Just Passing the Time…

…until my knee surgery, which is August 2.  The doctor plans to scrape behind my knee cap to clean up the arthritis, and repair my IT band.  It is by no means major surgery, and the nurse said I will be able to walk normally after about a week.  It is really more of an inconvenience than anything.  I wanted to go with my daughters to take my grandson to Holiday World, but I won’t be able to walk around, and I won’t be able to drive for several days.  I won’t be able to teach my Zumba classes for a month; I will miss my classes terribly.  My new eighth grade classroom is on the third floor of the junior/senior high, so the steps will be tricky.  That being said (written?), it’s a small price to pay to be able to run again.

Gary and I, along with other instructors from Everbody’s Fitness, are going to Atlanta the last weekend of July, and since we will be working out all day for four days in a row – yes, WORKING OUT FOR FOUR STRAIGHT DAYS – I had to schedule my surgery for after that, but before the start of school.  So, for the next three weeks, I will continue to teach Zumba, attend some classes at the gym, and attempt short runs.  I probably shouldn’t bother to try to run, but on beautiful summer days, it is what I want to do, whether it is wise or not.

Today was one of those days.  I hadn’t exercised for the last two days, and I had eaten more than my fair share of crap:  doughnuts (What else is one to eat at 6:00 a.m. during a yard sale?), Wendy’s (We were hungry again by 11:00, and Wendy’s is quick and cheap), pizza (dinner after getting ready for yard sale), fried fish, and a couple desserts after church today.  All of that was consumed in less than 48 hours!  After church, we attended a brunch for our new minister, and then I crashed on the couch for an hour.  I had been attempting to take a nap for the past two days, and it just never worked out.  Today, I was taking a nap.  Afterward, I felt like a toad.  A giganto, green, puffed-up toad.  All of the junk food weighed heavily on my belly, and as I was painting our French doors, I was contemplating exercise.  The only thing that sounded appealing was going for a run.  It was 90+ degrees, but running outside was what this bloated body needed.  Gary had a workout at the gym, so I rode in with him, turned on my favorite playlist, and took off toward the river.

We are so blessed to have such a beautiful river walk in our small town.  It is one of my favorite places to run or walk.  I had no idea how far I could run before the pain set in, so I went with no goal in mind.  I knew I had about an hour to run/walk, so I cranked up the music and ran.  When I had gotten to one mile, my knee still felt pretty good.  The problem is that even though my knee was okay, my endurance was not.  After working for four years to build up my running endurance, it is so disappointing to know that once I get the go-ahead to jump back into running after surgery, I will be starting all over.  When I had a hysterectomy two years ago, I only had to go six weeks without running, which was hard enough.  I have hardly run for the past three months, and it will be another six weeks before I can really get back into running, and that’s assuming surgery goes well.  I can say without a doubt that I will put in the time to build my strength back up.  I love running enough that even though it will be very difficult, I know the time and effort will be worth it.  I need running to relieve stress, to spend time with my best friends, and to get in the workout that best suits me.  I need running to feel strong, confident, and accomplished.  It is such a part of who I am, and I can’t imagine giving it up.

Once I reached the one mile mark, I continued on since I was still pain-free.  My knee became a bit achy after that point, but I was able to make it to about 1.6 miles before it became unbearable. I walked a couple blocks (walking doesn’t hurt at all), and then proceeded to run again.  I then set a goal of running two miles.  I ran to about 2.15 miles, and then had to stop again.  I went to 2.15 because there were several people sitting outside at Frostop, and I didn’t want to stop and walk in front of them.  If you are a non-runner, you likely think that sounds really crazy.  If you are a runner, I would bet you’ve done it before!  I planned to walk the rest of my time out, but after a little more than a half mile of walking, I wanted to run again.  I ended up running 3 miles, and even though there were walking breaks interspersed, I was thrilled to get some running in.  When Gary and I got back in the car, my temperature gauge read 93 degrees!  No wonder it was so hard!  It probably wasn’t very intelligent to run during the hottest part of the day, but that’s what runners do.  We push the limits because we can.  Or we think we can.

I will continue to try short runs just to try to stay in some type of running shape.  I am praying that this surgery does the trick, and I can spend fall and winter gaining back what I have lost.  I miss participating in races, and though I have thought about future racing opportunities, I won’t make plans for a race because that would just make it more disappointing if I am unable to run.

So, I will continue to wait, and you can bet that I will keep you posted on the progress.  The last time I had surgery and made a comeback to running (that makes it sound like I am a pro athlete), I wrote my ebook Grandma Wears a Running Skirt.  Who knows?  Perhaps if I have a lot to say, and an interesting experience, I will write another one.  Grandma Wears a Knee Brace?

This Damn Knee

I haven’t whined about my knee injury for some time, so it’s time.  Before I begin complaining, I will find the positive.  I am so very thankful that I can do everything but run.  I am still able to teach my Zumba classes, participate in Pilates and yoga, and remain pain-free most of the time.  I can go up and down my steps, walk without a limp, and rock the Spartacus Workout (I don’t really rock it, but it sounds good).  I can exercise, which is certainly something for which I am very grateful.

But I can’t run.  Running has become a part of who I am.  It is how I relieve stress; it is my time with friends; it is my time by myself to process my day.  Running makes me feel strong.  Running exhausts me and invigorates me.  It makes me proud and it makes me frustrated.  I miss it.  I have been in physical therapy for four weeks, and have made no progress.  I have had numerous Astym treatments, and though the treatments feel great, when I attempt to run, nothing has changed.  Gary, Addison, and I went to the track the other night.  I hadn’t tried to run in almost a week, so I wanted to see if I could go a little further.  I was determined to run a mile without stopping.  I did it, but the second half hurt.  By the end of the mile, I knew it was time to stop.  I walked a lap, and then tried to run again.  It hurt.  I can’t begin to tell you how angry it makes me.  In the depths of my soul, I just want to take off.  Because I have no pain in my knee when I arrive at the track, I feel as if I will be able to run.  Once I get beyond a lap or two, I can feel the discomfort; as I run a bit further, the discomfort becomes an ache, and further along, a pain.  Once the pain is more intense, I can feel myself limping along.  And I am so frustrated.  Considering that not so long ago, I considered a three-mile run a short run, knowing it’s now a lofty goal is irritating.  

My therapists also seem frustrated because nothing makes sense to them.  They don’t understand why I can do so many physical activities, but I can’t run to save my life.  They have been wonderful, but they can’t very well fix what no one can figure out.  I have even wondered if I am imagining the pain.  And then I try to run, and realize that nope, that is not my imagination.  Next week I will have an MRI – finally.  I hope it gives the doctor some answers.  If I need surgery, sign me up.  If I am never going to run again, lock me up.  Just tell me what’s wrong.  This pain began back around Christmas, so my patience has long since run low.  

My next race was to be the St. Louis Rock n Roll Half Marathon at the end of October.  When I had to drop out of the Derby Mini in April, I immediately set St. Louis as my goal.  I thought that since I had six months, it would be no problem.  Wrong.  I just don’t feel that I am going to be able to run over 13 miles by then.  I can already tell my endurance is waning.  To build it back up will take time.  I actually have moments when I want to say screw it.  I will just give up running and stick with other forms of exercise.  And then I drive down the streets and see my friends out running, and I want more than anything to be out there sweating beside them.  I miss running.  

So, my knee sucks.  But in the whole of life, I am still blessed.  I am healthy; I can exercise; my family is healthy; I have a fantastic new job awaiting me; and I have lots of family and friends who love me.  When I get frustrated because I cannot run, I need to remember those who can’t see, those who can’t hear, those battling disease, those who can’t walk, and all the others who have much larger struggles than not being able to run.  I am very blessed.  Are you?  

 

Snow Day!

winter running A few short years ago when I began running, I was not fond of winter at all.  I found January and February to be very dreary, and anxiously awaited spring.  My friend Jackie and I had really gotten into running in the summer of 2009, and I had told her that I would NOT be running in the winter.  I would retreat to the treadmill and emerge when the daffodils began to pop through the thawing ground.  Why would I want to freeze my butt off outside?

As the temperature gradually began to go down, we just kept running.  And I kind of liked it.  I learned how to dress appropriately; I even started wearing running tights, which, by the way, are quite warm and comfy.  As winter settled in, we also settled in to our running routine.  Running in brutal temps and less-than-ideal conditions made us feel like true athletes.  We felt like beasts in the running world.  Granted, we are just a couple of middle-aged friends who happen to enjoy running, but on those particular runs, we were elite athletes training for our next race, and a little snow and potential frost bite would not keep us indoors!

We have just begun to see signs of true winter recently.  Of course, only in Southern Indiana can we run in shorts on Tuesday and leggings and multiple layers Wednesday.  And that’s no exageration  – Gary, my sister, and I went for a quick run before heading to the gym Tuesday evening, and Gary and I had on shorts (and I was hot), and by Wednesday night when Jackie, Kassi, and I ventured out, it was blustery and freezing.  I attempted to get out of that run because it was also sprinkling, but we decided (actually, Jackie decided) that we would run.  The first four miles were chilly, but once our bodies adapted, it felt great.  The last mile we turned and headed west toward the river.  And the wind was wicked!  We had to work extremely hard to push against the wind’s mighty resistance.  In our elite-athlete minds, that was good for counting an extra mile in our run!

Last night my sister and I went to Jasper (about an hour away) to watch my daughter swim.  It had begun to snow on the way there, and I wondered what we would find when we left the meet.  We stayed less than an hour because Addison swam early, and when we walked out, it was into blowing wind and icy temps.  We ran to the car, and as we were running, I told my sister that I would love to be out running.  She thought I was weird.  I told her that the snow falling made it so peaceful, and that when I finish a run like that, I feel like I can do anything.  She was not convinced.  At all.  And this from a woman who lived many years in Minnesota.

(What I don’t like to do in the snow is drive, and the conditions driving home from that swim meet were terrible.  I white-knuckled it all the way home.  We made it in about an hour and 15 minutes, which wasn’t bad.  The team?  It took the bus 2 hours and 40 minutes.  There was a whole lot of anxious parents.  Kudos to the bus driver, John.  What an incredible responsibility he had.)

My hope is if the snow hangs around a couple of days, I will get to run in the white stuff.  There isn’t much, but it will still offer a serene and challenging course.  Today – on our snow day – I have to go have some gross growth on my leg removed.  I hope that I will be able to get a run in since this nasty little growth happens to be right by the bend of my knee.  Let me digress for a moment…a friend, who happens to be a nurse, was at the gym the other night.  She gave me some rather strange advice.  She said to sleep with bacon – yes, bacon – wrapped on my leg.  I should put the fatty part over said growth.  Of course, I was apprehensive, but she said it would me the little procedure less painful because it would draw the nastiness to the surface.  Bacon it was.  So, the past two nights, I slept with bacon attached to my leg.  And I am admitting that on a public forum.  Sorry if you are grossed out.

If you run at all, particularly if you are new to the sport, don’t let winter drive you to the treadmill.  Get out and experience winter as a runner.  Put on some tights (they are much warmer than sweatpants because wind can’t go up them), layer up your shirts, get some cheap gloves with which to wipe snot, and a hat or earband.  Venture out and enjoy your beastliness!  When mortals drive by, they will envy your toughness (or just think you’re nuts).  You will be that elite runner, and probably start receiving requests to appear on the cover of fitness magazines.  Or maybe just the local newspaper.  Or maybe your friend can post your elite-athlete photo on Facebook.  Either way, you will have done what few would even attempt.

A Young Woman Running During Winter.

Random Fitness Thoughts

Once again, I have waited much too long between blogs.  Life gets hectic; the holidays take over; and that which isn’t completely necessary gets left undone.  What that typically means for this blog is that I have much to say.  All those crazy thoughts and opinions have been piling up, and once I begin writing, they will just keep gushing out like foam out of a shaken can of Coke.  I will try to somewhat organize these random thoughts so that you can just skip over that which doesn’t appeal to you.

Running really is mind over body.  As much as I hate to admit, I think my age might just be affecting my running.  This fact pisses me off.  I will turn 46 later this month, and with each year comes new pains.  As of late, my knees have been my most pressing problem.  My left knee began to hurt during the October Evansville Half Marathon, right about at mile 8.  I was running very well that day, and decided I was going to continue to run hard, at least until my knee just finally blew out (I really kept picturing my knee just blowing up).  It hurt, but I ran until the end, and once I began walking, the pain just went away.  It wasn’t a problem on any runs after that, so I just forgot about it.  Before Christmas, my right knee began to hurt.  I could make it about 2 miles, but after that I would just end up hobbling and cutting my runs short.  I decided to take a couple weeks off to let my knee heal, rather than just a couple of days here and there, and never really resting.  I continued to work out and teach Zumba, and my knee didn’t hurt.  I only felt pain while running.  This past Friday the weather was beautiful, especially for January, so my friend Kathy and I ran 3 miles.  At 2.5 miles, the pain returned.  UGH!

finish line

Not one to give up, I decided to run again Saturday morning.  I missed my running friends, and needed that time with them.  I went out with absolutely no plan.  I didn’t know if I would run 3 miles, or 6 miles.  I told the girls that I would just take it slow, and go as far as my body would allow.  As expected, at about 2.5 miles, the pain returned, but then a little later, I also had pain in my left knee.  Crap.  I remembered my husband telling me that he had just accepted that running was going to hurt, and if he wanted to continue to run, he would have to deal with it.  And so I continued.  Kassi, Jackie, and Tracey all had children to transport, so they headed back after 4-5 miles.  Kathy and I ventured on, and then she had to stop.  I told her that I just needed to see how far I could go.  I ate a lot at Capers the night before, so I also had an abundance of calories to torch.

So, at mile 6 I was on my own.  I turned up my running music, and kept running, trying to ignore the discomfort.  As I was running along the greenway, I happened upon a friend named Bert.  This lady is simple amazing.  She has lost a ton of weight, and has begun running.  Last year she finished several races with a combination of walking and running.  As I saw her, and admired how wonderful she looked, I knew that I could keep going.  Without even knowing it, Bert inspired me to press on.  I thought about the women in my Zumba classes who have stepped way out of their comfort zones, and have become regulars in my classes.  They, too, inspire me to work hard and to be a better version of myself.  Then my mind wandered to my husband.  He is 62, and has an artificial knee.  He has worked so hard at running, and has now decided to run the Derby Marathon this year.  How could I stop?  I thought that running 8 miles would be great, so I ran toward that goal.  And then I began to think about how proud I would be to run 10 miles after not running for a couple of weeks.  I assessed my pain, and though both knees hurt, they weren’t any worse.  I was just about to 10 miles, when I realized I needed water, so I stopped in the gym to get a drink.  It was just what I needed to continue with my quest.  I exited the gym, but rather than head back to my car, I decided to run a few extra blocks and try to get 11 miles.  I still had energy.  Actually, other than my knees, I felt terrific.  My breathing was good; my legs weren’t tired; and my belly wasn’t churning.  So I decided to run 12 miles.  And I did.  I could have gone further, but I figured my husband probably thought I was in a ditch somewhere because my run with the girls had begun 2 1/2 hours earlier.  Yesterday my run sucked.  My knees ached for 10 out of 12 miles, but I didn’t give up.  The people I surround myself with kept me going, and most of them didn’t even know I was running!  I could have chosen to focus on the pain, but I chose to focus on what felt good, and to think abou what a blessing it was just to be out there in warm January (that’s an oxymoron!) weather running.  Many people never get that opportunity.  My mind carried my through, when my body – my knees – just wanted to go home.

Why do I love Zumba?  I began teaching Zumba in August.  I had taken classes in Hawesville for over a year, and really loved it.  It was great cross-training, and just plain fun.  I decided to get my instructor certification, so my husband took me to Tennessee for training last April.  It took me all summer to put my choreography together, but I wanted to have it down and be confident before I began teaching.  That was a smart decision!  I now teach 4 classes a week, and completely enjoy each one.  If you don’t know, Zumba is a Latin-dance type of workout.  each instructor is a little different, so each class is different, which is the way the program is meant to be.  We are given choreography ideas, but basically, instructors choreograph their own music.

I try to make sure we work every area in my classes.  I use ab work, arm work, lunges, squats, and other exercises with the dance moves to create a fun, yet very effective workout.  The great thing about Zumba is that it truly is for all ages and abilities.  I have ages 7-75 in my classes.  Really.  I encourage participants to do what they can.  I don’t expect anyone to do anything that hurts, or to get the moves down perfectly.  If one is too focused on getting the moves right, she won’t have any fun, and Zumba should be fun.  Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy, and you will sweat, but hopefully you will have enough fun that you won’t mind the achy muscles that follow.  I have had so many women approach me and say that they are afraid to try Zumba because they don’t feel they have the rhythm or coordination necessary.  It makes no difference!  If you are moving and having fun, you are making the most of Zumba.  And no one else cares if you are doing it right.  Each person is concerned with what she is doing.  We are all supportive and just want to get together and burn some calories.  If you have never tried it, find a class!  It is a blast!

Let the games begin!  This week marks the beginning of the third season of Everbody’s Biggest Loser, and my first season as a coach.  I am so excited to work with the orange team!  My husband and I will be coaching together, and we are blessed with a fun and motivated team.  I also have my own goals to work on.  I am trying to cut back on diet soft drinks.  I was up to 4-6 per day, which I know is not healthy.  I am down to 1 or 2, and I don’t really plan to cut it out completely.  I really like the taste of Diet Mt. Dew and Diet Pepsi.  Water is okay, and I use the little packets of Crytal Light, but, gosh, there are times when a Diet Pepsi just sounds amazing.  I am also trying to make better eating choices.  I really don’t eat well.  I don’t eat a lot, but most of the time what I do eat is not really good for me.  I love desserts, red meat, potatoes, salty snacks, and generally anything that is unhealthy.  I am not a fan of vegetables.  At all.  Ever.  I am trying, but I will never, and I mean never, like green beans or broccoli.  Or cauliflower.  Or asparagus.  I do like spinach and raw carrots.  That’s about it.  So along with our team, I will be trying to make some positive changes.  I, just like those working to lose weight, will struggle along the way.  But each little change I can make will lead to better health, and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Biggest Loser

 

The Evansville Half Marathon

Jennifer Land, me, and Jackie Fischer after finishing

Every race offers a unique experience.  Some are amazing; I feel great, run well, and enjoy the atmosphere.  Others are not quite so incredible; I feel tired, don’t run as well as I’d like, and the atmosphere is less than uplifting.  Sunday’s half marathon was an odd mix of the two.

Though I felt I had adequately trained, I hadn’t put in the miles I normally do when training for a long race.  I ran between 2 and 4 miles a couple times a week, and ran 5 miles during the week only a couple of times.  I did my long runs on the weekends, but never concerned myself with speed.  I taught Zumba classes 4 times a week while training, so I was curious as to what, if any, effect that might have on my running.  It is definitely a great workout, and I work different muscles, but I wasn’t sure if it would actually improve my endurance or speed.

In the days leading up to the race, I kept telling myself that I needed to be drinking more water so I would be properly hydrated – but Diet Mountain Dew and Diet Pepsi found their way to my thirsty lips.  I also knew that I needed to eat healthy (non-gassy) foods.  But then we went to this great wedding the evening before the race, and not only was there fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and bread, but there was this fantastic dessert spread.  I knew it was fantastic because my daughter made the cheesecakes (and someone had to test them), and I baked some of the cookies (I tested those too).  There were cupcakes, mini apple pies, cake pops…and on and on!  I have always admitted that I have an extreme weakness for sweets.  If it’s available, I am going to eat it.  No willpower at all.  So, we piled our plates with desserts, anxious to try each one.  That wasn’t exactly the best pre-race nutrition (but, gosh, it was delicious!).

In my previous post, I mentioned that cleaning out the system is necessary before a good run.  When a runner gorges on fried food and dessert, it becomes even more crucial to evacuate.  But sometimes it doesn’t happen.  It didn’t happen.  I won’t go into the particulars, but I had this really heavy feeling the whole time I ran.  It was not pleasant.  It actually took a couple of days to feel normal.  ‘Nough said.

Race morning, Jackie, Kassi, and I left town at 5:00 a.m.  It was a cold morning!  I had stressed all week over what to wear for this race.  We all ended up in running capris and long-sleeved shirts, which was perfect for the temps.  Once we all arrived at Reitz High School, the starting point for the Evansville Half, the waiting game began.  We waited inside to try to stay warm, all the while contemplating just how our runs would go.  We had agreed that we would each run our own race.  My first half, I ran with Jackie.  I am so glad to have met that goal hand-in-hand with one of my best friends!  However, we have discussed how we talked the entire way, and that now we are wise enough to realize that talking takes a lot of energy, and that we run faster when we aren’t chatting.  So we all lined up together, but once that gun went off, we were each in our own zones.

I really get into a different zone during a race.  I have so much running through my head that I am better off by myself.  My goal for this race was to be in the top 20 in my division.  In April, I ran the Derby Half in 2:04, which was a 9:29 pace.  I wanted to be able to run that pace, but really didn’t think I could run that fast again.  My strategy (and I use that term very loosely) is always to run hard – and faster than normal – as long as I can, and if I have to slow down, I will.  I figure it will still average out to be a faster time.  I took off fast (for me).  I didn’t obsess over my time throughout the race.  I checked my watch a few times when I hit a mile mark, and knew early on that I was running well.  I just knew I wanted to give everything I had so that I would have no regrets.  At about mile 7 or 8, the back of my knee began to hurt.  A lot.  I had never had that pain before, and wasn’t sure what had caused it.  The pain remained for the rest of the race.  At one point, I thought I might have to stop because it was so uncomfortable, but I just kept going.  I knew that I was limping at some points, and my race pictures show a miserable look on my face.  I just kept plugging along, and by then, I wasn’t really worried about my time.  I just wanted to keep running.  I finally got to mile 12, and I looked at my watch.  When I read 1:49 and realized that if I could maintain my pace, I would break 2 hours – which is something I NEVER thought I would do – I was determined to push through the discomfort.  I could hold up one more mile.  I got about a block or two from the finish line and heard my friends yelling for me.  I looked at my watch and saw that I was going to make it!  I kicked it up and sprinted (picture old-lady sprint) to that finish line.  1:59:43!  It was close, but I did it!  I knocked 4 minutes off my previous time, and I broke 2 hours.  I had also placed 19/119 in my division.  I was ecstatic!  Though I felt bad for my husband because he was unable to run due to having had surgery, I was surely glad that he was at the finish line to greet me.  He is my biggest supporter, and at that moment, I needed him with me.

I still don’t know how I was able to maintain a 9:09 pace for 13.1 miles.  I believe that the Zumba made a difference.  I also listened to music for the first time in a long race.  I found that I liked it, but I don’t think it made that big of a difference.  This was one of the hardest, most uncomfortable races I have run, so now I wonder what would happen if I had eaten properly in the days leading up to a race, hydrated with water, had no pain, and maybe even used some of those energy gels.  Could I run faster?

I have now run 4 half marathons.  My times have been 2:13 (Fall ’10) 2:08 (Spring 2011), 2:04 (Spring 2012), and now 1:59.  To know that though I am getting older, I can still improve my speed is so satisfying.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too old to do anything!  I am looking forward to continuing to challenge myself to reach new goals.  Just a few short years ago, I could not even imagine myself running a mile.  Really.  It took me weeks and weeks just to be able to run one mile on the treadmill, and then more time to get up to two miles.  This coming April, I will be running my 5th half marathon, and with me will be several newbies.  I am so excited to get to share this adventure with them because I know how amazing they will all feel when they cross the finish line of their first half marathon!

I cannot post about the Evansville race without congratulating my friends.  First, Kim Strobel – my goodness!  Kim is a beast!  She tied for 3rd place OVERALL in the women’s group.  That’s 3rd out of over 1100 women!  She is just freaky fast.  I couldn’t be more proud!  Jackie Fischer beat her previous time by 4 minutes – amazing!  Kassi Rogers, who injured her foot a couple weeks before the race, and had to take several days off running, was determined to run the race, and finished with a great time – not the time she had hoped for, but she hadn’t hoped for an injury either.  Her determination is so impressive.  Jennifer Land had another fantastic race.  She has faced injuries over the past year and a half, and wasn’t happy with her time, but we all are.  She rocked!  Eric Kehl…he worked his tail off to get in at 1:57, also breaking the 2 hour mark.  Sarah Kluender fell on Saturday and looked like she had been in a fight (and lost), yet was also determined to run this race.  Amy Hollinden and Sophie Fischer ran the race together, and they managed to talk the whole way AND break 2 hours!  They came in at 1:57 as well.  Debbie Reed ran her first half marathon!  Getting in training runs was difficult because of her work schedule and kids’ activities, but she managed to get it done, and crossed that amazing finish line in her first 13.1!  I am so proud to call these runners my friends.  I have said many times that running is an incredible sport because runners are so supportive of one another.  When one of us is having a tough day or feeling bad about a run, there are plenty of friends around to lift us back up.  When someone has a great run, we are all sincerely happy for him or her.  I am truly proud of all of my friends!  Thank you all for inspiring me every single day.  Your passion, determination, and work ethic show me what it takes to be a better person.

Let the training begin!

Time to get back to writing about running and fitness.  Both have become such a focal point in my husband’s and my life over the past three and a half years, and especially in the past three months as Gary has worked to lose almost fifty pounds (Can I hear a ‘Woo Hoo’!), and I have spent countless hours preparing to teach Zumba.  And now we have race day approaching.  I hardly have time for a job!

Several of my running friends, my husband, and I are now into our training for the Evansville Half Marathon that takes place on October 7.  I ran it two years ago.  It was my first half marathon, and I ran it with my friend Jackie.  It was a terrific experience for both of us.  Neither of us could even imagine running 13.1 miles when we began running.  It just seemed impossible.  As we continued to log miles, we also began to dream.  Just maybe we could pull it off.  And we did!  On 10/10/10, we ran our first half marathon at a 10:10 pace!  We were quite impressed with ourselves as we crossed that finish line hand-in-hand.  Since that time, I have run the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon twice, and Jackie has run Evansville again, as well as the Owensboro Half this past May.  Jackie, Kassi, and I (and sometimes Jennifer) will be training for this year’s Evansville together.

We began our long-run Saturdays last weekend.  Today we were scheduled to run eight miles.  The high today was going to be over 90, and it began to get hot early.  The heat just sucks on long runs.  We got our eight miles in, but we ran slowly, stopped to walk several times, and whined throughout the run.  One of the benefits of running with a couple of friends is that usually at least one of us is having a decent day and will push the others along.  Today was Kassi’s day.  Jackie was struggling to keep going, and I was willing to stop at any point, but Kassi saw to it we ran the full eight miles – and I am thankful she did!  I have never regretted sucking it up and completing a tough run.  I have regretted giving up.  Next weekend we want to run eight miles without all the walk breaks.  We might not be able to run together because of other obligations, but we will hold one another accountable.  And we will pray for much, much cooler temps!

Beginning in September, along with training for the big race, I will begin a busy Zumba schedule.  I will be teaching at least four classes a week, and will likely add one or two more.  I have worked hard to put together a good class, and look forward to sharing such a fun form of exercise with others.  I think it will be interesting to see how this form of cross-training affects my running.  Maybe I’ll be crazy fast!  Or not.  I know that I am in better shape physically than at any other point in my life, and that is good enough for me!  But running a wee bit faster would be a pretty sweet bonus!

How are you staying fit these days?  There are so many great forms of exercise, find one you enjoy!  You won’t regret it!

Next Newer Entries