Thursday, March 14, 2013

Moving forward

I have been trying to say good-bye to running for about 5 years. It has been a prolonged grieving period, but it's time to move on.   I have finally accepted that my knees feel so much better when I don't run. I'd rather do things that support my health (like swimming, biking, yoga, eating well, drinking red wine, laughing, walking my dog, feeding my birds, gardening - so many options!) than break me down. As a little good-bye gift to me, here are some of my fondest memories of running:

*The running program at my elementary school in Concord, NH - we had four different choices for running routes. We did our runs (or walks) right before recess. What an amazing (and forward-thinking) school. We also had healthy snacks available to buy (fresh popcorn, apple slices, or peanut butter on whole wheat bread).

*Running with friends - especially Suzanne, Manda, Joan & Erin. I wish I could back in time for just one more Saturday run with them. (Okay - I just burst into tears).

*Running a variety of 5Ks in Richmond - I was stunned when I came in third in my age group in my first one. Where did that come from? Over time, I was able to throw down a few sub 21:00 minute 5Ks. It's hard to imagine running a 6:45 pace nowadays, but I had it in me when I was in my 30s.

*Running with Collegiate's cross-country team (for 7 years) - lots of hard runs, lots of great kids.Those kids certainly helped lower my 5K time. Try running with high school kids!  They are speedy.

*Meeting Rick - we would talk between our half-mile repeats on Saturday mornings. I tried my best to keep up with that guy so I could talk to him a bit between intervals. After one of those workouts, I had coffee with Suzanne, Manda & Erin. I confided in them that I liked "this guy named Rick."

*Running the Boston marathon - my favorite road race ever. Qualifying for it was rough (I was running on very, very tired legs), but the actual race was magical.

*Early morning runs in the dark and cold - some might think them lonely, but I found them peaceful.

*And every run in between.

I used to be so sad when I thought of saying good-bye to running. I denied it and tried to outwit my body with knee injections and knee braces. Silly me. With time comes a more sensible attitude.   I am grateful that I had so many amazing experiences and memories associated with running. It's time for me to apply that same attitude towards other activities.

Onward!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March 13, 2013

I had another blog post up for about 10 hours until I came to my senses and deleted it. I realized when re-reading it (always reread what you've written - I know, I am full of nuggets of wisdom) that I was doing too much whining. I'm trying to minimize my whining these days, so that post had to go. On a happy note, I have rejoined the Peluso Open Water crew. After IMFL, my motivation to get in the pool waned to the point of non-existence. I figured I needed a break so I took most of the winter off from swimming - with an occasional short flail-around session every once in awhile.

Well...I'm back. And I am out of swimming shape. But, I've got to start somewhere. I have actually looked forward to these workouts this week (sort of) because I know that a) they will be worth my time b) I'll see all kinds of people I like. In just two sessions, Laure has addressed some major technique flaws of mine with her various drills and pep talks.  I'm also trying to get back to strength training (in addition to yoga). My arms and core are really feeling it today after strength training last night and swimming (with all kinds of push ups and sprints) this morning. It's a "good" soreness, though.

One night (while procrastinating), I stumbled across what is now my favorite blog. The author (who happens to be a Vermont girl and Middlebury grad, so you know she's awesome) is a down-to-earth little speedster. Her blog makes me laugh. Check it out here - I think you'll love it.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

February 9, 2013

Pretty exciting blog title, huh? Sorry, my brain is a little fuzzy from this darn cold I'm battling. Colds are just part of spending most of my days with little people who routinely sneeze on me. Actually, this is the first cold I've had this school year, so I'm pretty pleased with that. In contrast, my first year back in the classroom, I suffered through THREE sinus infections. One was so miserable that I lost my voice at the same time (or maybe that was a gift for those nearest and dearest to me?)
Anyway, I find myself minimally focused on triathlons and far more interested in trying out some new things. First new activity: yoga. I will admit that I am just a little jealous of those super flexible, lean women who look like yoga goddesses. I don't see myself as ever being "that woman" but I am really intrigued by yoga. I've tested it out a bit and my conclusion: it's tough! I think it's just what I need after a year of long (and dare I say tedious) workouts that turned my body into one tight, inflexible just-waiting-for-an-injury mess. I found a nice studio that is right on my way home from work. My first class is this Monday. I am nervous and excited all at once - I love feeling that way.

I'm also thinking about jumping back into a Team in Training event. A wonderful group of people from Richmond and Blacksburg are heading to Hershey, PA in May for the Tour de Chocolate. I know, I know - it's a perfect event for me on so many levels. I can get reacquainted with my beloved road bike (she was so neglected last year), raise money to fight stupid cancer, hang out with some of my favorite cyclists....and eat chocolate. I think it's a "yes" on that one.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013

2013 is almost here - and it's going to be a drastically different training year for me. I'm going for short races. So far, the only races I have on my schedule are sprint triathlons. I might add an olympic distance race somewhere along the way (please note the emphasis on might). Long ago, I raced a lot of local 5Ks. Granted, they are 20+ minutes of complete misery.  But, just when you think you may pass out or throw up, the race is over. I found that I had to be in really good shape to run them well (for me). However, I did not need to train for 6+ hours on a Saturday to be healthy. And - I had time to pursue other activities besides running. Sounds like a win-win, if you ask me. That's what I'm aiming for next year: increasing my fitness but doing it in a more balanced way.( I also want to upgrade/redo some of our landscaping and (re)learn French - time will tell how all of this goes....)

Friday, December 21, 2012

No words

I know this blog is supposed to be devoted to my training (or lack thereof). Not this time, folks. There have been a lot of violent, terrible events in recent history. For me, the ones that have "thrown me for a loop" include the sniper, 9/11 and Virginia Tech. However, nothing has had the effect on me that the shootings in Newtown, CT have had. I'm beginning to think that I have a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder. Is that possible for someone who was hundreds of miles away from the actual event?

Maybe.

Of course, I am writing from the perspective of a first grade teacher. But, you have to understand that I love my job. I mean I really, really love it. My classroom is a sanctuary. The children I teach are part of my heart, part of my soul. If anything ever happened to one of them, I know that part of my soul would die. I know this.

I have had a nightmare (more than once, mind you) that someone took one of my children from me. Sometimes it's in the classroom, sometimes it's on the playground. In my nightmare, I negotiate with the person to take me instead of my little first grader. The ending is never clear. I think I wake up because the reality of this is just too much for me to bear.

Yes - this protective love is not just for parents. Teachers feel it. Or, as one of my colleagues so beautifully put it, anyone who has ever loved a child feels this.

When I returned to school the Monday after the shooting, I thought I would burst into tears when I saw that first, sweet,  rosy-cheeked little first grade face. But, I didn't. Blessedly, we had just a normal Monday.

I will never curse a Monday again.





I




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Winter Training

I am going low-budget this year in terms of my "off-season" training. For the past 5 years or so, I've trained with a group - not always the same one, but a group nonetheless. This winter, I'm going solo (for the most part) with my training. Why? I'm not really sure. It may be a function of my job - which is very demanding time-wise and people-wise. I am not sure how many interactions I have each minute with a child or a person, but it's a LOT. Don't get me wrong - I love it. But after a day spent interacting, teaching, re-teaching, reacting, soothing, reprimanding, supporting (you get the picture), I need a workout that allows me to just be...quiet. When I taught at Radford and Richmond, much of my day (when not teaching an occasional class) was very solitary. I literally craved human interaction. Poor Rick - you can begin to imagine how I talked the poor man's ear off when he walked through the door.
We happen to belong to a gym that has just about everything I need: masters swimming, spin classes, boot camp, and plenty of cardio and strength training equipment. We also have a workout room above our garage where I can ride on my trainer at the crack of dawn. I kinda love rolling out of bed (literally) and hopping on my bike. I don't even have to brush my hair if I don't want to (hmmmm....this may scare Rick - need to rethink that decision).
I've also made the decision that I need to ride outside this winter on Saturdays. I have cold weather riding gear, although at the moment I can't seem to find it. I have always whined that it's too cold to ride outside here....but it really isn't much of the time. As someone once wrote, "There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing." As a girl from chilly New England, I need to embrace that motto.
Do I miss my training buddies? Of course. But, there is such a thing as getting together for glass of wine, mug of beer or a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ironman Florida

Happy to report that I finished my third (and final) Ironman last weekend. Somehow the magic of IMFL '07 just wasn't there this time. One of my friends (also an IM finisher) looked at my attitude in an interesting (and, to me, positive) way. I told her how after finishing I felt just...down. While I continue to be extremely grateful that my knee held up just fine during the race, I didn't have that emotional/amazing/magical feeling training or during the race. Quite frankly, I began to find 100+ mile bike rides just plain annoying. I dreaded them. I had one good ride at the Heart of Virginia century - and then my desire to ride that long just...disappeared. My friend pointed out that this may be a good thing. She experienced the same thing with marathons (after she broke 3 hours - fast freakin' woman). I now know that my Ironman days are done. I am ready to say goodbye. I still love triathlons and will always think that the Ironman distance is "way cool." But, I don't want to race that distance anymore. So, au revoir, Ironman. Take good care of all my friends racing that crazy distance next year!