Defining Goals

When I began the C25K program, I didn't really have much of a plan, or a goal, other than "finish it." Well, I finished it, and have been feeling a bit bereft of purpose. Although I continue to run, and have added strength training and various other workouts to the mix, it's important to define what it is I am doing and why I am doing it.

Here's what m short-term goals are:

1. Complete the One Hour Runner program. This really shouldn't be too difficult. I am already near 40-minutes runs. Still, with summer coming on, I am not going to push myself too hard.

2. Lose the baby weight. By September 6th. That's my 35th birthday. As I have said before, I refuse to be 35 and fat.

3. Take care of my sciatic issue. I went to the doctor this past week, and I am now seeing a physical therapist three times a week. More of that later.

Run for the Cheetah

Saturday was the day for my first official 5K and the completion of my Couch to 5K program. This race wound through Papago Park, between the Phoenix Zoo and the Botanical Gardens. It was much smaller and more relaxed than the Pat Tillman run. I'm not a fan of huge crowds, especially when I am pushing the jogging stroller, so it was refreshing to get there early. We found a great parking space and I was one of the firsts to pick up my number and t-shirt. My parents came to watch the kids, and I was off. I found my rhythm quickly and settles into the slow but steady task of completing 3.1 miles. There we re many, many people who alternated between flat-out sprinting and walking, and I wanted to tell them to take it slow and enjoy it. As it was, I eventually out-paced them. I ran the entire race, slowing only for one water break. The route was beautiful. I managed to summon the energy to sprint the last half mile, and I came it at 39:58. I was hoping to make it under 40 minutes, so I just squeezed in under my self-imposed time limit. Just under 13-minute miles again. Best of all, I feel energized and ready to take on whatever.

Connor decided to join in the festivities by running the kid's 100-yard dash. He did very well, and managed to avoid completely taking out the little kid who ran right into his path. When it was over he said, "That's wasn't very long." I think there may be a few runs in his future.

Now that the C25K program is over, I am not sure where to go from here. I am concentrating on distance now instead of time. This week I am doing 2.8 miles in about 40 minutes. I find that pushing the jogging stroller while I run increases my time by about one minute per mile. Once I am up to three miles (by next week), I will looking into the One Hour Runner program. Eric and I agreed, however, that all of these races are getting expensive.

I have heard that getting through the first 20 minutes of exercise is the hardest part. Me, on the other hand, I find that the first 30 are tough, but after that, I get great gobs of energy. My pace increases significantly, and I feel that I can go on forever. I'll have to read up on this phenomenon, but I am guessing it has to do with the body's release of stored energy and endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good!

I joined a gym, in the hopes of building muscle strength and cross-training. Today I will get in for some strength training and a spin class. I've been looking forward to it all week.


Anyone Wanna Dog? Slightly Used, Does Not Like Mailmen

Loki is getting up there in the years. He'll be 10 in August, so he's pushing the upper limit of the boxer life span. He's a good dog; he toelrates the baby's abusive maneuvers and is always good as a replacement woobie for Eric. He's a bit crotchety in his old age, however, and he is not fond of anything or anyone who dare step foot in, or even near, our front yard.

Loki, along with the other two critters who claim our home, has been the bane of our mailman for several years now. Each days as he bravely delivers our mail to the front porch, the dogs lunge at the window or the security door, if the regular happens to be open. I can only imagine how much our poor mailman hates our house. And if he didn't hate us before, he has every right to do so after Loki's latest display if aggression.

When you hear a loud, shattering sound coming from parts of the house, you can guarantee that is isn't going to be good. I found Loki hanging by a bamboo blind halfway through the front window (yes, he broke it), and the mailman RUNNING away from our front door like his hair was on fire.


We have one broken window, which we do not have the money to repair. Thank goodness for those credit cards.

And, while Eric hastily cut and tapped up the plywood that is currently serving as our front window, he inadvertently left the back gate unlocked. All three puppies made a break for it this morning. Two of them are home safe, if not completely exhausted. Barron, our pit bull is still at large.

I am thinking of trading all of them in for a goldfish.


I Suck at Loving Myself

There are so many things I do well. I'm a loving mom, and I think I'm generally a good wife. I do well at school, and I always work hard in whatever post I find myself. I'm driven, and goal--oriented, and extremely competitive. I do not quit, ever. So I find it especially difficult to cut myself some proverbial slack.

My house isn't as clean as I would like it to be. I haven't lost any weight yet. I don't read to Mia every day, or even most days. I haven't worn make up in a while. I have a voice in my head that ticks off my faults one by one, and I think it may be eating me alive.

I have this long, extensive list of woulda, shoulda, coulda's in my head, and I am feeling a little overwhelmed. I tell myself that I am not working, an that I should be easily able to balance all of my duties. I'm not though, and I find myself getting sucked in to too many time wasters during the day. It's easy to focus on the "unimportants." They keep my mind from dealing with really needs dealing with, if that makes sense.

I need to slow down, praise myself for the good that I do, and love myself as unconditionally as I love my kids. They deserve to have a mom who is confident, in control, and disciplined. I need to smile more, laugh more, and enjoy the moments more, instead of worrying about all of the minor things I didn't get done today. You know, those things that don't matter in the scheme of things.


First Race, or How I Learned to Love the Race

Yesterday was my first road race -- post baby. I ran in Pat's Run, which benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation. If you have no idea who Pat Tillman is, you should. Here's a bio. The race was 4.2 miles, a bit longer than my current runs (about 1.5 times my current runs, to be exact). It was held at Arizona State University, where Pat played college football and where I did my own collegiate studies. Being on my home turf was inspiring.

I had to wake up extra early to get the kidlets ready. Eric's second shifts means he's pretty useless as a baby sitter at five o'clock in the morning. Thankfully, my parents offered to also get up before the sun, to meet me at the race and keep the kids happy while I ran. Connor was surprisingly excited about the race, and especially about visiting ASU. This was a decided change from the day we did the Climb to Conquer Cancer, wherein he did much whining and pouting. Mia was also very good-natured, entertained by the throng of people, the music, and the large colorful blowup balloons. Despite the fact that she didn't nap at all during the entire morning's festivities, she remained content.

I found myself in the 11-minute mile corral, and waited impatiently as the seven corrals in front of my group were released in two-minute intervals. It was tempting to start out with more speed than my usual shuffle, as the people around me seemed to be sprinting. That's a lot of peer pressure right there. I settled into my own pace, although I never quite found my own rhythm. I was troubled by an inability to find a comfortable pace, and I didn't even make it two miles before I took a walk break (counting to sixty in my head before I took it up again). I did a lot more walking than I had planned, but the goals was to finish. I was hoping to keep under twelve-minute-miles, and I did alright for the first two, but the last two kicked my butt, in a not so friendly way.

Several sights along the way kept the run interesting. There was an explorers' group from a local fire department, and they ran in formation, along with a few fireman leaders. I caught that there was a lagger in the group, so every once in a while, the boys would run off into the dirt, face plant on the ground, and do some manly looking push ups. The got a lot of cheers each time. There were several veterans in the group, including several who had obvious injuries. One man had both legs and arms amputated, but he was doing it, and I lost any sort of sorriness I felt for myself as I passed him. I found myself getting annoyed at the walkers who were blocking my path. They had obviously started ahead of me with no intention of running. When I had to take my walking breaks, I made sure to inch over as far as I could so I wasn't blocking anyone. Still, though, near the end, MOST of the participants were walking, and I had to find creative ways to pass them.

Coming around the last corner, seeing the stadium looming ahead was a bit of an uplift. I found it in myself to pick it up a bit. The music was blaring, everyone was cheering us on. Just before I hit the tunnel into the stadium, there was a huge, billboard-sized picture of Pat Tillman with some inspirational words. I fought off the urge to cry, and ramped it up, up into the stadium and through the tunnel onto the field. It was the same tunnel that the players exit onto during each home game. And then I saw them. The entire Sun Devil football team was lined up along the railings leading to the finish line at the 42-yard line. (On a side note, they are HUGE!) I made sure to slap each hand as I ran by and let out a breathless , "You guys totally rock!" before I stepped over the finish line.

I'm not sure of my exact time, but according to my watch, I came in about 56:30. I'll have to look up my official time once it's posted on the race site. That's about 13.5 minute miles, which I am not happy about, but I am not going to let it get to me too much. The point was to do it, and to finish, and I did both. As I walked back out of the stadium, on the other side of the tunnel through which I had just run, I saw the last lagging fire department explorer huffing it in.

I found my parents and the kids, and Connor gave me a huge hug. It felt good. I liked it. I want to do it again. Next week, in fact, when I do this.


Crocheted Pansies

It's my mom's 60th birthday today. This was in her goody bag. I found the pattern here. It took me about two weeks, but would have been faster if it weren't for my class and the needy, needy infant.


I'm Alive

I began the eighth week of the C25K program today. 28 minutes of non-stop running. Yeah, I'm a bad-ass. I'm not entirely fast, though, although I have been assured that speed will increase as my mileage does.

Eating has, well, sucked for the most part since last we met. I need to lay off hte little voice in my head that is making it difficult for me. I haven't really lost any more weight, but hey, I'm running 2.5 miles now. That's pretty good. In honor of a stressful night which involved Erix working, the baby NOT sleeping, and me being generally stressed out, I ate a Burger King meal today -- and I got it large. I ate the whole thing. No, I'm not feeling good right now.

Mia is thisclose to crawling. She is fearless. Connor is not a risk-taker, and I've always taken for granted that I don't have to worry about him. Mia, on the other hand, will cause me worry, and, likely, grey hair.
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