Sunday, May 29, 2011
So, yesterday was amazing. I got some catching up done and got some extra rest and even got to meet up with a REAL LIVE SPARK FRIEND - IN PERSON (and run!!!!) !!!! How excellent is that?!?!
Then, this morning, I got to church and a friend that I meet with every other week came up and asked what kind of a bike I was looking for - since the bike offer from the friend I ran my last race with is barely functional...not exactly road worthy and would require a bunch of work and I know NOTHING about bikes. Since I do know NOTHING about bikes, I told her, well, you know, something safe, road ready....I don't know. Well, she said "I have one for you then, it's in the back of the truck - we'll follow you home after church and it's yours - and it only has 20-30 miles on it. Turns out that a few years (3 or so) back she and her husband got his and hers bikes, but after several adjustments, she still felt that this bike was to big for her. I'll have to adjust it back up for me, but I have a bike....complete with owners manual!!! I'm blown away! It's a Raleigh Hybrid, and like I said, I know NOTHING about bikes, but I'm fixin' to learn. I think I'm going to take it to the bike shop where they bought it and have them fit it to me properly. I'm sure that I'll be needing a light as well and a water bottle holder. I'm too excited to wait though...as soon as this rain lets up, I'm going to take this baby on a spin around the block! Not quite ready for the road yet....seems bikes have changed a bit since I last owned one (in the mid 70's). I was in high school then and was hit on my bike by a truck and although I'll get on a motorcycle and ride in an instant, I haven't managed to get back on a bike. The expression, "it's just like riding a bicycle" isn't so appropriate in this case. Wish me luck!!!
Saturday, May 28, 2011
I've been Sparking for almost 17 months now. During that time, I have made some very good friends...some have left and some remain and there are more that I have yet to get to know. I would never have made it this far without the love and support and encouragement and knowledge of many of these wonderful friends. Yet, untill today, they have all been electronic personas...not actual flesh and blood. Today though, I got to finally meet a fellow Sparker! We met at a local park and ran....and ran....and ran. We wound up doing 4.4 miles, talking and getting to know one another better as we went along. It was not like meeting a stranger at all! Maybe because we share so much in common....you know, she is married, with husband and children at home, with a running background and ten years my junior.....I am single, live with a partially disabled sister and work retail with little or no fitness background and just passed 50 1/2.....but the Spark is evident in both of our lives and that is all that we needed to break down any walls and to form an immediate bond. It was a GREAT run! Not my longest, not my fastest, but beautiful and interesting and it was over far too soon! Can't wait to do it again. As for all those wonderful people that you find on this site. They have lives, and flesh and blood and THEY'RE REAL!!! THEY'RE REALLY, REALLY, REAL...and I look forward getting to meet many, many, more along this journey!
Friday, May 27, 2011
It's been a while since I have had the time to sit and actually write a blog. I have been doing all I can just to keep up with all of you who write blogs and to try to respond to team message board posts. Since I work in home improvement, the season is well under way and hours have picked up (thankfully), but add the extra hours at work to trying to stay consistent with my running and cross training (which I'm only doing iffy at) and my commitments at church (which will be letting up a little over the summer) and the yard work (I forget how time consuming that can be) and.....well....I've been one busy lady!
I've got one race under my belt so far this year, and my next is eight days away. It is a 5K, good thing too, as my running has not been where I would like it to be by now. I think I have a bit of a schedule going now with a couple of running buddies. After last weekend, when we tried to brave the 85+ degree heat and do a long run in the afternoon, I believe that they are willing to look at moving our runs to the earlier morning or evening hours. Plus, I am going to meet up for the first time with a local Spark buddy who is from the other side of town tomorrow. We are going to hit the running path at 8AM and we'll get a chance to get to know one another a bit and maybe she will be interested in joining our little group....or, I'll have another person to run with either way. WOOHOO!
Next weekend, I will be volunteering at a race that some of my friends are running. I ran that one last year and it is an okay race, but I am already comitted to a race on Sunday and don't want to try two days in a row. Besides, I think it's a good idea to give back and help out at a couple of events. After Sunday's race, I won't have another race until Sept and Oct. Then I am signed up for two half marathons and a 5K. One of my running buddies is still debating whether or not to sign up for the Chicago Half....then the other half (7 weeks later) is the Inaugural RNR St. Louis. My baby sis lives there, so I'm going to use some vacation time and just get away for a few days, do the race and I'm super excited that I will get to meet another Spark Runner that I really admire! ABSOLUTEZERO (Nicholas) will be running that race after a VERY full summer racing schedule. I honestly don't know how he does it....his racing schedule is murder, so I am praying that he stays healthy and uninjured and we'll get to meet each other if not run together.
It will be good to have this summer to work on strength training and core training some more and I have all summer to finish working up to the 13 miles. I'm well past the half way mark, but not yet two thirds of the way. Trying to be smart and take it slow so that I don't get sick or injured. As it is getting warmer, I have to be especially careful about my nutrition and hydration as I have abnormally low blood pressure.
I am also continuing to look at how I can streamline my life, cutting out some of the less necessary tasks and putting the priority on those that mean the most to me. It is a tough lesson, but I am beginning to learn to say "no" with love and mean it....still makes me feel a bit guilty, but I am learning that everytime I say "yes" to something, that in order to not get over whelmed, it generally means that I then have to cut out something else. That makes me stop and really think and pray before I add anything more to my alaready hectic life. That's BIG progress for me....thanks to alot of help in goal setting and how to achieve my goals....more Spark lessons, I am really beginning to get more and more order in my day to day life instead of always feeling like I am running around putting out fires and not doing any of it particularly well or enjoying it either.
So, I apologize for not getting out more blogs, but sometimes there is just not enough hours left at the end of my day. Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. Try to find time to remember those who gave their lives for our great country and to enjoy special moments with family and friends, but don't forget also to take time to take care of you.....it's a balancing act, but it is well worth the effort! Spark Strong Everyone!
Friday, May 20, 2011
Okay, I know that life is NEVER going to slow down for me. I won't allow it. I am doing better at recognizing when I am getting overextended, and cutting things out before they become my undoing, but I still keep reaching for more and more and more. There is always something more that I think I should be doing, or want to do, or do better.....and I take off after it and soon enough realize that I am once again trying to do too much.
Finally this weekend, I have the whole weekend off....the only thing scheduled that is a MUST is church on Sunday. I am going to get to the gym early tomorrow and hopefully I can do a leisurely run their...then Pilates and spin. Might be a leisurely walk home. I don't think I'll be up for more running after that workout. Tomorrow night, I'm meeting up with old friends for dinner and a talent show. Hope to get a bundh of cooking done during the day tomorrow. I know that next weeks schedule is nuts and having extra meals and dishes prepared will help to keep me sane. Sunday is church and hopefully a running buddy will be meeting me to do a new path. She says she wants to do the
Chicago Half with me in Sept., but we haven't been able to meet up for any runs and I know that whether she commits or not, I have to stick by my training schedule. Speaking of training schedules....as much as I am loving (really, I can't believe that I am saying THAT) my spin and strength training, I amy need to ccut back a little. With my work and other obligations, plus the time I need to devote at this point to running and I still need to keep up with yoga and pilates for core strength and balance....the strength training and abs classes and spin may need to get scaled back. At the pace that I am attempting, I am needing to take a day and sometimes two off totally during each week just to give myself time to recover....and I'm not sure that I can be doing that through the summer and still be ready for 13.1 miles.
I know that I am really looking forward to a little more leisurely pace this weekend though. Next weekend I will test run the course for my next race which is the weekend following. The 5K Run for the Roses....back in my childhood home town. My little sis (middle) will be working the emergency management crew and is the one who talked me into this one. It is supposed to be a flat and fast course, so I need to be dedicating myself to being prepared. Maybe I'll finally be able to achieve my goal of a sub 30 5K race.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Today, I am enjoying a day off. No, really, enjoying. It's something that I am practicing and am not too good at, so many times throughout the day, I am making myself just sit down and be quiet. I have about umpteen things that I would dearly love to add to today's to do list, but I am restraining myself and taking the day to do what I NEED to do while trying to keep the rest and relaxation part in balance.
Finally got a decent nights sleep last night. That really helps. Day before yesterday we hit a high of 93 degrees and yesterday was 89. Less that two weeks ago, I awoke to frost on my windshield.....what happened to spring? I refuse to turn on the air this early in the year, but got all the screens on the windows and the ceiling fans going, so when the rain started last night we actually got down into the 60's. Much better for sleeping, but I think it might be time to get the electric blanket off the bed.
This morning I was able to sleep in till 6:30 and then leisurely get ready to go to the gym. Did my 30 min abs class and we are doing a new routine....the Navy Seal workout....I don't even qualify for BABY Seal, but I'll keep going as sooner or later those core muscles HAVE to get stronger. After ABS, I did Spin, which, believe it or not, I am really starting to like. I did over 18 miles, and by the end of the class, I was drenched in sweat, but it was a fantastic workout. Spin has really helped my turnover rate when running and my legs continue to tone up. Like everything else at this age, progress is slow, but I do see a difference. In fact, one of the ladies I meet with on Monday nights commented that I was really developing some nice legs muscles (this is relatively speaking mind you), but a high compliment as she works for Jenny Craig. She even said that I had "guy muscles" in my calves I think that may be a slight exageration, but a high compliment none the less.
After the gym, I went to do the grocery shopping. Finally it seems that fruits and veggies are coming back into full season. I hit the jackpot at our local grocer. They mark down the produce and meats before they expire and today I got a 4.4 lb honeydew, 4.8 lbs of tomatoes, 4 lbs of broccolli, 3 lbs of green peppers, 7.5 lbs of potatoes, 3.5 lbs of red seedless grapes, 13 lbs of sweet potatoes, and 11.5 lbs of whole chicken for less than $12.00 plus tax. I'll be doing a lot of prepping of fruits and veggies today, but aside from the potatoes and sweet potatoes, my sis and I will finish off most of the rest of the items within the week, and one of the chickens will remain frozen for next week. Talk about being blessed!!!!! That really helps stretch the grocery budget! Tomorrow is payday, and, hopefully, once the bills are paid, I'll have enough left over for a little splurge. I am greatly opposed to spending much on clothes with finances as tight as they are, but I have a chance to buy a very cool running skirt with compression shorts underneath that normally goes for $60 at a discount of over 50%. I still have to check and see what shipping will be, and, get to the local running store to see which size really fits (I tend to be right on the border of a small and medium) because I hate to spend that much on something that will not be comfortable, but, if I keep this all in balance today, that little trip and hopefully purchase will be a VERY NICE reward!
Easy work schedule for Friday and Saturday, and with the break in the oppresive heat and rain this weekend, will be looking forward to kicking up the long run to between 7 and 8 miles if I can push my buddy to go that far.
Hope you are all enjoying the day - Spark Strong!
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