Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The race monster brewing inside of me has returned! I was so excited to do this race on Saturday because this is race where it all began, my very FIRST 5K. This time around I brought DS#1 along for the ride. The St. Pat's 5K in Downtown Providence is HUGE to say the least, thousands upon thousands of people go there. This was the first time that DS#1 actually came for a BIG race, he is used to the more local ones so I could tell he was excited to have such a commotion.
Because of the size of the venue, we ended up at the race location 2 hours early because of parking. DS#1 isn't familiar with Providence like that but as a kid he couldn't help to gawk at some of the locals doing strange things like picking cigarette butts out of the ashtray or the guy & girl that decided to get into a pretty crazy screaming match outside the train station. Ahhhh, good ol'Providence. He was freaked out!
Since we had so much time before the actual race started, DS#1 & needed to kill LOTS of time, so we decided to mosey on over to the Providence Place Mall. Well, first thing we noticed as we stepped out of the car was that it was COLD!!!! I'm talking freezing & windy beyond belief. Now I knew because I had checked the weather that it would only reach about 30-40 degrees BUT I've been out of the racing game for a while now & I forgot completely how to anticipate proper running gear based on the weather or more importantly the wind chill factor. DS#1 proceeded to complain very loudly & repeatedly that he was surely going to freeze to death. So what was a mom to do, improvise of course! We stayed warm inside the Panera Bread store which was the only place open in the mall & stalked Old Navy until 10AM when they opened. Then I proceeded to buy additional layers to make sure that me & my baby would not freeze. Hooray, once again mommy saves the day! Well $60 later (YIKES!) we were finally well equipped for race time. As a side note I must say that this is very uncharasteristic of me, in my racing pro days I would take tons of clothing options with me. This time, I was pulling an amateur move...sheesh!
Even with the added layers of clothing it was still pretty cold out there waiting for race start. The cool part though was a lot of people were dressed in theme for St. Patty's Day we loved it! There were all kinds of runners too & we both lined up ready to give it our all. I could tell DS#1 was nervous but I just let him know to enjoy it, have fun & run really really fast!
After what seemed like forever which really was because we had now waited for 2 hours & 15 minutes to start running we took off. Right out of the gate I started trying to run really fast. What is tough about large races is that you never know if you are going out too fast for your own standards or too slow because there are always people in front of you & behind you. It was great to see all the spectators along the sides of the road. THAT is my favorite part of big races. I loved seeing all of the people with homemade signs cheering for their mom or dad or sister whatever. Although the signs were not for me as I did not bring a cheering section, I waved as if they were.
Mile 1 things were going well especially as my legs defrosted but the wind & cold make it a bit hard to catch my breath so I made a point to remind myself to do that once in awhile. Mile 2 came the hill that pretty much sucks. I remember it from my first time around & back then when I wasn't used to this nonsense & I thought I would die. This time not so much but I wasn't happy about it either, that's for sure! I didn't see DS#1 after Mile 1 but I knew that it would be okay since there were so many people anyway unlike the race in which he managed to get himself lost & run an extra mile.
The finish as usual felt like it took forever, I didn't sprint in as fast as I wanted which is okay, for some reason it is always hard to muster up the energy to sprint in because I somehow think that I will collapse or something. But I made it! It was chip timing but it gave me a gun time of 26:40something which was a-okay by me, especially after having pneumonia for 2 months & honestly believing that I would never run again!
I waited patiently for DS#1 to run in, he ran in gun time at 29 minutes twenty something. I was GLAD that he made it under 30 because I know my 13 year old son, lately let's just say the hormones seem to be kicking in & I was really hoping NOT to have to deal with his attitude if he was upset. As soon as he saw me, he collapsed on my shoulder & I hugged him. He was exhausted. Then I walked him over to the people handing out medals & we both got our medals. HOORAY because that was this was REALLY all about getting bling.
Turns out my chip time ended up being: 26:23 which isn't too shabby considering & DS#1 chip time was 28:51 which was pretty awesome too!
I felt good getting this race down in the books because now it is official, I am back in the game! It may have just been a 5K but I know that this is only the beginning & I plan to DOMINATE this triathlon season! I seriously thought I lost my mojo while being out for the count sick but it is amazing how your body can rebound from anything!
Until next time!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Do you realize that it has been exactly 3 years since I ran my first race! My very first 5K in Downtown Providence! I didn't believe it myself until I took a look back at that first blog. Today I am going to bring it full circle & venture back to where the magic began. Today at 11:15AM I am running with DS#1 at the St. Pat's 5K race. Although I have run tons of 5K's since then this is a rather climatic return for me as this is my first attempt at racing since recovering from pneumonia & my first race of 2012, I am excited but at the same time nervous. I forgot what those pre-race nerves felt like...
From reviewing my first 5K race blog until now there is one thing that I know for certain, I have CHANGED & *mostly* for the better! Here is what I observed...
* In my first race report I had to audacity to say that this race was HILLY. PUH-lease, what a whiner I was! At this point I had no idea what hills are about at all! Since then I have seen mountains that made my review of this race laughable. What a wuss I was!
* I really thought that 3.1 miles was TONS of miles. Since that was the very first race how did I know that I would soon take on running races up to 13 miles & that I would soon run a 5K immediately after swimming AND biking...how foolish was I!
* DS#1 at the time was 10 years old when I did my first race. He had no interest in running & thought that his mother was clearly losing her mind with all this new running hoopla. Little did he know that the crazy train would keep on running & that I was eventually suck him into the vortex & *gasp* he might even LIKE it!
* I distinctly remember feeling like crap during the race, feeling like I couldn't hack it & feeling like I had to somehow improve this feeling next time around. Little did I know that you feel this way EVERY time you race & anytime you give everything that you have. It's all part of the fun. Sure my times have gotten faster & all but the feeling of really hacking it has not.
BUT with all these changes I have had, here are the things that remain the same
* I am excited that this race gives out a MEDAL to all finishers! This race will be the first in which DS#1 will get one & wearing the bling is always a good thing so I'm pretty excited about that!
* Finishing a race on a Saturday morning is still a great feeling, nothing better than crossing that finish line!
* I am still nervous before this race, just like any other.
* I am still looking to PR or at least improve upon my last race done here!
So this is it, my return to glory! I cannot wait! Wish us luck!!!
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Okay - so here's the situation. I had planned to do a full marathon in March/April as that was the natural progression in my road to true athleticism. I was doing well prepping in December, getting up to 14 miles the most. Then it all came crashing down. First week in January I ended up with pneumonia. I was out for the count for all of January with some very light running & pretty much all of February. I am just now starting to feel better & like myself again but that time off definitely took it's toll so now to train for a marathon I do not necessary have a good solid base which means I will have to start at the very beginning of a training plan, which means a good 16-20 weeks of training.
Here's the dilemna. As you can see from my Sparkpage, triathlons are my love, it's what I WANT to do, it is very challenging & I love it. This will mark my 3 season into this wonderful sport & I am looking forward to it. Last year I invested in a road bike that cost a pretty penny, I have swim ninnies at my 5AM public pool. I'm ready!
Problem I have realized as it is now 3/1/12 is that I don't think that I can do both right now. You see, if I start marathon training say next week, by the time by training is complete I will be smack in the middle of triathlon season! Folks that have done Olympic Triathlons know that in order to perform for about 3 hours you NEED to put in hours upon hours of swimming, biking AND running. It's the only way. My running cuts back to about 3-4 days during this season which I don't *think* is enough for a marathon. Plus, the number of hours that I would need for long distance running right now would probably hurt my biking & swimming because I would need recovery. Other problem is that I live in RI so when I would finish marathon training it would be summer. Summer in RI is too hot for a marathon I'm talking like 80-90 degrees! Some folks that live in the south may think that this is ok but for a full on marathon I would not think so hence the reason that the Boston Marathon is in April.
So then I'm thinking postpone the marathon training altogether & wait, wait until after triathlon season is done which is probably by September ish since I usually like to do around 5. Well by that time if I start a training program by the time I am fully trained then I'm facing winter! & finding any race never mind a marathon around here in the winter is not possible. So my thought was to travel somewhere for the race but then it's around Christmas time which is so hectic with birthdays & the holidays that I'm not sure if that is the ideal time to spend money on crazy expensive airfare & accommodations.
So I don't know what to do! I know what I WANT to do. I want to train for both but I don't think that that is possible. If I had started in January as I planned then I would have been all set for sure. Maybe I am not seeing how this can be done so that's why I'm putting this out there in Sparkland. Maybe fellow Sparkers have dealt with similar scheduling conflicts & could advise a reasonable plan. Honestly in my area, marathon time is from March until May the latest then again from September until very early November the latest.
Friday, February 24, 2012
So that's it! I've had it! It's OVER!!! I cannot continue to be in a relationship in which I do not feel valued or where it's one sided & I DON'T feel appreciated. I have had it, I am officially a woman fed up!!!
I have officially broken up with my GYM!
I think the emoticon explains it all - I didn't want it to come to this but they left me no choice!
DISCLAIMER: The following is going to consist of LOTS of smack talk about two very popular/commercial gyms. In no way am I endorsing or slandering these two juggernaut corporations - just simply expressing my own heartbreak pertaining to my own hometown experience.
So let's start at the beginning of the story shall we...
I fell in love with my gym Work Out World (WOW) back in 2006. I was about 3 weeks postpardum with my second son, a swollen bloated heffa & in urgent need of some motivation to get my body moving. I knew that the gym is exactly what I needed to lose the ridiculous amount of pregnancy pounds that I packed on. I checked out about 3 gyms & I wasn't overly impressed. They all looked like small, dirty facilities, some were more geared towards meat heads & others were just crazy expensive! Then I stepped foot into WOW & my whole world changed (well not really but I was seriously enthused & impressed!). The facility was so BIG & MODERN! They had 50 treadmills & 50 elipticals & although you only really need one to get it done, probability showed me that no matter what I was guaranteed cardio equipment. HUGE bonus for me - every single machine had a TV installed on the top of it with CABLE on it! Talk about innovation! They were open 24 hours & promised to me the moon, the stars & the sky. I was smitten & signed the dotted line on that contract that very day. I knew I had found the ONE, the one that was going to whip this jelly into shape!
WOW & I developed a strong relationship over the following years. What first was probably an infatuation turned into TRUE LOVE! We spend countless hours together. I began to know the regulars & the employees there too. We became like a family. I enjoyed watching Teen Mom 2 or reruns of the Nanny at 5AM while running hills on the treadmill, pretty much shameless TV that you can only get away with watching while AT the gym. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ALLLLLL of their hundreds of free magazines (which they keep updated) while sweating it out on the stationary bike - I mean this place has the most random magazines too, like Real Simple or Wine & Country or I would even suck it up & read Men's Health (hey - there is some informative stuff in there for the ladies too). I LOVED the atmosphere. In fact I even bragged about my relationship with my gym & outright told my friends that MY gym was better. I was so in love that I only saw the good, the rosy colored glasses that are so common when you are in love. So typical of me, once I'm in a relationship I am loyal - & loyal to Work Out World I was until...
Just like many long term relationships, my relationship with WOW hit a rough patch, I no longer felt appreciated or wanted. You see, over time the economy changed & with that WOW was practically begging people to join & in the process giving them ALL kinds of incentives to join! Newbies could get free to little money down to sign up (I paid $100), they could bring a friend for free, then they made a "platinum" program in which members that paid the same amount as me could get free classes BUT even though I paid the same amount I was not considered a "platinum" member! These newbies even got half price off cooler drinks AND the real kicker here, the one that really was the straw that broke the camel's back, they all got FREE WOW t-shirts to join! Do you think yours truly got one when I joined, nope! Could I, a loyal long standing customer get one now, NOPE these were only for NEW members! So then I got jealous, I was green with jealousy! I tried to take a friend to the gym just like the platinum members & I was told that I had to pay $20!! That was it, this was enough!
Then I was tempted by another, I tried to resist as long as I could I really did. See, DH works in CT & there are no WOW facilities near his work so he joined Planet Fitness. Now for years he had this membership & would brag to me about how great his gym was, how he got ALL these benefits that WOW was just NOW offering. BUT I said no way, I was not turning my back on my gym, we had years together. He left it alone for awhile until recently when DH decided that although we have been paying consistently for his gym membership all along - all of a sudden he decided that he was actually going to start going to the gym that we paid for, he felt that with his 3 week streak he was on a roll. So he starting filling my head up with thoughts about WOW & how they didn't treat me right & that if I joined Planet Fitness we could work out together & wouldn't that be great? I'm always asking him to work out with me! Plus, Planet Fitness was offering the same deals that WOW wouldn't offer to me so why stay??
Anyhow, last Sunday, in a very vulnerable moment, he got me to go to the darkside. I went to Planet Fitness. Let's just say I was not impressed with Planet Fitness. They are not open 24 hrs, they do not have as many machines, no TV's on each one & no MAGAZINES...URGH...I have one word for this gym...SUBSTANDARD! I know, I know, who cares about such silly things right? I mean really a gym serves a purpose, you get in, work out & leave, who cares about the stinkin' amenities especially when they offer a good deal too. Now I am not proud of what I did next but I'm going to be honest here. I signed on the dotted line for a membership to Planet Fitness - BUT in the back of my mind I knew that my relationship with WOW was not over BUT Planet Fitness offered a 10 day cancellation policy with no penalties. So I hatched a plan...
It was BRILLIANT! I wouldn't REALLY cancel my membership to WOW...NO, I would march myself into WOW with my newly signed contract to Planet Fitness & make them jealous. I would make them WANT me, like a jealous ex-boyfriend. Anyhow, the next Saturday (BTW - all the while still working out at WOW every single day as they were none the wiser of my scheme) I went with DS#1 & DS#2 armed with my Planet Fitness contract & went to WOW ready to fight! DS#1 (13 yrs old) warned me that things *may* know go my way, that perhaps that wouldn't even care - I mean look how many members they had anyway. I was beside myself that my own child would speak to me that way & assured him that *I* was a loyal customer for many years, they would value me. Anyhow, I walked in on a busy Saturday afternoon & stated to the first person I saw. "I need to speak to someone to cancel my membership." They guy kinda walked away & said hold on. In my mind I was thinking this is great, he is probably getting his manager & now this is MY chance!
NOPE, that guy came back & handed to me a business card. Basically I was instructed to call a 1-800 financial company to cancel the deductions out of my checking account. DS#1 laughed at me, I told him..."OH, this isn't over, I will just talk to the people from the finance company" obviously they like taking my money consistently from my checking account so why would they wanna lose that??
Soooooo, because this customer service line was not open on the weekend I had to wait until Monday morning to fight my battle. When I talked to the very nice rep she asked me why I was cancelling with WOW & I told her everything...I told her how I was disrespected & how it made me feel & how I just wanted the same benefits as the new members were getting. I told her that I didn't want to cancel with WOW but I was given no choice. She told me to hold on right there, she would have a manager from WOW in my area contact me to see if we could come to some kind of resolution. She told me that they should care & that my feelings were valid. She promised me that someone would get back to me within 48 hours. I thanked her profusely & thought....YESSSSS my master plan has worked, EVERYONE wants what they can't have, like a jealous ex-boyfriend YESSSSS!
It was not meant to be. NO ONE from WOW called, to date no one has called me. I'm hurt. They really don't care. I was sad at first especially as it neared the 10 day cancellation with Planet Fitness. Then I got mad. How dare they do this to ME after all we have had together. Well, I called that 1-800 number again & gave them a piece of my mind. They tried to ask me to stay & see if they could work it out but I said NOPE, obviously they do not value me as a customer or someone would have called me...I'm through! They requested that I send an email in writing & that it would be cancelled in 30 days. I did it right after I hung up that phone & not that anyone there from WOW obviously cares but I bulleted out my exact reasons for breaking up with them - OH & don't THINK for one second that I didn't include in there that I never got a FREE T-shirt!
BUT you know who did give me a t-shirt...Planet Fitness. I moved on. I'll admit I don't *like* change but sometimes in life you have to stand your ground & if you are not getting what you put into something it's time to move on...
Planet Fitness it is.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Good Afternoon fellow Sparkers!!
Well as depressing of a title as that sounds & no I did not mean to type race "morning" & by accident added the u. Nope, I've been in mourning. You see, ever since 2009 I have been a self proclaimed race addict. EVERY single month I have run a race. Big race, small race, short race, long race...I've done 'em all! (except of course the ol'mighty marathon which I still plan to conquer). I LOVE everything about races! I love the adrenaline kick, I like the t-shirts (oh - & I have quite the collection let me tell ya!), I like the people, freebies, I especially like to win medals...I LOVE races!
Anyhow the last race that I ran was on 12/31/11, so technically speaking I have not run a race since last year!! Sounds far more dramatic to say it that way. Trust me I am chomping at the bit about it too! Of course this wasn't a "voluntarily retirement" at all. & this was not due to the "off season" because trust me I will go to any lengths to find any race in the New England area so for me there is NO off season. I race year round 'cuz I wanna have fun!
Instead my lack of racing in January & February was as a result of this pesky freakin' illness called pneumonia. Not sure if you know this - but it's quite the downer! Just walking was hard & catching oxygen became a challenge. Let me be honest here, I don't care who you are supreme athlete or not, you CANNOT run with pneumonia. I say this with certainty now because I tried. OHHHHH, did I try! The amount of times I puttered along "running" at super slow speeds on the treadmill only to gasp for air then promptly throw up afterward (I know TMI - but if this helps ONE person learn from my foolishness then it's worth the graphic description!). Then I tried running outside, BIG mistake, your neighbors seriously do not appreciate it when you keel over dying & yakking in front of their house. So after all of these feeble attempts to get back to my superstar running status failed me miserably I decided to take it easy & sloooooowly get back my running game...
First it was just the eliptical for about 20 minutes, then it was the treadmill for 20 minutes, slowly but surely I got stronger, I only coughed for just a wee bit afterward. Then I increased those treadmill times, added some hills, threw in some intervals for good measure. Sure enough I found my swagger! Then I tried the ultimate test...outside running. It sucked! Running outside kills your legs way more than a treadmill, anyone that tells you that it is the same is a liar & I challenge those treadmill runners to take it to the streets! But then those familiar aches started to feel good because I knew that I was getting back that muscle that felt so weak during the pneumonia. The endorphins after an outside run are also on another level & I started to feel good!
I am now back to running up to 6 miles outside (BTW - this was just yesterday!) HOORAY!! Funny thing is - I used to run 6 miles outside like as my "maintenance" run between long runs. Sheesh - how things do change. My confidence is slowly coming back. I realized I CAN do this! Of course I wish that my times were faster too since they have seemed to slow down a bit but guess what, I WILL not be deterred. I am going to continue to fight!
Well to push me to the next level & ensure my return to glory...guess what I did this afternoon??
I signed up for a RACE!!!!
Oh, & not just ANY ol'race let me tell ya, I decided to come full circle & bring it back to where the magic began... I decided to do the downtown St. Patrick's Day 5K on 3/10/12 which by the way was my very first race ever!! This is a feel good event with tons of people & at the end you get a finisher medal! My son Kevin will run it with me this time too! WOOHOO! I can hardly wait & this will definitely give me the push I need to keep stomping that pavement outside because frankly it is mighty tempting with the cold temps in the AM & the hard ground to punk out & remain a gym treadmill running bunny.
Can hardly wait 'til race day...I am officially OUT of mourning!
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