Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What I Read Wednesday

Sometimes I just need a good crime novel to turn off my brain. When I was home sick with the stomach flu last week, I didn't have anything to read. So after wandering around Walgreens and buying four bottles of Gatorade, I also bought this book. Then I went home and slept for four hours, so I guess I didn't really need a book. This book is about a criminal psychologist named Alex Delaware who is the subject of many of Kellerman's novels. I was pretty easily lost in the story of who killed who and why, without having to think too much. I did think it ended a little too abruptly because I wanted to know a little bit more about some of the loose ends, but otherwise, it was a good story.

The House at Riverton
This is by the same author as The Forgotten Garden, which I reviewed last week. I enjoyed this one even more. This is told mainly through the point-of-view of an old woman in her nineties, as she reflects back on her time as a lady's servant. You get bits and pieces in the beginning of something tragic that happened at the House at Riverton involving the woman she served, but it isn't until the end that all the pieces are connected. It gives you a look into the British serving class during this time period, as well as weaving a really beautiful, sad story. I loved it.

A Week in Winter
I didn't realize until I finished that Maeve Binchy finished this book shortly before passing away. Like all of her books, it's about people going through hardships but managing to find comforts in one another, in their surroundings. This book read a bit differently than her other books. I wasn't sure where it was going through the first half, then it was almost like a short story book, the way it all connected in the end. Still, it was a great read, as all of hers are.

What are you reading?

Monday, March 25, 2013

2 Best Friends | 679 Miles | One Virtual 5k [week 3]

Week 3. Week 3 was a doozy. Or a wash. Or a complete and utter disaster. Whatever you'd like to call it. If you missed it last week, Keli and I were profiled on Another Mother Runner, which was the highlight of our life because Dimity and SBS are such huge inspirations. But as we both talked about in our posts last week, ever since we were contacted about the profile, everything has gone catastrophically wrong. I've held it together pretty well--until week 3.

My high point was also my low point (and was also my only run of the week, GAH). Week 3 had a fun workout scheduled for Monday and I'm not going to lie. When I see things like this, I think, "I work on my feet all day... CHECK" and move on. I'm awful. I will do something over the summer, but during the school year, I am lazy. On Tuesday, I decided to get the speed work out of the way. It called for a mile warm-up, 6x400s, and a mile cool-down. Okay, I would prefer to do these on a track, but in my neighborhood in the dark would have to work. Unfortunately, the weather has yet to acknowledge that it's spring and it was 5 degrees with wind gusts of 25mph. In short, it was absolutely miserable. Because I run these on the flattest stretch in my neighborhood, back and forth, I did half of them directly into the wind. By the last 400 (into the wind, naturally), I was running at what would've been a pre-injury mile for me. I finished the cool-down mile with my face stinging from the cold and stood under the hot shower for as long as I could without being late for work. It was miserable.

In the midst of this, the stomach flu was circulating through my house. My husband was sick Monday and I was doing my hopeful thoughts of, "I am going to miss this one, yes I AM." I was at work for an hour before my stomach started rumbling and I felt chilled. Well, of course I felt chilled. It was really cold when I was running. And maybe my stomach was just disturbed from running that morning. It became apparent that I was lying to myself after awhile, though I did manage to make it through the day of work. I got home as quickly as I could and was about to crawl into bed when the sitter called and said that my youngest had thrown up. I went to get him, wondering why I didn't get to be sick alone. We came back home and passed out together. Now, confusingly enough, my feet felt fine when I got into bed, but after two hours of sleeping, my feet cramped up and by the next day, my plantar fasciitis had flared up and my sesamoids were sore. I have no idea how the stomach flu caused my feet to start to hurt again, but somehow, these things happen to me. My friend Sarah, who is super smart and an amazing runner, suggested that it was probably dehydration and my mom thought that maybe the virus ache settled in the most recently injured part of my body. I think my feet are just jerks. At any rate, between my feet and dehydration from the stomach flu, I didn't manage to get another run in last week and that's pitiful. I thought I'd get back on track today, but I woke up to this.
You can't tell, but there's a layer of ice on the street. Come ON.

What we had in common last week was how tough it was, although Keli managed to get out and get some amazing runs in this weekend, but we were also talking about some things that we do differently. Typically, it's much colder for me in the mornings than it is for Keli, but that doesn't necessarily mean that she's running in 70s in the morning. I like to imagine that she is because lately, I've felt like I live in the frozen tundra.
That said, we've found that even though it's colder for me, I run with less layers than she does. Unless it's really, really cold (single digits or below zero), I wear a long-sleeved tech tee and Danskin slim sculpt pants. I also wear Mizuno Breath Thermo Run Glove but my hands usually get so warm that I take them off and toss them in my driveway by the end of the first lap. I also wear the Mizuno Breath Thermo Headband . I do keep that on through the whole run and it is excellent for keep my head warm without being too hot. Otherwise, I don't wear anything else. I can't stand to have a ton of things on me, so I won't wear hats or extra layers. I do have a pair of Mizuno Running Women's Breath Thermo Layered Tight but they're pretty heavy, so I only wear them if it's really cold. The Danskin pants that I wear are thin and don't add any extra warmth. Obviously I'm not a layering person and prefer to start out my runs a little cold instead of overheating! The Mizuno line is great for winter running because it turns sweat into heat. I have no idea how it works, but it does.

Now, let's hope that winter actually goes away now, because honestly, I'd like to put the gloves and headband away!

Friday, March 22, 2013

2 Best Friends|679 Miles|One Virtual 5k [week 2]

My second week of week 2 was far more successful than my first week of week 2, in that I actually completed the majority of it.

My high point was that I managed my longest before work run of five miles around my block. Since my feet tend to fall apart by the weekend, I thought that I should get my longest run in during the week. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to handle that many laps around the block (it came out to something like 15 1/2, otherwise known as "AM I DONE YET?!), but I managed and kept my pace somewhere around a 9:30. I was afraid that I'd completely lag near the end, but I pushed myself. I also managed to avoid most work traffic, except for the time when I got hung up with the paper delivery person. If you run in the mornings, you know this is the WORST because there is really nothing you can do other than wait it out as they stop constantly. Other than this, it went well and I felt pretty good about getting five miles out of the way before most people were out of bed.

My low point was that I kept thinking, "Hey, you did five miles Thursday, why not get up and finish your last four miles Friday and take the weekend off?" Of course I was lazy and didn't, then Tommy was up throwing up all night Friday. I was exhausted Saturday morning and didn't get my run in because Luke had an early Little League clinic, then I chose to nap in the afternoon. Finally, I decided to run Saturday evening after a huge meal and while I managed to get four miles done, it was somewhat of a disaster with a full stomach and daylight running out. I did it, but I'm not sure it was an experience I would like to repeat! Lesson learned... sometimes it's better to run when you have a chance, because you never know when a stomach flu is going to hit your house (let's not even talk about what said stomach flu is doing to week 3 of the 5k plan).

Shortly after Keli and I came up with our plan to start this blog series, we were contacted by Dimity of Another Mother Runner, who asked if we were interested in being profiled as part of the the AMR Virtual 5k. Once we stopped squealing via text, we said YES. Our profile was published today. The hilarious thing is how catastrophically interrupted our running has been since we found out about the profile. Initially, our thoughts were that we would have no choice but to follow our respective plans religiously because HELLO? We were being profiled. And then, the universe laughed. Keli's kids got sick. My kid got sick and so helpfully passed his stomach flu along to me just as I was hitting my stride, but the good news is, neither of us is letting these road bumps stop us and we're still encouraging one another--all the way laughing at just how hard it is to be a mother runner sometimes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I Read Wednesday

I wasn't sure if I would get this post up today or not, but I managed to drag myself out of a stomach flu haze to get this done. Please admire my dedication to reading. Also, while at Walgreens buying all the Gatorade they had to offer, I paid $10 for a book because I'm between library holds right now. This is how much I desperately needed something to read while recovering from last night's horrible bout with the stomach flu. This $10 paperback better be amazing.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but it was powerful. The story of a dying man, his regrets, the lives he's leaving behind and the lives he's touched, all woven into one story. I haven't read anything else by this author (but I'm hoping to correct that soon), but apparently the setting of this story is the central setting in two of his other stories, which is intriguing. My only complaint is that he's adopted the style of not using quotation marks, which drives me absolutely insane. Yes, it's valid prose, I GUESS, but it makes me batty. Aside from that, for a book about a man dying, the author treated it just as that: death. Death is a part of life and he faced it as that. There was no overreaching sentimentality, just a story of a family holding together as best they could, with subplots that were seemingly unrelated, yet tied together.

The Forgotten Garden: A Novel
A four year old girl is left abandoned on an Australian wharf. A family takes her in and raises her as their own, not telling her until she turns 21. Years later, her granddaughter continues the search for her grandmother's identity after her death. This book weaves history between the lives of generations of women, as well as the mystery of just who Nell was and how she came to be abandoned. I loved watching the story of this one unfold. It's not a short book, but I was hooked in and probably stayed up too late quite a few nights because I couldn't wait to find out if my guesses were correct.

Lost Girls
This is by the same author as The Demonologist, which I reviewed last week. The reviews said that this was a much stronger book. Overall, I enjoyed it much more. A lawyer is called to defend a man accused of drowning two girls. As he digs deeper into the story, he uncovers an urban legend about a Lady of the Lake, rooted somewhat in history, that the locals still believe in strongly. Overall, I did find this to be much more engaging than his other book and really enjoyed it, but my only complaint is that the ending seemed to unravel just like The Demonologist. Again, maybe this is done purposely, but it didn't even seem like that. Still, the story itself was engaging enough that I would still recommend it.

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat
I really enjoyed this book. Set in southern Indiana (which may as well be the actual south compared to my part of Indiana), the book follows three African-American women (nicknamed the Supremes) and their friendships. Although they're older now, it does flashback to their youth and how they came to be friends. I was impressed at how well the author wrote women, but he said in the back that he wrote what he saw from watching his mom and her friends and relatives. This book managed to balance humor, sadness and supernatural really well. Is it an amazing work of literature? No, but I really, really enjoyed it. It had an amazing voice, especially for an author's first book.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tommy's Team

Last year, forming Tommy's Team was a no brainer for me. Although the weather failed on us, with grey rainy skies, it was a beautiful day. One of the best I've had. To see all those people out there supporting us, supporting our cause--making it their own--was a feeling I can't quite describe.
This year has been a little different. So far, Tommy is still successfully off his medicine and although we hold our breath, breathing becomes a little easier each day.
Yet, epilepsy is still so prevalent, even if we no longer fill a medicine dropper two times a day for Tommy, even if he hasn't had a seizure in over a year. My best friend Keli's daughter was just recently diagnosed with epilepsy. As I texted with her and felt her pain from seeing an otherwise normal, healthy child go through all that she did in a single day, I thought back to our day of tests when Tommy was first diagnosed... and how no parent should have to go through that. But they do. Daily. Like it was for us, it is for them--unfair.
Friday, Shane came home from a work after talking to a student whose sister is epileptic. Like Tommy, she seemed to outgrow it around the age of four. Then when she went through puberty, the seizures came back and she had to go back on medication. In this way, epilepsy is one of the worst monsters ever, because it can lie in wait for years. And in this way, I know we will always be looking over our shoulders waiting for it to strike again.

For these reasons and so many more, we will walk again. To raise money so that someday, no parent will have to go through those tests again. Or that maybe when they do, someone will say to them, "Here is what we can do. Your child will never have another seizure again."

If you live in the area, I would love to have you walk with us. If you walked with us last year and have your shirt, please wear it again. I don't have a sponsor for shirts this year, but I'm going to do my best to get shirts for anyone new who is walking with us. If you can't walk with us, but would like to support our team, there are many things you can do. Donations of even the smallest variety are appreciated.

This year, we have some wonderful people supporting our team, too. Shrinking Jeans is currently hosting a DietBet weight loss challenge. It just started four days ago and runs for twenty-four more days, so you have lots of time to join and attempt to win the cash prize at the end. This is a great chance to jump start your spring weight loss. When Christy and Lissa emailed me and said they'd like to donate a portion of the earnings to Tommy's Team, I was beyond touched.
Another amazing piece of support is this beautiful necklace, created by Cameron. When she emailed me to ask if I was interested in her designing a necklace where the proceeds would go to support Tommy's Team, I was so touched and excited and well, I couldn't wait to buy one myself. Cam and I actually "met" when I bought a necklace that said "hope" from her shop while pregnant (pictured here) with Tommy--very fitting.

I am beyond excited and touched at this generosity poured toward Tommy's Team and moreso, toward the epilepsy foundation and epilepsy research. This year, as with last, we walk with hope for a seizure free future. In some way, I hope you will join us.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What I Read Wednesday

The Thursday edition. All of my posts got pushed back a day because I was out of town Sunday and didn't get home until Monday afternoon/evening, so pretend you're reading this yesterday. In the interim, however, I read another book, so it works in your favor.

Schroder: A Novel
I really like this book. One thing that stuck with me was that you only ever get Schroder's point of view. I just finished reteaching my students about unreliable narrators and it struck me that this would be an excellent example of one. While you want desperately to side with Schroder, there are so many things that make you wonder if he's really reliable. You hear so little from his wife or from other people in the book that you aren't really sure if you can trust his perspective and while you're watching the events in the book tumble out of control, you're kind of powerless and have no choice but to trust him.

Firefly Lane
This is by the same author as Winter Garden, which I really enjoyed. Like Winter Garden, I did a full on ugly cry at the end. It explores to relationship between girls, best friends especially, as it follows two girls from 8th grade into adulthood and the complexities they face. It also looked at the struggles faced by both working women and women who choose to stay home. I liked this one a lot and found it really true to life. When I looked this up for the review link, I noticed that it's only $2.99 for Kindles, so this is a good purchase if you're looking for something easy and enjoyable to read (but keep the tissues close by).

Eleanor & Park
This is a young adult novel, but at times, it seemed thematically more than that. The main characters were young adults, but parts of it were heavy--though I can definitely see how it was geared toward young adult. Told entirely through the alternating view points of Eleanor and Park, this novel talks about young adulthood, children growing up with unsupportive/abusive parents, bullying and falling in love. I was pulled in to the storyline pretty quickly and this was one of those books that I was dismayed when I got to the end, simply because I wanted more of their story.

The Demonologist: A Novel
The main character of this novel, David, is a Milton expert who doesn't really believe in demons, until he's thrown headfirst into a world seemingly filled with them. While I loved aspects of this novel and was really gripped by certain elements of it, especially the relationship between David and his best friend, as well as David and his own inner demons, there were parts that I wish the author had expanded upon, especially the ending and some other character development pieces. That said, I overall enjoyed this book and was really gripped by some of the horrific aspects of it and how powerless David felt at points.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2 best friends | 679 miles | one virtual 5k [week one]

So week one is actually week two for me because as I said in last week's post, I started this whole thing a week earlier than Keli, not actually planning on following the whole training until I decided to do it virtually with Keli. Funny enough, I figured I'd end up needing to repeat a week somewhere along the line so I'd end up back on track. Well, it turns out that I'll be repeating week two this week, so you know. Let's hope that doesn't happen again. But more on that later!

My running week actually started out really strong and I would count that as the high point of my training last week. I hit some good paces and managed to run progressive runs twice, where each mile was faster than the last. I don't look at my watch in the dark, so I was running these entirely by feel and was just trying to keep my pace up and not fizzle out at the end. The 2x1 tempo run was also pretty strong, as I kept my paces under 9 minute miles--even though a car pulled out of a driveway when I was in the last tenth of a mile of my last tempo mile. That was maddening! Otherwise, I felt great and was doing that thing where I was all, "IN YOUR FACE, INJURY."

As so often happens with this ridiculous injury recovery came the low point. After two days of being on my feet constantly for ISTEPs, my feet were nagging at me. I could tell they didn't feel right, but I was able to run with them mostly feeling okay Thursday morning. However, after a day of teaching on my feet all day Friday, they were pretty much shot. I could feel that my heels were starting the beginnings of plantar fasciitis for the billionth time and when I woke up Saturday morning, stepping down killed my feet. So I stretched and rolled my calves and iced and skipped my Saturday run, which is really not what I wanted to do... but I've learned to baby feet. I would like to stop babying my feet someday soon, but it seems like the slightest disturbance throws them off. I'm starting to feel like they won't fully heal until summer. It's never running that bothers them, always working! After a few days of rest and not working, they feel much better... but I feel like it's a constant teeter totter. I already wear orthotics all day at work and sitting really isn't an option most days, so I'm not really sure what else to do. Knock it off, feet!

I'm sure this week's challenge will be running with the time change. Granted, it always looks like this when I begin AND end my run, so the time change doesn't affect me in terms of light.
But losing that hour of sleep is going to be tough.
A few people have asked me about running the morning. I also frequently get asked about in real life when I mention how I early I run, so I thought I'd cover a few of the things that *always* come up...

Don't you feel unsafe?
No, not really. Or rather, no less safe than any time than I'm running alone. I live in the back of a quiet subdivision, so I do laps around my block. It takes 3.5 laps around my block to get to a mile. There are two hills on my block. They aren't huge hills, but I hate them most mornings. Does this get tedious? A little, but it helps me feel safe because I am never very far from my house. Aside from an occasional neighbor starting a car, I don't see anyone. Truthfully, I've felt less safe running on a wooded bike trail in the middle of the afternoon. The only time I get freaked out is when it's windy and garbage day, because the wind rustles garbage bags creepily. Yesterday morning, I did almost stumble over a possum and that startled me a bit. Mainly because I thought it was a cat, until I saw the disgusting tail. Otherwise, I don't get freaked out by much. Although I will admit that when I line up at the end of someone's driveway to do speedwork, I do always wonder if they're peeking out a window ready to call the police on me for creeping around the neighborhood in the dark.

Okay, but aren't you exhausted by noon?
No more than usual. I get up at 4:30 to run, which is an hour earlier than my usual alarm, so I'm not losing that much sleep. Truthfully, I feel more energized than I do on days when I don't run. Running wakes me up, plus running at the end of a workday is beyond exhausting, so knowing that I get to leave school as soon as I'm done teaching helps keep me going.

Still, I couldn't get up that early!
Are you sure? I didn't think I could, either, and I started doing it during half marathon training because it was too hot in the afternoons to really push myself. The first few times were rough, but after awhile, my body acclimated. Truthfully, I prefer running at 8 or 9 in the morning, but because I work full-time, that isn't an option. So if you're having a hard time fitting a work out into your day, don't discount the morning. You might be surprised. There's a good feeling about knowing that you have your run done before most of the world is even out of bed. Now if I could just get my feet to agree with that...

Monday, March 11, 2013


Alternately titled: the many ways in which I can embarrass myself publicly.
Alternate alternate title: why I should not be allowed to leave the house.

A few months ago, I applied to go to a conference. Then I forgot that I applied to go to it until I got the email saying that I was accepted. I didn't entirely forget, I just did that thing where you don't think about something until it comes along and then you're like, "Oh hey, that!" The conference had to do with test setting and I can't really say more than that since it had to with testing and testing has to be confidential. Also, the only people who would find it vaguely interesting would be the two people who read my blog who are also educators. Even that is questionable. (Actually, it was very interesting, but I enjoy this kind of thing.)

At first, I thought I was going to have to leave very early in the morning to make it down to Indianapolis for the conference and I was all, "Way to sign yourself up for this, genius." But then, I actually read the email and realized that since I live more than 50 miles away, they would pay for a hotel room where the conference was being held. That's the point where I emailed Shane and was like, "HAVE FUN WITH THE KIDS." Actually, we considered all going together and Shane would take the boys to the Children's Museum, but Luke has perfect attendance in school so far and we hated to pull him out. It was decided that I would go alone, at which point I sent Shane the aforementioned email and selected that I would like a room with a king sized bed.

Truthfully, I've never been away from my kids AND my husband all at once. I've always had one or the other with me, so even though I was looking forward to it, I kind of wasn't... because I knew I would miss them. Still, king sized bed. I didn't know anyone else who was going (it turns out that I did, but I didn't see her until the meeting in the morning), so when I got down to Indy, I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. I had no husband! No kids! Who was I? So, I walked around and took pictures of buildings and tried to find an open restaurant.

Apparently I was walking the wrong way because I couldn't find any open restaurants. I did find a candy shop, where I bought Pez for my children and Keli's. I walked some more, but it started to rain and also, my feet are jerks so I didn't want to accidentally anger them by walking too much, so I headed back to the hotel. I thought I would get something at the in-hotel Starbucks, but that apparently closed at 1PM, LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE. I looked at the room service menu, but paying extra for food to be brought to your room is kind of dumb and also, you can't get drink refills on room service. This was my main reason. Thus, I decided to head down to the bar and grille in the hotel... which turned out to be fancier than I realized.

I was wearing flip flops and yoga pants. I was also the only person there and the helpful waiter/bartender directed me to a seat with a couch because he thought I'd be comfortable there. This is probably what they do to all people who walk in wearing yoga pants. He was right. I was quite comfortable. I've never eaten a meal alone. I actually really admire people who can do that, but I'm not that person. It would stand to reason that when I decided to be that person, I would be the only person in the restaurant and way underdressed.
I also ordered skirt steak with chimichurri and french onion soup, because me and my yoga pants were going to LIVE.IT.UP. Throughout this all, I was still the only person in the restaurant, which meant that I got amazingly good service. Finally, I decided that it was probably time to stop eating alone and headed back to my room.

I discovered that the phone charger I brought with me didn't work, so I realized that I was going to have to go out to the [scary] parking garage and plug my phone into my car overnight, otherwise it would be dead by morning. Only, when I got into the elevator, I couldn't find the button for the parking garage. There was no G button. This was perplexing because I knew that I went from the parking garage elevator directly into the hotel lobby. I knew it was possible, but it was like Narnia. The entrance to the parking garage had simply disappeared. I got off in the lobby and loitered around for a few minutes, until I saw a guy walk out a side door. I sidled after him and, ah ha! The parking garage. I was still perplexed as to how I got INTO the hotel before, but I found my car and plugged in my phone. Then? I took the elevator from the parking garage back to the 11th floor of the hotel where my room was.
The next morning, I packed up all of my things and decided to take everything to my car before the meeting. I got in the elevator and punched the lobby button at the same time as another guy who hit the 3rd floor button. And guess what? THE THIRD FLOOR IS THE PARKING GARAGE. Only it doesn't say that, so I guess you have to go to Narnia often to understand how this works. So then I was all, "Oh, huh, I was going to check out and THEN go to the parking garage, but I guess I'll just go to the parking garage first since we're stopping here!" to save face. At the meeting, the teacher next to me expressed her confusion and annoyance at the whole confusing parking garage situation, so thankfully, it wasn't just me. She said she asked the clerk in the lobby and he acted like she was dumb, so I'm glad that I just chose to stand around like a creeper.

The rest of the day went pretty normally. We had lunch on the 21st floor with a great view.
When I went to leave, I realized suddenly that I didn't remember carrying my coat downstairs that morning. In fact, I was pretty sure I hadn't. Still, I checked in my car to be sure and yeah, no coat. So I was that person who had to ask the front desk to call housekeeping because they left their coat. It's amazing how when we travel with the kids, I organize their things and mine without trouble, but send me off by myself and I forget how to navigate elevators and don't carry my coat!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What I Read Wednesday

This was kind of a sad week of reading for me. There are a few reasons. One, I'm kind of stalled on library requests. I have about eight books in my queue right now, but apparently the people ahead of me are really slow readers because they're just sitting there. Two, I've been super busy at work, gearing up for our first round of standardized tests so my normal silent reading time has been spent doing other things. However, I still managed to read two really good books.

After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story
I don't read a great deal of non-fiction, but I've been intrigued by this one since I first heard about it. A man grows up and realizes that the details of his father's death don't quite add up and begins to look into them as he's older. Without giving away too many details, the amount of coverups in this story and the lengths the friends of his father are willing to go to years and years after his death to keep the details from his son and the rest of his family are baffling. It's an interesting look at the stories people weave and the thoughts that so many people lead lives that are not quite what they seem on the surface. This is definitely one that I would recommend reading, whether or not you're someone who frequently reads non-fiction or memoirs.

The Fifth Assassin
This is the sequel to the Inner Circle, which I blogged about in this post. Like The Inner Circle, it's a good vacation type read. I was drawn into the story of Beecher and secret societies. I liked this book better than the first, actually. I found that it had a stronger, more exciting momentum. From the ending, I assume that there will be at least one more in this series and I'm definitely interested in reading it.

What did you read this week? Obviously I need more recommendations! I plan on starting Schroder tonight. I've been waiting on this one from the library for awhile now, so I'll be reviewing it next week.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

2 best friends | 679 miles | one virtual 5k

As I'm recovering from an injury, I'm starting to get burned out on running with no training plan. I haven't had a training plan to follow since I ran my half on November 11th. While I'd planned on stepping back some, that's a very long time for me to go without a training plan. And while I'm certainly rebuilding and have a ways to go, I've started to feel a little antsy with absolutely nothing to follow. At the same time, I don't really feel ready to jump into anything. I don't feel like I'm quite there with my distances. My speed sucks, so I'm not really going to be banging out a PR at any distance any time soon. So I've been increasing my runs by a mile each week and while that's great and all, it's not necessarily fun and I was starting to feel burned out. Last week, I thought, "What if I just do the first week in the Train Like a Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line - and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity 5k Own It Plan?" I didn't have any intention to continue with the plan, I just needed something to break up the monotony for a week. It worked. It was hard and the 400s nearly killed me, but it worked and it made me feel like a stronger runner for that week.

Then Keli texted me that she was going to do the AMR Virtual 5k. Back when I started running almost two years ago, Keli was my running inspiration. She kicked my butt in so many ways. When she came to visit me in October of 2011, we ran together and all I saw was the back of her for 4-5 miles because she was so fast! Then her half marathon training got derailed because she became pregnant. Then she had a giant baby and never gets to sleep, so she's looking for a way to get back on track. I mentioned that I'd just done week 1 of the 5k Own It plan, so what if we kept doing it together and at the end, ran a virtual 5k together? I mean, sure, I'm a week ahead, but you know how it is... somewhere I'll miss a few days or I'll need to repeat a long run, so this is perfect. Even more perfect is the fact that Keli did the math and figured that she'd be done on the weekend of May 11th. She already found a 5k on that weekend--and I already have a 5k scheduled that weekend, one that means a lot to me. The epilepsy 5k is that weekend and we'll be running and walking for Team Tommy again. Could it BE any more perfect? I don't think so.

Keli and I tend to be on the same wavelength a lot, so it's no surprise that we ended up on the same wavelength here. For example, we both own this same Old Navy skirt. I had no idea that she had it and vice versa, but we end up wearing it on the same day more often than not. Although I suspect that living in the south and not in the cold, harsh north, she gets more wear out of hers than I do.
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I do most of my runs at 4:30 in the morning, because that's when my feet feel best. I also do this because if I don't run at 4:30, my next time is not until after work... and truthfully, I have little to no energy at that time of day. Keli figured that she could run at 5:30 her time, which would be 4:30 my time, so I can work on keeping her accountable (and I will, so watch out, K!).

To keep ourselves accountable to all of you, we'll blog about our training each week. Or the way we got angry at each other when we didn't want to do a run. Maybe there will be a screenshot. If you came over here from Keli's blog because you don't know me, here's a little bit about me:
Name: Erin
Age: 30
Location: Chicagoland
Favorite Running Music: I actually don't run to music. I stopped listening to music months ago when I realized that listening to music slowed down my pace. I don't really miss it! Also, because I run in the dark, I cut it out for safety reasons, but I've gone without it for so long that I don't even bother with it in the daylight.
Running Favorites: Garmin Forerunner 405 Wireless GPS-Enabled Sport Watch with USB ANT Stick and Heart Rate Monitor (Black) I don't leave home without it. Except that one time that it wasn't charged and that was tragic. Although I make a habit of not looking at it more than once every mile (unless I'm doing speedwork), I still couldn't live without it.
adidas Women's Perfect Rib Tank, Super Cyan, Medium These are the best running tanks. Long enough to be comfortable, but wicking and cool. I own them in several different colors. I think Keli does, too!
Running not so Favorites: Sesamoiditis. Yeah. Foot injuries are dumb.
Running shorts that creep up. Is there anything worse?!

The only way this could be better is if we could actually travel those 679 miles and run a 5k together in May. Sigh. I can dream, right?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Running, Stumbling

I'm afraid to say this because I firmly believe in jinxing myself. Well, I don't really BELIEVE in myself, but have you ever noticed how it really seems to happen? At any rate, I want to tell you that my feet are almost really healed from the sesamoiditis that's been plaguing me since NOVEMBER. November was ages ago, wasn't it? Samoiditis is a jerk of a lingering injury, which is why I'm afraid to talk about it. It might hear me. I want to say that I'm fully healed, but we'll go with 97%. Sometimes I step down funny and feel a stabbing pain shoot up my foot that reminds me that I'm not really fully healed--or that I could easily reinjure them. I also haven't worn anything other than running shoes with orthotics in them since December, so who knows what might happen if I decide to walk on the wild side and wear real people shoes? I have an education conference one week from today where I have to wear professional dress, so I guess I'll find out. Gulp. My feet also still ache in funny ways at the end of the day. A few weeks, the outer tendon on my foot was so sore that I took a few days off from running to let it heal. My arches are blistered from new running socks creating friction against my orthotics. They don't appear to want to heal. In short, my feet are delicate flowers.

Still, they're better. Much better than I thought they would ever be. There was a dark time in injury land when I was googling sesamoiditis and I was convinced that they would never heal. I lived inside my head and I hated all runners. I couldn't believe that I went from my absolute peak running condition, I mean stronger than I have EVER been to THIS injured mess that could barely walk. Because of the wind, because of shoes with too small of a toe box. I did everything right with training! I was so prepared for that half marathon and then I was brought down by something out of my control. People do dumb things running wise all the time and they don't get injured. WHY ME? I told you it was a dark time.

Every now and then, the thought, "I wonder where I'd be if I didn't get injured" crops up. It's an ugly one. I was faster than ever before I got injured. Although I planned on scaling back distance for awhile, I didn't plan on scaling back the speedwork and well, that thought is ugly and mean. It also serves no purpose because you can't change anything.
I was injured. I took three weeks off. I got a stomach bug and a sinus infection during those three weeks and lost six pounds, so I was even weaker when I went back to running. And when I did come back, I was still pretty injured, so I wasn't able to to jump right back in when I wanted to. Then I switched zero drop shoes and had to ease into those, so it was a whole lot of taking it slow. That's okay. It really is. It just isn't where I thought I would be in March.

Little by little, I'm making strides (pun intended). Saturday, I went out for a five mile run and it was hard. Five miles used to be nothing. When I was training for my half marathon, it was a warm up for 15 miles. I went out too fast in the first mile, but by mile 2, I'd settled into what felt like a comfortable pace. When mile 3 beeped, I looked at my watch and saw that my pace was 9:33. That used to be my comfortable, not pushing it pace during half marathon training! Granted, back then, I would've gone much faster on a five mile run, but that's okay. At mile 4, I was pushing back into our neighborhood strong at 9:30 and I felt good. I had a few traffic stops and did stop to catch my breath during those moments, so I can't admit that it was a straight out run, but I only stopped long enough to not get hit by cars and had no traffic stops in the last mile and a half. I felt good and pushed it up to 9:20 toward the end, even with two hills. Today I ran 4 progressive miles (meaning that each one was faster than the last), with the last mile at a 9:13. It was dark and I was tired, but I managed to push myself faster and faster with each mile, even though I was so exhausted by the end. There are still times when I'm struggling and I see my pace in the 10s, which I didn't used to see at all, but that's okay because like Barb said, I can't compare peak training to rebuilding. There are also times when I am out of breath and gasping by mile 1. I don't know what happens these times, but I know that my body isn't just quite there yet. It's strange how you can run consistently for almost two years and never miss more than two days in a row, but you take three weeks off in a row and scale back... and suddenly, you forget how to put one foot in front of another.