Saturday, May 29, 2010

Keeping Myself Honest

Ever since I graduated from high school (and thus graduated from my high school soccer and dance teams and the regular workouts that were built in), I've been trying to stick to a workout routine. And with all my starts ... there have been stops. I get bored. Something comes up.

This time around, I'm being very open about it. I'm blogging about it, posting it to Facebook, talking about it to my friends. Why? Not because I love bragging to everyone, or because I'm proud of my slow running pace. Because I'm hoping it will keep me honest.

I hate quitting. OK, I hate admitting that I've quit something. So, my hope is by blabbing about running all the time, it will help me stick with it. Also, by blabbing about my goals (especially when they involve races), I will follow through, because I don't want to tell the world I'm going to do something and not do it. I might be indecisive, but I don't like being a failure.

I found a neat app on Facebook - Brooks Running Club. Yes, it's clearly a marketing ploy by Brooks (I work in marketing, I should know!), but it's very useful for two reasons: 1) It's an easy way to track my runs and 2) It helps me build my own online running community. I can talk about running with my few friends that I know are (or are trying to be) runners, but this easily connects me to my Facebook friends (who use the app), no matter where they are or how often I talk to them, and it also connects me to other runners who aren't my friends. Also, the app publishes my runs to my profile, so all of my friends (that haven't hidden me or the app) can see when I've run ... and when I haven't.

I've also been checking out The Loop -'s online community - to connect with other runners and also to blog about running (in more detail than I do here).

So hopefully by "keeping myself honest" I'll actually keep with this fitness routine. It's been 5 months and I'm still running. All I have to do is keeping picking races to train for. The next big one is a Pikermi in September.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Proud Aunt Not Margaret

Did you know that I have the world's cutest niece? Well, she is to me anyway.

Aunt Maggie

Here we are together at my friend's graduation party. This photo is cool for two reasons:
  1. That friend a college graduate! Never thought I'd see the day.
  2. My niece is the daughter of one of my best friends since high school, meaning that yes, my brother married one of my best friends. She and I were friends for about 8 years before they started dating.
Do you know how great it is to have your sister-in-law as one of your best friends? Well, it is doubly great for me because not only did my brother marry one of my best friends, but my other brother has been with his now-wife for so long, that she has also become one of my best friends.

Pushing Myself

This has been a year of doing things outside of my normal comfort zone. So far this year, I have:
  1. Given presentations at work to leadership groups
  2. Given a presentation to my peers at a conference
  3. Ran a half marathon

    And most recently:
  4. Modeled in a charity fashion show

Annual Style Show

Somehow I ended up in the 80s group, hence the hair and make-up. I was mildly dreading this leading up to the Show, but it ended up being fun, and I met some very nice people. Plus, it's fun to be able to say I've been in a fashion show. And I really liked my dress (didn't get to keep it, but I could have purchased it at a discount).

I work for a healthcare system, and the show was to raise money for one of our hospitals. So, it was for a good cause. I can never say "no" if it's for a good cause!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Phun Run

This morning I got out of bed at 8am (on a weekend!) to do the Phoenix Phun Run. There were actually two 5K races very close to home for me today. I chose this one because it was earlier (9am vs. 11:30am for the other one), and also because this one was advertised as a run, whereas the other was advertising as a walk that you could run.

Anyway, it was a small race (probably 130 participants), and there were no clocks along the route, not even one at the finish line, even though the finish line was on the track around a high school football field - I don't know why they couldn't use the scoreboard. So I won't know my official result until tomorrow (needless to say, there were no chips). I think it was around 28:30 - 29:00.

Racing is addicting. I wasn't even home before I was already thinking about when my next race would be.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why do I run?

Palos Half MarathonEver since I've started running (and talking about it), I've encountered people who think I'm crazy, who hate running and can't imagine why I would voluntarily run 10+ miles at once, etc. People who respond the way I used to respond to runners. But now that I'm a runner, I want to share why I've switched from sane person who doesn't like to put my body through such stress to crazy person who gladly does.

So ... why do I run? Well, I run for a few different reasons:

1. I run to challenge myself.
I never thought I could run long distances ... but I never tried. So one day I decided to set the goal for myself to try. And guess what. I've run 10 straight miles without stopping. And I'm planning to sign up for another half marathon with the goal of running the entire 13.1 miles. There is nothing quite as satisfying as achieving a goal that you've set for yourself, in any area of life. I never want to stop setting goals for myself. I always want to have something to work towards. (This applies to more than just running.)

2. I run because I can.
To me, being in good health is not something to be taken lightly. I have two good legs. Two good lungs. A beating heart. There are many people in this world who can't run for whatever reason - disability, disease, asthma, etc. I run to remind myself that I can, and to remind myself never to take for granted that I can.

3. I run to relax.
This probably sounds crazy to a lot of people, but running relaxes me. It's my time to meditate, and clear my mind. Some people do yoga. I hate yoga. It's boring to me, and I hate sitting still, so the few times I've done yoga, I've spent the whole time thinking "when is this going to be over?" instead of meditating or whatever. But when I get into the grove of a run, I can think. I can just let my mind wander.

4. I run for my health. (This is the obvious answer.)
We all know the stats and research. Obesity is linked to an increased risk for many chronic diseases. I do not want to suffer from a chronic disease at any point in my life - it doesn't sound like fun, plus one day I want to have children and don't want them to deal with mom having cancer/heart disease/etc if I can avoid it. So I'm doing what I can now to be healthy. Exercise is one way to do that. And to me, running is an enjoyable form of exercise.

When I was in high school, I adopted the mantra of "don't ask 'why,' ask 'why not?'" (And also, "I'll try anything once.") So why not run? Because it's hard? Because it can be uncomfortable? Because it cuts into my couch-sitting time? To me, those aren't good enough reasons not to. So I run. And I enjoy it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Running Clubs / Group Runs

I'm interested in joining a running club or doing group runs ... there are quite a few options and I can't keep them straight, plus in case someone else is interested, I'll list the information here.

6:00pm: Running For Kicks (Palos)

couldn't find any

6:00pm: Running For Kicks (Palos)

6:00pm: The Human Race Sports (Orland Park)
6:15pm: Prairie State Road Runners (Crest Hill)
6:30pm: Frankfort Running Club (Frankfort)

couldn't find any

7:00am: Yankee Runners (Palos)
7:00am: Park Forest Running and Pancake Club (Oak Forest / Frankfort)

8:00am: Prairie State Road Runners (Channahon)
8:00am: Park Forest Running and Pancake Club (Park Forest)

Ugh why are the weekend runs so early??? It's the weekend!
And why are the most convenient runs on Thursday, when I normally have band rehearsal?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Upcoming Races

I'm keeping a ticker of possible upcoming races on the right side of my blog, but these are the ones I'd really like to run this year:

5/16 Walk of Hope and Fun Run 5K (the race is less than a mile from my front door, and starts at 11:30am and it's for the local Cancer Support Center - really no reason not to run this one)

7/3 Lemont Freedom Run 10K (just because this would fit well with my training plan)

7/25 Get Your Rear in Gear 5K (for the Colon Cancer Coalition! great race name!)

9/6 Park Forest Scenic 5 Mile (in my hometown - this used to be a popular 10 miler but has been shortened)

9/12 Chicago Half Marathon (my BFF who was never a runner is doing this one, it would be awesome to run it together)

11/6 Hot Chocolate 15K (free chocolate and a free hoodie!)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

San Diego

I recently returned from a trip to San Diego to attend an eHealth conference hosted by my company's web site vendor for their clients. While I was there I was also able to spend time with my uncle (mom's oldest brother) and aunt and their younger son who lived in Northern California but happened to be in town that week as well.

View from my seat on the way there:

flight to cali

We were staying at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego in the lovely (and active) Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter

On Tuesday night, my Aunt and Uncle took my cousin and I to a Padres-Rockies game at Petco Park. We had good seats - I've never sat this close at Wrigley Field!

Petco Park

When the new Petco Park was designed, the existing structures on that land were incorporated into the park - check out the Western Metal Supply Co building - those are rows of seats hanging off like balconies.

Petco Park

Hanging out with my Uncle was fun because parts of him reminded me of my late Grandpa, and also my mom.

Petco Park

The Hard Rock Hotel was definitely designed to make you feel like a rockstar. Check out Float, the bar/lounge by the pool, over looking the San Diego Convention Center.

Float at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Float at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

On Wednesday night, our group went to the nearby Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (where Top Gun was filmed) for our closing night event.

MCAS Miramar

We all got the chance to take a peek in a jet

MCAS Miramar

On Thursday, I had some free time before my flight, so my Aunt, Uncle and cousin took me sight seeing at Point Loma.

Point Loma

Point Loma

Point Loma

It was a little hazy that day, but here is Naval Air Station San Diego with the city of San Diego in the background.

Point Loma

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

All my pics on Flickr.

I had a really great few days out there, and kind of didn't want to leave! The weather was perfect, the food was good ... why leave?? Oh well. Chicago is nice too.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Race Report: Palos Southwest Half Marathon

running the palos half marathon 2010
shorts seemed like a good idea at the time.
not so much by mile 10.
Back in January (or maybe the end of December), I got the crazy idea that I should run a half marathon. Why, I don't know. I had never done a race longer than 5K, so the next logical step would have been a 5mi or 10K race. But no, 13.1 miles seemed like a good idea.

Well, today was the half marathon, and I survived in one piece. I started off with what I thought would be a good pace that I could maintain, but gradually slowed. Somewhere between miles 8 and 9, I realized I would have to walk if I wanted to finish. So I did. And the water stations were running out of cups. And I was chaffing. Badly. And being passed by the few people still left in the back of the pack with me, including an 85-year-old gentleman. But you know what? I finished.

Official time: 2:48:53, 12:54 pace
Overall: 1,351 / 1,428
AG: 113 / 119

At least I wasn't last, right?

My thoughts/observations on the experience ... it truly was an "experience":

- I heard somewhere (probably forums) that just getting to the starting line is an accomplishment. That was the case this morning. I am NOT a morning person, plus, honestly, I was slacking on my training during the past 3 weeks. So when my alarm went off at 5:15am this morning, and it was still raining outside, I tried to think of every reason NOT to put on my gear and go. But I went. Because I hate giving up.

- I saw Lynn and Jaime Parks! Lynn is in a wheelchair, and Jaime is a marathon runner. He pushes her through every single one of his races. It's inspiring. And he's actually really fast! According to the official results, he finished in 1:27:38, a 6:42 per mile pace.

- About 2 miles from the end, I noticed that my fingers were the most swollen I have ever seen them in my life. It was really freaky. After about a liter of water post-race they started going back to normal.

- I have never seen such a long line for port-a-potties, and I've been to the South Side Irish Parade.

- This might be the first time I've ever had sweat dry on my body and actually leave salt behind.

- There were port-a-potties along the race route, yet I still saw people duck into the woods. Also I think because they were available, I didn't have to pee. I think if they hadn't been there, it would have been a different story. Plenty of people stopped though, even 1 mile in ... those might have been the people that were still in the mammoth line before the race and just gave up.

OK, well now I really should go take a shower. I think I've rested enough that I can go stand for 20 minutes.

* note that I said "first" half marathon ... who knows I might lose my mind again in the future and sign up for another one.