Saturday, December 31, 2011

Steph: Running still SUCKS! But I feel better after!

Monday was one of the hardest runs I have had in a while. I decided to do 3 -1/2 mile runs for a fourth time because my body was still not adjusting and I found them so freaking hard. Well, my body didn't like that. I have learned to listen to what my body is telling me from my running buddy Jill and my body was saying  "Hey stupid. I don't like stopping and starting so many times anymore. I feel better after I am allowed to warm up and then just keep going."

So Thursday, I listened to my body, and Mike and I decided to try the 2 - 3/4 mile segments. And I did it ... and again I didn't die (to my amazement). And I actually felt better while running. Mike and I had to count to 19 and 1/2 laps on our Hamster wheel at the downtown YMCA. We laughed a lot as we both lost track at different times. The longer I have to run, the harder it is to keep counting. Apparently, the two don't go together very well. Amazingly, I even felt pretty good about running afterward.

So this morning, Jill and I head to Mt. Airy forest to do the 2 - 3/4 mile segments for the second time. OK, I can do this again. I did it with Mike 2 days ago, right??? Well no such luck. Mt. Airy forest has hills. I can honestly say I hate f***ing hills. Like a lot. I even had to stop once to walk the rest of the way up a hill and then resume running. They are crazy harder than my little hamster wheel at the YMCA.

But I finished. And shortly after finishing I felt pretty good about having accomplished the run (even though I felt like I was going to die during the run!!). And Jill, she is still a little better of a running buddy than my husband (you are doing great honey!) because she talks to me non-stop about stupid things or funny things or things I can't even remember once we are done. This is SUPER helpful to keeping my mind off of the dreadful, painful, snot filled, tears running, outdoor running we are doing.

So thank you Jill ... I don't think that I could continue to do this without you!

P.S. All you run club BETCHES!!! I am challenging you to a wager added to our Cheviot Run/Crawl. Anyone who can't run the entire 3 miles has to buy the rest of us a round of drinks! Any takers ?????

SG: Back on track

Well, I headed out for a run this morning. I've been out of town for the holiday eating everything under the sun while the gym shoes I packed to run in stayed snuggly packed in my suit case the whole time!!! I woke up this morning and decided it was time to get back on track and in a routine of running again so I'm ready for the Cheviot Crawl. So I gave HC a text and we met at the track. I knew I would have to take it easy but OMG!!!!' it was the worst run I have had to do ever!!!! We had a nice warm up and then did a half mile. At the end of this half I was about to cry, vomit and then die.... In that order!!!' uuuggghhhhh what has happened??!!! It was like all the ham, potatoes, pies, and wine came up to punch me in the face!!! My legs were feeling fine but I couldn't breath and I thought for sure the holiday food was going to creep back up and land right in front of me on the track!! No worries, we started to walk a lap, I had a hit of HC's inhaler, and I could slowly start to speak again. Another half mile run went and I had to put my foot down, HC was cheerfully talking about her new cupcake maker, her anticipated engagement and her plans for the new Year. I however, was back to guessing when I would vomit. Another walk came and I had to tell HC that was all I could take for the day!!!
I'm a little disappointed I didn't keep up with my runs over the holidays, but it sure was nice!!! Now it's time to get back on track. I've already set Monday for my next run, now I just have to eat all the leftovers in my fridge so they don't continue to taunt me all week. Hah.

Friday, December 23, 2011

SG: Chaos

I wish I looked this good juggling all these things!

Where to even start...... It's been two weeks since my first race, and I haven't even gotten to do a recap!!!! Ugh, life's been busy. I guess I'll start with the race. Clearly I survived, however, next time I am asked to run a race, I will be sure to check the course first to make sure there are no bridges involved! Although my dear running buddy kept me distracted while running over the river twice, I would really like to never do that again. It happened to be the coldest morning of the season so far, and I wasn't expecting the hills to feel so steep, but now I know what I need to work on.

I am so proud of my girls and myself for this accomplishment. A 5k is nothing to most people, but we are not most people! We are new moms, teachers, women trying to loose weight and maintain balance, and we all HATE to run! However, we love a challenge and let's face it, nothing burns more calories than running. Speaking of calories, I've been so proud of one of the members of this club who has lost 49lbs as of Wednesday, and knowing her, she's probably hit 50 now since it's Friday! She's pretty much awesome. She keeps me focused and gives me hope that one of these days this 'baby weight' is going to shed (even though it's been six months since I've had my baby). I've got to be the only person that has gone from doing zero exercise to running a 5k and not shedding a pound. It's so discouraging and to be honest since the race is over it's made me lose a lot of motivation :(

After the race I was able to run most of the week after. I was feeling pretty good. Then baby got really sick, had to miss some work, spend lots of time in the house and somehow in the midst of that, I hurt my back which in turn put my running on hold about another week. Although I'd like to say I was sad I couldn't run, I really didn't miss it much with all the hustle and bustle in preparation for the holidays.

Any who, it's Christmas break now and I finally got a few consecutive hours of sleep in, so I got out for a run this morning. It pretty much sucked. It was cold and drizzly and the park I went to was hilly (blah) but really what sucked the most was that I ran alone. A lot has been on my mind and I really didn't feel like running anyway, and it got me to thinking how much I really actually love my girls and the support that I have here in this silly club! So, as discussed earlier, our next goal needs to be set! I think the 'Cheviot 5k run and crawl' needs to be made official. (For those of you not knowing what this is, it was discovered that the distance from my house to a nearby bar district named Cheviot, is actually 3.2 miles! Coincidence? I think not! The idea is to run there and then do a bar crawl after.)

With all the Chaos in my life I need a goal to work to. Saying I will run "just because" really doesn't work for me, lol. I have a lot on my plate, as we all do, and if I don't schedule runs in amongst my chaos they slowly get pushed aside, and I don't want that to leads to too much whine, wine, and cheese....and inches on hips :(

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Steph: The Next Level


So the program gets me used to this 25 minute workout 3 times a week. You do the same run 3 times and then bump up a level. If you find a level too hard, then you repeat it before bumping up a level. OK, right?

THANK GOD my body finally starts getting used to this steady increase in activity. Of course I have sore muscles that I didn't even know existed. Every once in awhile, I pull a "HABENERO CHEDDAR" type move and trip over my own feet or run into a planter which causes more soreness. But it is all GOOD, I am slowly getting used to this.

Then, you hit the infamous 5th level. WTF.  All the rules change. You only get ONE workout at each level. They want me to run 3 - 1/2 mile segments with 1/4 mile walks in between. Ok, I can try that, which I did with HabeneroCheddar on Monday. And it was freakin' hard. I mean really hard. I thought I was going to die several times. Luckily, HabeneroCheddar is a rock star running buddy and AMAZING cheerleader. "YOU CAN DO IT .... JUST KEEP GOING." My favorite distraction of this rainy, drizzly, overcast day was HC looking around and saying that "At least we have beautiful weather to run in today." This got me laughing pretty good.

Anyway, I digress. So, 3 - 1/2 mile segments kick my butt, and then I look at the program just to make sure of what this morning's run should be, and they are ALREADY bumping me up to 2 - 3/4 mile segments with 1/2 mile walk in between. AND then Saturday, I am supposed to run 2 miles. WTF. Needless to say, I did NOT run two 3/4 mile segments today. I stuck to the 3 - 1/2 mile segments, and I almost died again today. You know what? Saturday I am running 3 - 1/2 mile segments AGAIN.

You know why? BECAUSE I hate how this program is all of a sudden trying to rush me. And in the beginning it told me that I could repeat things that were hard, so I am going to repeat. And next week, I will try those 2 - 3/4 mile runs. And I will do 3 of them. So take THAT stupid "Couch to 5k" program. I am modifying you :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jill: Motivation and Smiles

It's always tough to stay motivated when there is no race date circled on the calendar.  Until we finalize that next date, here are some things to ponder:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jill: Say it ain't so

Apparently there's a lot of creativity involved in smuggling drugs across the U.S./Mexico border, and I am sad to report that those drug folks are ruining perfectly good tubs of stadium-type nacho cheese:

When Smugglers Try to Transport Drugs in Cheese

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jill: Jingle All the Way Race Report

As you may have already noticed, our club recently participated in the Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk for the Arthritis Foundation.  Before I launch into my individual race recap, I want to celebrate how we did as a team.
  • 9 is the number of official teams that we beat. With the help of Steph's husband who registered as part of our team, we were able to place 26 out of 35 teams.  26 of 35 may not sound so good if you are waiting in line at the DMV, but for four chicks who just started running, I thought it was a solid place to be. After all, we get to say we beat other teams which means we were not last. Yay!
  • 3 of the girls finished their 1st 5K EVER.  It's safe to say that they ran more this day than ever before.  And for chicks that hate to run, that ain't too shabby.  I'm so proud of each one of them. Really super proud.  Like the embarrassing-mom-who-tells-everyone-she-meets-that-you-won-the-4th-grade-spelling-bee type of proud.  It's been amazing to be a part of their journey. The best part is that we are only really starting.  There's more fun ahead.
It appears that I am the only club member whose pre-race evening was not full of nerves. Whatever nerves might have tried to take hold were quickly squashed by sheer exhaustion.  My 3 month old baby girl is currently on a schedule that puts bedtime somewhere between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m., and since I am still the sole provider of milk for the child, I have to stay up and endure her marathon, end of the day nursing session.  When I finally got the baby to bed and returned to my room, this is what the clock read:

No worries. The race didn't start until 10:00, and it was local so we didn't have far to drive.

Cue the toddler. This is what time she decides to wake up crying, presumably from a scary dream where Dora and Diego do NOT work together.

Yes, that's a.m., people.
Did I also mention that the day the before the race I started to get my first head cold of the season? Right. Well, in addition to not sleeping enough, I also slept badly because of the oncoming cold (which by the way, is why it's taken me so long to get this race recap posted).  Why didn't you take some medicine, you say? Well, I did, but because I'm still breastfeeding, I couldn't take any of the really awesome, super strong, knock you out so your body can heal while giving you freaky dreams medicine.  Instead I am allowed to take this:

Sorry, makers of Tylenol.
And even though the box says "severe," it's pretty much like not taking anything at all.

So, I try to make the best of the early morning situation by getting myself up, cleaned, and fed before the rest of the house turns the calm into crazy. I also wanted to get in the requisite pre-race gear check.  Now, if you want to read about real running gear such as shoes, arm warmers, and tech shirts, then I suggest you hop on over to another running blog.  Like I've said before, I'm all about the costumes, or in this case, what I like to call "fun wear." Fun wear falls somewhere between full costume and bland running attire. Here were some of my favorite fun wear items for this race:

1. Super long, awesome Santa hat that doubles as a scarf. I hung it on the refrigerator for scale.  It's so long that I could wrap it around my neck several times. I'm considering making it my regular winter hat/scarf this year.

2. Festive, knee high socks. Turns out that all club members had a pair of these, and I saw loads more people with them during the race. I wonder if the sales department at Target noticed the unusual, sudden interest in this item.

Yes, that is denim, but don't get too excited JoggingJeans fans. I didn't run in them. Sorry.
3. Best piece of gear for $5. This is a holiday light necklace that I picked up at Kraynak's which is this really difficult to categorize toy/Christmas/Easter/garden store. What makes this the best piece of gear? Well, for your $5 you get 3 different light settings!  There is the fast blinking, going to a holiday rave setting.  Then there is the slow blinking, family friendly setting.  And finally, there is the non-blinking, just "on" setting.  The sad part is that race day was so sunny that you couldn't tell if the lights were on or off anyway.  Boo.  But you can bet I'll be wearing it to all the holiday events in the next few weeks!

Eventually everyone else woke up, and we all bundled up and headed to the race.  Remember the toddler who didn't sleep too soundly?  Yeah, she was thrilled.

We get to the race on time, score some free parking close by, and head in to meet the girls. Once everyone is there, SmokedGouda distributes our official team shirts.

SmokedGouda also sewed on some festive ornaments for us!
Sponsors on the back, just like real runners!
With about 15 minutes before the start, I get into the long line for the ladies room.  While in line, I notice a women behind me in jeans, but I have no camera.  As fate would have it, Steph's husband exits the men's room right in front of me, so I send him with the mission to have Steph return with my camera.  We have a good laugh while she tries to take a picture of the jeans lady while acting like she's taking my picture while not being able to work the camera on my phone.  In the midst of the confusion, the lady in front of me asks if we want a picture together, as if that was our actual goal. So, we ended up with a nice pre-race picture outside of the ladies' room.

We made our way to the very crowded start.  I still don't know if there was an actual gun/horn signal or if we were just too far back to hear it.  Either way, the four of us started together knowing that we'd be splitting up quickly into pairs based on where we are in our training.  Steph and I kept up a nice pace with a good balance of walking and running, and despite what she says about me going slower just to stay with her, I wasn't interested in "running my own race" as they say due to all the sickness and tiredness. I enjoyed supporting her even though I ran the risk of getting kicked or perhaps even thrown off the bridge.  There were definitely moments where she hated me, especially running over the last bridge, but she finished strong, and I had a really good time.

Some random thoughts about the actual race:

  • The race had people not only holding up mile markers but also giving splits at each mile.  I must have run some rinky-dink 5Ks in the past because I've never seen that before for a 5K distance.
  • On a similar note, there was a water only aid station about halfway through. Again, I don't think I've ever seen an aid station for a 5K. That said, it was nice to get a quick drink.
  • The race organizers didn't exactly pick a pretty course.  Other than the river crossing, it didn't show off any highlights of downtown Cincinnati or Northern KY.
  • My new priority is to find some sort of sport case to hold my phone/camera while I run. This is a MUST.  There were sooo many things that I wanted to document including the awesome military guys running the aid station, the person who dressed up as the leg lamp from A Christmas Story, and a guy in jeans who passed us.
  • The phone/camera case is critical because I also learned that if my husband has to be on kid duty during the race, then he probably can't take pictures too.

We finished about 10 minutes behind our cohorts and took lots of post race photos like these:

Jill and Steph
HC and SG charging to the finish

Smilin' like rock stars

Then came the really important part: the post race celebration.  We quickly decided that it should take place at the Hofbrauhaus because they could easily accommodate a large, loud group with babies and toddlers. Oh yeah, and they have beer.  Like, really good beer. They even had a Christmas variety on tap to add to the festive mood.

It's not wine. Sometimes you just have to make do.
Even though we all went without wine, there was no lack of cheese.  Appetizers included pretzels with yummy yummy beer cheese.

Gorgeous, gorgeous beer cheese
With the inclusion of the cheese, I declared the first club race to be a total and complete success for all!  Our next task will be to find our next race.  Pucks & Pinot might be the place to make this happen. Or perhaps we can discuss at Habanero Cheddar's Christmas party? Either way, we will be faithfully following Rule #2.

Steph: My Hamster Wheel

At least once a week, I run with my husband at the downtown Y. (When I can't hook up with my running buddies.) It is very close to our house and as the weather gets colder and colder, it conveniently has an indoor hanging track.

But...the track hangs above the small gym in an ancient downtown building which means that you have to run around the track 26 times to equal a mile. That is correct. I said 26 times. Until this week, it has not been a big deal. I have been measuring my running in seconds and minutes NOT mileage. This week, I bumped myself up to level 4 on the "Couch to 5k" program. That means that I start looking at mileage.

I successfully ran 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 1/4 mile, and 1/2 mile intervals on Monday with walking in between. That means I successfully ran 1 and 1/2 miles. If you had told me that this was going to happen when I started 6 weeks ago, I would have laughed in your face. I am not a runner. I can't even run one lap around the track. Yeah right that I will ever run a mile, let alone a 5k. But, as Jill so nicely puts it, I am a sucker for peer pressure and when my friends decided to do this, I was dragged along kicking and screaming.

So, back to the hamster wheel. This is what it looks like to do my current intervals at the mini track. Walk 10 laps, Run 6.5 laps, walk 3.5 laps, run 13 laps, walk 4 laps, run 6.5 laps, walk 3.5 laps, run 13 laps, walk 4 laps. FINISHED!!!!! Yes, it is that ridiculous, and Thank God that both my husband and I were counting because at some point we both lost track. But I kind of liked it. It gave me mini goals that I could accomplish like "I already ran 4 laps, I am 1/3 way there" or "now I have hit 10 laps, 3 more sounds easy."

So I am O.K. with my hamster wheel even though it feels like ...

And while looking for this picture, I found that there are REAL human-sized hamster wheels. Who knew??

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Steph: I really think that kicking someone would help!!

So luckily, I was un-grounded by my doctor before race day. I was only able to get 2 runs in before race day, but felt O.K. about it.

Last Monday, I ran with my husband for the first time in over a week. It actually felt GREAT!!! I ran a 90 second interval and then 4 - 3 minute intervals. I left that workout feeling like ... OK, maybe this is how people who enjoy running feel. I still didn't enjoy it, but I could feel how other people might not hate it. Well, Monday was just a teaser...

Wednesday, I went running with my husband again. This time I felt like I was DYING!!! Every time, he said "run", I wanted to say "f**** you." Most of my runs were between 2-3 minutes, but I did not feel as comfortable with it as Monday. I was huffing and puffing. My left calf muscles cramped up at every run, and overall I just didn't want to be doing it anymore. It sucked!!!

So race day is Saturday. Oh great! All I have in my mind is that Wednesday run, and today we are doing it for about 1 more mile than I have been doing in training. AWESOME!!! For some stupid reason, I was nervous the night before. I had butterflies and difficulty sleeping. Then when I awoke, I had ENORMOUS amounts of nervous, anxious energy.

I arrive at the race and can't find my teammates. Great. Another reason for a smooth start. Once we find each other (thanks SmokedGouda!!), I am excited by the outfit finishing and the jingle bells, and the amazing costumes that I see around us including the leg lamp from "The Christmas Story!"

Then the race begins, and I swear JILL was out to get me this day. To be honest, she is an AMAZING running buddy who is moving a little slower than her own pace just to give me someone to run with. She did an amazing job giving me landmarks to run to (even though several of them are farther than the 1/4 mile at a time that I am currently used to!!!). Every time I ran, I got a huge stitch in my right side. She talked me through breathing and rubbing it out during the walks. I was feeling pretty O.K. Then my running buddy decided to PUSH ME to run back across the entire bridge (minus the incline/decline on each end). At this point in the run, I can honestly say that kicking something would have made me feel better.

We managed one more little run to finish the race at the end where our amazing club members SmokedGouda and Habenero Cheddar where waiting to meet us (as well as our husbands and families). Overall, not a bad first start. I am only 10 minutes (ish) behind SmokedGouda and Habenero Cheddar, so I don't feel like that much of a loser. I am going to keep it up though. And I am going to run an entire 5k.  After all, I have a bet with my husband to win!

HC: The Morning After ...

Woke up this morning and decide to go for a run. Why? It’s the same theory of the best thing to do after a car accident:  Get back in, buckle up, and hit the road! I figured the longer I waited, the harder it would be. Anyway here is my recap of race day:

Woke up early since I couldn’t really sleep the night before. Made sure I had everything I would need for the race then rechecked again another 10 times. Not sure why, but I was VERY nervous. This may sound kinda goofy since it was “only” a 5k but I couldn’t help feeling like I was getting ready for a big test!

My love picked me up, and we were on our way. He even got there early since he knows how much I freak out about getting places on time. Registration time! Got my number strapped on, met up with the ladies, stretched, then it was time to roll.

I wasn’t ready for the congestion caused by so many people in a small amount of space. Zigging and zagging through the crowd definitely added a new challenge to the course. Just when I thought we were in the clear the first bridge came.  I do hate bridges but not as much as my running buddy. She did amazing though! This was perhaps the quickest pace of the whole trip.

After crossing the bridge we turn the corner and hit a water break. Everything is good until I see this.
One huge freakin' hill.

Somehow we managed to make it over and keep going. After more running, comments on how loud our bells (or maybe just us) were, and a couple puffs of the inhaler, we were almost there! My stomach and heart decided to revolt against me but with the help of Smoked Gouda telling me I can do it and the end in sight, we crossed the finish line. Official time- 36:40. Goal for the next 5k is to run the entire time and finish below 35.

This entire experience has given me a new appreciation for my friends (let alone gaining another example of how much they all kick ass) and more importantly more faith in myself. I NEVER thought I would sign up for a race let alone actually finish it! Do I still hate running? YES !!!!!!!!  But now I might hate it just a little bit less.   

Friday, December 9, 2011

SG: Betches!!!!

Ok, I know I said earlier that Betches was the nice term for bitches, but I may retract that! I just found out that our first race (which is in almost exactly 12 hours) requires running over the bridge. TWICE!! Ah!!! For those of you unfamiliar, we are in Cincinnati, and this is the Ohio river which I am talking about. That has huge, giant, high bridges over deep, disgusting, flooding water!!!!  I seriously want to open a bottle of wine right now and drink the whole thing! There is nothing I hate more than bridges! Is it ok to be drunk for the race? Could I just take a few shots ahead of time?  Ugh, I'm so anxious I can't take it! We are going to have to have an action plan in place for making it over this bridge! GRRRRR....I'm never going to be able to sleep now tonight!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

HC: Come on just one more!

These words used to be associated with the request to DRINK just one more beer, glass of wine, shot, etc. Today it was the rallying cry while running the track after school. First, let me paint you a mental picture:

While walking up to the gate to the track we see that it is LOCKED. Seriously? After doing a quick assessment of the situation, we decide the best thing to do is to hop the fence. Of course this fence is taller than both of us so it took some skill and calculated foot placement to make this happen. It officially became the first successful moment of our workout since somehow both of us managed to do it without getting hurt.

After stretching out and warming up, Smoked Gouda and I went on our way. We did the usual 5 min walk then started to run. We actually ran for an entire mile without stopping! Yes, there were moments of screaming (mostly from me … maybe all from me) and thoughts of "why am I doing this" but we made it. We walked than ran for a half mile, walked again and finished running for ¾ of a mile.

Looking back when we all started this, I remember how much I HATED running for just 90 seconds straight. It was really beneficial to see just how much progress we have all made!  

Jill: More Blogger Love

I've found a few other ladies floating around the blog-o-sphere who should totally be a part of our running club.

First, there is Carly over at Chubby Chicks Run Too who I sooo want to hang out with.  As if the name of her blog wasn't awesome enough, I was totally hooked after reading about her pole dancing exercise experience. Yes, I mean that kind of pole dancing.

Then there is Al.  She also has a fantastically named blog called You Run? No, really, you run? And let's be honest, I'm pretty sure that is what's going through most people's minds when I mention that I have a running club. I didn't have to go farther than her "About Me" description to know that she would fit in well around here:

I'm Al. I love to eat. I am crazy like that. I started running to counteract my eating. Little did I know, I would actually like running. So look around to what I eat and listen to me piss and moan about exercising.

A girl who loves food and hates exercising? Al, consider yourself an honorary member of the club.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

SG: Get your gameface on!

I'm welcoming myself back to the blog as I feel like I haven't been able to post in quite some time. You see, I've been consumed by 'mommy brain'. It completely overcame my whole body and wasn't regained until sending my baby and husband off for a night and consuming the world's largest and most over priced margarita while later dancing to a George Micheal impersonator under a disco ball the size of my bedroom! No worries, I feel much better now, and I am so ready for this race!

True and I hit the gym yesterday since it seems the whole city seems to be flooding right now. We decided to stray from the plan and see how far we could make it without a rest. We did a warm up and ran about 10 minutes before we did our first walk interval! I was pretty proud! As long as we don't finish last I can agree with Jill, it's considered a win, so I think we're in good shape!

There are three things I think we need to consider before Saturday:

1. What are we going to wear? This is a Jingle Bell run after all! I have purchased a few decorative items to adorn our new shirts as well as a headpiece for each of us that will remain a surprise til race day. Anyone else have any thoughts? Perhaps we could sport some denim???

2. Where will we be partaking in celebratory drinks after? This is, of course, the whole point of this club, correct?

3. In order to continue training after this race, so we can all actually run three miles, not just run/walk it, an executive decision was made at the gym tonight by True and I:  There will be the first ever "Whine and Cheese 5k" in February, date and location TBD before Saturday so we can keep motivation to run after this race!!

Jill's Addition

I thought you might appreciate some visuals from our night out!
This is the world's largest and most over priced margarita with Steph's hand for scale.
Side view of the bowl glass
I unfortunately did not snap a picture of the George Michael impersonator or the huge disco ball.  However, I am going to save the day with a picture of the Slash impersonator!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jill: There's no place like home

For the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, my husband and I traveled to my hometown so that my family could meet our new baby daughter.  Before leaving, hubby did a little research and discovered that my hometown had a holiday 5k the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Now, before I deliver my race report, I'm going to give you some statistics about my hometown so that you may appreciate the rest of the post properly.

1: The square mileage of the town. Seriously. It's only one square mile.

2: The number of traffic lights in the town while I was living there.

3: The current number of traffic lights

60: The number of students in my graduating class. Most of us had been in school together since kindergarten, which means that labels/cliques/stereotypes/assumptions had been set very early and were very difficult to change.

0: The number of years that I lived there after high school graduation.

136: The number of runners in the 5k

A little more background...while I was growing up there, I didn't really participate in many athletic activities.  Volleyball was by far my favorite and the only sport where I was competitive, but our school district was so small that we didn't have a school team.  I spent my summers playing sand volleyball at the local park instead.  I played a lot of summer softball and decided to play for the high school team my freshman year.  Despite lettering as a freshman, I didn't return to the team the next year because I wanted to focus on my studies.  I knew early on that my ticket out of there would be through academics not athletics. So it's safe to say that anyone who knew me back then would not have described me as athletic.  Not by a long stretch.

Somehow my husband convinces me that doing the 5k will be fun. We can do it together, our oldest daughter can do the kids' fun run, your family can come and hang out, blah, blah, blah.  He threw lots of reasons at me, and I relented.  Also, it benefited a good cause, and I'm a sucker for charity.

So we show up, and I immediately feel like the awkward teenager I used to be.  Before the race even started, I spotted 3 former teachers and 3 former schoolmates, although there were more of each in attendance according to the official race results. Even worse, I didn't spot anyone running in denim.

Very quickly I decided that my goal needed to be to NOT FINISH LAST.  I knew I couldn't run the whole thing. I'm still only working on week 4 of the Couch to 5K plan, and my postpartum body can't really handle much more.  My dear, sweet hubby said he would stay with me the entire time despite the fact that he finished 2nd overall at the last 5K he completed. I figured that was the least he could do after inadvertently making me relive the embarrassing teen years of my life.

Before I could focus on not finishing last, hubby signed our 2-year-old up for the kids' fun run.  It was only a run around the block, but she was the ONLY toddler. Most of the other kids were at least 4-5 years older.  I stayed with them for the first part, and then let hubby take her the rest of the way.  He shot this video of her towards the end.  If you make it to 0:38, you can hear how he motivated her to finish.  If only I was that easily motivated!

As we lined up for the start of the race, we headed towards the back knowing that I'd be desperately slow.  At first I thought I wouldn't have to worry about crossing last simply because there was a walking division, and we quickly passed walkers who looked like they were simply using this race to replace their regular Sunday stroll around town.  But about a mile into the race, the walk and run courses split, and I realized that the walkers were only doing a 2 mile fun walk. Crap. That meant I really had to pay attention to the other runners.

First, I tried to hang with two other run/walkers at the back.  One was a lanky emo teen whose ipod was cranked up so loud that I wanted to keep running near her simply to have some music. The other was a older gentleman whose pace looked more like a shuffle most of the time.  We leapfrogged back and forth for awhile until they both got too far ahead. Crap again.

 Next, I concentrated on staying ahead of this group:

Turns out this group of runners are affiliated with a local gym.  So in an effort to show off advertise, they ran the entire race carrying that log and empty keg.  It went down like this: 2 of them would be carrying the log on their shoulders and 1 would be carrying the keg on his/her back.  Every so often they would stop and, like a Chinese fire drill, would switch places. Someone new would carry for a bit while the others "rested" by just running.  Obviously, they are strong, but they couldn't move too terribly fast, so I thought I had a good chance of beating them. And I did until about halfway through the race.  Then somehow they were ahead of us.  Crap. Crap. Crap.

At this point I was thinking about the humiliation that would follow when I showed up last.  I was secretly cursing my husband for convincing me that this would be a good idea and myself for agreeing.  I was also having fantasies about kicking someone in the face. If we were racing anywhere else in the entire world, this would be fun.  But in my hometown, it just felt awkward.

Turns out that the last mile was kind to me, and I didn't finish last.  I finished in front of the following 4 people:

--a short, somewhat chubby, 11-year-old boy

--a girl who tweaked something during the race because we passed her when she was walking with a slight limp

--the injured girl's husband because he was sweet enough to slow down and walk the rest of the way with her

--a 16-year-old girl who we passed at the very end because she stopped to walk so she could TEXT someone and tell them how lame the race was (probably)

My mom took a little video of us at the finish.  The funniest part was, although we weren't actually last, as soon as we rounded the corner one of the race workers started to pick up the cones behind us which gave the impression that we were the last.  I'd love to post it, but the camera work was so jittery that it makes The Blair Witch Project's camera work look like a still shot.

Am I glad I did the race and got some mileage under my feet? Yes.  Was it fun watching my daughter get in on the action? Yes.  Was it nice running and chatting with my hubby?  Yes.  Do I ever want to do that particular race again?  Not unless I can do it in disguise.  And have lots and lots of wine afterward.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jill: Sponsored by...

Thanks to our combined creative talents and my hubby's graphic design work, we now have "official" sponsors for our club, and like any good race shirts, the logos will be on the back of ours!''

We dutifully do our part to keep recycling companies in business

True proves over and over again that you can huff, puff, and run successfully

Cheese. 'Nuf said.

Any teacher knows that your plan bell is where you regain sanity each day

Unfortunately, dear reader, this is based on a long-standing joke between the 4 of us. It would take too long to explain, and you probably wouldn't think it was funny.

Steph: I have been grounded!!!

I have spent the last 3 days in and out of Dr. offices and hospitals in an attempt to get an out of control blood pressure in order. One that I didn't even really know was that bad until a routine check-up Monday night.

The worst part of the whole experience : my doctor put a STOP to all running activities until the blood pressure is regulated. Hopefully, that is just until Monday when I have my follow up visit to see how the current medication is reacting in my body. She didn't even want me walking, but I convinced her to let me walk for 3 miles at least 3 times by Monday so I didn't lose my forward momentum (which was already at a crawling pace!). She agreed as long as I don't speed walk and I don't walk fast enough to sweat. Now we are talking the kind of excercise that I really enjoy. Leisurely walks in the park that don't actually feel like excercise. Well, at least until Monday that is.

So, I have been grounded. Hopefully, I am given a green light on Monday. We will see :)