Friday, January 17, 2014


Horrible things happen every day in this world, that I know.  I try not to watch the news too frequently, but of course things come up on my Facebook news feed.  It's impossible to escape everything.  Some of the things I read about hit me harder than others.  The Sandy Hook shootings were like that last year.  I couldn't stop thinking about the children, all of whom were approximately the same ages of my Charlotte.  As a teacher, I constantly asked myself what I would do if a gunman came in my classroom.  I found myself crying at the drop of a hat when I would think about the shootings, even months later.

Four days ago, Meg Menzies was hit by a drunk driver while running, dying as a result of her injuries.   

Because I follow so many running pages on Facebook, the story of the tragedy was all over my news feed.  I quickly learned more about Meg... she was a mother... three young children... 34 years old... training for the Boston Marathon.  The more I read, the more Meg's story affected me.  She is so similar to me.   No, I am in no way training for Boston, but both being young moms who run... that right there, it was enough.  In my head, I kept thinking, "What if it had been me?"  I could picture her children when they found out that their mommy wasn't coming home.  Their faces were replaced by my own babies' faces, and of course my heart broke. 

Across the running community, people are running in honor of Meg tomorrow.  I typically rest on Saturdays, but I really wanted to run tomorrow.  Unfortunately, it's probably not going to happen with our schedules.   Instead, I decided to dedicate my 5 miles today to Meg.  I have ran a few Fridays before work by myself, getting up at 4:45 AM and setting out for either a tempo run or a hard progressive run in my neighborhood.  It's the toughest day of the week for me.  I'm tired from a long work week.  I really don't like running alone anymore.  I am afraid of tempo runs because they're so hard.  Today was no exception.  I just didn't want to get up and run.  But today, I wasn't running for myself. I was running for Meg.  Each and every step, she was in my mind, in my heart.  I pushed each mile a little harder, and at the end of my final mile (which was sub-8:00, my 5K race pace), I felt my throat swell with impending tears.  As I walked down my street cooling down, looking up at the moonlight, I spoke aloud to Meg, telling her how sorry I was for what had happened.  Meg, those miles were for you.  You will not be forgotten. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Oh, baby, it's COLD outside!

The majority of the United States has been hit by something called an polar vortex.  I don't know weather terms... what I do know is that it's frigid outside.  Cold enough that school has been canceled for the past two days.   And, needless to say, cold enough that *this* runner has not ran outside for a few days.

Honestly, it takes a lot for me to stay in.  On Christmas Eve, my friend Jeanne-Marie and I ran 10.5 miles in temperatures that had a "real feel" of -2 degrees. It was cold, that's for sure... but we made it through unscathed.  However, yesterday the temperature with the wind chill was down to -42 degrees.  Um, NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH!  That's too cold even for this bad@ss mother runner.

Thankfully, I have a membership to a nearby gym, Fitness 19. I joined last winter, when I was much less hardcore about running outside and in the dark. I did most of my runs on the treadmill at the gym until it got warm (and light) outside.  Let's make this clear: I am not a big fan of the treadmill. I don't hate it with a passion like some people, but I'd much rather run outside.  I've found ways to make it tolerable, including running intervals (e.g. 3 minutes hard alternating with 2 minutes easy, repeated x times) and running progressive-style runs (increasing the speed every so often).  

I came down with a 24-hour stomach bug (given to me so graciously by my 3 year old son) late Saturday night, and sadly that sidelined me for my planned 10-mile run with my awesome running buddy Jen.  I was so upset... I really look forward to our Sunday long runs.  Jen is awesome and we talk the entire time.  She is my Claire (read this awesome article if you have time to understand this metaphor).  Anyway, there was no way I could run... except for to the toilet every 15 minutes :(  So I took it easy and was grateful to feel back to 100% yesterday morning.  Unfortunately, not only did I miss my planned run, but I also missed the final day of temperatures and wind chills above zero. So yesterday, when I was feeling better, I went to the gym to gut out 10 miles on the treadmill.  Yikes!  My PR for distance on the 'mill was only 5 miles, so I wasn't sure how 10 would go.  The first 5 flew by.  I was listening to an interesting podcast from Another Mother Runner, and it was like we were just running along and I was listening to them chat.  Not quite as fun as chatting it up with Jen, but definitely better than nothing. However, after the podcast ended, I turned on my music.  I downloaded a new playlist and it was good, but two annoying things happened during the final 5 miles.  One: the treadmill stopped.  They time out after 1 hour.  Ugh!  So I had to restart it and that was just really... well, annoying. And two: I started to feel my skin chafing on my inner thigh. Ouch!  So I just started increasing the speed so I could be done with it.  Today I'm no worse for the wear, except for two sore pinky toes (first time for that).  And I do feel pretty bad@ss for running for over 1.5 hours on the treadmill! 

I am excited to get back outside tomorrow with my crazy 4:30 AM running friends!  Okay, maybe "excited" isn't the best word for how I feel.  It's going to be difficult to pull myself out of bed, and it's still going to be around 0 degrees for the windchill.  I am just happy that it won't be on the treadmill!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's resolutions--they're the thing to do!

Happy New Year's!  My poor, neglected blog... what's a working mom to do?  I really do want to try to blog more frequently this year.   A good goal would be 3-4 times/month, I think. 

Goals... that brings me to the purpose of tonight's blog, which is New Year's resolutions.  I have always loved writing resolutions.  I have done them for as long as I can remember.  I even have my diary from age 9 with my New Year's resolutions in it!  I typically write several, so that I can: a) hit all facets of my life, and b) at least achieve a few of them!

I typically like to revisit my previous year's resolutions on New Year's Day.  Sadly, our computer died this past summer and along with it, my resolutions (which were saved on the hard drive).  I remember my only two running resolutions, though: run my first half-marathon, and run at least 600 miles for the year.  Check, and check!  I am super proud of how I did this year during my first full year as a runner.  2 5K's, 1 4-miler, 1 quarter-marathon, and 3 half-marathons.  Not too shabby!  Oh, and 714.42 miles for 2013.  

So, here we go with my resolutions for 2014..  Let's start with running, since that's the point of this blog. 

1. I want to hit 1000 miles for the year.  I totally think this is doable, as I ran 101 miles for the month of December, and 1000 is averaging around 83 miles/month.   I have some long runs planned in the next few months, so I know I can make it to 1000.

2. I want to PR at every race distance, from 5K to half marathon.  So that's a 5K, a 4-miler, a 10K (or quarter marathon, basically the same thing), and a half. 

3. I want to run in my first full marathon. I still cannot believe I am typing that.  Actually, to make it even more believable, last night I signed up for it!  April 27, I will be running 26.2 miles in Toledo at the Glass City Marathon (advertised as "fast and flat").  This is why I will be doing those longer runs in the coming months... gotta get ready to run far!

I'll share just a few of my non-running resolutions as well, just to stay accountable.  I have a lot of them... here are just a few:

1. Monthly date nights with my hubby.  He is far too neglected, and I need to work on that.  

2. Pay off our van by December 2014.  This will mean a strict budget this year, but we've done it before (we became debt-free with the exception of our home in November 2012, paying off over $30,000 in debt in under two years!). 

3. Figure out a system to organize my counter-tops.  My friend Jamie calls people like us "dumpers"... things naturally get "dumped" on flat surfaces.  I confess to being a perpetual dumper. I want to determine a way to get things in their places.  School papers for the kids, coupons, miscellaneous stuff... ideas are welcome :)

 This is not my personal counter top... but it isn't far from reality!

Bring it on, 2014!