What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

13 September 2009

Best. 10K. Ever.

I've been chasing a new 10K PR for six months. Last week, I had a fantastic 6-mile tempo run, so I had confidence that I could see that new PR yesterday.

So, I tried a couple of new things: 1. I wore a watch. 2. I had a plan.

Who knew that would work? Yeah, I know, every other runner on the planet.

Here's something that didn't change today: I went out too fast. Yep, my plan for mile 1 was to run it in 10:10. I looked at my watch at the 1-mile mark, saw 9:46, and said, "Oops."

Too late for fussing now; I had 5.2 miles to go. So, I slowed it down a bit, and hit the 2-mile mark in 20:09. I thought, "Perfect! But now I have to find a pace between those two."

I guess I found it; I don't remember my splits from there on out, but I turned around at 31:40ish, which meant I would have to run a negative split by a minute or two, as planned. So I was pretty much on track.

I saw Chad on the way back; he was a few minutes behind me and looking good!

I used mile 5 as a "recovery" mile-- went a bit slower than my overall planned pace so that I would be ready to lay it all out for mile 6. And that bit of the plan worked perfectly. I caught up to a couple of people who I had been trailing for the entire race, and hit the 6-mile point at just over one hour. Perfect!

It took less than two minutes to get from there to the finish, and my final time was 1:02:15-- a new PR by 42 seconds. Holy cow. (My "official" time is 1:02:20-- but they had some clock issues, so I think I may have been cheated out of a couple of seconds & it should have been more like 1:02:17.)

I don't think I can cut 42 seconds off every time, but I would be delighted to get the last 15 seconds off to get down to 1:02:00. From there, I can work on my ultimate goal to be under an hour. In the meantime, I'm going to train extra-hard to get in a sub-30-minute 5K before the end of the year.

12 September 2009

You never know until you try!

I ran 14 miles last Saturday.

Now for the marathoners & ultras out there-- please hold your sneers. Others-- please hold your ooohs or "crazy!"s. Because truth be told, the run was neither too easy nor too hard.

I knew for the whole week leading up to Saturday what my distance would be. (I knew longer than that, actually, but I really try not to think more than a week ahead.) So, I was kind of nervous; after all, the longest I've ever run is 13.1 miles, and both times I've done that I've been rendered non-mobile for a week. Also, I knew it would take me about 3 hours (yes, I run slowly), and my fuel belt doesn't hold enough water to last that long.

So, I did take it slow. I started adding walk breaks a few weeks ago when my long runs went over 10 miles again, which helps with recovery & makes the distance less overwhelming. I chose a route that took me past stores, so I could get a refill when the time came. And Chad, who was running 6 miles on Saturday, met up with me when I had three miles to go.

I did it! Fourteen miles in three hours. This week is a recovery week, leading up to my 10K on Saturday. And the following Saturday, I do 14 again, on my way to longer (and scarier!) distances. But now, I know I can do it.

11 September 2009

Back Again

So, the train from Sacramento to San Jose was fun. Getting to the airport from the train station was also fun. (Just by way of an aside, I would love to live in a place with a light rail service. That probably won't happen as long as I live in Lubbock.)

The San Jose airport is almost as small as the Lubbock airport, and a lot more crowded. But they are expanding, and it's a good thing! We were warned by various internet sources to expect delays, but we got in with no problems, in part thanks to the efforts of a Continental agent who already looked pretty harried at 11 AM.

I love airports, but the problem with an airport is that after a couple of hours, they will shove you into a tin can with wings. A cramped tin can. And this one had no TVs, no movie, and no way at all for me to not be bored out of my mind. Some day, we will have children who will ask "Are we there yet" for an entire 17-hour drive to Indiana, and I really will have no right to be upset with them. But, flying is faster than driving any day, so I can't complain too much.

And our pal Kate was waiting in Lubbock to bring us home. Yay! Home!

10 September 2009

Uphill & back down

We went up to Pollock Pines to see Grandpa's siblings & have lunch. It's a really nice drive, as long as I can manage to stave off motion sickness. Luck was with me this day, and we had a good drive, a good visit and a fantastic lunch, because Grandpa's family can cook with the best of them.

We got in the car to go home and the excitement began-- the car wasn't working. I've never heard what the problem was, but we couldn't accelerate. Rather than call AAA and wait three days (which is what Aunt Ann said was bound to happen), we decided to take it home the back way. Fortunately, the road from Pollock Pines to Placerville is all downhill. Unfortunately, the downhill stopped once we got to Placerville. So, after getting stuck (in other words, the car died) in traffic & getting some assistance from a nice young man who was just hanging out, the car came to a stop at Round Table Pizza. Chad stayed with the car & dealt with the tow truck, while the rest of us got Grandpa home.

So, that was more of an adventure than we wanted. Oops.

09 September 2009

In a Casino

Our trip to California included my first visit to a casino. Now, I know for a lot of people (including Chad's grandpa), this is a source of great entertainment. I didn't see it, though; I really can think of more fun things to do with my money.

To a large extent, the casino was just as I've always pictured them to be (ably helped by TV and movies, of course): Lots of flashing lights, lots of noise, cigarette smoke, and young women wearing as little shiny material as possible serving drinks. However, unlike the movies, there were not uber-beautiful under-25 people sitting at every machine. This was the middle-of-the-day crowd, after all, which apparently means "retired."

A highlight of the casino was the restaurant. We got the buffet, instead of the crazy-priced "gourmet" restaurant, and I gotta say, that was the best buffet food I've ever had in my life.

And after we got done, Chad found a dollar in his wallet to stick in a machine. Oooh, life in the fast lane.

08 September 2009

Yes! I went on vacation!

Okay, I have this habit of promising gripping, exciting, detailed posts.

That almost never happens.

But let me tell you a bit about our trip to California, before memory fades completely...

My cousins' children are growing up. Waaaay too fast! The last time we saw them, Abby was six, Anny was one, and Chris & Addy were non-existent. Now, Abby is eleven, Anny is six, Chris is three & Addy is two! How did that happen?

What was really funny was that on our last trip, six-year-old Abby could hardly be peeled from my side. On this trip, six-year-old Anny could hardly be peeled from my side. She even got permission to sit with us during church, which was so sweet! It is hard to be admired by my small cousins, when I know that 1. I'm just not that great of a cousin, and 2. I'm not that great of a person, either. I shudder at the thought of how much responsibility all adults have when they have small eyes watching, and especially parents. Yikes! Time to start praying.

Chad's grandpa was very happy to see him, and we were pretty happy to see him, too. It's been too long since our last trip. Grandpa has terminal cancer, but that has not diminished his enjoyment of his family and friends. He gets tired, and I'm sure he gets discouraged, but he had on his "game face" while we were there and it was delightful to see him.

More to come...

07 September 2009

Running for someone

I love watching sporting events on TV. I like them for the obvious reasons that everyone else does: they are entertaining, fun, a chance to see the best in the world turning sport into art, etc.

But, being a runner, I also love it for the inspiration it provides. Watching Roger Federer or Serena Williams tear up the tennis court makes me want to push myself that bit harder on my next run. I'll never be a Kara Goucher, I'll never make it to a national championships (not even when I'm old enough for the Senior Olympics!), and I will never so much as win a local race. But that doesn't mean I can't take the inspiration provided by the best of the best, and use that inspiration to be the best runner that I can be.

And I had another source of inspiration as I was running this morning. I'm sure everyone knows that "Labor Day" is synonymous with "MDA Telethon". There is a young man at church called Ben who has been on the local MDA broadcast every year since he can remember, I would imagine. He was diagnosed when he was three; he is now a senior in high school. Most MD patients his age are in wheelchairs, and I can only hope that most MD patients his age have so many devoted prayer warriors as he does.

I didn't even know Ben yet when I first saw him on TV; I just saw the announcement in the church bulletin that he would be on it. So, I tuned in. I had no idea, that Labor Day in 2002, that I was looking at a family who in a matter of months would become some of my favourite people on the planet. I didn't know I was looking at a remarkable young man who would steal my heart and make his way permanently onto my prayer list. I didn't know that I would one day hear his entire story from his parents and require nearly an entire box of tissues (and I still do, every time I hear it). I just saw a young family, with three energetic little boys, who were facing an uphill battle and were winning. They are still winning.

On Saturday, I'll run another 10K, something Ben will never do. This morning as I ran, getting ready for Saturday, I thought of all the people who have rallied around Ben and his family. I thought of all the prayers sent heavenward on his behalf in the past 17 years, and added my own prayer to them this morning. I thought of how he'll be on TV later, and the city of Lubbock that has watched him grow up will see him one more time. I thought that come Saturday, when I start to get tired, I'll think of Ben and see if that doesn't push me to pick up the pace for one more mile.

Because it is amazing what one can do, when doing it for something (or someone!) beyond one's self.