Friday, November 26, 2010
All you need is faith, trust, and a little pixie dust!
Well...Happy Thanksgiving! Boy did it throw me off not to have to get up for work on a Thursday. It is always quite strange having a holiday mid-week, knowing that you worked the day before and that you will actually have to drag your butt out of bed and get to work the next day too. (Kind of puts a damper on the festivities, just a bit, but I try to live these holidays in denial that I'll actually have to go into work the next day...) In any event, I actually did have to get up earlier than I usually do for work, at about six-fifteen. OK, OK, had to. No. But wanted to, yes. My goal was to get myself and my race gear out of the house by seven. It's not that it was really necessary, since the Berbee Derby is a relatively low-hassle race, as far as getting there, parking, start time, etc. But I really just wanted my "me" time to go soak in the race atmosphere, warm up, people watch, whatever. And the earlier I got up, the easier it would be to avoid in-home distractions, namely The Boys. They were both sound asleep when I snuck out, car keys in hand. It was quite a brisk day and a difficult race, but I did survive it and live to tell the tale. You can see my race report for all the gory deets. After the race, I did some mid-day grazing, nothing too awful, but I wouldn't say I was completely "mindful" either, and we headed to Cracker Barrel for our Thanksgiving dinner. Cheesy, maybe, but at least we didn't have to cook! And quite a few other people had the same idea, too. While Cracker Barrel wasn't jammed, exactly, it wasn't a ghost town either. Anyway, here's the rundown of how I did on Thanksgiving 2010...
Drink my water, 64+ ounces: DONE (12 days running)! YUP! Having a race definitely helped my cause...
Eat five servings of fruits and veggies: NOT TODAY! Today wasn't a complete dead loss, but I fell just a wee bit short with four servings. After the race I made a smoothie kind of thing with chocolate Carnation instant breakfast with a banana mooshed in there. I don't really like bananas. AT ALL. But I know that they're supposed to be so incredibly good for you that I'm trying to find creative ways to work them in. My milkshake thingie ended up tasting way too banana-y for my taste, but I got a full serving of banana and lived to tell the tale. So there. Maybe I'll try an even MORE subtle approach next time. (Um, yeah, how much more subtle can you get than essentially drowning the banana in chocolate milk?!) At lunch I ate a small apple and salad, and with dinner a bunch of carrots. So four servings, and I could have easily pulled it up to five, but by the time I realized I was short, around nine o' clock, I felt like I had already overeaten and didn't really want to jam in any more food. Tsk tsk.
Eat mindfully all day and night: NOT TODAY! I was really torn on how to "grade" myself today. I read on Spark People that the average American eats something like 4300 calories on Thanksgiving. By my estimation (which it had to be since I didn't have exact counts on all of my dinner items), I ate around 2,200, which is about half of the national average and around 400 calories over my typical upper calorie limit. Really, honestly NOT bad. The reason why I'm "flunking" myself on this goal, is that with a little more careful planning I could have stayed within my limit AND gotten those fruits and veggies in. In the morning, I ate a few extra chocolate treats (a few raisins and a toffee square), and that's not so bad, but then after dinner I indulged in pumpkin pie and a roll of Necco wafers. I feel like it would have been more "mindful" to make a choice between those things. Did I really need BOTH pie and candy, not to mention the two biscuits I ate with dinner?! Probably not. And while I didn't stuff myself to the point of extreme discomfort, I really could have stopped after the biscuit and slice of pie. So I'm NOT going to beat myself up over today and it could have been a LOT LOT worse, but I just want to encourage myself to THINK a little more before I grab sweet treats "just because it's a holiday." At least I didn't give in to complete and utter gluttony though...and I'm pleased I did have SOME self-control! And I know I'll jump right back on track tomorrow, no biggie!
Running: Berbee Derby 10K...check the race report!
Cross Training: Plenty of walking, to the Berbee Derby, around the race course, back to my car after the race. It added up to around four miles, I think, based on plugging an approximate route into MapMyRun.com.
Strength Training: Spark People bootcamp video again today. Today's was lower body exercises, like bridges and leg lifts. Pretty good stuff. No extra strength training, since I was pooped from my race, but I wanted to make sure I got my bootcamp stuff done. (Yes, because if I finish it, I get a pretty Spark People trophy to display on my SparkPage, and I'm all about the bling, even if it's virtual!)
And that's my Thanksgiving! I'm closing up my holiday with some quality couch time. The hubs and I are watching Hot Fuzz on BluRay, which we found on special at Best Buy the other day. I'm guessing work is going to be easy, easy, easy tomorrow. Lots of sitting and reading, very little intense working. I think a lot of our clients just assume that we're not in the office (and, for about 70% of us, they're right), so we don't get many calls or emails, if any. Even though this holiday has been low-key, that's just what we wanted after such a hectic couple of months. Just time to relax as a family and reflect on how good God has been to us this year. I hope you and your families had a wonderful day!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Funny, this is the first race report where I felt the need to add the year to the title, since this is the first time I've run the same event more than once! For this Berbee Derby, as you might recall, I was undecided about which distance to cover. I truly couldn't make up my mind. The 5K seemed like a bit of a more relaxing prospect, but it was an out-and-back course (not my favorite variety) and the distance sometimes feels like such a mad dash...that I'm barely getting my race fee's worth! The 10K looked like an interesting course, but I felt some nagging concerns about the distance after suffering from a bit of overtraining and burnout in recent months. So, a friend gave me a practical suggestion. Why not just flip a coin? I did just that, and the 10K it was.
On Tuesday night, feeling excited about getting Thanksgiving off on the right foot, but slightly nervous about what I was getting myself into, I drove across town to packet pickup. My mind wandered back to one year ago, when I made the same drive. Back then, I was feeling butterflies about running my first timed 5K, and just anxious that I wouldn't be way in back of the pack or unable to finish. Oddly enough, on Tuesday, I was experiencing similar feelings of self-doubt. Had I bitten off more than I could chew? I tried to redirect my mind to other questions. What color would this year's race T-shirts be? (Red) Would we receive boxes of delicious locally made chocolate toffies in our goody bags, like last year? (Yes!!) At packet pickup, I saw flyers for the 2011 Madison Mini Marathon, and remembered how, last year, a similar flyer inspired me to sign up for a half marathon for the very first time. And with my race bib and safety pins in hand, there was nothing left to do until wait for this morning.
It rained overnight, leading to some pretty slick road conditions, and I briefly wondered if the weather would throw a wrench into my whole 10K experience. I checked Weather.com, which told me it would be cloudy, 29 degrees, and "feels like" 18 at the start line. Luckily, there wasn't supposed to be any rain or snow in Mother Nature's plans! When I arrived in Fitchburg at seven-thirty this morning, after eating a quick breakfast of a bagel thin and string cheese, those predictions didn't seem far off. I parked a little way from the race location so I could warm up with a walk and avoid traffic and parking hassles. It was overcast and chilly, but my running jacket, hat, and gloves kept me warm enough. I walked around for quite some time, just trying to keep warm and taking in my surroundings. I called my parents for a few minutes to wish them Happy Thanksgiving, and my dad asked me if it was snowing. No, I told him but then I noticed some odd activity in the sky. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? I spotted what I thought was a few snowflakes. I held out my gloved hand, and sure enough, a few tiny snowflakes landed on the plain black fabric. Guess I was eating my words! It didn't end up amounting to much, though, and had stopped by the time we started lining up for our nine o' clock start.
The emcee announced that we had 6000+ runners and walkers today, which got me very excited. I spotted lots of families, lots of kids, people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Good stuff! The Berbee Derby turkey was wandering around, posing for pictures, and I also spotted Ronald McDonald among the crowds. At about eight forty-five, 10K runners, about 1700 of us, lined up for our start. Once we were at the line, standing still, time seemed to drag a bit. Maybe because it was really cold out there if you weren't moving around? After what seemed like a half hour, one of the race directors said a few words, and that was followed up by the national anthem. A few minutes later, it was finally time to head out! As we crossed the start line en masse, Ronald McDonald cheered us on from the sidelines and called out, "Great job, you're almost there!" He got a few good-hearted laughs from the runners and spectators.
The first mile felt pretty easy and smooth. The course was fairly congested at that point, so I didn't stop for walk breaks. The pack's pace kept my pace pretty well reined in, so even though I was running for a longer stretch than I was used to, I didn't really feel like I was going out too fast. I passed the first mile marker right at 10:00 and still felt very strong. Right after that, I was able to jump off to the side and catch my first walk break, and began falling into my usual run-walk rhythm now that the crowd was starting to spread out some more. We soon reached the 5K turnaround point...and kept going. Something about that was a bit intimidating, and part of me just wanted to turn around, I'll admit! Well, we were already 25% of the way there, and I still felt great. And I had jammed a Gu into my fuel belt, which I was really only wearing because my running jacket's pockets don't zip and I was paranoid about stuff falling out, just in case I needed a quick sugar boost. Around that time, I saw a runner peel out from the pack and turn down a residential street. Not sure if she was a DNF'er, or a wayward 5Ker, or just a local jogger who accidentally got mixed in with the Berbee Derby crowd.
We had turned out onto a rural road, which had some slight rolling hills, but I kept to my rhythm and felt good. We crossed the second mile marker around 20:30ish, and then jogged onto an out-and-back portion of the course. We spotted the leaders starting to race in the other direction, a good solid 0.5-0.75 miles ahead of us! Out-and-backs are always kind of a double-edged sword because 1-it's fun to see the other runners, cheer each other on, give each other high-fives and whatever but 2-it's disheartening if you have a competitive side because you see at a glance how many people are ahead of you. It was wild to see some of the peeps in the crowd and the insane pace at which they were running...a boy who seriously scarcely looked older than Timmy, a little girl who was maybe 7 or 8, a group of people in felt turkey hats, teams of runners with goofy names like Tofurkin, Stuff It, Team Ran-Berry Sauce, Running A-Fowl, and (perhaps my favorite) Fueled By Glass Nickel Pizza (ok, mainly because pizza is probably my favorite-est food ever, although I'm not a huge fan of that particular brand of pizza...). Anyway, we kept huffing it down towards our turnaround point, right by the highway, and at the turnaround itself, we went over a timing mat. Right after the timing mat was the 3 mile marker, and we were right around 31:00 or so...a little slow had I been running a 5K, but not bad for a 10K. 2.9something miles was an odd place for a timing mat though. Hmm.
Then we were headed up a not steep but fairly long hill. We traipsed past the spooky abandoned railway cars that I had seen on my Sunday run, and they didn't seem quite as creepy now that I was running not alone, but with a big group. To make this portion even more difficult, the wind, which had been either very calm, or at least on our side, up to that point, started blowing sideways into us. And it was bitterly cold and made me feel very tired very quickly. Ugh. As we neared our turn onto the Capital City bike path, I was feeling just a wee bit lightheaded and out of breath. I slowed to a walk and opened my emergency Gu and started sucking it down. Soon after that, we were at a water station, where I gratefully accepted a drink, and then the fourth mile marker, which had the time at around 43:00. I was definitely starting to slow down. I could feel it. And we still had two miles of rolling hills (some of them fairly large) to go. It was at that point when I realized I wouldn't be PR'ing today. Actually, even at the start I wasn't really expecting to PR, as I didn't think I'd quite have the steam to race it full out, but there was still that tiny part of me that hoped the stars would align and let me sneak in the PR anyway. It was time to accept that the Berbee Derby wasn't going to be one of my quicker races.
So at this point, I just had to back off, do what I could to get through the two miles, let go of my pride, and just try my best to enjoy the last two miles, in spite of my growing fatigue. There was lots of good people-watching to do and plenty of great scenery to take in. The twenty or twenty-five minutes that followed were pretty rough on my ego, I'll admit. I'd pace someone for a little while, only to watch them gradually slip ahead into the distance. I'd see more and more people pass me as I constantly fought the urge to walk, especially on the uphills. I questioned myself, as I often do during a challenging run, and (again) wondered what on earth I was doing thinking about running a marathon when, today, I could barely get through six miles. (And how on earth had I managed all the halfs this year, while we were at it?!) We eventually emerged from the bike path and encountered one last water station, where the volunteers told us we had 0.7 miles to go. I was soooo ready to be done. Not only was I starting to feel tired of running, but my stomach was doing somersault. I was feeling an onset of Turkey Trotting...and not the fun kind. And running was only further aggravating my digestive unease.
As I began the final stretch, I was constantly repeating one of my race day mantras to myself: One more step is another step closer! And then around a corner we went, and I saw the race clock at the bottom of the hill. Almost there, almost there, almost there. It took everything I had to keep running, even with the finish line in sight. And a final sprint...just forget it! We passed the six mile marker. I wanted to stop. We passed the 5K's three mile marker. We finally hit the mats, with the race clock saying 1:09 something. (Official time ended up being 1:08:51, over five minutes behind my PR.) I spotted a photographer at my feet and did my best to smile and wave, just in case she was capturing my finish on film. Once I passed the camera, I wanted to slam on the brakes, but, following good race etiquette, I accepted my water bottle and kept walking through the chute so I didn't clog up the works.
After exiting the chute, I collapsed on the curb, and definitely felt some mixed emotions. Proud and grateful that I had gotten up to run six miles on Thanksgiving morning. Exhausted. Relieved. Somewhat disappointed in myself. Yes, I know I should just be pleased that I finished, an accomplishment in itself, but I couldn't let go of the fact that I just didn't perform up to the level I wanted to. It's an ego thing, kwim? And egos can be very foolish at times. I still struggle constantly with mine, particularly with my fixation with being "perfect." Today, the poor ego had to take itself down a few notches and just tell itself that running that distance is not an easy feat and that I should be proud just to have done it. After resting for a few minutes, I grabbed half a bagel from the food truck, wolfed it down, and began the walk back to the car. I was feeling very, VERY cold and was ready to retreat into the car and crank up the heat. When I finally got to the car, I just sat for a moment, relishing the warm air and looking forward to soaking in a warm bubble bath at home. Oh yeah, and some of that tempting chocolate-covered toffee which I had been patiently saving for a post-race victory snack.
So there you have it, the Berbee Derby 10K, 2010. Definitely a battle with my pride today and the cold wind which whipped my butt in miles four through six...but I did really enjoy the course and the people-watching! I plan to be back next year to enjoy the fun and festivities...and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to crack that PR. As for the rest of 2010, my racing season may or may not be up just yet. The final event I'm contemplating is the Jingle Bell Run on the second weekend in December, which will FOR SURE be the 5K if I do it. The if depends on whether or not we have other family plans and, possibly, the weather conditions. I just don't want to run in really gross winter conditions. Last year it was very slide-y and slippery, which is fine, but I wouldn't want to have to run in subzero cold or cold rain, right? So stay tuned on my decision for that one in the coming week or two...
Happy Thanksgiving, of course, and congrats to my fellow Turkey Trotters!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
All you need is faith, trust, and a little pixie dust!
So, with a lot of my clients and co-workers leaving for Thanksgiving, it was one of the most boring workdays...EVER. I guess I should be kind of grateful, since the last several weeks have been working my tail off at breakneck speed, but yeesh, I hardly even knew what to do with myself! I read a training manual for a certification I'm about to do, putzed around on email, halfheartedly worked on a few issues, and chatted with friends online. Typical workday on a holiday-eve or day after a holiday, I guess! Back at home, we ate dinner and headed to Best Buy to look at Blu Ray players. Thought we'd beat the Black Friday rush. We actually already have a Blu Ray, but Bruce has decided that he doesn't really like that one and that we ought to get a better one. OK. While we were there, we picked up a couple of movies that were on sale, as well as a couple that were not. Other than that, I took it easy to let my body get ready for tomomrrow's 10K. Still feeling nervous about it for some reason...maybe because I've just felt kind of out-of-shape, running-wise, lately. I'm kind of wondering if I need to spend the winter rebuilding my running base, refining my running form, and tacking on some strength training. After all the races I've done this year, I just want to pick myself up and become a "better" runner...not necessarily much faster, but stronger, with more stamina.
Drink my water, 64+ ounces: DONE (11 days running)! Got it done...believe it or not before I even left work for the day!
Eat five servings of fruits and veggies: DONE (11 days running)! More of the usuals...since I was light during the day, I had to load up on fruits and veggies around dinnertime, but I still made it, nonetheless.
Eat mindfully all day and night: DONE (11 days running)! During the workday was a little touch-and-go, mainly because I was so bored and fighting boredom-induced munching the whole way. I stuck mainly to what was in my lunchbox (which was mostly "good" stuff), but did indulge in some chocolate raisins. The work convenience store sells them in bigger bags, which are really 3 servings / 600 calories, so I split them up into individual portions rather than eating the whole thing. For dinner, Bruce made paninis, which were yummmmmmmmmmy, and by the time dinner was over, I was pretty satisfied and didn't really suffer from the late-night munchies so much!
Running: None today, resting up for tomorrow!
Cross Training: None today.
Strength Training: Spark People bootcamp video again today. It was a seven minute video, that one with all of the standing ab exercises which I wasn't too sure about last week. Again, it felt really easy, but perhaps that's not such a bad thing since I will be seriously exerting myself tomorrow!
That about wraps up my day! I'm going to finish with some quality time on the couch watching my new Harry Potter disk, while daydreaming about when I might finally make it over to the theater to see the latest one. And then off to bed for some shut-eye, so I can hopefully have a good run tomorrow morning! To all of my friends, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! And if you are on the road or in the air, safe travels!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
All you need is faith, trust, and a little pixie dust!
I woke up feeling a lot better this morning. My blahs were just a passing thing...whew! The insanity kept on at work, and I'm just looking forward to tomorrow, when people start heading out of the office for Thanksgiving and things CALM the heck DOWN. I suspect that the rest of this week, I'll be only marginally productive at work, but s'ok. I can rationalize it with all the insanely crazy workdays I've had lately. I have to admit, that I'm glad we are not traveling this weekend. I'm sure the roads will be jammed and, honestly, I can barely stomach airport time on the best of days, much less on a high-traffic day. (Although I have read in a couple of places that Thanksgiving Wednesday being one of the busiest travel days of the year is a myth. Apparently it is not usually even in the top 25 for busiest airport days...) It will be refreshing to sleep in my own bed, get up, run a 10k, hang out at home for a while, and then have Mrs. Cracker Barrel cook me Thanksgiving dinner!
Drink my water, 64+ ounces: DONE (10 days running)! Got it done...had half of my water during the work day, and the other half at the gym and right after.
Eat five servings of fruits and veggies: DONE (10 days running)! Made it! Mainly my "usual suspects" again...
Eat mindfully all day and night: DONE (10 days running)! I ate fairly light most of the day, and I feel like I generally made good choices. I did have this pumpkin mousse pie thing at work, which wasn't that high-cal or high-fat, but WHOA, holy sugar rush! I felt it go to my head almost immediately after I ate it. NOT cool. Won't be having that dessert again! At home, we had a leftovers feast, because we had TONS of food leftover from FIL's visit (and all the dining out we did), as well as Bruce's birthday pizza. I wrapped up the day with some wheat crackers and cheese post-gym.
Running: I wanted to get a solid run this evening to get myself ready for Thursday, although unfortunately because of the time of day (not to mention the COLD), I ran on the treadmill. The Cardio Cinema featured Back to the Future II tonight. Not my favorite movie, but interesting to watch. Isn't it crazy to see past versions of "the future," meaning now? Some of the fantasies can be right on, while other things are WAY off. I don't think we're even close to having hoverboards or flying cars. As for the run itself, it wasn't the greatest. I've just been feeling more tired during my running workouts, and I'm not sure if it's residual burnout or what. I cranked out three miles pretty quickly and easily, but after three, I started wearing down pretty quickly. I finished up 5.41 miles in an hour, which is definitely on the slower side of things (for me, even on a 'mill), and then did a generous walking cooldown - 12 minutes / 0.7 miles. So my total workout came up just shy of the 10k distance. I'm not sure if my last two workouts really bode well for Thursday. Then again, there's always that urban legend that, if you have a couple of crappy runs in a row, you're about due for a good one. So perhaps the stars are aligning for a successful 10k on Thursday. I keep telling myself, what do I care if I finish nearly last or even dead last, but there's that prideful part of me that wants a PR, that wants to be "fast" (which, let's be honest, I'm clearly NOT), that wants people to look at me and go "wow, she just ran a fast 10k." I know, I know, call it what it is. Pride, vanity, whatever. Anyway, I am all set to get out there and have a great time and work off that huge turkey dinner that I'm actually not going to eat (since we're not even having a traditional Thanksgiving meal!)
Cross Training: Not today! I haven't decided if I'm going to rest tomorrow or just do a bit of light cross training. I feel like I might want to take an easy walk or something, but the jury's still out.
Strength Training: Spark People bootcamp video again today. This time it was a quickie upper body workout. I couldn't find my 3-lb dumbbells so ended up using the little two-fers. So the workout was somewhat easier than ideal, but whatever. I guess I could have repeated it to get more reps, but I wasn't feeling that ambitious...
That's it for now...I'm actually into double-digit days on Project Pixie Dust, and still going strong. Perhaps this project is just what I needed to renew my spirit and nudge my tired self in the right direction!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
All you need is faith, trust, and a little pixie dust!
Very frazzled sort of day today! At work, I wasn't expecting a lot to happen, but of course, having thought that, I found myself swamped with several very last-minute customer projects and requests. And by five o' clock I was tearing my hair out and SO ready to go home. It was Bruce's 31st birthday today. He requested to keep it low-key by celebrating at home, so I asked him what he wanted. He said, "Oh, maybe you could make a homemade pizza or something? But don't work too hard on it, I don't need anything too fancy." (Ummm...haha...) So even though pizza is somewhat labor-intensive, I obliged since it was his special day. And honestly, once a pizza is made and the dishes are cleaned up, it IS worth it. We ate pizza while watching Star Trek II, one of his favorites, on Blu Ray, and then he retreated to his "scary boy room" (which has his computer, stereo, and whatnot) to talk on the phone for a while. While he was in there, I felt a wave of sadness wash over me. Once in a while, I'll just get hit with a case of the blues out of nowhere, for no particular reason, and tonight was one of those times. This is one of those situations when I might normally head for the fridge, so I tried to find myself other outlets, like doing my strength training and listening to some music on the computer. And that got me through. Even as bedtime approached, I was still feeling pretty blues-ey. Usually these things sort of blow over by the morning though...
Drink my water, 64+ ounces: DONE (9 days running)! I was shaky on this. I didn't drink a drop of water until after work. But when I got home, I grabbed my big honking 24 oz water bottle and kept refilling it as the evening wore on, and I got it done.
Eat five servings of fruits and veggies: DONE (9 days running)! Made it! Today it was mainly the usual suspects, like apples, berries, and spinach salad.
Eat mindfully all day and night: DONE (9 days running)! I feel like I'm getting better at avoiding the random temptations at work now. It's not to say that I won't ever eat a cafeteria dessert again. That's just not realistic. But now, I'm trying to stop and think before I pick up a snack. If I happen to pass the dessert counter and something catches my eye, I ask myself, "Is this a dessert I would really love? Or am I just looking at this because I'm bored and want to munch on something?" And so far, that approach has not steered me wrong! Tonight was Bruce's birthday dinner, and I did eat more heavily than I would have liked...in other words, I would have stopped at one less slice of pizza, had I 100% been thinking about it. However, I still did technically stay within my calorie range (although I was high on fat), and I didn't have any other major slip-ups. And after the pizza was polished off, I didn't continue to binge on desserts or snacks. I didn't do that think I tend to do where I decide, "Oh, I had one 'bad' meal, so the day's officially shot, and now I can eat anything I want!" So I still give myself a passing grade today.
Running: Day off.
Cross Training: Took a complete rest day from cardio since I haven't had one in a while.
Strength Training: I kept it pretty short and just did the prescribed SP bootcamp routine, which was lower body exercises. Our internet connection was being extremely dodgy (as it often is...we can't stand our internet provider, but they're about the only game in town...), so I couldn't get the video to actually play on my computer. But I WAS able to grab the printable version of the workout, and just followed that. Thankfully, I saw the video last week, so I was already pretty familiar with the exercises. Otherwise, I'm not sure if I would have understood how to do all of them!
Tomorrow is another typical workday. I don't have anything specific, other than one quick conference call, on my calendar, but I do have a fairly substantial pile of small tasks to catch up on. Hopefully I can keep busy and the day will pass by quickly. My evening plans are also pretty open, the only "sure things" being my boot camp strength training video and running, probably anywhere from 4-6 miles depending on my energy level. And on Wednesday I'll be in the final countdown to my Berbee Derby 10K!
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