stuck in Texas soo long. Partially because I didn't have time to read as much each night as I wanted, and partially because it refused to be sent back to freezing temps where it came from.

The book has seen some cool places so far, including the beautiful provinces of Canada (thanks Sonia!). And now it's time to pass it along! This awesome idea was piloted by Ted and, as all wonderful things in life, has a few simple rules:
  1. Respond to my post in order to be the next in line to read the book. (First to respond wins!)
  2. I will mail the book to you.
  3. Read the book.
  4. After reading the book, create a post in your blog and find out who wants to be next in line to read the book.
  5. Ship the book to the next blogger.
  6. You must take a picture of yourself with the book.
  7. Write a small comment of what you think of the book in it.
  8. Ship the book to the next blogger.
  9. Lastly, you must use any form of human power (i.e, walk, run, skateboarding, bike) in order to take the book to the post office. Exception: If you live very far to the Post Office, use car. HAVE FUN !!!!
I enjoyed soo many things about Dean Karnazes' book: his stories, his humor, his running tips, his personal growth, how he touched those around him, how he was touched by those around him. Dean's message is a good one -- it goes beyond the typical "how" and explores the "why". Why run? Besides for your own health benefit, it sets a good example for those around you. It gets kids off the couch and out the door. It connects the outer you to the inner you.
In Dean's words, "Adventure happens the moment you step out the front door ... Step outside. Be active. Get back to nature. Explore wild places." Good luck!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Updates & Big Thanks

Wow, it's crazy how time gets away from me -- didn't mean to stay away for a week! I've been reading the wonderful and encouraging comments you guys left on my last post. Thanks SO much -- I'm actually getting super excited about the half and can't wait to celebrate with everyone at our TEAM dinner the night before. And I have a ton of blog reading to catch up on -- I promise I'll squeeze it in between Biggest Loser and The Bachelor ...

I've been working out at the gym at work most days, sticking to the bike and light weights. I did test my ankle twice last week, going a mile on the treadmill each time. My ankle felt great *knock on wood* but didn't want to push it too hard too fast. I'll be re-joining my TEAM runs starting Saturday, with low mileage of course. I heard they kicked some major butt at Cowtown last weekend -- wish I could have been there!

I'm about to go out and take advantage of 65 degrees and sunshine, but wanted to once again say a big "THANK YOU" to all of my donors. Can you believe I only have $290 to go to reach my $1,800 goal? And I couldn't have done it without you! And a HUGE thanks to all of my moral supporters as well -- you guys keep my head glued on. So thank you all!

P.S. Any 50/50 fans out there? Be on the lookout tomorrow ... ;-)

P.S.S. For every $5 donated between now and this Saturday (March 7), you'll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win over $650 worth of giftcards, including Nordstrom, Target, Best Buy, iTunes, Anthropologie, Outback Steakhouse, massages and more!! One person will win it all -- cha ching! My TEAM Coach will draw the winner on Saturday. Good luck! :-)
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