Monday, July 30, 2012

Weeks 7 & 8 - Half Way There (again)

Sorry for missing a post. These last couple of weeks have been interesting - for me at least.

Sunrise over Lake Michigan.

Week 7

My Wednesday runs are starting to get long, as I think I mentioned in my last running post, so I got up on Wednesday morning and did 6 miles in the neighborhood. It was a nice change of running scenery and I had a good run. On Sunday, I did 12 miles in yet once a blistering heat. Even though we're hitting the lake front by 5:30 a.m., it's already in the mid 70's at the beginning of the run and topping 80's by the end. I slowed way down and finished in about 2 hours 10 min. Not too bad, just under an 11 min pace which is all I can ask for when it's this hot outside.

Mr. H. and I were wiped out and probably dehydrated (even though I'm pretty sure I stopped at every single water fountain on the course). Back home, after drinking lots of water and eating, I did something I do all the time, I picked up Baby H. He's weighing in around 30 lbs and just at that moment my body decided I'd done enough work for the day because my back gave out. I pulled a muscle and sent it into spasms and that pretty much ended the rest of the day for me. For the next three days I was bent over in first pain, then acheyness, then stiffness. After three days of rest and muscle relaxers, I ran 3 miles on Thursday. I was a little stiff, but overall feeling OK.

Week 8 - The Half Way Point

Getting up on Sunday to run 13.1 miles after not really training all week was a little scary. When I first started training for the marathon my goal was to not miss any training runs because I know how easy it is to start letting them slip once you go down that path. But I also know the importance of taking care of yourself when you're injured and not making it worse. So a couple of missed days probably wasn't going to be the worst thing. After neither one of us feeling that well after last week's long runs, Mr. H. and I both prepared better with more fuel before the run and added fuel during (oh GU how I do love you). And, to our delight, it was merely in the 60s when we began our race and really a beautiful morning which was why I stopped and took that picture posted above.

That's not to say my run way easy. It wasn't. I had pretty good splits, averaging around 10:40 the whole way. I did slow down toward the end because my iPod stopped working/it was getting hot/I had already run 10 miles and when is this insanity going to end? The good news is, I found some inspiration to make it through the last few miles after I ran into a former coworker and friend Little Debbie. Just seeing her was enough to get me through those last few miles.

Next week is a step back week, only 10 miles, but seriously, I'm starting to wonder how I am going to start doing some of these longer distances by myself. The week after next is 15 miles. I have mental ways of dealing with it- like dividing it up into 3 chunks of 5 or maybe even 5 chunks of 3. But really, what I need is someone to run next to me helping me, pushing me, encouraging me. So, if anyone wants to join me on Sunday mornings at Montrose and the lake around 5:30 a.m. and then go for a run (ranging from 10 - 20 miles), let me know. If you are unable (or unwilling) to do that, maybe shoot a few dollars to my fundraising page. Believe me, it helps too. 

Running stats for week ending July 29
Miles run this week:16.1
Training miles to date: 204.11
Approximate steps  it takes to run 13.1 miles - 24,000

Friday, July 20, 2012

Grieving Parents

I am not the first one to comment on this phenomenon nor, I'm sure, will I be the last. But there is something so different about the love you have for a child. It gets in your soul, the very core of your being and sits there, grows there, radiates outward. There are times I physically feel the love for Baby H. when I look at him and I can barely stand it.

Lately I've been reading "Llama Llama Misses Mamma" to Baby H. before bed, and when we get to the end of the book he will say "someday me go to school too." Yes, I say, some day. But not too soon. I take joy in him every day and the new things he says and does. But I also ache a little each time he takes another step away from me. Thinking about him growing up and moving away makes me have actual moments of feeling bad about leaving my mother even though we live less than a mile from each other. In those moments I am glad I have at least another 16 years to keep my son close to me.

Whenever a tragedy like a shooting happens, or a little girl dies, I internalize and think how on earth can these parents who have lost their precious babies, no matter how old, how can they go on? I hope to never know that kind of pain. I know they do go on. I look at my mother-in-law who lost one of her sons at only 28 and know that she goes on. Heartbroken to be sure, but she lives. Maybe she finds the strength to go on to honor him. To honor all that he was and what he could never be by dying so young. I don't know if I could do the same. I'm pretty sure my instinct would be to lie down, curl up in a little ball and stop breathing. And chances are the mothers and fathers out there today, not only in Colorado, but all over the world who have lost their children to war, sickness, accidents, want to do the same.

There isn't much we can do to keep loved ones from dying. As they say, it is part of the circle of life. And I don't have any words of wisdom about living life to the fullest and enjoying each other while you can. I can't make a vow to live today like it's my last day on earth. If I did that I would get up from my desk, grab my son and husband and go to the beach and have a picnic. I can't even say that I'll tell all those I love how much I truly love them. Sure, my husband, my sister, mom. But making calls to my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, everyone of my friends? Does an e-card count? How about a text? That's the problem with these moments. They are fleeting until the next one comes along and reminds us that life is short and sometimes, usually, quite tragic.

So a modest proposal, today I will take off work a little early. I'll go home and give my husband, my son, an extra hug, an extra kiss and that person on the train that wants to sit down - go ahead, I can stand.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week 6 - Half Way There

Half way there - at least in my fundraising goal. I've got  12 more weeks before the marathon and training is getting harder, but every dollar raised keeps me motivated and reaching for that goal. As my Anonymous donor said "Alright, now you're to the half-way point!" - that little bit helped get me through this last week.

Of course, it also helps to remember what I'm doing this for. Last night on WGN, One Step at A Time camp was featured including an interview with our very own Colleen. If you have a few minutes to watch the video, it will give you some great insight into why this camp is such a special place and why I would even consider putting myself through this experience. You can watch the video here.

This last week was a step back week. You don't realize at the beginning how refreshing it is to say to yourself, next Sunday I only have to run 7 miles. As usual, Mr. H. had to drag me out of bed to do it, but once back out on the Lake Front path, I was ready to go. I had a good run averaging just over a 10 minute pace. Right where I want to be. Next week I'm up to a 12 mile run on Sunday. Not sure I can hold that pace, but if I can stay between 10:30 - 11 min/mile, I'll be happy.

My mid-week run is starting to get longer too. For the next two weeks I'm running 6 miles, then 7 miles for two weeks, then 8 miles for two weeks (you get the idea). With the heat being what it is (100 degrees today), and my desire to NOT run more than 5 miles on a treadmill unless I'm watching a really good movie, Mr. H. and I are devising plans to get up early and run before work, taking turns who is at home (apparently it is still against the law to leave your child alone even if he's sleeping in his crib and totally safe and not going anywhere - what could possibly happen?). We'll see how it goes because it means getting up at 5 a.m. Dragging myself out of bed at 5:45 a.m. these last couple of days to do yoga before I work has been hard enough. Pretty soon we'll be going to bed at the same time as Baby H. just so we get enough sleep. 

Running stats for week ending July 15
Miles run this week: 18
Training miles to date: 167.01
Approximate steps this week: 90,000

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Week 5 - Running in Cleveland

Well, Rocky River to be exact, which is just west of Cleveland and next to Lakewood where Mr. H's family lives. We went to Cleveland for a long weekend over the holiday and somehow braved the 90+ degree weather and Saturday afternoon power outage. But the good news is, running on the Cleveland Metroparks multi-use path was delightful.

Major differences between Chicago Lakefront path and Cleveland Metroparks path:
  1. Deer to human ratio much higher. I saw eight deer (including two baby deer) during my run. They seemed to be saying "what the hell is wrong with you, it's 6 a.m. on a Sunday."
  2. Water to human ratio much lower. The one problem that I see with the path is that there are few water fountains. There was one fountain at my five mile mark (where I turned around since I was completing my 10 mile run). To prepare for this and to cope with what we assumed would be quite warm weather, we bought hand-held water bottles.
  3. Other people on the path at 6 a.m. much lower. There were a few miles there where I basically only saw the back of Mr. H. running away from me. I had a couple of minutes of "wow, I'm really alone out here." But by mile 3 I started to see some other people come out and by the time we got back to where we parked our car, the path was practically teeming with people. But still no where near the amount on the lakefront on the weekend.
  4. Shade. So much shade! Most of the path winds through the trees, so most of the time you are shaded. It's so nice.
It was great to have a few runs away from my treadmill, or my usual path around my neighborhood or even the lakefront in Chicago.  I might even have to schedule a trip to Cleveland later in the marathon training just to give myself a break from the doldrums of running the same path over and over again.
Finally, I'd like to give a shout out to my two newest supporters, the Steins and Alana. Lest you forget, I'm doing all this to raise money for Children's Oncology Services to help send kids with cancer to camp. It's easy to donate, just click on the Donate button on the right.

Running stats for week ending July 8
Miles run this week: 19
Training miles to date: 149.01
Steps this week (approximate as there was some missed counting during the week): 80,000

Monday, July 2, 2012

Week 4 - 13,000 Steps

My step count for Sunday, July 1.  Pretty easy to spot the time running.
Apparently it takes me a little over 13,000 steps to run nine miles. The old saying goes every journey begins with the first step (OK - actual saying is "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" and even that's not entire true...but you get the idea). This is true. It's that part about having to take steps over and over again that gets hard. That's where the saying "one step at a time" comes in. This is also true. It's pretty hard to take two steps at a time. I've tried; you just end up tripping. 

It's not lost on me that the camp I am raising funds for is called "One Step at a Time Camp." The same way I have to put one foot in front of another, slogging my way through a nine mile run, isn't much different than these kids that have to keep going despite the diagnosis of cancer - except that I can stop whenever I want to. I have lots of motivations to keep me going. I listen to music; I think of Colleen; I think of my son; I think of Mr. H. running along the same path as me just a bit faster and a bit farther; sometimes I don't think and I just put one foot in front of the other one, taking one step at a time. The kids, what keeps them going? I'm sure they all have their different things, but one thing for sure that helps is this camp. Knowing that for a week or two, they can be kids having fun at camp. And, if all else fails, that thought keeps me getting up at 5 a.m. to put in the miles and raise funds for Team One Step.

This week was a pretty good week. I've stopped trying to do my third run of the week on Thursday, and instead of just gone ahead and moved it to Friday. It seems running three days in a row doesn't work too well for me. I felt pretty good on my run on Sunday. I have no real goal for the marathon other than finishing. But, I was able to keep up a just over 10 min mile pace for my nine miles. So if I can keep up with that pace, then I will be more than happy with my finishing time.

Running stats for week ending July 1
Miles run this week: 19
Training miles to date: 130.01
Steps this week (not accurate as I didn't start counting until Friday): 52,708

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