Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Running Review

Me and USA Olympian, Nick Symmonds at the Lakefront Marathon
2012 was a great year in running for me. It was definitely a lot of miles and hard work, but I don't regret one second of it. I learned a lot about myself - priorities, abilities, things I can work on. I plan to take this year's running and build on it in 2013. I have big goals for the next year but here are some of the highlights from 2012:

2012 Lighthouse Run Champion in the Women's 4 Mile

  • One of the most exciting and heartbreaking days of my whole life - winning the Women's 4 Mile in the Lighthouse Run in my hometown (Racine, WI.) You might not recall or maybe you never read about my related heartbreak; you can find THAT story here. I'm still not over it and I plan to get even when I rock the shit out of that course this summer. I digress.
  • I started Lace & Race as a direct result of my performance and the review of my run at the LHR. L&R has been a fun way to vent and connect with the rest of you runnerds. (@laceandrace)
  • I started a "Running Savings Account." This sounds weird, I guess - but I decided to reward myself for all the time I spend running. The gist of it is this: For every 1 mile I run, I deposit 50 cents into a savings account. It might not seem like a lot, but it adds up. I will be paying for my trip to Boston (which is RIDICULOUSLY expensive) with that silly little idea. You should try it - at the end of the year, that's a sweet little pot to spend on fun.
  • I trained for and ran my first half marathon in the summer as part of my build up for my full marathon in the fall. I ran the Summerfest Rock 'n Sole in Milwaukee. I was pretty satisfied with my time, considering it was my first! 1:35:24  I did learn that I am not a huge fan of this distance, as a race. I like it as part of my training plan but I like shorter distances or fulls much better. I'll keep running halves though.
  • I ran my first full 26.2 at the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee! I loved this distance so much. I ran 3:18:45 - and I think I was a little conservative, since it was my first. I plan to spend this whole year training to run the same course in the fall, but I want to run a sub-3 hour marathon. I think its reasonable. Go big or  die trying!
  • During my marathon, I achieved the only goal I set for myself that day: run a BQ! So - I'll be running the 117th Boston Marathon in April. I don't quite have the words for how excited I am. I love that I get to participate in such a prestigious event - such history and so many talented people have run (will run) that course. I could just explode with happiness. I'm currently training my ass off for it, so I can compete confidently. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Resolution Number Two: Stay Positive

My second runner resolution for the next year (and the next 100 years) is to stay positive.  It seems simple enough, but every year - I find myself frustrated and like I have lost some amount of control in my life (I am a Virgo; control issues are part of the gig.) Let's face it: grumpy and negative people suck....literally, they suck the life and fun out of things. I don't want to be one of those fun-suckers, so I want to do what I can to be HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY. Happiness = Success!

Stay Focused Poster from TriciaODesign/
 I really hope that I am able to do exactly what the poster says: stay focused, stay positive and keep moving forward. I have a lot of lofty, kinda crazy goals for myself this year and they will require a tremendous amount of determination and commitment. There is no room for self doubt, doubt from others or negativity that could detract from my master plan.

How will you stick to this resolution, you ask? Well, here you go:
  1. I will have reasonable and attainable goals
  2. I will allow myself some flexibility in my life, including time for myself and the things I love
  3. I will quit hanging around with negative, icky people. I don't really do this now, but I will protect my time by ditching the complainers or nay-sayers
  4. I will eat well because eating badly = lazy and crabby
  5. I will diligently stick to my workout plan, come hell or high water, because THE MASTER PLAN
  6. I will tell bad jokes that I think are hilarious and I will laugh at them
  7. I will get good sleep that lasts more than a few hours at a time
  8. I will say "No, thanks" to things I don't want to do
  9. I will try to find a career that I actually want to pursue - something that I am excited about
  10. I will try new things this year. If I love them, cool. If I fail or hate them, at least they were new!
I think we could all stand to take a step back and think about what is keeping us from being happy every day. I know that I don't have the time to let a lack of focus or negative thoughts keep me from achieving my goals for 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Resolution Number One: Clean Food

Normally - like 90% of the time - I eat well. I think I eat impressively well. It's not that I'm SOOO concerned about the food that I put in my mouth; I just prefer things that grow in the ground. I think they taste better, so that is a no-brainer to me.

Tonight's Dinner: Acorn  Squash, Wild Rice and Rosemary Roasted Veg
I do plan and cook all of my own food, with the exception of a Friday night dinner date. I have lots of veggies growing in my yard - kale, tomatoes, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, peas, radishes, etc. Nothing beats cooking with items right from my yard, so I do it all the time. I take a lot of care to prepare things as freshly and cleanly as I know how. Everyday. So yes - I care about what I eat and how I fuel my body. We runners have to care about it or we cannot compete well.

BUT...the holidays. Oh, the holidays. I still try to make good choices but it is inevitable that diets change over the holidays - if only for the fact that you are not making all of your own food anymore. It would be rude to show up to the pot luck at work or Grandma's Christmas party and ask if the ingredients are organic. Normal humans suck it up and pig out! Plus, holiday food is FUN! It's usually traditional or naughty or loaded with fat and sugar or...just different than usual! There is a lot of love in those meals and the times built around them.

My scale does not care about Christmas memories. Nope. My scale is a rat bastard that stands around with a calculator adding up every naughty calorie I stuffed into my pie hole. What a jerk. Then - when all the fun has ended and the holidays are done - that rat bastard hands me the bill in the form of a few extra pounds and a grumpy attitude. I hate that guy.

All that being said: I vow to get back on track with a clean diet just as soon as I put my champagne glass down when the ball drops. Promise!

Runner Food: (The Best Ever) Power Scones

If you're a runner, then you understand that this whole runner's diet can be a complex and sometimes annoying beast. Did I get enough protein? How many carbs today? Too much fiber?

I think these same questions can be even more confusing if you happen to be a vegetarian. People ask me all the time, "How are you able to train for a marathon AND be a vegetarian? You can't possibly eat enough." False! I eat like crazy, run like crazy and it's all fueled perfectly well.

One of my favorite post-run recovery foods is the recipe below for power scones. I can't say that I came up with it, because I didn't - but I did adapt it a little. They're wonderful on-the-go food, they make a perfect breakfast, they're delicious, they'll make you full for a long time AND they are loaded with the good stuff. They are worth the trip to get the weird ingredients (Whole Foods has all of it for really reasonable prices in the bulk section!) I suggest buying enough ingredients so you can double, triple, quadruple the recipe because you WILL eat the hell out of these.

(The Best Ever) Power Scone


½ C rolled oats (old fashioned oats, not quick oats)
2 C whole wheat flour
¼ C wheat bran
¼ C almonds (ground or chopped)
¼ C pecans (ground or chopped)
2 T millet
2 T ground flax seed
2 T whole flax seed
½ C brown sugar
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
6 T cold butter
¾ C low-fat or non-fat greek yogurt
1/8 tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp orange zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries (Craisins work fine)


1. Mix all dry ingredients through salt.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the dough looks like fine bread crumbs.
2. Mix yogurt, egg, vanilla, lemon zest, orange zest and lemon with a whisk.  Add to dry ingredients with the cranberries.
3. Form scones into the size and shape you desire.  Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes, depending on size, until golden brown. (If you make super huge scones, keep baking until the tops are turning golden brown.)
4.Voila! Enjoy. You can eat these right away. Save them in storage containers for up to a week or freeze them for later!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Post-Marathon Sanity Strategy

 It has been a mere two weeks since the Lakefront Marathon (which was the best;) however, I've been having an incredibly hard time NOT hitting the road and keeping up my miles. In fact, I would dare say that I've been down right bitchy and I would definitely say I've been eating too much. (I'm bored. It's Wisconsin. Eat/Drink/Repeat/etc.) I just feel puffy and annoyed. I guess this is the withdrawal stage everyone has talked about.

Common thoughts throughout the day lately: 
1. This water retention is normal after a marathon. (to myself)
2. If you say another word, I might kill you. (to others)
3. I'm in the mood for something salty. (to cupboard)
4. Don't we have any drinks? No. What about that NyQuil?
5. No, I didn't work out. These are pajamas.

Don't get me wrong; I have been working out and probably too much, too soon. It is STILL not enough in my mind. I have been looking into a post-race strategy that I think I can handle - but the best and most common advice I've been able to find is essentially a reverse taper. I've been trying to mix in Insanity, a little yoga and even TaeBo - sadly, those things don't work on my brain as much as a loooonnnnng run. I would just say forget the effing plan and put in the miles that I want to run, but I have noticed a little sharp-icky pain in my knee. (These jerky knees will be the death of me.) SO - I will have to take it easy, but know that in the meantime - I am fighting off a serious case of post-race rage.

To deal with my head and my excess energy, I have been doing a lot of the other things I love. That is a bonus, in a way. For example - I have been cooking like crazy. Cooking makes me almost as happy as running. I've also spent a lot of time getting ready for an upcoming craft fair here in Milwaukee (Hover Craft - for those of you in town) - so I have been doing a bunch of work in my Etsy shop: PaperMichelle. Most importantly, I have re-entered the world of the social. There are a bunch of great things that come from having your time returned to you (this is what I HAVE TO tell myself to get through the mental torture.) But it is true.

The reality of the situation is that I'm super happy that my complaint is that I AM RECOVERING FROM A MARATHON. I am also really grateful that the training I will do (when I am healthy) will be for the sake of competing in the Boston Marathon. That is rad.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Race Recap - Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon

In March of this year, I finally signed up for my first marathon. Let's get one thing straight - I am not new to running. In fact, I've been running like a maniac since I was a kid but I've just never done a marathon. I figured that I put in enough miles as it is, I might as well have a goal for those miles. I signed up for Milwaukee's Lakefront Marathon because it is my hometown race and I've only heard great things about it. I was pretty scared as soon as I paid my little entry fee.

From March on, I focused primarily on training for the LFM. I did a few races in between March and October, but it was all part of my master plan to build up for the marathon. I managed to make it through the training with no real problems - no injuries - no illness - no complaints.  October came really, really quickly.

The week leading up to the race was pretty challenging and it made me a nervous wreck. I had way too much going on (teaching, coaching, proper taper) and I got a really nasty cold the Friday before the race (Murphy's Law in action.) Being sick made me SO ANGRY, like YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW!? But - I tried to stay positive and I resigned myself to the idea that I would run the race, come hell or high water, and I would do a lot of mouth breathing. The night before the race, I got surprisingly good sleep with the help of some Nyquil and when I woke up on Sunday, I felt about 90%. I was also crazy excited - I got all jacked up on Red Bull and Kanye West.

THE RACE  (Goal: Run sub-3:30 and BQ)

Lining up at the start of the race was a real zen moment for me. It was noisy and chaotic, but all of my nerves kind of went away. I felt like "Ok - no matter what - you are here and you're going to run this race. You are prepared. Run smart and be patient. You will officially be a marathoner in a few hours from now and that shit is badass." It was calming to remind myself that I was ready and I was certainly not alone in the challenge. There were nervous people all around me, all having the same internal conversation.

I lined up with the 3:40 pace group, mostly because the starting area was really congested. I planned to take it slowly and move up over the course of the race. I stuck to my plan and the first mile split was 8:15. There was quite a big pack running at that pace. At one point, we got chased by a herd of cows on a farm, which was funny and calming - it made me remember to pay attention, because I would never run my first marathon again.

As I started to warm up in the 40-ish degree temperatures, my legs loosened up and my times gradually came down. The cold didn't really bother me. I'm sure part of that was due to the BRIGHT green Brooks arm warmers that made me stand out like a pubic hair on a toilet seat. LOL. I settled around a 7:30 pace and I tried to stay consistent for the rest of the race. 

The course was great. The fall colors were super pretty. The spectators and their witty signs could not have been better. The weather ended up being perfect for the race - I even ditched my little gloves somewhere along the way. I did see several grown men that opted to NOT wear a shirt, which I thought was slightly optimistic. I am willing to bet that they stayed cold, even if their nipples stayed in tact. 

I didn't run into any problems physically along the course. My legs felt energized and light all the way until mile 24. At that point, I got a cramp that felt like a baseball was in my right calf but I was so close to the end that I just had to ignore it. One thing that did surprise me was how many people were walking in the late stages of the race. Maybe it is just me, but there was no way I was going to stop running with less than two miles to go.

By that time, I realized that I was going to come in well under my goal time of 3:30, which meant I was also going to get a Boston Qualifying time. I couldn't stop smiling through the end of the race - I also considered crying - but what for? There's no crying in running! Plus, it was awesome! I entered the park in the last mile and the crowd started to build, so I knew the finish line was right around the corner. All that was going through my head was "Oh my god! You did it!" I finished feeling really strong, relaxed and extremely happy that I made it. Extremely happy that I ENJOYED it!

My official finishing time was 3:18:45 - which means that I met both of my goals. I even qualified for a division award, so I got to meet USA Olympian, Nick Symmonds at the award ceremony. How cool!!

When the race ended and I stopped moving, my legs started to lock up. Walking was a serious task and I looked like Frankenstein. As soon as I was able to lock-step all the way back to my car, I got my phone and attempted to register for the Boston Marathon. I could not believe it was still open! I had to wait a few impatient days to hear back, but I finally got my confirmation email which said that I AM IN for the 2013 Boston Marathon. I cannot believe it. I am so friggin' excited that it is all I can think about. My flight and hotel are booked (going to have to get another job to pay for this) and now I have 180 days to train.

Overall, I loved my first marathon. LOVED. Like - one of my favorite days in my 31 years. I look forward to the rest of the races I am bound to run now that I AM A MARATHONER! BITCHES! I even have a 26.2 magnet on my car to prove it.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Twas the night before the marathon...

'Twas the night before the marathon and all through her mind
ran panicky thoughts of chaffing and PR times.
Arm warmers and socks packed in her gear bag with care,
In the morning she'll double-check to be sure that they're there.

The runner was restless as she laid in her bed
while visions of blisters danced in her head. 
And she, already wearing her bib under the covers,
questioned why she'd become such a torture lover.

At an ungodly hour arose such a clatter
She jumped out of bed to silence the chatter
The alarm blinked boldly, it is 4 AM!
Surely, no sane person would be awake then.

Time for some carbs, a Red Bull, a poo
(Can't do that on the course, because that's a DQ!)
She laid out her wardrobe of fluorescent green gear,
she pulled up a pony-tail and flexed in the mirror.

"You got this," she said with a nervous grin
And she slugged some more water for some hydratin'
With gels in her pocket and tape on her toes
She grabbed her bag and hit the road. 

She arrived at the start and saw such a crowd,
They were stretching and lunging and jogging around,
The elites stood out in a particular way,
The rest wore shirts that were complimentary swag.

The runners lined up in corrals based on their times,
She checked out her competition and passed them in her mind.
The gun went off and the herd started moving,
Slowly at first, but then they were cruising.

It took a little time to find a good pace,
It also took time for the nausea to leave her face,
After a while, when the masses spread
She hit her stride and started to sweat.

One mile, two miles, three miles, four.
What do you mean, there's twenty-two more?
Over the hills, the heavy feet pounded
Heavy breathing, like an asthma attack, resounded.

Some stopped and walked, while other pressed on.
Some were crying and some sang songs.
The spectators cheered mile after mile,
Which caused all the runners to force up a smile.

Halfway done and the excitement was waning,
"Just let me finish" was what she was saying,
But then something happened, she remembered one fact:
"I paid for this, damnit. I better run fast."

The second half of the race passed by with a blur,
She avoided the wall chasing after her,
While trying to keep port-o-potty's in sight,
She passed anonymous people on the left and the right.

And then -  there is was, the finishing line.
Never had a beacon put out such a shine.
The tears started flowing long before she was done,
But when she finished, she thought, "Now, THIS is my messed up idea of fun."

Here's to tomorrow's 26.2! Good luck, everyone.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Running Ruins My Hair

Distance: 12.5 Miles
Time: 1:45
Days Until Marathon: 40

So - I have just under six weeks left until my marathon. SIX WEEKS. That time is going to go so fast and dear god, let me stay on track with my training so I don't die in six weeks. There has already been a casualty as a result of this training.

All of the miles that I have logged for this race and the races I did earlier in the year have taken a toll on my hair. It is bad enough that I am NOT BLESSED with thick, lush hair. No. I have stringy, brown hair. It feels like spider webs. (That drives guys wild, let me tell you.)

When I decided to run the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, I made a pact with my hair. I said, "Look, I'm going to grow you out until we do this marathon together. You've stuck with me for all of these miles, all the headbands, all the sweat and sun." And that is how "Marathon Hair" was born. I'm notorious for chopping all of my hair off on a whim, so this really is new for me. It is making me crazy, too - I almost cut it off today and then - I remembered - Marathon Hair. Pact. Etc.

Well, running around for hours everyday in under the sun makes my marathon hair a gross shade of brass. I'm a brunette. Browny fo' life! So - this golden tint makes me mad. I hate it, in fact. Puke.

I FINALLY GOT MY BROWN BACK.  And thank the lord for that! 
Or L'Oreal. Whomever.

Before: Icky copper hair and angry profile.

After: Brown in the house! I look upset, but no. Maybe a comb though.             

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Runner's Gift Guide: Fall Running Must Haves

The seasons are definitely changing here in Wisconsin. I'll be honest: I am not a huge fan of the summer. I think she is a cruel, sweaty mistress and I am always relieved to roll into Fall.

This time of year, I start to struggle with dressing appropriately for my runs. I've gotten used to sleeveless tanks and itty-bitty running shorts to combat the insanity of running on 100 degree days. But now, our temps are starting to drop little by little (AMEN!) This past week, I was able to work in some of my running capris and I even carried a light jacket. Fall and winter running are notoriously unpredictable, so a gal has to be prepared for all outdoor running conditions. This got me thinkin' - I NEED NEW GEAR!

Let's check out some of my favorites for keeping my fall marathon training fast, functional and fashionable.
Women's New Balance 1600 Marathon/Road Racing Flat, $110

Women's Northface Stormy Trail Jacket in Razzle Pink, $169

Women's Saucony Omni LX Tight II, $65

Lululemon Track Time Jacket, $128
Northface Coolmax Arm Warmer, $32
Women's Puma Faas 350 S, $85

Thursday, August 23, 2012

To Compete Well, Eat Well: Vegetarian Zucchini Pasta

Yesterday, I mentioned that I am a vegetarian. If you want to be technical, I am a pescetarian. The difference is that I do not eat meat, with the exception of seafood. I LOVE ME SOME SEAFOOD.

The reason for my slightly omnivorous lifestyle is mostly about food textures, but honestly - I just prefer vegetables to meat. You could make the fanciest steak in the whole world and I would just be like "eh." Meat, schmeet is what I say. I should also mention that a big part of my food preference is that I run so much. I do believe that what you put in your mouth counts. I try to keep it clean and light - and I conserve food calories so I can drink beer after I workout. (Kidding, kind of.) Seriously, nutrition is super important to me.
Since I love veggies so much, I have a pretty large garden in my backyard. A lot of my meals are provided by the kale, tomatoes, kohlrabi, zucchini, beans, peas, greens, strawberries growing there. It is also all organic. No chemicals, 'yo. I am always looking for new, tasty recipes for the bounty of veggies from my garden. I hate to waste (I don't waste - I compost) so I eat a lot of grilled veggies, salads, smoothies, etc.

Today, I tried out Zucchini Pasta - because I have an extremely overzealous zucchini plant in my garden. You can only eat so much zucchini bread and grilled zucchini, ya know? I overhead Clinton from "The Chew" demonstrating this recipe and I just happened to have all of the ingredients to make it happen! I didn't make the tomato sauce like they did - but otherwise - I followed the recipe pretty closely starting with this beautiful assortment from the garden:
One massive (still tasty) zucchini, cherry tomatoes, green pepper, garlic clove, red onion and a whole lotta love. The only other ingredients I used were a little bit of olive oil, sea salt and ground black pepper. Using a carrot peeler, I sliced the zucchini into "papardelle" style noodles. This was a lot of fun, actually.
Everything looks classier when you put it in a geometric white bowl! Even Cheetos. Next step, saute zucchini noodles in a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. In a separate pan, I cooked up the remaining veggies. I prefer my veggies to stay kind of firm and to keep their shape, so I never cook vegetables for very long. In fact, sauces are a little gross to me. Give me chunks or give me ice cream.
The noodles are done when they are tender. I took them off of the heat for a little bit and then put them in - you guessed it - a classy, white, geometric bowl. I topped it with my veggies, a turn of the pepper mill and a little bit of parmesan cheese. 

I have to say - this was delicious! I was surprised by how noodley the zucchini texture was! Simple, healthy and CHEAP. Those are the words I live by. Get cookin' people.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Blistering Pace: The Perils of a Sockless Runner

Distance: 10 Miles
Time: 1:14
Days Until Marathon: 45

According to my marathon training plan, I was only supposed to put in 6 easy miles today. BUT - from the second I woke up, I was full of energy and I knew I would run longer. I like to eat breakfast about a half hour before I head out for a run and 90% of my breakfasts are this concoction here:

Plain greek yogurt plus a variety of berries and fruit. I would add honey, but I don't have the words to explain how much I hate honey. Did I mention I'm a vegetarian? Well...sort of.

My plan for today was to run for as long as I felt like keeping up a half marathon pace. I decided I would take out my new Saucony ProGrid Kinvara 3s for a spin. I've only worn these bad boys on a handful of shorter runs, like 6 miles at most. I refer to them as "the Patriots" for obvious reasons.

They are as blinding in person as they are in this photo. Nothing about them says, "I move slowly." I believe that function and fashion are on equal ground when it comes to shoes. Let's be honest, there are some really lame looking running shoes out there.

I got the new Kinvara's from Foot Locker after I got the gift card for winning the Lighthouse Run. They are different from what I would usually wear, since I'm into super-light, minimalist shoes. Don't get me wrong - these are actually very light, but they offer a lot more support than my New Balance Minimus or Nike Frees. Therein lies today's problem.

You see, the back of the Kinvara has a taller rise on the ankle than any of the shoes I have worn over the last several years. This matters when you count in the fact that I NEVER WEAR SOCKS WHILE RUNNING. EVER. In fact, I don't wear socks in life either. On the rare occasion that I have a deathly flu, maybe I will put on some wool socks but otherwise - no socks. I hate 'em. They feel disgusting and do not get me started on when they fall down into your shoe. (To answer your question: no, my feet are not rancid because of this habit. One would think so.)

So, today's run started off pretty fast. I ran the first four miles around 6:50 pace, but I felt great. My legs were light and responsive, so my splits were fast. Around mile five, I noticed the dreaded burning sensation on my ankle - you know - when your skin starts to peel off with every step. BLISTERS! Grrr. Inevitably, my pace suffered. I ended up running 10 miles at about 7:24 min/mi. Towards the end of the run, I decided it was better to sprint through the pain rather than suffer longer with lumbering, strides.

This is a frequent occurrence because of the whole "no socks" thing. I have a theory about it though. The more blisters I get, the more I am toughening up my feet. Eventually, I will have an entirely custom skin sock of protection, right? I must be pretty close to that point, because I barely have any feeling in these puppies. Good thing my boyfriend doesn't have a foot fetish and I have stock in pumice stones. No socks fo' life!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

There Is No Finish Line

Distance: 9 Miles
Time: 1:12
Days Until Marathon: 46

The weather was really great today for a nice, slow run along Lake Michigan. I am still recovering a little bit from the 18 miler I did on Sunday - my knees are being jerks. I suppose, I should stop playing tennis if I am trying to get these knees to heal.

I have less than 7 weeks until the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee, so I have to keep up my mileage. I would like to do so without all the limping, grinding and crying though. Speaking of the marathon, it was just announced today that Nick Symmonds of USATF and Olympic fame will be attending the event. Joan Benoit Samuelson is also scheduled to take part in the events leading up to the race. She'll be premiering a Nike documentary, There Is No Finish Line. Very cool. Very effing cool.

"There Is No Finish Line", short teaser from Sarah Henderson on Vimeo.

Greetings: In Search of an "Impressive Run"

Hello! Let's begin with the obligatory "welcome to my blog and this is why the blog exists" post, shall we?

First of all, I am a runner. I've been a runner since I was about seven years old when I saw my dad go "jogging." Of course, my style of running is nothing like my dad's, since his included no shirt, denim shorts and I swear he carried a boom box on his shoulder. (I think my memory is failing me or maybe he was epically cool in the 80s.) So - yes - I have had a long love affair with running, but this blog is mostly meant to keep me on track with my running goals. A tiny bit of the blog's purpose is spite. Yes, spite. Do you have a second, because I would like to tell you a story of triumph, humiliation and sweet revenge.

Let's get the basic background information out of the way, so you can follow along with ease.
  1. I am presently thirty years old - but a really cool version of 30.
  2. I ran in high school. I was team captain of the cross and track teams. I was a sprinter, a jumper and a distance runner when I had to be.
  3. I did not run in college, because of leg injuries and simply not enough time. (*cough* lazy *cough*)
  4. During and after college, I kept running so I wouldn't get fat and to stay sane because my head WILL spin if I do not run every day
  5. I'm a science teacher and middle school cross country and track coach
  6. I started competing in local road races last year - at the age of 29. Got it?
Since I had been running about 30-40 miles a week for the last fifteen years, I randomly decided I would compete in my hometown's sweetheart race, The Lighthouse Run. With only one week of "training" specifically for the event, I took 4th place in the 4 mile race. Shocked and really freaking excited, I started training for this year's race - the 2012 Lighthouse Run.

With one year to train, I set the goal simply to beat my time from last year (26:51 - 4 mi.) I upped my mileage a little bit and included Insanity (which was accurately named.) When I stepped up to the starting line the following June, I felt confident but I did not expect that I would win. I actually won. SAY WHAT? Not only did I win, but I achieved my goal and beat my time from 2011. They gave me a freakishly large trophy of a handsome woman and a $100 gift card to Foot Locker. I was so excited, until...(drum roll)...the newspaper article about the race came out at 11PM that night.

You can read the article for yourself here but the Cliff Notes version of it is this:  

I won the race; however, the time was "not impressive." In fact, I set the course record for having the slowest winning time in the history of the event. Slowest champ of ever.


I was beside myself when I read that article online. I didn't know what to do, so I just sobbed. Suddenly the giant, handsome trophy in my living room was mocking me. "Look at this big, stupid trophy you get for being the slow champ! Ha Ha Ha" Something that should have been really awesome and only fun quickly became a source of embarrassment. How fair was it to compare my little silly race to the previous winners, including the likes of college athletes on track scholarships or Jenny Crain (you know - the elite USATF runner?) I moped around for exactly one day - and then, I got pissed.

Maybe, I shouldn't say "pissed;" I felt slighted and that something I worked hard for had been kind of taken from me. More than anything, I felt motivated. If my run was not impressive to the reporter, I would have to get impressive - which is why this blog exists: I am in search and in training for an impressive run.