Monday, March 12, 2018

Miles on Miles on Miles (Half Marathon Training)

I’m really going to do this.
I think it hit me during yesterday’s 7th mile.  Running is not easy and you have to have the mindset for it.  I set out at 7:45am, after losing an hour of sleep, and my thoughts were on breathing and keeping a steady pace.  I didn’t think about the 9 miles that I had to complete otherwise I would have been overwhelmed.  Nine miles is a lot of miles to run.  My route is generally an out-and-back, which means that I just run a straight line until my app lets me know that I am at the half way point and then I turn around and run back.  I plan to map out a different route for this week, something a little more scenic.   I followed the run pattern that I established last week.  I ran the first 4.5 miles then I did a walk-run for the 5th and 6th miles and then the last three miles I picked up speed and my average pace went from 12’03” to 10’28”.  The entire run took an hour and 45 minutes.  I believe I can reach my goal of less than 3 hours for the 13.1.
The combination of the long run and losing an hour of sleep had me back in the bed for about 2 hours after the run.  I didn’t feel as weak as I did last weekend.  My body is slowly getting used to these long runs.  Perhaps one day, 6-10 miles will be the norm for me.  After resting, I got up and did my grocery shopping and meal prep but for the majority of the day I was on the couch re-watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix – which is typical Sunday afternoon behavior.    
I’m falling back in love with running.  Slowly.  During the time that I was competitively body building I avoided running like the plague.  Building muscle and running long distances does not go together.  All the cardio strips my body of the muscle that I fought so hard to build.  Now, the goal is finish a half-marathon so the long-distance running is helping.  I still lift weights an average of 3 times per week in order to maintain the muscle but it is a battle.  It all evens out in the end.  I mean, my overall goal is a healthy body, and I’ve got that.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Running Can Be Spiritual (Half Marathon Training)

The half marathon training continues.  By the way if you want to follow the progress in real time feel free to follow me on Instagram (@chelerene) and check out my posts and stories.  I ran 4 miles this morning in below-freezing weather and I did my long run on Sunday when it was so windy I thought I would fly away.

This 13.1 better be worth it. 

Most people that I know who run this type of race for the first time express that their only goal is to finish.  Well, that’s fine … for them.  I know I’m going to finish.  I want to finish in less than 3 hours.  I want to finish in two hours and 45 minutes.  At least. 

Two weeks ago, I did a long run of 7.5 miles


I completed the run in 1:31:50 with an average pace of 12’12”.  At this pace I was on track to finish the race in 3 hours.  Notice the splits:  my first mile was the fastest and I got slower with each mile.

So, this past Sunday I decided to change my strategy and push myself a little harder.  I intentionally started out slow and intentionally increased the pace toward the end



Mile 5 was actually a run/walk and I had it settled in my mind that there would be no walking the last three miles.  In fact, I tried my best to sprint.  As you can see, my final mile was the fastest at 10’24”.  I completed the run in 1:32:07 with an average pace of 11’30”.

Even though I ran a half mile more my time only increased by 17 seconds and I took 42 seconds off my average pace!!!!!

Of course, those last three miles knocked me on my butt for a full two hours afterwards.  I planned to lie down for an hour after the run but my body decided that I needed to wait another hour.  So, I did.  Always listen to your body.  As I lay there in my bed recovering I began to think about how grateful I was to have improved my pace and how grateful I was that I was able at 53 to run 8 miles and live to tell the story.  Then this turned into me thinking about all the things that I am grateful for … my health, my kids, my family, my job, life, the sunshine … just everything.  Those long runs are killers if your mind isn’t right.  Mile after mile with nothing to do but run and think.  It’s a constant battle to not just stop.

I won’t stop.  I’m not only running for myself but also for people who wish they could but can’t.  I’m running for my kids so they can have a healthy mother.  Fitness, for me, is less about a healthy body and more about a healthy spirit.  It’s deep for me. 

It must be to get me out of the bed at 4:30am to run when it’s 28 degrees outside.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

I am an Athlete

Half marathon training is in full effect.  The race is in 44 days and I have 17 training runs (about 107 miles) left to complete.  I’m doing my long runs on the weekend.  This weekend I have 8 miles scheduled.  I’m trying to work on my speed as I would really like to finish the race in less than 3 hours.



On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I run with a partner/group at 5:00 am and rain was in the forecast for today (Thursday).  My partner texted me at 4:00am and asked how it looked in my neighborhood.  I looked outside and the ground was wet but there was no rain coming down.  She was tired and decided to get some rest – I had my clothes laid out and I was up so I got dressed and did my 5 miles around the neighborhood alone.  It was an amazing run. 

This week has been my first full week of training since I got sick and was down for 2 weeks.  I thought it would feel like I was starting over again but I’ve fallen right back into my routine which is currently:

Strength train on Mon, Wed, Fri and running on Tue, Thur and Sun.  I usually get in an extra strength workout on Tuesday nights when I teach my fitness class ... so there's that!

I attempted to train for a half marathon a few years back but my motivation was off so I never finished the training and I did not run the race.  Back then, I was caught up in the excitement of an inaugural race taking place in my city and I thought it would be cool to be part of that.  I had to train in the winter and needless to say my excitement wore off quickly. 

This time it’s different.  I’m training in the winter but I’m doing this race for myself.  Not to be part of something – just for me.  I hate the fact that I quit the first time.  I’m no quitter.  I have to do this race to prove to myself that I can. 

With each run I feel stronger and I’m making an effort to actually improve; I’m not just out here running for fun.  Each run is not a triumph but today’s certainly was for several reasons: (1) I could have cancelled but didn’t (2) I kept my average pace below 11 minutes (3) I didn’t get rained on (4) I think for the first time I actually experienced a “runner’s high”. 

Now, if only I can keep this “high” going for another 44 days.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It Ain't Over

Earlier this month I was sick.  I never get sick.  I realize I need to stop saying that because inevitably it happens.  It turned out to be a sinus infection.  Who knew a sinus infection could make you feel like you had been hit by an 18-wheeler?  I finished the anti-biotics and I’m sort of back to normal. 

While I was sick I had a lot of time to do a lot of thinking.  I spent most of the time thinking about how much I hate being sick and all the things that make me (figuratively) sick.  Things like hours of mindless television, social media, coffee … isn’t that weird?  Why am I mad at coffee?  I haven’t had a cup in almost three weeks.  I’m also reading again instead of scrolling through the ridiculous chatter of social media.  I finished Terry McMillan’s Who Asked You? and I just started the new one from Tayari Jones An American Marriage. 

Here’s my problem with social media:  everyone is talking and no one is listening and the stuff that people are talking about is complete foolishness.  I don’t care about who’s getting divorced, or why someone hid their pregnancy or why makeup companies don’t cater every single skin tone on the planet … I just do not care and you shouldn’t either.
I’m frustrated with myself because I don’t feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.  I’m restless.  I remember a time when I was active and always planning something and having fun and enjoying my life.  Life is a gift and I appreciated that gift.  Over the past two years I have been transitioning and now that the transition is complete it’s time to get back to living.  Between 2010 and 2016 I spent an enormous amount of time alone and I figured out a lot about myself which was the point.  I’m easily distracted so if I’m not intentional about what I want to do, then I could end up anywhere.  It’s like I need a road map to navigate my life.  There are things that I enjoy doing and when I was single I did those things and now for some reason I grabbed onto the idea that I can only do stuff that he will do with me.  Wrong answer.  Our time together is limited and when we’re not together I still need to be enjoying my life, not pining away over what he’s doing or counting the minutes until we’re together again.  I enjoy our time together but I also enjoy my time without him.

I’m going back to doing the things that I love.  When I think about the happiest moments of my life (outside my kids and their accomplishments) I notice that those moments usually include food and wine and being somewhere … anywhere.  I’m too young to have all my conversations begin with, “I remember when …” the past is the past and I still have quite a bit of future ahead of me. 

So, to that end, I am going to a themed wine dinner on Thursday night at The Cobalt Grille .  They have one every month and I’ve been to a couple and have always had a good time.  I’m also planning my birthday trip to California because I am finally going to taste wine in Napa … or Sonoma … or wherever.

A friend of mine died last week.  She was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer over 5 years ago and she fought that thing until the end.  She was 69 and I’m sure she lived a very fulfilling life until she didn’t.  There was a moment when I was sick that I thought that maybe it was something more serious.  Those thoughts can send you into a tailspin if you let them.  I am not going down that road … wasting life by thinking about death.  I love this life.  While I have good health, time and money I am going to experience as much as I possibly can.  Nothing crazy … I mean, I ain’t jumping outta nobody’s plane but I will enjoy the things that I love to do and I will try new things when the spirit moves me to do so.