Friday, August 28, 2009

Classic images from TNT

Because I have no shame, I thought I'd post some of my runnin' pics!

The reason I look so horrified ... is because I'm tired! This is our first practice, and we'd just finished our timed mile. Literally could not fathom running one more foot!

Lunges. In our first Thursday practice, we started the beginning of what will soon be hundreds of lunges. My, how I hate lunges. The next day, I could hardly move.

But ... those lunges must have done some good, because here I am speedin' down the track! Well, I'm probably not speeding, but I am running. And there is a smile on my face. This was at the tail end of a "jet drill," a progression of speed from near-walking to all-out sprinting over 100 yards.

And here is why I'd been doing all that work! The end of my first team run--a four-miler down by the beach.

(There aren't any pictures of me at my next six-mile run ... the first time I actually ran {well, jogged} five miles in a row. There was no living with me that day.)

More lunges! This time I have my dorky blue headband, though, and took it like a man!

Me and the pace-partner I stalk, Joanne. We're good running partners, as you can see by the fact that I'm jogging AND smiling AND attempting to give a thumbs-up to the camerawoman! By now, we're doing four miles on the track at Thursday night training, and the next run is a whopping eight-miler!

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Team in Training Update 4

Money raised: $1,860 (just $640 to go!)
Training days: 5
Miles logged: 6

This update will be packed, as I've had two track sessions and a Saturday run since I saw you last!

The big news, though, is that I've managed to kick away my crutch: walking. Yep, I may be awfully slow, but I'm running now. All the way!

It started at last Saturday's six-mile run (intimidating to say the least, as I'd only ever gone four before). I set my brand-new watch to time intervals so I could spent two minutes running and one minute walking. As we start each run in packs based on our pace, I had company. I'd jog ahead of some teammates and run on my own for two minutes, then walk and hear them slowly catch up.

When I made it two miles in, at a water-stop, Coach Jay had a suggestion for me as I tried some electrolyte beverage and beef jerky. Slow down and run with a teammate, Joanne, who would almost catch up to me during my walking minute.

Mentally, I rolled my eyes. Joanne runs the whole time. I can't run! Whatever, Jay. I'll try and you'll see. I'm just not there yet.

So I fell in step beside the two of them. We talked about our progress so far, and the miraculous healing power of ice for my painful shins. And before I knew it, and entire mile had flown by. Not only had I run the whole way, but I talked the whole way too!

What's going on?

I stuck with Joanne like glue that day, and together we finished the course, running the remaining three miles. We talked about our lives, our families, and everything under the sun. The miles just slipped away. One second, we were back at the water-stop. The next, we hit the public restrooms a half-mile from our finish point. Then I was in my car, heading back home.

The rest of the day, I reminded everyone of my accomplishment (mostly just trying to believe it myself). I ran five miles today!

This from the girl who got winded after 3/4 mile on the treadmill just a month ago.

So at last night's track, I tried to repeat the feat. And did! I just ... ran. Not as fast as most of the others, but faster than walking. And every loop I made around the track surprised me. Next one, I'll have to walk, I'd think ... and run around again.

But even I have my limits. When Coach Ed let us know that we'd be dividing into groups based on our paces and doing some running after that, I made it into the "Cheetahs." Ha ha. We were gearing up to do a 1200 (three laps around the track), an 800 (two laps) and a 400 (guess). As distance went down, intensity was supposed to go up.

I felt confident in my 1200.

I felt tired in my 800.

In my 400, I felt like my lungs were going to bounce out of my chest. I had to stop and walk. At the end, Coach Ed let us in on a surprise: Another 400! This time, Mentor Jackie ran with me. As I gasped for air, she talked and laughed ... then had the audacity to challenge me to run a little faster in the home stretch. Just the last bit of track.

That. Was. Enough.

"I don't have any more!" I burst out, petulantly. And what did she do? Ran ahead of me!

There was nothing for me to do but catch up. She coaxed that little bit extra out ... it was awesome. Track was done. I could go home to my couch and ice my aching shins, eat the pizza that my hubby had waiting for me, and enjoy a nice hot bath and glass of wine before bed.
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At home, I am the talker. I am the storyteller. My husband is generally happy to let me run my mouth and test my vocabulary anytime ... so long as I'm not interrupting one of his Discovery Channel shows.

Consequently, I refine my anecdotes and add to my blog.

However, there is one exception to that rule: When my sister (from Seattle) comes to visit. Somehow, when we're together, I fall back into listening mode. Maybe it's because she talks. A lot.

In fact, as a little girl, she talked so much and was so eager to get the next sentence out that she developed a stutter.

I fought this as a child. There are home videos that show me putting on Christmas plays and Thanksgiving concerts ... determinedly singing my heart out as my pest of a toddling sister lisped and stuttered her way into the camera frame. These same videos show me very professionally not breaking eye contact with the camera as I shove her offstage.

Now, though, I love that she's a talker. We gab through the evening, and when I'm done gabbing, she takes over for the both of us. I love that there's no filter between her and I; that she feels comfortable enough around me to talk about anything (and everything).

I joked with her this past weekend that if she's forced to watch a television show she's not familiar with, she talks through it. And if you watch one of her favorite shows with her, she'll talk you through that one, too.

We spent the weekend watching old "Gilmore Girls" DVDs, appropriately enough. We claim to be Lorelai (me) and Rory (her), but mostly we identify with the chatty women onscreen.

The downside to all this yakkity-yakking is that I don't get a chance to test my vocabulary, tell my stories and refine my anecdotes. So the blogging shifts to the wayside as I open my ears and try to take in everything my sister is telling me.

Now, with her visit over and just my husband to fill the enormous silence, I'm drifting back to my old ways. Nice to see you all again!
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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Team in Training Update 3

Money Raised: Somewhere around $1,200
Days of training: 3
Miles logged: 4

Today, three things happened: I ran four miles. Outside. Without my iPod.

Well, four: I survived.

OK, five: And wanted more.

Today was the third Team in Training workout this season, and that's what we did. We ran. Some went four miles, most went six. For me, it wasn't the first time I completed a four-mile run; I was doing those at the gym in July to prepare for TNT.

It was, however, the first time I've run outside, with other people and, as aforementioned, without my iPod.

My iPod is my running crutch. It motivates me (try avoiding a burst of speed when Destiny's Child is shrieking, "I'm a SURVIVOR, I'm gonna MAKE IT" in your ears); distracts me (it's hard to pay attention to splintering shins and aching lungs when you're flipping through Maroon 5 and P!NK to get to Long Beach Dub All Stars); and times me (confession: When I say "run," I mean "jog/walk intervals"). Without it, I had to rely on ... myself.

It was exhilarating to jog past my own expectations, and set a new bar for myself. It was frustrating to have to stop and walk as often and for as long as I did. It was wild to run to a cheering finish line. It was surprising to have stopped and wished I'd have pushed myself to run more than I walked.

It was unnerving to start looking forward to next Saturday's run within minutes of finishing this one.

The best part was the pride I wore like a badge all day today.

"What's up, fellow drivers. I just ran four miles. I'll run further next week."

"That's right, Safeway check-out lady. I ran four miles this morning. I'm doin' it again next week."

"Costco Sample Guy, you can't tempt me with your mayonnaise salad today. I'm in training. Four miles today."

And to you, much-beloved readers. Today, you are not as cool as me. Today, I ran four miles.

But I still love you.
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Monday, August 3, 2009

Wanda's Pretty on the Inside

I have a tree full of ripe apples in my backyard.

I also have a $2,000 fundraising deficit to fill.

Putting those two ideas together, I invited a friend over on Sunday to help me make some apple pies and apple butter for a Team in Training bake sale fundraiser. She had the apple butter recipe, and I was to crank out as many pies as I can.

As we were working (she, peeling, coring and slicing; me, rolling out crust after crust), we chatted and shared stories. She asked me how Team in Training was going, and I told her.

Then there was a heavy pause.

"You know my mom has myeloma, right?" she asked quietly.

Myeloma is a blood cancer included in the far-too-many blood cancers that The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fights through patient support and research. Therefore, it's one of the blights I'm raising money (and running) to help.

I asked her mom's name. "Wanda," she told me.

"Then we'll call these 'Wanda Pies'," I decided.

But my crusts were not behaving well, and required a lot of patchwork fixes. The top crusts looked battered, and the edges ... I'd rather not claim them. "Rustic" was the word my friend used. I called them ugly, and noted that they wouldn't be winning any beauty contests.

"We'll call them 'Wanda's Pretty on the Inside Pies'," I joked. And the name stuck.

The name works on another level. As my friend's mother's cancer progresses, getting around is becoming a little bit more difficult. She's become self-conscious about needing more help to get around. While her appearance hasn't changed and her daughters still find her beautiful, her perception has.

I imagine that, like my pies, Wanda is also pretty on the inside. So the name sticks.

If you'd like to support people like Wanda without buying a pie, please visit No amount is too small to help.
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Team in Training Update 2

Money Raised: $460
Days of Training: 1
Lesson learned: Don't run in old shoes! Just don't do it! Everything they say is right!

We had our first Team in Training group workout on Saturday morning. I didn't think I was nervous about it until I carefully laid my clothes out the night before. And double-checked my shoes. And loaded my iPod with a whole slate of new songs.

And went to bed with butterflies. "What if no one likes me?" I whined to Matt, snuggling up pitifully at bedtime.

"They probably won't," he teased, deadpan, not taking his eyes off the television.

But everyone was very friendly, and very supportive through the workout! We ran some laps, did some stretching, a few exercises for this and that, then a timed mile (mine: 12:34) and a run/walk clinic.

Three hours later, after a mini-buffet and a chance to meet our honorees (individuals on our team with a blood cancer), I left with a spring in my step, ready to greet the day.

Somewhere between the track and my front door, that spring turned into dead weight. I crawled to the shower, crept to the couch and--much later--limped my way through the grocery store. After lunch, I waved my white flag, set up the hammock and crashed until dinner.

Which I ravenously devoured.

So maybe I was tired. Maybe I was sore. Maybe I still don't like to pick things up after I drop them on the floor.

But I'm still ready for the next training! Go team!
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