How Not to Train for a Half Marathon, Part 2

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It seems highly unlikely that a woman who’s peanut M&M consumption is more regular than her exercise routine, who is chasing forty, and who’s attention span is lower than the high school seniors she teaches would be able to set a goal of completing a half marathon, let alone two in the same year.

Last fall I ran/walked my first half marathon and with my next goal in sight, I trained for my second in ways not recommended by your family doctor.

DON’T think that running and riding a stationary bike are the same thing. While the latter is definitely low impact and can be done, watching these guys

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and these guys

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is no excuse for not getting out there and allowing your body to feel your true body weight. It does not matter if there’s a new guy on the show.

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It does not matter if… Um…

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Well, maybe it does.

DON’T think that running with your dog will help you run faster. You might think that he pulls you when you no longer have the desire to get that stupid 13.1 medal when really all he is doing is dragging you to his favorite spots to drop a load.

Also your dog, such as this seventy pound lovable mutt here,

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may point out habits that you didn’t know you helped him develop as in

BUDDY! STOP DRAGGING ME TO STARBUCKS! WE’RE NOT GOING THERE!

*whispers* Okay, maybe later…

DO use past knowledge. I am lucky that I don’t have to work everyday so when I knew the date of the race, I immediately asked for the following day off.

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DO learn more about keeping up your energy during long races. After my first half marathon I could barely move once the adrenaline wore off. I crossed the finish line and grabbed a sandwich and water. What did I know about gels and carbing up the night before and sports drinks?

Absolutely nothing.

I divvied out the pack of three mini vanilla scones from Starbucks every four miles! Yep, pretty sure you’re not supposed to do that but did that stop me?

Obviously not since the halfway point for my second half marathon was within a half a mile from my house!

Hey babe, can you bring me a Coke Zero? I’m so thirsty!

Yep, I had a soda during a half marathon! In hindsight, I know I shouldn’t have done it but my husband shouldn’t have listened to me. Also I was delirious and freaking out a bit since there were several students I’ve subbed for all around the course.

Miss G! Hey, how are you doing?

Six miles later it’s

Gatorade! Here you go ma’am. Wait a minute, aren’t you my sub?

Yes, delirious.

DO encourage others to join you in your next race. Misery loves company. When I break down the facts of the race, it really is not all bad.

People who race are very encouraging. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of runners who take this very seriously. But more often than not, you’ll meet so many people who jog and/or run for fun. They are more than happy to share their stories with you. I would return the favor but I’m usually out of breath and/or melting after the first half.

While my genetics and lifestyle do not lend for a typical delicate and petite Asian body type, that doesn’t mean that I (or anyone else not built/trained for running) don’t have the strength or stamina to finish 13.1 miles. Both are essential for any sport and dare I say, anything in life.

Strength ? Check. Stamina? Check. Stupidity? Check. {Lol!}

Bottom line: if I can do it (twice), anyone can.

How Not to Train for a Half Marathon

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• Don’t start training a month before the race. Consult your doctor who for sure will think you’re nuts for waiting until the last minute.

• Don’t get sick three weeks before your race, especially if you’re a late start. You’ll need as many days as you possibly can to train.

• Don’t be arrogant. If you need a few days to recover from the flu, by all means take them.

• Do relish in the fact that your thighs are no longer BFFs. Now that you’ve incorporated physical activity into your daily life after a long hot summer hiatus, your thighs are now moving when you walk instead of the awkward stuck-together-never-moving feeling. Even if you’ve got thunder thighs, remember that thunder is POWERFUL.

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• Do accept compliments about your body from your significant other. If he says you look even better than when you were dating, don’t argue. This is one of the few times he’ll be right. Let him enjoy it.

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• Don’t doubt yourself even for a moment. If your goal was to run the entire thing a year ago but your goal now is to finish, don’t be so hard on yourself. That’s who you’re doing it for so DON’T YOU FORGET THAT!

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The Coughing Conundrum

The boy and I have been ill since Sunday. Probably the flu. Definitely fever. Definitely painful coughing.

I cancelled my sub job for Tuesday. Come to find out it was the WRONG TUESDAY and I was a NO SHOW for this morning!

Gets better. The kids missed their eye appointments this afternoon! All three of them! I forgot to cancel the appointment!

I think I’m delirious. R came home from work in the early afternoon and I had slept all morning! A whole morning wasted!

Now any sane person would think, Um, you’re sick. Of course you need your rest.

Alas, I am not sane. When R went to pick up the girls from school, he came home to find a freshly scrubbed kitchen floor and de-grimed tile countertops. Also, I was scrubbing the oven like there was no tomorrow.

The kitchen was getting disgusting and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

After a delicious dinner of homemade sloppy joes, I changed into work out gear and said, “I need to walk. I’m gonna do six miles.”

“Are you serious?” R asked.

“Yes! The half marathon is in a week and a half!”

The first mile I thought I was a bad ass! I was walking for the first time in over a week. Last week I had a week long sub job in a kindergarten class that left me exhausted every day. I intended to walk a few times after school each day but I couldn’t. I couldn’t muster up any energy at the end of the day.

The second mile I was cursing myself for being so ambitious.

In the end I did six miles in under two hours. You’d think I’d be exhausted after having been ill for a few days and with little physical activity for the past week but I feel great.

Ask me how I feel in an hour.

Get Set…

It would have been pretty easy to ignore my alarm that I’ve programmed my phone to say “GET YO ASS OUT OF BED AND GET TO THE GYM ALREADY.” Okay, it doesn’t say that verbatim but it is pretty close.

It was my first full night’s sleep since arriving here in Minneapolis. I went to bed without having to tell kids to brush their teeth or change. Without letting the dogs out and letting the cats in. Without having to apologize for reading in bed while someone next to me slumbered.

It was quiet. A bit lonely but I knew I wouldn’t be here for very long.

I ate a chocolate chip muffin left over from the airport. (Hrrrmph, you don’t have to remind me of my last post, thankyouverymuch.) I took my time in the bathroom. I fell asleep to reruns of The Big Bang Theory.

It was nice. A bit lonely but I knew I wouldn’t be here for very long.

I got out of bed. I walked five miles on the treadmill at a pace I would consider too fast to which to windowshop. I won’t break any records with this pace but I feel like I can maintain this pace for three to four hours… which essentially will be how long I will be walking in this half marathon.

I need to mention that I am not impressed with the food here. It could just be hotel catering. It could be that nothing is in season. I don’t know.

Do you know how when you go somewhere new and you agree to keep an open mind but nevertheless you’re still disappointed?

We had Mexican food and no, I did not take a pic. It was not Instagram-worthy. No taste in the pico de gallo (jalepenos were nonexistent, not enough lime) and don’t even get me started on the guacamole. I thought I was just being picky BUT THEN I HAD AN APPLE.

Apples are apples, right?

No, not here. I picked up a fuji apple from the fruit bowl in the fitness room. THERE WAS NO TASTE TO IT. Not tangy. Not sweet.

I’m at the mall again. I walked a mile already but I’m not going to tell you what I had for dinner and I’m not going to tell you what I’m drinking in the Starbucks of the Barnes and Noble cafe either.

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Busted.

On Your Mark…

I went to see my doctor last week and while this is the strongest I’ve ever been, I’m also THE HEAVIEST I’ve been since being pregnant. Yikes!

I’m now forty pounds heavier than what I used to weigh in college, and probably twenty pounds heavier than what I usually weigh. Tough to see this in print.

I suppose I could mope and be sad which trust me I did but then I realized that race season is just around the corner!

Many people say they gain weight from the holidays. On the contrary, I think it’s a lot easier to pack on the pounds in sunny weather. I can’t feel my legs getting bigger in my cute A-line skirts and flowy dresses. Nothing like your fat jeans turning to your skinny jeans.

It’s been a hot summer and I can’t go outside in 100 degree weather. I just can’t.

Thirteen miles in one go is a lofty goal but I have about a month. The plan is to try to run a third (bear with me, keeping my expectations low so when I exceed them, I will truly have a moment) and walk the rest really quickly.

Even on my business trip and after only two hours of sleep I still walked five miles. Okay, not continuously and two of them were while sightseeing but the Mall of America is HUGE!

I can’t blame my husband for being an awesome chef. After all, he doesn’t force me to have sugar cravings after dinner. He doesn’t give me giant portions on my plate. I did have to tell him that I’m going to have to start cooking more chicken and fish, less red meat, and starch in minuscule amounts. Still, wouldn’t you think it would be hard to control yourself around homemade goodness such as this?

Russian Tea Cakes

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Homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Yes, he baked them from scratch. Yes, they tasted like they were made from God’s tears. Yes, the kids ate almost all of them so I didn’t have as many as my eyeballs would have begged.

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This would be cow tongue but I didn’t eat it. Our kids ate it! Glad they’re not picky like Mommy.

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And don’t forget birthday parties. My nephew (technically third cousin; he is my cousin’s grandson but because of the generational lineage, they want the boy to call me GRANDMA! Um, no…) celebrated his second birthday this summer. I did control myself but apparently not enough.

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We can’t forget about the new Japanese and Middle Eastern restaurants that have just opened in town. I think you can figure out which pictures were taken in the respective restaurants.

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On second thought, it probably is a blessing that I went to the doctor. My starting point would be a lot further behind me!

The Cross Training Collision

Ahhh… finally the answer to my running rut: CROSS TRAINING.

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I’ve been without my fave Zumba instructor for several weeks. I’ve started working again so I haven’t been able to get to the gym in the mornings. Saturdays that were previously reserved for Zumba were turning into race training days or race days.

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So today I Zumba’d like I have never Zumba’d before. My ass and the back of my thighs ached immediately after class. I forgot I even had junk back there to even ache!

The instructor even admitted that it was an easy class and thank goodness it was. I was so out of breath, panting like– well, me– in the summer. But it felt good. I can’t complain. When I finally get a chance to get back on the computer, I’ll check out classes I can take while the boy is at karate. My junk in the trunk hurting was a big sign, pun intended. Cross training wakes up the body parts that don’t get a work out when I run.

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Well, alrighty then.

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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