Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 Update

It's time for a mid year check.  Wow!  Where did the year go?  There were five things I wanted to achieve this year.  Let's see how it's coming along...

1)  Run My First Marathon  --  IN PROGRESS.  I've just started training for the Chicago Marathon in October.  I was delighted to be selected through their lottery system.  

2)  Run a Half in a New State  --  COMPLETE.  I ran the Viking Half Marathon in Mississippi.  It was a chilly but sunny March morning in the quaint city of Greenwood.  The route was nice and flat but the portions on the brick streets were quite challenging.  The movie The Help was filmed there in 2010.

On the brick streets of Greenwood

3)  Incorporate Strength Training  --  EPIC FAIL.  I woke up the day after Christmas with severe elbow tendonitis.  The orthopedist said I would remember this year as the year my elbow hurt.  Oh, Joy!  I've endured two painful steroid shots so far.   The last one did not take away the pain, but thankfully lowered it from excruciating to tolerable.  As long as I can sleep, I can manage.  Obviously, a revision is needed.  I can't even squeeze the shampoo bottle, much less pick up a weight.  The thought of a pushup makes me break out in a cold sweat.

4)  Run A Double or A Series of Half Marathons  --  COMPLETE.  I ran 4 half marathons within 21 days this winter.  While not technically a multi-day series, it allowed me to move up a moon level in Half Fanatics, which was the end goal.  Call me Jupiter.

Requirements for Jupiter


5)  Run a Sub 2:00 Half  --  NOT YET.  I have not trained to do this.  The 8 halves I ran early this year were so close together I didn't work on speed.  Maybe I can pull a rabbit out of the hat toward the end of the year, but my focus is now on distance.  Unfortunately, I may have to put this one on hold until 2016.  I'm busy ticking off marathon training miles in the challenging heat and humidity of summertime in Dixie.  It's my life for the next 14 weeks or so. 

How are you coming with your 2015 goals?

What would you do about strength training?

I'm joining the Tuesdays on the Run link up! 
Thanks to our hosts:
 Ericka @ MCM Mama Runs,
 Patty @ My no-guilt life!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Five Runfessions (June 2015 Edition)

I runfess...

I did what I usually consider a big no-no for me.  While we were at the beach, I ran in just a bra (and shorts, people!).  I've done it before.  It's the only place I feel comfortable enough to expose the jiggle in the middle.  I think it's just so hot, I don't give a horse's patoot.  Besides, nobody knows me there.  I have a hard time finding a good spot to clip my Shuffle though.  I forgot and only packed one pair of shorts with a pocket.  I usually don't run with my phone, but feel it's best in unfamiliar places.  So I had to wear the same pair every day.  Ask me how many times I washed them.  Go ahead...

I runfess...

I'm without a hairstyle.  I run most weekday mornings in the HHH  (hellacious heat & humidity).  After showering, I'm melting and loathe the thought of being under the heat of a blow dryer for 15 minutes (uber-thick hair!).  Air dry and a barrette it is.  I did the same lazy thing last summer. 

My M-I-L gave me this barrette umpteen years ago.  It's the only one I've ever found that will hold all of my hair.  It's pewter and I love it, but I wear it every day.  I WILL care about my appearance again one day.  I will...when it cools off.  My hairdresser would be mortified. 

I runfess...

I'm not a fan of Walmart, never have been.  (Hold the hate mail, please.)  I rarely go, but there is one very close to my office and I went this week.  {Heavy Sigh}  I'm trying very hard to find the good in this experience.  So...I will say, I had the best buggy ever!  Even with a 32 pack of water, it was easily maneuverable with one hand.  You see, one-handedness is very important.  I need to be able to swing my Fitbit arm freely.  Since the two items I needed were on opposite corners of the mega store, I was determined to count those steps -- 2,000 by the way.

I runfess...


I found yet another almond butter flavor to be addicted to.

I runfess...

If you told me I'd be on this crazy running journey 10 years ago (the Friday Five topic this week) I would have been rolling in the floor with laughter.   Who, me?  Are you kidding?

But 140 races later -- including 36 half marathons -- it's not funny.

It's a way of life. 

Do you have anything you need to Runfess?

I'm linking up with Marcia today from Marcia's Healthy Slice
Please stop by and join in with your Runfessions!

I'm also linking up for Friday Five where you'll see what everyone was up to 10 years ago.
I have no doubt there will be many great stories.

Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC,
Mar from Mar on the Run!.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's Annoying!

Dear Gum Smacker,

Please keep your gum quietly inside your mouth.  I have nothing against chewing gum, but I don't want to see it or hear it.  I'm not impressed with your humongous bubbles that pop and stick to your face.  You know that constant popping, cracking and sucking sound?  It's Annoying.  And, whatever you do -- don't you dare spit that wad on the ground.

Dear Neighbor,

Please don't do your yard work all afternoon on both weekend days.  You are long, long retired.  You've earned the right to do this miserably hot task in the cool early morning hours of the work week.  Don't wait until 11:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday (on the dot!) to begin your edging, weed eating, trimming, mowing and blowing.  You see, I'm in my back yard attempting to enjoy my weekend.  I'm sure you can hear my dogs barking incessantly to Annoy You, because they don't like all of that ruckus either.

Dear Runner,

Hi there!  I run too - just as hard and dedicated as you.  I wave to you every morning.  But you refuse to look at me.  In fact, you purposely turn your head away.  Can't you acknowledge that I'm out there too?  All of the other walkers and runners do.  I'm not picky.  A quick wave, simple smile, or nod is all I'm asking for.  Don't worry, I'm not going to Annoy You by trying to be your friend (as if!).  But please  witch  hag  lady, show some common courtesy and respect. 

Dear Gnats,

I love the great outdoors.  This includes working in my yard, even in the hottest conditions.  But, if you are out -- I simply can't tolerate you.  I don't like when you swarm around the creek near the running path either.  It's Annoying to have you stuck all over my face, sweaty body and clothes.  I don't want to even think of how many zillions of you I've inhaled.   Save yourselves, for goodness sake!

Dear Hip,

Why the heck now?  I really need you to bolster yourself for another 16 weeks or so.  It's Annoying that you picked now -- when I need to start training for Chicago -- to rear your ugly bursitis head.  I haven't abused you...yet.  I even backed off my mileage for a couple of months to give you plenty of rest.  Come on.  You can do it!


Dear Reader,
Tell me, what's annoying you? 

I'm linking up with Deb @ Deb Runs for the Wednesday Word.

Please visit Deb and the other participating bloggers.  It's fun!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Number 100

Mizuno Wave Inspires
Yippee!  My new Mizunos arrived.  I haven't worn them yet as I'm saving them for a short weekday run.  I'm not sure how I feel about the lemon yellow.  I'm more of a neon yellow gal.  But, at least it's a color I've never had.

Saturday morning, I completed my first official long run as part of my training for the Chicago Marathon.  I ran 10 miles, nice and slow at an average pace of 10:30.  I felt good, much better than anticipated.  It was very hot, but I picked up a slight breeze in certain directions.  The front of my right hip has been bothering me this past week, but I am greatly encouraged that it felt better on this run.  I purposely kept my stride short, light and sloowwww.

Must. Stay. Healthy. Repeat.

Darn that stupid leaf!

At the end of my run it was about 85 only 8 o'clock in the morning!!  I didn't think twice before jumping in the pool.  Thankfully, I remembered to take off my electronic devices (my Garmin has survived one plunge!).  The pool water was probably the same temperature if not warmer, but it still felt refreshing as my body temperature was surely 1000 degrees.  The thought of taking that plunge was the only thing that got me through the last two hot miles.

After a couple of cups of coffee in my porch swing, I worked in the yard (you know how I love it!).  Our new sod was finally laid out front after being on back order for months.  (Who knew grass could be on back order?)  It is absolutely beautiful but makes my landscaping look pitiful.  I had to get out there and start working!  It will take quite a few weekends of work.

We have grass again!

We had our Father's Day celebration Saturday afternoon just chillin' in the pool.  I recently posted about My Dad, who has been gone for many years.

Our grandson helped PoPo cut down a tree in the front yard.  He worked so hard moving and stacking those limbs.  It's all he could talk about later.  He also spent the night with us, so of course we had to bake cookies -- peanut butter with chocolate chips.  He slept like a rock.

Sunday, I did as little as possible.  I had another steroid shot in my elbow Friday.  The first shot lasted about 10 weeks, but then the pain returned with a vengeance.  I don't think this shot has taken affect yet -- or maybe my elbow is just sore from the shot itself -- or maybe I shouldn't have worked so hard in the yard!  Whatever the reason, after the training run and busy Saturday, my butt and elbow were dragging Sunday. 

Lastly, I just want to mention this is my 100th post.  As a baby blogger, I truly appreciate anyone who has taken the time to read it and especially those who took the time to comment.  That's my favorite part.  Thank you for letting me into your world and being a friend.

Tell me about your weekend!

I'm linking up with Tara who is the gracious host of the wonderful Weekend Update.  
Please visit Tara as well as all of the participating bloggers.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Dad

Daddy loved to hunt and fish.  Many evenings, you could seem him casting in the yard trying out a new fishing lure.  He also loved watching baseball and football.  Unfortunately, he had two sons that didn't share his love of outdoors or sports.  My brothers were...just different.  I didn't understand as a child, but came to realize this disappointed and saddened him.

One of us kids wrote on this picture!
My Dad was already in his 40s when I was born.  My sister and I thought he hung the moon.  Our love of water skiing is a result of his persistence.  He'd pull us around the lake every chance he could.  Because his boys weren't interested in outdoor things, I think it made him even more proud that his girls were.

He worked in accounting all of his life but often said he wished he had worked outside.  Being the first born in a dirt poor family, they were so proud he was educated and worked in an office.

Daddy was a religious man.  We were at church every time the doors opened.  He enjoyed singing tenor in the choir.  He was also a WWII veteran.  Having been schooled in bookkeeping, he was lucky to be given a clerical position in the Army.  He rarely spoke about those days. On patriotic holidays, he was called upon in church to say a few words.  He could not do this without shedding tears.  I always assumed he knew things or saw things or perhaps lost friends.

I have an old scrapbook made by his mother.  He served while still a young man living at home.  From every place he went, he sent his family postcards, photos and other memorabilia.  The postcards sent at Christmastime and other holidays are particularly poignant.  Serving in the Army enabled him to purchase his parents their first and only home, albeit very modest.

A picture from the Army scrapbook.

Daddy loved Mama deeply and treated her like a queen.  No ill word, no sass, no raised voices and certainly no disrespect were allowed.  His heart problems began in his 30s and I believe he had his first heart attack in his 40s. In his mid 50s he had bypass surgery.  He took on the assigned task of walking for his health with gusto. Every afternoon, he'd walk for miles on the country roads around the house.  When a car passed, he'd throw his hand up in an enthusiastic wave without even looking.  Because you see, he also had two eye diseases and couldn't see well...but he assumed he knew them.  The bypass surgery and faithful walking bought him over 10 more precious years.

He died of a massive heart infarction on Wednesday morning, July 4th 1990 after working the day before in the yard, something he enjoyed.  I could not travel home quick enough.  I had no opportunity to tell him goodbye or that I loved him.  Mama said on the way to the hospital, he said a prayer for each of his grown children.  He knew he was dying and his last words were prayers for us.  We had just visited a few weeks prior on Father's Day.  I remember he was tickled that my sister and I hosted a watermelon seed spitting contest out in the yard.

I can't see an American flag without thinking of him as it reminds me of the one draped on his casket.  I can't hear the National Anthem and not shed a tear.  He always jokingly said he wanted to be buried in a plain old pine box.  And that's what we was a beautifully polished pine casket.

His last birthday.
Our oldest son knew him for a few precious years.  He was the light in my Dad's diseased eyes.  Our other two sons never met him.  Any milestone for my children, particularly a sporting event, always made me misty-eyed.  I knew my Dad would never have missed any of it and would have soaked up every second.  Part of me knows he WAS there, in spirit.  Boy, he would be thrilled to know his 5 year old great grandson can slug a baseball like nobody's business.

One special memory I have of him was on my wedding day.  As we started down the aisle arm in arm, he paused me just for a moment so he could look me squarely in the eyes and say "I LOVE YOU".  He was very affectionate and I had no doubt he did, but saying those words was a rare occurrence.
He loved his wife, his family, his God and his country and fittingly passed away on July 4th.  My sister jokingly said "He went out with a bang!"  He would had LOVED that as he appreciated a good sense of humor and relished a good joke.  I still remember his laughter 25 years later.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Happiness Is...

My Morning Coffee

A happy day must start with a strong cup or two of coffee.  On the weekends, I like to sip it while sitting in my back porch swing.  I relish this particular time of my weekend mornings!  Depending on the season, it can either before or after a long run.  A weekday afternoon coffee with a friend is also a special treat (Hi, Kim).

Keurig may be the best invention ever!

A Sunny Day

I've long known that my mood and energy level is directly affected by the amount of sunlight.  Gloomy Day = Gloomy HoHo.  I'm not saying I have to be baking it in (not such a good thing any more) but I have to be able to see it.  I have to know it's a sunny day.

Any Body of Water

I have an urge to be either IN, AROUND, OVER, ON, UNDER or NEAR any body of water.    Point me to the nearest pool, lake, river or ocean.  {As Brad Paisley would sing -- Drive until the map turns blue.}  Heck -- if I'm desperate, a fountain or bird bath will do.

A sunny day on the water...nothing better.

A Good Sweat

A run that produces an enormous sweat is good for my soul (and soles).  Plus, those feel-good endorphins are powerful things.  Problems are solved, decisions made, ideas formed, bodies become strong, and stink is stunk during and after a good sweaty run.

A Florida race in late June equals massive sweat.
My time is nowhere near a PR, but all I could do on that day in that heat.

My Growing Family

I do enjoy traveling.  But, the happiest times are just in the backyard, the boat, or at the beach hanging out with the family.  With the recent addition of our granddaughter, we are now eight strong.  Add two small high energy dogs (and an occasional large granddog) and it's blissful chaos at our house when we are all together.

Tell me something that makes you happy!

I'm linking up with the awesome ladies from the DC Trifecta:

Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC,
Mar from Mar on the Run!.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Beach Bum


... a week at the beach.
... a much needed dose of perspective.
... a necessary time to unwind.

Did I run?  Of course.  I love running when we are there.  Sometimes I'll run on the paved bike lane right along the beachfront road.  Other times, I will run through the neighborhoods and admire the lovely cottages.  It was already knocking on 80 degrees each morning when I headed out.  My route is usually determined by the direction in which I can feel the most breeze.  The wind along the beach is sometimes blocked by the dunes and it will feel cooler a few blocks away.  As per usual, I looped around the mailbox where I had stashed my water and Gatorade.

This should have been my first week of training for the Chicago marathon, but I just ran for enjoyment.  Because of the heat and coastal humidity, these were not easy runs and they ranged from 5 to 7 miles each.  My total weekly mileage was 28, so I feel I didn't slack off on my first week.  However, the overwhelming majority of my time was spent with my rear in a beach chair, watching my almost grown kids digging holes (uh huh...weird) and my grandson doing exactly as they did.  I worked on my Fitbit tan and took several beach strolls as well. 

Delicious seafood was eaten (Oysters Rockefeller is my favorite!), ice cream enjoyed, and refreshing margaritas consumed.  {That's all I'll say about that!}  We are admitted Putt Putt enthusiasts (I guess some call it Mini Golf?).  It's something we all still love to play and, let me tell you, it's gets extremely competitive!  It all boils down to who can beat PoPo.  It's not easy my friends, and we all take delight in it IF we can manage to do so.  Each night after dinner, you could find us at our favorite course. They pay so much attention to detail and keep it absolutely pristine. 

Returning to work on Monday is always a rude awakening.  It's back to reality...and the start of official marathon training.  I did read quite a few blogs but it was too difficult to comment on some just using my phone.  Sorry if I missed you!

Any Putt Putt (Mini Golf) addicts out there?

Has anyone else started training for their fall marathon?

I'm linking up with Tara who is the gracious host of the wonderful Weekend Update.  
Please visit Tara as well as all of the participating bloggers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My Motivation

What motivates me...
  • To get out of the bed before 5:30 for a run?
  • To run that steep hill again and not walk a step?
  • To do one more repeat when I feel exhausted?
  • To get in a long run week after week?
  • To race again when I was not happy with my last performance?

The achievement...
  • Of doing more that I ever thought possible!
  • Of being better that I thought I could be!
  • Of experiencing something new, different or challenging!
  • Of knowing that, no matter what, I ALWAYS feel better after a run!
  • Of proving that hard work does pay off!

I'm linking up with Deb @ Deb Runs for the Wednesday Word.

Please visit Deb and the other participating bloggers.  It's fun!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Running Hot (TotR)

Living in the Heart of Dixie, you'd think I might have a little insight on how to run in hot weather.  Nope, sorry to disappoint. Oh, how I wish I had that magical power.

Here are a few things that I do that help me cope.

Be a mailbox runner.  Find a place that you can easily loop around where you can stash your supplies.  For me, it's my mailbox.  Maybe it is your car.  Keep extra fluids, salt caps, GU, cold wet towel in a zipper bag, or whatever you think will help.   It's a must on longer runs.

Embrace the sweat.  I love to sweat.  There, I said it.  It is so unladylike (as if I care -- I never claimed to be one).  When I first started running, I was in awe of how much fluid my body could exude through my pores.  I can lose up to 7 pounds on one run.  It is necessary to hang my clothes up after a run so they won't mold... they are that wet.  They drip and made a puddle on the floor.  How cool is that?  The sweat, more than any other aspect of running, makes me feel like an athlete.  Own It.

Instant Winter

Run early.  Some of you late sleepers will not like this.  But, I get up at daylight.  At my house that's about 5:15.  That ensures me nothing over 75 degrees, even in the dead of summer.  The humidity will be close to 100% most mornings but I'll take that over a 95 degree afternoon run any day.  I'll also take it over a treadmill run. 

Think cool thoughts.  This sounds silly, but it works for me.  While running, think about that refreshing dip in the pool or cold shower.  Think about that iced coffee or frozen smoothie.  Have songs about snow and cold weather on your playlist.  Sometimes my shuffle will hit on a Christmas song.  Yes!  Instant Winter.

Give me your best hot weather tip!

Please visit our hosts and join in too!

Ericka @ MCM Mama Runs
Patty @ My no-guilt life!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Coffee Talk (June Edition)

It's Saturday morning.  Let's settle in, have coffee and chat for a while!

Over Coffee...I would tell you how much I've enjoyed cooking with my crock pot recently.  I found a recipe (I think on Coco's blog -- thanks Coco!) where you cover chicken breast with salsa.  I've also used pork chops and both are delicious.  Well, this week I was cooking chicken with pineapple salsa.  I was so looking forward to this meal with brown rice, broccoli and glazed carrots.  Yum!  I get home and lift the lid for an aromatic whiff.  What?  Raw chicken? Crockpot on ... oh ... it's not plugged in.  Geez.

A good day -- only one finger affected!

Over Coffee...I would explain how one thing I enjoy about summer is how much better my Raynaud's Syndrome is.  For those of you not familiar, it is where your fingers (or toes) lose blood and become numb and useless.  It is caused by cold temperatures or stress.  I usually lose the sensation of my middle three fingers and wake them up by holding them under hot water.

The only trigger I have in summer is the grocery store aka Frozen World.  Unfortunately, I visit Frozen World 2 or 3 times a week.  I'm very fortunate this never happens during a run.  My fingers may go numb from standing around before a cold race (or after I finish) but apparently the increased blood circulation while running keeps mine at bay.  If I could only run through the grocery store at a nice 9:00 pace...

Could a blackberry get any bigger?
Over Coffee...I would ask if you like the humongous blackberries that are in the supermarkets right now.  And how about the Ranier cherries?  Both of these are so good.

Over Coffee...I'd tell you I feel better about my running.  I'm not so much in a funk any more.  Yes, my speed is still slow and I expect it to remain that way during the heat and humidity of summer.  But, I have more energy.  I feel better.  Well...except for my cranky right hip.  Why is there always something?  Could it be the result of too many Fitbit steps?  Eek!  I'm not even going there!

What would you tell me over coffee?

Please visit our hosts and join too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

National Running Day

It's been a crazy busy week but I wanted to wish all my running friends a

 Happy National Running Day!

Also, over at Deb Runs the Wednesday word is PERSEVERANCE.

Very quickly, let me share my story of how I trained for my first half marathon.  I had been running on the treadmill at the Y for quite a while.  I would also occasionally run outside with my dog too.  I could run 6 - 7 miles on the treadmill without pause.  However, I found it extremely difficult to do that outside.  It just felt so different.  But, I had to learn because I was going to run a half! 

I used the path in my neighborhood park.  I had no idea how long it was.  I had no fancy-smancy Garmin.  I roughly calculated 3 laps equaled a mile (it was actually over a mile -- which came as a nice surprise).  I formulated a plan to run 3 laps, walk 1, and repeat 3 times.  The next week I would run 4 laps, walk 1, and repeat 3 times.  The next week I would run 5 laps, walk 1, and repeat 3 times.  You get the idea.  I stuck to this plan until I got to a point where the "walk 1" was no longer necessary.  I also got to the point where I lost count!  {Oh, no!!  Was that lap 27 or 28?}

This was a long process and it was NOT easy for me.  After reaching double digit miles, I would be so exhausted when I returned home.  There were actually a few times I remember hoping that my kids could dial 911 if necessary.  Thankfully, it was never was just me being dramatic.

I have such fond memories of those days.  I was so proud of myself.  I was determined.  I did it.  I PERSEVERED.  I ran my first half.

I'm linking up with Deb @ Deb Runs for the Wednesday Word.

Please visit Deb and the other participating bloggers.  It's fun!