Girls on the Go Run

So I added a necklace to my collection this morning…

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Okay, it’s not a necklace. It’s a medal!

The girls and I ran in Girls on the Go Run early this morning in Sacramento. Yes, they did it too! They had a 400m dash. There were ten little girls and A came in second. She was so happy… Until she realized her medal wasn’t silver. Oh, that girl… L was the only one dressed up and made sure she looked just like Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, down to the cute little hair bun. Grandma and brother came out to support us and they all enjoyed fruit and water at the vendor booths.

I finished my first official 10k this morning and it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I hadn’t run since November, when I actually registered for this event.

What did I have to lose just sucking it up, getting out there, and doing the damn thing? Yes, I’m so sore you have no idea but who cares? I don’t need to be first or even fast if it means that:
• I can cross the finish line on my own two feet without a hospital gurney.
• I can honestly say I never looked back during the race and started to feel bad when others looked back at me as if relieved they passed me but eh, if that’s what their ego needs to feel better, whatever.
• My kids are there to cheer me on and hug me at the finish line and smile like I’m their heroine!

I tried to run all 6.2 miles at a slow and steady pace but was only able to jog until mile 5. I can’t start and stop like the other runners who would pass me and then slow down to walk. Once I stop, I stop so I figure slower is better for me.

But apparently not for my kids who I was told later looked for me when the crowd started coming in. My son M even said, “You were so slow, I thought you gave up!”

As I talked with the older daughter A I was tricked into signing up for some home delivery of organic fruits which wouldn’t be so bad if my mother didn’t grow everything already and I get it for free! A asked, “Did you come in second?”

I replied, “No, I probably came in second to last!”

The organic saleswoman said, “Well, at least you weren’t last!”

To which I took remarkable offense. First of all, I would have to call this pushy saleswoman to cancel whatever I signed up for (no wonder everyone was avoiding her booth; at least I grabbed an organic mandarin orange!). Second of all, just who did she think she was? Jillian from The Biggest Loser?

I said, “Someone’s got to be last. I would rather be last than not sign up at all!”

Point to chubby jogger who upon crossing the finish line, cartwheeled instead. True story.

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Got Running Shoes?

I’ve got a 10K next month. Have I been running?

Erm, no.

My husband doesn’t think that it’ll be a problem, even with the weeks that have lapsed since my last run. “You know your pace,” he reasoned. “That’s the hardest part.”

I have been taking a Hot Hula class a couple of times a week and the other day I lifted weights for the first time in months.

The other day I had to step back and say whoa, in a noncritical and constructive manner. The holidays were hard, calorifically and emotionally. Recovery is even harder but in place.

And now that I’ve personally gotten rid of all of the sugar in the house (by sharing and eating), our eating choices are better. We limit going out to eat to once a week. Fruit is now on the kitchen counter instead of the endless supply of cookies from friends and family. Vegetables are now eaten with gusto once again. I stopped buying Christmas candies on clearance. (Never mind that the Christmas clearance candy is all gone.)

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As to how I’m going to run 10K next month, I don’t know but I think I’ll be fine.

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NaNoWriMo: Day 4 (7837)

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1:24 pm: OMG. Someone tell my kids to be quiet.

My husband R and kids have been playing Minecraft nonstop this weekend.

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Now that he went back to Virginia, they won’t have as grand a time and they’ll stop playing, right? WRONG.

I have a 10K in two weeks that I have neglected to train for. Oops. Maybe I’ll go for a run tomorrow morning. Or maybe I should stop eating crap.

With day four into NaNoWriMo? I don’t see that happening. Perhaps I can slow my chocolate consumption.

Heh heh heh…

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I doubt I will accept a sub job for tomorrow since the youngest, like my husband, has been a bit congested. Best to not accept a job just in case she may need to stay home from school. While I’m at it, I could probably pick up some milk…

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I didn’t realize I caught up yesterday and even pulled ahead. I think I may need a nap. Hmmm… can beds talk because I swear I hear mine calling my name?

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7:59 pm: Two hour nap. Talked to husband who flew into Norfolk safely. Fed the kids leftovers. A 500+ word session on Write Or Die. Ate a dinner that included an assortment of leftover avocado salad and tortilla chips. Had some of these delicious cookies that R and I found at the commissary.

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Um, yes. He and I did eat a whole package of these by ourselves while the kids were at school. We bought a second one to share with the kids. I thought about hoarding them to use while writing but oh, that’s a calorie nightmare that I was able to avoid. Tonight.
Those caramel cookies are DIVINE. If you’ve never had any before, I highly recommend them. Chewy caramel goodness that makes you forget to read how many cookies are in a serving size and how many calories there are in said serving size. Yes, don’t look at those numbers while you enjoy them. I wanted to take a picture of our cookies but– surprise, surprise– they are long gone in our bellies by now. I found this image on Google though.

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Four letters for you: OMFG.

So I’m going to try and write a thousand more words before yawning takes over my evening.

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Good luck to my fellow NaNo-ers! (BTW, I’m going to try to write 11,000 words on Veteran’s Day weekend. Who else is up for the challenge? Military spouse Nano-ers, I’m talking to you!)

20121104-201600.jpg Why did I think that was pizza in the background? How sad.

The Angsty Confusion

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I don’t know what happened today. I had a job today, as I have most days in the past month because we really could use the money, but it was only a half day in the afternoon. Surely I had time in the morning after I dropped off the kids at school to go for a run.

But for some reason I couldn’t.

I asked a friend if she wanted to go to Starbucks after we dropped off our kids. She said no.

I saw my younger daughter’s kindergarten teacher who kicked ass on Sunday as she ran the half-marathon whilst I ran the 5K. She is so awesome.

And skinny.

I went home and realized that it was a late start day for the junior high and high schools in our neighborhood. I’d probably see some kids I knew when I was running. Did I really want to see anyone I knew?

I went home and grabbed the big dog. I couldn’t run with him because he can never pick a side of the sidewalk he is happy with. If we run on the left, he wants to go on the right. If I appease the change, he wants to go back. We walked a mile around the neighborhood.

What was wrong with me this morning? Where had all of my motivation gone? I should know by now that keeping my depression at bay centers around the trifecta of a mostly-healthy diet, regular exercise, and good nights of sleep.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that my trifecta has failed.

Last weekend my mom decided to have a barbecue in honor of her brother’s birthday… at MY house. So naturally I have a ton of leftovers and we’ve been eating them little by little.

I’ve been eating beef which does not do my body any good. I’ve had more white rice in the past few days than I’ve had in five months! I avoid white rice simply because it’s a gateway carb for me– I don’t feel full when I eat it so my stomach morphs into a bottomless pit that I would like to avoid at all costs.

My kids have been going to Grandma’s a lot since I started working and she’s got everything I DON’T BUY. It’s terrible. I don’t buy chocolate because I’ll eat it and by the time I get home I’m so exhausted that I can’t think, “Hello? Don’t eat that Twix because you’ll regret it later!”

Then I don’t think that. Then I eat it. Then I regret it.

I would much rather get up in the morning when it’s still dark out and run a couple of miles than get my day already going and pause to get a work out going. I don’t know. I feel angst.

Suze Orman, the awesome financial advisor she is, has often said on her TV show that people often feel they need MORE THAN when they FEEL LESS THAN. I suppose I feel less than now.

I am not sure if you’ve noticed but I often assign the tag “depression” to posts when I feel like I am actually depressed. I have not used that tag for a while.

Perhaps in all of my running around with the kids, with work, with volunteering, with training for races, I might just need a few days to myself. Maybe to center myself. Maybe to just chill. Maybe, just maybe, get myself some fake nails. But certainly not chocolate. Only regrets can come from chocolate (though none if a bar is enjoyed far and few between).

On my way to the sub job this afternoon, I passed by the local library and checked out four books. I just started Subterranean by James Rollins, the fourth Rollins book that a friend has lent to me. I quite enjoy his books and have read each of the previous three in less than forty-eight hours. This fourth one was started last week but have only now reached the second chapter. That in itself should have been a huge indication to me that something is off.

I don’t feel depressed. I really don’t know what it is. In the next few days I will reflect on my eating habits, cutting out useless sugary carbs when I realize I am turning to them. I will look for my old Pilates DVD and look into taking a yoga class tomorrow evening.

I think when I’m in this place where I feel like I’m stuck on a spider’s web, being pulled in different directions, I should stop fighting and do nothing. Revel in the act of doing nothing which really means everything anyway.

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The Grating Decay

It was very dark when I left for the race. I was excited but truly fearful that I wouldn’t be able to run the entire thing. It’s difficult to accept that the only thing stopping you is yourself.

I hate that I feel the need to compare myself to others and only now am realizing that it’s toxic. I used to say to my husband (it was a quote I had seen on Pinterest), “Hey, at least I’m lapping everyone on the couch!”

To which he’d reply, “It isn’t about that.”

Man, he knows how to steal a girl’s thunder.

We had a good laugh about that but ever since his accident, he sees things in a new perspective. As humble as he was, I know he has commented about how some people he works with couldn’t run even though it is imperative to their job that they are able to.

But he’s more sympathetic now. He’s there now.

I remember before my first 5K he was very supportive and he knew I could do it.

“But what if I’m last?” I asked.

“That doesn’t matter,” he said.

It doesn’t. I see that now.

I ran the 5K last weekend with my head in the clouds or as high as I could see. We ran through a huge park and the first mile flew by quickly. The trees were taller than most buildings in our city. There was no room for the sun to peek through. I watched kids cheering for their parents, people cheering for their significant others. I passed walkers and they passed me.

I was doing okay until the last mile or so. Odd since usually the first half-mile of any of my practice runs is the hardest. I have the trees and the still of the morning to thank for the distraction. The last mile I was acutely aware that it was indeed the last mile and I was feeling the effects of everything.

I didn’t have time to down a protein bar before the run. I thought I would have time to walk back to my car and relax after checking in but it was pitch dark and even though the park was bustling with participants, I listened to my inner voice and did not walk back to my car. My last two practice runs were only two miles and one mile, respectively. I was unprepared. I was hungry.

Then inspiration came in the form of a running coach of an older woman next to me. I heard him say, “Let’s close the gap on these runners here.”

He was talking about me and someone running right behind me. I shouldn’t have been but I was.

I was deeply offended.

He kept coaching this woman and giving her motivation and I was getting mad. I don’t even know why. His voice, although probably very encouraging to this woman, was grating and getting on my last nerve.

One hundred yards before the finish line, he told her, “Okay, time to sprint. Give it everything you got.”

OH HELL NO.

I sprinted like I had never sprinted before. Faster than any day-after-a-holiday sale. Faster than the big dog can get to an unattended waffle on the table. Faster than a toddler with a box of magic markers.

And oh, did it hurt.

But it felt good. I think I might have passed five runners in those last painful yards. I’ve never run like that before.

Even now, two days after the race I don’t even know why I was so upset. I did not have anything against the woman or her coach, who could have been her son for all I know. I just felt so drained, so emotionally and so physically drained, that I didn’t even realize I was thinking. I’m glad I did react in that matter though. I now know that even when that exhausted there is still some fight within me.

If it’s in me, then I know for an absolute fact that it is within you too.

After making this awesome Whovian poster,

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I trudged back through the field from whence I came and passed the mark for the last half-mile of the race. Half-marathoners were finishing a little over an hour after they started. I stared in awe for a few moments, gazing at their slender runner’s builds and wondering if I worked hard enough and long enough that I would ever be able to earn that body. Feeling slightly disappointed with the realization that the answer was NO, I started walking toward my car and thought, “Fuck it, I need to watch.”

I turned around and sat on one of the cement dividers on the side of the road. The runners who finished in record time all had the very sleek build but soon I began to see other body types.

I was searching for my body type.

Then I saw her. A woman who defied the slender runner’s body, who had bulky muscles, who probably had a regular body-fat percentage. She was powerful. She was fast. She was awesome.

I sat for about a half an hour and continued to see different body types. Though they were not as fast as the first runners I saw, thirteen-freaking-miles in two hours is still pretty awesome.

But I’m gonna be honest here. Thirteen-freaking-miles PERIOD is still pretty awesome.

Someone asked me how I got myself motivated to run 10K and a lot of thoughts come to mind.

– I need to make goals to make things happen in my life, otherwise I tend to putter along and make excuses.

– I Google’d major streets in my neighborhood and saw that if I ran to the grocery store and back it was only two miles but if I ran to the other grocery store it was only six miles. Running through my neighborhood with major landmarks in mind did not seem as difficult as running around in a circle twenty-four times.

– My father had a lot of problems with his health, a menu of preventative diseases that I wanted to make sure I didn’t order. He was not overweight but he smoked, did not manage his stress, and abandoned a typical Filipino diet for heartier, carbier fare. I figure it might be easier to change now before I was too old and stubborn. (Okay, I am both but oldER and MORE subborn.)

– I don’t want my kids to become dependent on processed foods and sugary carbs because I know I am dependent on the latter. I do buy the stuff because it’s convenient (Ramen noodles anyone?) but I make sure that I buy say chips OR ice cream, not everything at once. Plus it’s easier to say NO at the store. If it’s in my house, I WILL EAT IT.

– But mostly, my motivation comes from my husband. He’s a stubborn, old fool who once he stood for the first time after the accident, he declared he’d be walking within the the week. He did with a walker.

Then he moved to two canes, then one cane. That fucker did everything he said he would.

I don’t know if I told you that he’s a cheap bastard because he is. It hurts his feelings to pay twenty bucks for a pair of shoes from Payless Shoe Source. (I’m not knocking the store but my wide feet need more support to run.) “My feet only bleed for a week,” he’d say.

Right? (Oops, I think I did tell this tale before.)

But with those stupid shoes, he could keep up with SEALs young enough to be our kids and he’s even lapped Marines on the track with them.

So with all that said, I can’t find motivation to run a 10K?

His presence like that grating voice of the running coach, reminding me of the fight within me that I never knew I had. I will never have a runner’s body. I know that. I accept that. But with the body I have and with the fight within me, I know that I can make it more powerful than it has ever been.

10K next month. Half-marathon in March.

The Virtual Race

Did you know that you can be a “virtual runner” is some races? This means you pay your race fee and you get your commemorative tee but you’re on the honor system to do the race on your own time in your own community. I changed my status to virtual a couple of days before the race when it dawned on me that it wouldn’t be possible to get a sitter that early in the morning and for me to drive about an hour to get there on time.

I did it. I ran a 10K without stopping. Last Sunday I ran this race:

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But get this. I haven’t gone for a run for a month prior due to a hip injury nor have I paid attention to what I’ve eaten. Also, right before I ran, I decided to have a couple of slices of leftover pizza and a brownie!

Isn’t that nuts? Who does that?

Apparently I do. Having that pizza gave me the strength to keep running nonstop for an hour and a half. Having that brownie was just something I threw in. What the hell, right? Why not?

This morning I ran with the moon. I woke up at five in the morning on accident and did not feel groggy (that’s what happens when you cut processed carbs and lay off sugar; more energy!). I folded two loads of laundry while music from the disco era played softly in the background. As soon as my alarm went off at six, I woke up the kids and let them know I was going for a run.

For me the first half-mile is the most difficult. It’s slightly painful but that is nothing compared to the battle in my head. It’s as if all of my insecurities and worries are fighting to the death: I’m far too heavy to be running like this or at all. I’m far too old to set these sorts of fitness goals and perhaps something less intense would be better for me. I can’t change my eating habits because I’m too addicted to sugar so why even bother? Why did I ever think I could run? Octogenerians literally run circles around me at these races.

See? Terrible, right? And that’s all I can remember. There is a far harsher monologue that doesn’t quit until my mind tires of it and I begin to concentrate on running. Mindful of every step. Mindful of every pound of the pavement as not to land wrong. Mindful of every breath.

This morning I ran with the stars still out, cell phone in hand to keep track of every lap to form what would be my new base run. The goal is no longer beating my time. The goal is now to just keep going.

The goal is not stopping.

This morning we kissed the three-digit weather goodbye, the cold breeze from the delta finally returning after a longer, later summer.

This morning I kissed the sun and orange skies.

It felt pretty goddamn good to run again.

Still hurts but hey… Just keep going, right?

This Sunday I’ve got a 5K and right now I am sitting in my car waiting for the sports store in downtown Sacramento to open so I can pick up my race packet.

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Only I can’t pick up my packet for another six hours! I checked my reminder email about the race again and yes, I am way too early.

But still, it feels pretty goddamn good.

The Sprained Malfunction

I came sad conclusion that I may have to cut down my Zumba hours per week. I do higher impact versions of her goddess Vanessa’s choreography that I cannot do both and maintain a running schedule of four days a week.

You read that right. Four days a week.

I am surprised that my bank hasn’t called me to verify superfluous spending in the form of race entry fees. I am quite excited actually.

I have a 5K and a 10K in September, a 5K in October, and a 5K in December. I am still hoping that I will hit a weekly ten mile run by Christmas.

I was in my doctor’s office last week for my annual and well, I thought I had skin cancer on my forehead. Yes, my husband thinks I am a hypochrondriac too. I would take a pic of this questionable lesion but I don’t want to scare you away from this silly little blog.

The doctor took one look at it and said, “Um… it’s a wart.” So she tried to burn the sucker off with liquid nitrogen. It was gross and cool all at the same time.

She asked me how I felt about my weight, a touchy subject for any doctor to bring up I’m sure. I said I think I’m fine even though BMI charts list me as obese. I told her that I had been on a running schedule for the last two months, haven’t lost a single pound, and that my clothes fit better despite the scale not budging. I have been eating better (even though my kids eat way better than me; after all, they don’t have a secret stash of chocolate hidden somewhere), especially taking up running again.

Do you know how people always say, “There’s always room for dessert”? Well, for me, there is always energy for Zumba. I could be dead tired or just eaten a giant California burrito and a large diet soda but I could always dance. With running, it’s very different.

I HAVE to eat right for fuel otherwise I come to a dead stop.

I HAVE to avoid heavy foods or my running pace becomes a walking pace.

I AM VERY MINDFUL of my diet when I run regularly.

And do you know what my doctor said?

She said to ignore the charts and go by how I feel. My numbers looked fine. She said that if I continue this routine that the fat will just continue to melt away.

It also did not hurt that she is a runner herself!

Such a change from my last doctor who saw my weight and hinted that I was too heavy.

So now I need to be not only mindful of what I eat, I have to pay very close attention to my workouts. I think I am just so motivated and happy that I am motivated that I don’t want to lose this momentum by taking a chance on a losing a less-than-perfect workout.

But my ankles and knees have to recover. I need to cross-train on days I’m not running but not to the point where I am just begging for an injury. I need to listen to my body.

Because that’s what runners do.

I saw green smoothies on Pinterest and decided to give them a whirl…

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… um, spinach…

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I walked around the kids’ school with this thing and a grandmother asked me what I put in my smoothie. I even told her, “I really don’t like this but I am going to drink it because I made a whole blender’s worth!” Actually when I got home, I reblended it with frozen blueberries and it was MUCH better.

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Lesson learned. Mango smoothie? Delicious. Mango and spinach smoothie? Um, no. Adding blueberries to make everything better? Priceless.