Monthly Archives: January 2008

Parallel lives

When I started this blog not so long ago, I really didn’t have any expectations for it. I wasn’t sure anyone would ever read it, which was ok. I figured it would be a place for me to re-kindle the love affair I had with writing back in high school, and maybe eventually to keep my family and friends updated on all things me.

But yesterday, as I was waisting time procrastinating on the internet taking a break from work, I randomly clicked on a weather-related post, and found my blog twin. Well, at that point all I knew was that it was a giant coincidence. She is from WI, fed up with the winter weather, and we are both in the middle of reading the same book. I left her a comment as such, and a link to my lowly little blog in case she was bored. That’s when we went from mere coincidence, to oh my god, we are living a parallel life! She ran her first marathon in Anchorage, Alaska with Team in Training, and she is getting married too! Ok, I realize that lots of people are getting married, but come on people. There aren’t too many who can say they ran their first marathon in Alaska while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society.

So here’s to my first blogging friend, and to motivating each other to run & Enjoy Life!

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Filed under Friends, Random Thoughts, Wedding

I wish I was here

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Or anywhere warm and Caribbean-like for that matter. This picture was taken in beautiful St. John a few years back. I am lucky enough to have friends that live in St. Thomas, and I try to get there to visit as often as possible. Can you blame me?

Instead, here we are:

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I am so over winter.

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Filed under Random Thoughts, Travel

Why do it?

Lately I’ve been thinking about why I choose to participate in endurance sports. I guess it was brought on by people asking me “why would you do that to yourself?” or saying things like “I could never do that.” The easiest and most obvious answer would be, well, because I like it. But there’s so much more than that, and to be quite honest, I don’t always like it, and sometimes I wonder myself why I do it.

I signed up for my first marathon in early 2003, having never run more than 5 miles in my life. And that was only once, and it was hell. I received a brochure in the mail for Team in Training. It promised to coach me to my first marathon in exchange for raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. I had never really thought about running a marathon, but something told me to sign up for the informational meeting. I did, and at that meeting they showed a video. It was so inspiring, I signed up that very day, never mind the fact that it involved running 26.2 miles. Throughout the next months, I trained with a group of people who all had the same goal as me, and it was awesome. To this day, those early Saturday morning runs with the TNT crew remain some of my fondest running memories. After months of hard work, I completed my first marathon in Anchorage, Alaska in 4:07:47. I was hooked.

Since then, I have completed 5 other marathons, and now I am branching over into the world of triathlon. To me, it seems the next logical step. I have always been sort of a tomboy, very athletic as I was growing up. I did everything from gymnastics, to softball, to basketball and soccer, and I excelled at most of them. Team sports always came along with great friends, fun trips to tournaments, and the thrill of being part of a winning team. Running is different for me. I do not excel at it. I will never be the fastest in my age group, I am a true middle-of-the-pack-er. Yet it is somehow more fulfilling. The accomplishments are more satisfying, because I got there on my own. Sure, it’s great to have training partners, and I have some fantastic ones, but in the end, it is you against yourself. If you don’t do well, you only answer to yourself. Letting down the team is no longer a motivation to perform well, you need to have a strong desire from within. This, to me, makes each personal victory a little more sweet.

Along with all of this are the obvious health benefits. When I am at the peak of training, I just feel good. My body craves healthier foods, my clothes fit better, and I just feel good about myself. In 2007, I did not run a marathon. By the end of the year, I felt like crap, and lacked motivation to do anything more than the occasional spin class. I am glad to get back on the horse and start training again. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I am already starting to feel better, more like myself.

So why do I want to do Ironman? To prove to myself that I can. Me vs. Me.

Oh, and I want the tattoo:

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Filed under Random Thoughts, Triathlon

It's contagious

This past weekend we threw a birthday party for two of our friends. It was complete with homemade spaghetti and meatballs, plenty of wine, and a trip out to a comedy show. A fantastic evening. Made even more fantastic by the fact that one of my friends told me she wants to run her first marathon this year. Yay! We play soccer together, and run the occasional 5k, but this is awesome! Another training buddy, and you can never have too many. She said this is something she’s always wanted to do, and this is the year. I am so excited to start sharing training schedules and tips with her, and being a “veteran” marathon runner, I can kind of show her the ropes and let her know what to expect.

Now we just have to decide which race. I keep leaning towards Chicago, because it is my favorite, and I think it would be a fantastic race for a first-timer. Last year would have been my 5th consecutive year running Chicago, but my best friend got married the same weekend out in California. The wedding was so awesome and such a blast, but part of me missed my dear old Chicago marathon.  When I got home and found out what happened at the race in 2007, however, I was sort of glad I missed it. Part of me wants to do Chicago, but part of me also wants to try something new. The other two marathons I have done are Anchorage (with Team in Training) and Milwaukee (I had to try out the hometown race sooner or later). I think the Detroit marathon sounds like it may be an excellent choice. The course crosses the border into Canada not once, but twice, and there is also an underwater mile. Yes, underwater. You can’t get much cooler than that.

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Filed under Friends

Movie Review: Juno

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I loved this movie so much. It is fresh, funny, and extremely touching. Ellen Page is so fantastic as Juno, a 16 year old high school student who finds herself pregnant. Unable to go through with an abortion (the baby has fingernails, after all), she scans the penny saver classifieds in search of the perfect parents. She decides on a couple (played by Jennifer Gardner and Jason Bateman) that appears  they will provide the baby with a perfect family. Also deserving mention are Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons, who play Juno’s parents. The movie is so perfectly smart and witty, I just can’t say enough about it. Go see it. 

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Oh so sore

So yesterday was the first attempt at sticking to my new training program, and it was a sucess. My schedule called for weight training, which I was excited about, because I am, shall we say, a weakling. I can run, I can bike, I can swim, but I cannot win at arm wrestling. I went to the gym psyched, though slightly intimidated. I warmed up with an easy 2 mile run, and then I went to hit the weight area. That’s when I realized that I don’t know how to use these machines. My workout called for a list of 7 excersises in order:

1. Hip extention (squat, leg-press or step-up)

2. Standing bent-arm lat pull down

3. Hip extention (different from #1)

4. Chest press or push-ups

5. Seated row

6. Personal weakness (hamstring curl, knee extention, or heel raise)

7. Abdominal excersise

First of all, I had to look up diagrams for approximately 80% of these excersises before I left. Armed with my list, I headed toward the two different leg press machines. Both were occupied by huge men with hundreds of pounds of weights hanging from the sides. Ok, moving on. I decided it would be ok to do the abs first. No problem. At this point the standing leg press machine was open. I got on the thing with no weights, just to test how heavy the contraption was by itself. Let me tell you, it was heavy enough for me. I did my three sets of 20 with no weights attached, and I am pretty sure people were looking at me in dis-belief of my weakness. But I did it, and it felt good. With confidence gained, I figured out how to use the rest of the machines. I completed my sets, including squats and a bench press. I did a 15 min spin as a cool down, and with that, my first weight training session came to an end.

Fast forward to this morning. I am extremely sore, but in a good way. My schedule calls for weight training twice a week, and I can only imagine how strong I will begin to feel after a while. However, my scheduled run today? My quads are saying “I don’t think so.” 

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Filed under Triathlon

Plan of Attack

I just finished inputting a 26 week Half-Ironman training schedule into my daily planner. It is daunting, I can tell you that much. But I figure the only way I will stick to it and get through all of the hours is to be very structured. I plan to buy another daily planner, one where you can fill in the schedule hour by hour. One of my goals for the new year is to waste less time. Therefore, every night, I am going to fill out my schedule for the next day, including work, training, and anything else I may need to get done that day. I am hoping this will help with my extreme tendency to procrastinate, resulting in my workout falling by the wayside when I realize I really need to get my work done. No more. I am also writing this down here so that I have another reminder of my goal. I think it will help to update my progress here, so that’s the plan!

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Filed under Triathlon