Category Archives: Running

life is made up of moments

I may not be the oldest or wisest person in town … I am blessed to have not felt the heartbreak of losing a parent, or the disappointment in missing the final shot to win a game for my team.

… but I have been blessed to experience some amazing moments in my 24 years on this little planet.
Moments which inevitably made me the impatient, emotional and demanding woman I am today!!

I kid. I kid.

But really there are a few moments I can recall which I believe had a direct affect on some major life choices I have made in recent months. Most notably (and relative :)) is the day I packed my life in to ONE suitcase, boarded a train and moved from everyothersmalltowninthemidwest to New York, New York.

For as long as my closest friends/family have known me I always said I would live in New York.
For as long as my closest friends/family have known me I was always a chronic procrastinator.
For as long as my closest friends/family have known me I was always a home-body.

So needless to say when I bought my one way Amtrak ticket from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Penn Station in New York City everyone was shocked.

I didn’t have an apartment, a job that provided me with a paycheck (I was there for a royalty free internship), or a clue.

(But in my 22 year old mind, those were just details … silly details which I couldn’t be inconvenienced with.)

Even now, when I close my eyes I can still smell the street meat cart on the corner of 33rd and 7th, see the flashing lights of Madison Square Garden and feel the cool breeze that funneled down the street on that crisp fall night when I emerged from the underground hub. I was instantly overwhelmed. It became flight or fight, and kids – I was ready to rumble!

The following morning I rose with the sun … or was it the dump truck, taxi horn, or general noise which was reverberating from outside the window … either way, when I woke up, it was early. I grabbed a cup of coffee, and the Post (which became my morning routine) and headed from the couch I was sleeping on in the East Village up towards Central Park. I quickly realized thanks to the wonderfully undependable MTA that it was the morning of the New York City Marathon! I was a wee bit skeptical of the whole thing, thinking to myself

“How much fun can it really be to watch a bunch of people running down  the street??”,

… but I managed to finagle my way right up against the barrier on the north side of Central Park South near Columbus Circle. There were thousands, probably tens of thousands of people lined up on the curbs as far as the eye could see. Some groups wore t-shirts emblazoned with photographs of loved ones, others were wearing colors which depicted charities/causes they supported. There were thundersticks, air horns and cow bells (I felt right at home!).

For the first hour or so we waited. Straining our necks, glaring east along CPS waiting to get our first glimpse of someone, anyone. I had had about enough waiting, figuring there were other things to be doing on my first day in the city then standing there twiddling my thumbs, when I heard the clapping begin. It resonated, getting closer and closer until I was finally able to see the first runner. And then I was shocked because … well …

… he wasn’t a runner! It was a paraplegic man in a wheelchair and I can still see the look on his face as he came in to my view. It appeared first as a painful grimace but quickly morphed into the most glorious smile I had ever seen in my life. That man had pushed himself 25.5 miles and now he was surrounded by strangers who wanted nothing more in that moment then to see him finish. He was alive, and not just in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense as well.

For the next 2+ hours I stood in awe, pressed anxiously against the metal barrier, clapping and cheering. I watched children, adults, people in groups and others who were alone. Some ran – faster then I can when I am sprinting and some walked. There were a number of people who fell, whose bodies had given up on them … and then crawled along the pavement when their heart refused to do so. It was their moment. And they made mine.

That morning in a city of millions, there was a common tie, a respect for one another that meant more then any religious or political difference. All day long I spotted people everywhere who were draped in the foil blanket they were provided at the finish line, proudly sporting their medals around their necks. I even witnessed a woman stop the closing doors of a subway car to send her congratulations to a participant. There was unlimited appreciation and support and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to experience the grimace and simultaneous overwhelming joy that man felt that morning. I wanted to push myself further then I thought I could. I wanted to test my determination and dedication. I wanted to run a race.

Which brings me to now.

When I signed up for the Nike+ race in Chicago I figured –

10K, can’t be too hard right??

WRONG. I have dedicated all of my free time to training. I am in the gym 6 nights a week, running 4 nights a week and watching everything I eat. Some days I feel great!! My workouts go well, I increase my weights, or I am able to rack up the miles by foot without any trouble. Other days … well other days aren’t quite so easy and I get frustrated, discouraged and crabby. – EEK!!

And that is when I take myself back to that morning in New York … and that moment …

Yesterday night Matt and I ran the longest distance either of us ever have. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t necessarily fun, but dammit – when we were done I was so proud. I was proud of myself, and I was proud of Matt.

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Filed under Lovin' life, Motivation, Running

home is where the humidity is

I love Michigan.

I swear.
Cross-my-heart-hope-to-die-stick-a-needle-in-my-eye.

I do.

You see … growing up my parents did something for my sister and I which few other parents (with the exception of the Griswold’s) ever venture to try doing. For a few weeks each summer we’d pack in to our conversion van, a la the Partridge Family, and drive cross country.

One year it was Michigan to Florida, up the coast and back home. We covered Disney, the Fountain of Youth, Charlotte, a trip to the ER in Roanoke for my sister, Washington D.C., a tour inside the White House and 5374534 museums

Another it was Michigan to Colorado, MEXICO (& yes. My family really did drive to Mexico, and no I will never do it again) and back. Included was a drive through the smelliest town in America – Ogalala, Nebraska, Rocky Mountain National Park, Pikes Peak, Albuquerque, the “Very Large Array” (aka. a very large waste of time”), Mexico border crossing, family in Tucson, Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon and Vail.

Then there was Michigan to New York City (when the love affair began) up to Canada, back down to the States and home. Also included were stops at Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont, Montreal, Quebec City, and Bar Harbor Maine.

In addition to those long trips we have been down and back to Florida countless times, New York again, as well as the Carolina’s. I have traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Dallas, Texas on my own, and LIVED New York City – which I will discuss at a later time when I have a box of tissues handy and have prepared my love-lorn heart.

… and you see … my travels around these wonderful United States of America, as well as our lovely neighbors to the north and south, have instilled in me an appreciation for HOME more then any cruise or day at the beach could. I have been lucky enough to see more of this land then most people 3 times my age. And if I had to choose one place to live for the rest of my life – you’d bet your bottom dollar it’d be right here:

NOW …

Yes we have winter, and I hate it. Have I mentioned I loathe the snow?? Especially when it is falling in April, or worse yet May … BUT I also love waking up to a fresh blanket of fluffy snow on Christmas morning – even as an adult it is magical.

And the rain in the spring … eeeek – it can be horrific … BUT seeing the trees come back to life

and the transformation of my backyard from sleepy hallows into dense arbors is sensational.

And fall – ahhh yes fall. It is always sad seeing the landscape slowly slip into a deep sleep for the coming months … BUT It makes my heart flutter. The crispness of the air. Hearing the echos of the high school band drumline playing on a Friday night from my patio. Pulling out my favorite warm hoodie from deep within my closet and standing in a parking lot tailgating for 8 hours while drinking and eating in excess. Oh yes …

and the incredible crimson and burnt orange hues of the leaves. It is spectacular.

And finally I find myself, circa now, trapped in the dog days of a Michigan summer. Where the humidity pushes 100% by noon on most days, and you feel like you are stuck in an excruciating sauna from the moment you rise until … well until the next morning you rise, because even in slumber it doesn’t cease.

And for those of you runners who do not live in a sauna …

... running, in Michigan, in July/August is TORTURE. If I could do it naked, without getting arrested, gawked at, or harrassed, I probably would.

**Disclaimer: the following information is an honest, and gross account of my workouts!**

The sweat my body produces is ridiculous. I am dead serious. I could easily soak through 2 shirts. And my hair – ICK ICK ICK. After a run it looks like I submerged my head in water. And it doesn’t stop there! My feet (poor pedicure), behind my knees, between my boobs, EVEN MY PALMS FOLKS, are drenched! And although running on the treadmill is probably my least favorite form of exercise, in these tough times, I am often tempted to hoove it on rotating rubber in my air conditioned gym, because I JUST CAN’T TAKE THE HEAT ANYMORE. I am ready to get out of the kitchen!

And so you see … I love Michigan.

I swear.
Cross-my-heart-hope-to-die-stick-a-needle-in-my-eye. I do.

Great Lakes, Great Times

but on nights like the ones we’ve had lately, I wish I lived in Alaska. 🙂

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Filed under Lovin' life, Running

map your run!

Last night Matt and I decided to try a new route (well it was new to me!) for our run. Back in the days of .99 cent per gallon fill ups, when we were in high school, Matt spent his after school hours playing sports. If he wasn’t hitting the links then he was at basketball practice. Now, you’d think if he was at basketball practice he’d be … errr … playing basketball, you know dribbling the leather orb, swooshing 3’s … but ha! instead the entire team spent their “practice” time running. Everywhere. Suicides, laps on the indoor track and miles around town.

So when I explained my annoyance with the same ‘ol up and down Pontiac Trail run I have been taking since I started my training, he suggested the 3 mile loop the team would take in boot camp – ahem, basketball. And not that I didn’t believe him that it was 3 miles, but it just seemed too short. So off my fingers went typing, bringing me to the ever helpful mapmyrun.com and sure as the Pope is Catholic …

High School Loop
Find more Runs in South Lyon, Michigan

3.0 miles indeedy sweetie – and off we went!

The run was great – best one we’ve had together thus far in fact. It is almost all sidewalk which is a pleasant change from the half-in-the-road-half-on-a-beat-up-sidewalk run I have through town. There are a few changes in elevation, notably the large and steep hell hill on Pontiac Trail approaching the high school. It sucks. I hate it. However I did comment to Matt after the run how much I enjoyed the change in scenery.

Each half mile is broken down in to different backdrops if you will. The first is just along 11 mile, then you proceed on through the subdivision, then down the back road parallel with the trail, then le tour de “downtown”, hell hill and finally the home stretch! It’s nice to break up the monotony of a run and makes time pass much more quickly.

We were both thrilled with how we felt after the run – Matt only sweat through 2 shirts – a miracle indeed! We had ho’d and hummed about whether or not we’d continue on to the gym for weight training but we both felt great so we agreed to make it a quick one.

When we got to the gym Sharon was working. She loves us! No seriously. She does. We chatted a bit about the race as usual. Her enthusiasm is contagious and I love love love it! We worked on shoulders which was nothing short of torture … I was grimicing and grunting like a cavewoman. Did the usual ab routine and called it a night.

Tonights workout is still in the air – if anything it will be a light run at the gym and abs because … It’s Friday bitches – woot woot – so realistically I would rather just be a veggie-table and relax. The only condition is that at 8:15 a.m. tomorrow I will be pampered and spoiled the way I deserve to be 😉 at Visions in Novi for a spa pedicure and then in the afternoon we have Matt’s cousin Jeff’s wedding … so a workout will NOT, I repeat NOT be in order for my Saturday.

**Special shout-out to my loving and generous man candy for purchasing the manicure (being saved for another day) and pedicure for me!

so on that note … I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and I will see you here on Monday with pictures from the wedding and other going’s on’s!

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go big or go home!

Here it is … in all its torturous glory … my training program!

Nike+ Human Race 10K – Chicago, IL – 8/31/08
Week Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
July 20th
Rest Goal: 3.0 mi Goal: 4.0 mi Rest Goal: 3.0 mi Rest Goal: 7.0 mi
Easy Run WU: 1.0 mi Moderate Run Long Run
RUN: 1 x 200
RECV: 200
REPEAT: 7x
Run: 1 x 100
RECV: 100
REPEAT: 1x
CD: 1.0 mi
July 27th
Rest Goal: 3.0 mi Goal: 4.0 mi Rest Goal: 4.0 mi Rest Goal: 7.0 mi
Easy Run WU: 1.0 mi Moderate Run Long Run
RUN: 1 x 1000
RECV: 200
REPEAT: 2x
RUN: 1 x 100
RECV: 100
REPEAT: 1x
CD: 1.0 mi
August 3rd
Rest Goal: 4.0 mi Goal: 5.0 mi Rest Goal: 4.0 mi Rest Goal: 8.0 mi
Easy Run WU: 1.0 mi Moderate Run Long Run
RUN: 1.0 mi pace
RECV: 400
REPEAT: 1x
CD: 1.25 mi
August 10th
Rest Goal: 3.0 mi Goal: 4.0 mi Rest Goal: 3.0 mi Rest Goal: 8.0 mi
Easy Run WU: 1.0 mi Moderate Run Long Run
RUN: 1 x 200
RECV: 200
REPEAT: 7x
RUN: 1 x 100
RECV: 100
REPEAT: 1x
CD: 1.0 mi
August 17th
Rest Goal: 3.0 mi Goal: 3.0 mi Rest Goal: 4.0 mi Rest Goal: 7.0 mi
Easy Run WU: 1.0 mi Moderate Run Long run
RUN: 1000
RECV: 200
REPEAT: 1x
CD: 1.0 mi
August 24th
Rest Goal: 3.0 mi Goal: 3.0 mi Rest Goal: 3.0 mi Rest Goal: 2.0 mi
Easy Run WU: 1.0 mi Moderate Run Easy Run
RUN: 1 x 400
RECV: 400
REPEAT: 1x
CD: 1.0 mi
August 31st
Goal: 6.0 mi
RACE: 6.2

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Filed under Running, Weight Training

A for effort

Okay boys and girls … I have a pet peeve (okay fine – I have many pet peeves) … but for time’s sake I will narrow it down to just one.

I cannot stand when people comment on my eating/excercise habits. It really irks me, deep down in my soul.

As a petite and fit woman I find it almost as insulting when others comment on my weight, or what is on my plate as I can imagine I would if I was obese. Because you see people – weight is personal.

It is mine, not yours.

It is something I carry (literally and figuratively) day in and day out.

Just yesterday as I was eating my egg whites on light multi grain wheat toast in the lunch room at work I had someone ask me – “what’s your trick for being so skinny?” And I think this quote from Madonna sums up my response perfectly …

“There are no tricks. Tricks don’t work. Discipline does.”

So tonight at the gym – discipline it is. On the schedule for this evening for me and Matt is …

  • 3.0 mi – moderate tempo run (outside if the weather permits)
  • Weight training
    Sholders
    Legs
  • Abs

Ooh and I almost forget in my rant induced phase above to show you all the super-duper uber cool t-shirt (it is the red one) all of the participants will be receiving for the Nike+ Human Race. Our bib number (10973 for me!) will be printed on the front.

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Filed under Motivation, Running, Weight Training

put my money where my mouth is

It is OFFICIAL folks … while our tired bodies were deep asleep last night National City decided it was time for me to end my procrastination once and for all and moved my $35.00 registration fee from the pending debit column to the posted column.

I always thought it was silly to charge people to run a race … but now my frugal (read: cheap) self has 35 George Washington’s waiting for me to lace up and make the 10 kilometer trek along the lakeshore in Chicago with 14,999 other people and 1 million Worldwide.

You see … the folks over at Nike came up with this genius marketing plan to hold 25 10K races Worldwide on the August 31st, 2008 for those who use the nikeplus sensor. They have since named it the Nike+ Human Race and have modified the stipulations that you can run using your sensor in your own neighborhood if you’d like … but that isn’t very fun now is it??!

So … a few weeks ago I logged on to sign up for a race in Detroit, but alas, no such race existed (go figure). The closest location was Chicago and whaddayaknow I just so happen to have a very dear friend (Gina) who lives downtown who I was planning on visiting the following weekend anyway! I ran the idea by her (and basically told her that she would be letting me use her living room as a hotel room that weekend) and in a moment of insanity she agreed to join me.

My other cohort on the other hand … not so interested in my devious plan.

Matt – who has been my motivator, teacher, coach, fellow gym rat and personal David Beckham for months now – has taught me all there is to know about weight lifting and weight training (he is going to be the best dagdum teacher this side of the Mississippi someday!) but running … ah yes running … it’s not his strong suit. So when one day I turned to him and said

“wanna run a 10K with me??”

I wasn’t surprised to hear a chuckle followed immediately by a “uuummmm no” response!

BUT – I must be doing something right, or just bugging him enough, because he agreed! (bwwahahahaha!) And diligent he has been … racking up the miles on the treadmill, running back and forth through town, and even doing sprints and intervals on the track of our alma mater.

Which leads me to today … t-minus 38 days folks.

38 days to get my sh*t together.

And this … this little corner of the blogosphere … shall be my journal.

of progress

failure

and success!

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