Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Please hear my disgusted sigh now. I distinctly remember seeing this race advertised as flat (and of course a Boston Qualifier not that that thought had even crossed my mind). Not only was it advertised as flat, but I can remember a couple of pals of mine who ran the Detroit Marathon back when I did saying "oh you should do Chicago, Chicago really is flat" ("really is" because Detroit is also advertised as flat which it IS NOT. I mean how you gonna go throw the Ambassador Bridge in there and still call it flat. Seriously, even if we're running blind I think our legs would pick up on it).
Anyway, after this flat report from my good marathoning friend (oh yes Jen you are in fact the culprit I am referring to, and it's been spilled to me that you're reading this so you better prepare to explain/defend yourself in the comments...and tell Miss Lori she might very well be on my list too b/c I do recall some confirmation on her part as well), I've been foaming at the mouth to get over there thinking maybe just maybe I could run myself a halfway respectable time.
But oh no...they're going to go ahead and throw a hill right in at the finish. WHO IS PLANNING THESE RACES FOR CHRIST'S SAKE? Satan himself? I am not happy about this. I'm still going to do it and all, but I am not happy about it. Which leads me to ...
THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Does anybody out there know an ACTUAL flat marathon? Do they even exist?
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Hop on over to my mom's side and you'll find my firey red head of a Grandma and my hillbilly Grandpa from which I inherited a number of things including my height, my love of writing, a flat spot on the top of my head (which all children born into our family will at one point or another in their lives be subjected to a one time inspection where they will be forced to sit still while one of the elders finds said flat spot, following which they will be then initiated into the family by having each other member of the family take subsequent turns at confirming that yes in fact the flat spot is there and therefore this child is one of ours, as if, you know, the whole labor and delivery fiasco wasn't enough confirmation). Among these and other rare and unusual inherited traits, there is the one dreaded by all Phelps women alike...we lack a chin.
It's not that we have NO chin, it's just nothing to write home about. I mean nobody's going to ever take a look at me and say "dang, look at the chin on that mamma." Now the lack of actual chin bone, wouldn't be such a nuisance if it wasn't for what came with it. You see there's nothing there to stretch the skin and/or what lies beneath, and if you put on a little weight say because of, oh I don't know, pregnancy maybe, the fat rises up against your chin and threatens to swallow it whole and in defense your chin multiplies itself. You go straight from having no chin to having double, triple or God forbid even more chins. This is not a pretty sight. In fact, ALL Phelps women know but only one pose when taking a picture...ostrich. Stretch out your neck, jut your head forward a bit to a least give the appearance of chin.
Now over the years we've come up with various ways to disguise this dreaded chin: turtlenecks, scarves, carefully positioned hand placement. I've even come up with my own little makeup shading techinique to give depth and character to a chin which is otherwise non-existent. But all in all there is only one way to give the chin a fighting chance...exercise. I run so I can lose chin fat. It's always the last place to go, but go it will...well...at least until the next box of paczki.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Here's the scoop. When I started this silly, yet somehow extremely enjoyable and addictive running blog, I had a million different ideas on what I was going to share with you. But since my brilliant ideas are often lost because of the various antics of a 3 year old such as dropping her fathers wrenches down our vents, or our silverware, or her princess stickers, or tiny pieces of paper that come from things like my grocery list, mail, or every once in awhile a book (my God, woman buy some vent covers already...didn't know I could also read minds did you?) I took precautions, that way I'd always be able to share with you my pearls of wisdom. I wrote them down. The list is ever growing and about to trickle onto a second page.
So what's the problem? You're gonna love this...I lost the paper. While I'd love to somehow blame this on my 3 year old like I tend to do with pretty much every missing item in the household even the ones that are eventually found in places she could not possibly have put them, I know deep down, this was all me.
It's not neccessarily that I can't remember what I wrote. I can, well, at least some. Enlightening little pieces about chin fat, post pregnancy jiggle, and trail running for the CIA. It's just so freaking depressing, to have all that vanish. I couldn't bring myself to the keys to type you all a little something.
So here's what I'm going to do. First, clean this pit of an office and see if I can find it because just moving the papers around here and there does not seem to be doing the trick (shocking!) Second I am going to start a new list...welcoming any and all suggestions because they may also in fact trigger some of my own.
Oh wait. Joy of all joys! I just found it. I guess the trick was moving the papers around and turning them over. It was just upside down. Looks like you will also have the distinct pleasure of hearing about sweating salt, stinky clothes, and oh yes...butt cramps. Aren't you so excited I found it?
See you tomorrow...
PS. You are of course still welcome to share with me your ideas. Although I can make no promises as to where they might lead me...
Monday, March 23, 2009
So tonight, before my run I check my Gatorade bottle. There are no drinking instructions to be found. What exactly is going on here my friends? Why would you shake one sports drink (already made I might add, it's not like I had to mix some packet with water) but not another. Are the great men and women of Gatorade keeping this under wraps on purpose...
Let's just think about this for a minute. Shall we? If in fact the instructions on this nameless sports drink are true, and you are actually supposed to shake your sports drink before drinking, what then does that mean for those of us who run in middle to back of the pack at our races? Are the superstar athletes at the front of the pack gobbling up all of the electrolytes that are so desperately needed by those of us in the rear leaving us nothing more than delightfully colored water and the mere illusion of electrolyte replacement?
And if this is in fact the case, shouldn't we as runners demand that race directors provide some sort of high tech beverage coolers with a mixing apparatus of some sort to ensure that we are all equally hydrated or shouldn't we at least be provided with some strong sumo types to shake those orange and yellow igloos before I am handed my paper cup for refueling?
Just how high does this conspiracy go? Something to think about...
More gems for you tomorrow...
Saturday, March 21, 2009
First and most importantly, drumroll please....Yes. Chloe has earned her martian. She has successfully run, walked, bunny hopped, danced, and galloped herself 10 miles. In fact, she's at 13. Only 12 more to go in prep for the kids mini martian marathon on April 4th. I'm a little nervous about getting in the whole 25 with only 13 days to go before the big race, but if we can get in a few 1 1/2 milers we ought to be good to go (although she has been resisting pretty much everything over 1/2 mile since the big 2 mile debacle...see my bunny hopin marathoner for details).
Oh and in case you were wondering, the martian's name is Marty and he's a little on the shy side. Marty's had a bit of a difficult time getting to know some of Chloe's other toys and stuffed animals. I guess maybe being from another planet and all it takes some getting used to here, but Buddy (my daughter's beloved donkapotamus, that would be donkey, cow, and hippo) has been trying to help him make friends so I think he'll end up adjusting to his new home alright, though I'm sure he'll be happy to revisit some old friends at the race.
Race attire has been decided on. Jeans (this has been chosen by mommy due to the fact that Chloe's top half tends to get ahead of her bottom half which from time to time ends in a colossal fall, but of course she always jumps up and announces either with or without tears "I'm alright." and continues on). She will also be sporting a green sparkly headband with shamrocks atop of pipecleaners generously contributed by Aunt Shellie, a pink tutu, and of course her sparkly pink running shoes. The shirt has yet to be decided, but I'm placing my bet on her best light up Ariel T-Shirt or her "running shirt" from the Turkey Trot in Detroit this past Thanksgiving or in true Chloe fashion none it all (have I mentioned yet that I can't keep clothes on this child despite my best efforts?)
And finally onto the socks. You may or may not have noticed there have been no recent comments from my husband. Ok well maybe you didn't notice, but I have and have been starting to wonder whether or not he's actually reading this dandy little blog of mine. Until yesterday. I was getting ready for a run and was missing what else but a pair of socks. Never fear Ollie's here right? So I head over to his draw and made the shocking discovery. There was not a single pair of running socks to be found. Luckily, I was able to scrounge up two mismatched running socks of my own so I survived. But this begs the question, did he read my blog? And if so, where now is he hiding his running socks? Or have I in fact crossed the line? I've stolen one too many pairs of his little running gems and now they are lost into the great abyss that is my laundry. Either way, as it stands, I'll be naked feet tomorrow.
Unless...and I know this is a stretch here...I'm just thinking out loud...what if I actually do a load of my own? I mean it's really Madelyn's turn, but what if? Just what if? What if I had a clean pair of matching running socks that fit my feet because they were in fact my own?
Hmmm....I wonder if I can run in men's dress socks?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This evening, approximately 8PM, a chilly dark and semi-stormy night (ok it really hasn't rained since about 4ish, I'm painting a picture people) with little warning, I make a wild break for it. The girls are fast asleep (well almost) and there's not much my unsuspecting husband can do to stop me. I'm out the door, into my car and peeling out of the driveway with a wave of the hand. My only baggage is a small purse (unlike most days when I look like I'm headed out on a weeklong safari). I turn up the radio and open the windows so I can feel the wind in my hair (at least I would have if it hadn't been so cold and looked like the sky might open up at any moment and pour down a wild spring shower)
I AM FREE! Like an escape con, or a bat out of hell, or maybe just a kid on Christmas morning the adrenaline is coursing through my veins and I am giddy with delight. I have left my house without kids! Albeit only to get formula, but NONETHELESS I am alone and man does it feel good.
THIS MY FRIENDS IS WHY I LOVE TO RUN! I run on flex time. Four days a week is all I put in. One good long run on the weekend. One focused run of some sort during the week...hills, tempo, speed, something like that. Two slow easy runs. No, I am not setting the world on fire with a schedule like this, but I am well on my way to shedding those last remaining baby pounds clinging to me like a leech on a hippo or jelly on a donut (yum...that's much more appealing let's go with that one...no wait...appetizing more aptly describes this analogy...better stick to the leech & the hippo before I stop off at the fridge for a late night snack). And I will hit my goals, slowly and surely, but I will hit them.
Flex time in the running sense of the term means being able to shift your runs when necessary. Being a mom, necessary is often...well...necessary. I get all my runs in. I just slide them around a bit. No missing a class, therefore missing your workout. Or feeling guilty for not doing something one night. Four days. That's what I put in a week and it doesn't matter to me which four. Just that 4 days I am moving in a semi-quick sort of fashion either on my treadmill or on the trails.
Tonight was supposed to be a hill workout. Big Martian 1/2 Marathon coming up (you know the hilly course devised by what I can only imagine was satan himself disguised as a fun loving alien)In prep I need to get in lots of hill work (or incline work rather) so that I don't find myself wiped out and lost forever in the great moutainous region of Hines Drive at about mile 10 or so (what you didn't think there were mountains in MI? Me neither. Go look at that elevation map. They import them I think). But the hills will wait until tomorrow because tonight...I AM FREE!
New Question of the Week: Is it as sad as I think it is that I am this excited about a trip to pick up formula?
Saturday, March 14, 2009
In my defense, I have a plausible reason why I do this. It's not that I enjoy wearing socks that are double the size of my foot (no in case you were wondering I don't have weird freakish clown man feet..."she had man hands. man hands" sorry, I digress) nor do I have some weird obsession with wearing other people's socks. In fact, I hate that I have to do this, but here's the simple truth of it: my laundry is ALWAYS the last laundry to get done.
My husband's needs to be done first so he can get to work. Next comes the girls so they're not looking like some scrubs wearing dirty stained clothes (and by stained I mean pretty much every square inch or their clothes, if you could see my children eat you'd understand why). Then, finally, it's my turn but just before I get that load in the wash, my husband's clothes are already dirty or we run out of towels and my dirty clothes get pushed down the priority list or rather thrown on top of the heaping giant monster of a mountain spewing high above the laundry hamper in my room and beginning to trickle into the doorway. Maybe in reality I'm just waiting to see how far this monster will make it. If I in fact keeping piling clothes on, maybe just maybe, those clothes will ooze themselves all the way downstairs and into the laundry room and they'll somehow find the motivation to just wash themselves. I swear I'll turn those knobs to get the water running if they do. I'll even throw a little laundry detergent in there for good measure. Now folding and returning them to my dresser drawers may require a little more self-motivation on their part, but we'll see.
So anyway, it's not just that my socks are all dirty. Because frankly, that wouldn't stop me. I mean I'm just going to sweat in them anyway, so as long as they're dry from the last run I'll stick those puppies right back on take them out the door (or down to the basement). And I have done this (I can see the disgust on your faces now, but you all know you've took a sniff of some article of clothing at one point or another before you put it on. At least here I'm putting on stinky clothes, to do something stinky, in the privacy of my own stink. And if you haven't, we'll you are far too holy to continue reading my blog, so consider this fair warning my friend) Here's the other problem, my loads are so huge that when I do get around to washing them, I don't necessarily get both partners of the sock pair into the washer/dryer together. So when a load of mine does get finally get finished, I'm left with about 10 pairs of mismatched sox. Different colors, different types. Still, I've even gone right ahead and worn two different running socks one cut below the ankle and one cut above.
But one day, when I had looked for a good 3-5 minutes with no running socks of my own to be found, I took a peek in my husband's drawers. Sweet Mother in Heaven! Rows and rows of neatly paired and CLEAN running socks just waiting to be used. I gasped. Did I dare? Just one pair wouldn't hurt right? And so began my descent into thievery... So wrong but oh so right. The adrenaline as I slip on one of those soft wicking socks secretly with a quick move to my shoes so my husband won't be the wiser and later sneaking them off and tossing them into my own giant mound of dirty clothes, tucking them into the pile just a bit so he'll never know has become an addiction. I'm like a covert operative for the CIA...athletic apparel branch. Really, it's almost a sickness now.
And tonight a new low...I stole a pair of my mom's. Just how low does the rabbit hole go?
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: If my husband or my mom actually read this, will they take forcible action to prevent further criminal activity on my part? And if so what measures could they possible take that would succeed?
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Oh and my rock theory: I'm thinking that the same little 3 year old princess who likes to store her silverware in my vents, stickers on her infant sister, and even pilfer the baby Jesus and his manger from her Nana's nativity and store them secretly in her bed, was quite possibly the same one who was responsible for storing a rock in my running shoe. Then again, I also have a tendency to blame that same 3 year old for my missing car keys, purse, cell phone, TV remote control and pretty much any item that is eventually found in someplace other than where I thought it belonged despite the fact that it is frequently quite impossible for her to have placed said items where I find them. Although, I do recall this little certain someone stashing rocks in her pockets on her last trail run. Yeah, I'm going with Chloe.
'Til next time...
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Because of a slight mileage mixup yesterday, Chloe ran 2 miles instead of 1 as usual. Which I should have guessed by the way she was dragging at what I later realized was the 1 mile mark. (Apparently I lose all sense of distance judgement when I am walking with a stroller and a cooing baby. What can I say? I was distracted. )
Ok so picture this now. A 3 year little girl in pig tails, her winter coat, pink sparkly corduroys and running shoes which are also of course pink and sparkly, wearing a yellow duck hat accompanied by her Nana (my mom) who is coaxing her along with the bunny hop song, and me with a cooing baby girl in a jogging stroller who's popping out a teeny little fist from her toasty warm car seat cover cocoon to punch a hanging red monkey every now and then, while I'm hunched over trying to give her a bottle. Chloe's running I might add goes like this: run, stop cram rocks in pockets, run, stop, pick up sticks generously designated for each person she knows, greet runners with a "hi, my name's Chloe, what's yours?" as they fly by, walk a little, swing sticks, make up songs, scream, throw sticks and run from stationary squirrel, red light green light, na na na na na na hop hop hop, pretend to be a horse. Oh and she is the official dog greeter now at the park we run at. Not a single dog will get by her. Not one.
So we did 2 miles in approximately 54 minutes. We're not exactly setting the world on fire. But one thing is for certain, we are 2 miles closer to getting her that frog... hop hop hop
Saturday, March 7, 2009
You know the ones I'm talking about. Whether you've run on a treadmill by force because the weather has dropped well below freezing and the wind chill is enough to quite possibly separate your nose from your face permanently or you're an out of the closet treadmill fan who maybe chooses the mill over the trails just because you'll have a place to put your sports drink where no one will steal it, you've seen the dots. They represent how far around the imaginary 1/4 mile track you've run.
Some people watch the dots. Some don't. Now there are subcategories here:
- Dot Starers - These people never take their eyes off the dots for a minute as if their very run depends on seeing that next dull empty circle fill with light but not neccessarily for any reason. It's almost a deer caught in the headlights kind of stare.
- Dot Glancers - They take a look here and there, probably more here than there, but definitely they don't miss when a new dot lights up.
- Dot Dependent - These people MUST watch the dots. They NEED the dots. They LIVE for the dots. They are similar to dot starers except that their run in fact DOES depend on the dots. They must see how much closer they are to the end of that loop in order to have the motivation to continue. It's desperation really, an out of breath huff and puff around the track, that teeny little track.
- Dotaticians- They watch the dots and do the math. Ok I just ran 100 meters, now if I just run the straight that will be 200 meters (yes I know this is a very simple example, but I am not a dotatician, nor am I a fan of math and quite frankly I don't even add well, so no sense in giving you a more complicated mathmatical equation like some dotaticians will challenge themselves to on the treadmill. I'd just be providing more amo for my eventual mathmatical demise). Some dotaticians will do this to motivate themselves to keep moving, others will do it for distraction, still others do this because of yet another addiction. They are also mathaholics.
- Dot Ignorers - They are consciously chosing not to watch the dots. They know of course that the dots are there. They simply choose not to look at them, most for no apparent reason. But then there are the select few who are actually Anti-Dot. They believe you should run for the sheer love of it and run until you are finished which you will know because like a jedi master you can feel when the force is with you and when it isn't. When it isn't, then and only then Luke, your mission will be complete. Those who are Anti-Dot are frequently called Dot Snobs in Pro-Dot circles where it is a common belief that Anti-Dot activists feel that any and all dots are beneath them. This is not always true and an unfortunate stereotype but one that will take much more "crossing the aisle" than is actually likely.
- Dotfree Zoners - These are the people who are completely in their head. They've zoned out. They're either solving the world's great questions (like Dots or No Dots), or saints lost in prayer, or music lovers wrapped up in song, or ultimate Zen masters who have completely emptied their mind of everything. Ooommmmmm.....
- Dot Hiders - Secretly would like to be dot watchers, but whereas dot watchers are motivated by the dots, dot hiders are in fact demotivated by the slow moving progress of the dots. Watching the dots would just make them want to quit altogether. They employ another strategy. Sneak attack. Their deepest desire is that when they lift that towel that has been strategically placed to cover not only the dots, but often the entire statistical console, that they will have magically defied all natural and scientific law and somehow progressed much farther than is humanely possibly in the brief amount of time they've been running. Dot Hiders are perhaps the most fun to watch because the more tired they get, the more they will pick up that towel with increasing frequency which often reaches the level of hilarity.
- Distracted Dot Missers - This is that lady. You know the one. She's the tall fit skinny one who runs about an 8 minute mile without hardly breaking a sweat while carrying on a conversation with the 9 different people who will hop onto the treadmills anywhere in her vicinity. Or the dude who's singing out loud without a care watching the world go by. Or maybe just somebody who's catching up on their favorite shows. Or, and this is a rare gem which can also be quite enteratining, the guy who's busy impressing himself with himself as he watches himself in the mirror. You've got to catch this one quick though. He's not usually on the treadmill for much for than one hard and fast as he can go mile.
- Dot Deficient - These people need our help. They are most often beginning runners. They have no idea what the dots mean. It is our responsibility as experienced runners to let them in on the secret of the oval and the dots.
Dots v. No Dots? Who is right and who is wrong? And better yet, what does all this dot watching say about our society today? A society where some of us have become dot dependent? And even worse some of us don't even know what a dot is or consciously choose to ignore dots? Is there dot discrimation going on? Are non-dot watchers judging the lowly dot watcher on the treadmill next to them? And who in fact will provide the stimulus for the dot watchers if the non-dot watchers one day rise up and decide to abolish dots from treadmills altogether?
These are serious questions and perhaps something that congress and our new president should move up on their priority list and begin deliberating immediately otherwise we are in danger of runner polarization and possibly even...dare I say it...gasp...runner civil war. These questions demand answers and I for one will not sit idly by and let the dot controversy escalate for my children and my children's children. We must unite... It's time for a change we can believe in...This is the straight talk express here...
And the answer to your question. Yes, I am a dot watcher, but my husband is a dot hider. So please runners everywhere, find hope in us. Dot watchers and dot hiders can live peaceably, even sharing treadmills...as long as there's no gas involved ;-)
Oh and to answer your other question. Yes I am probably the only person who finds this funny, but if you've read all this way and haven't the slightest grin on your face what does that say about you? Hmmm?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
So here's the before and after from my 1st marathon in Detroit:
Monday, March 2, 2009
But back to my cheating, it was on one of those desperate running days. I took my then 4 month old, Madelyn, out with me on a (semi) long run in her jogging stroller. It was unusually warm for the middle of winter in MI but still cold enough to be running with 3 layers, a hat and some gloves. My daughter I had bundled up pretty much like that kid from A Christmas Story (I'm sure she would have been crying "I can't put my arms down," if only she could say more the "gaaaa") My Dad also came with us looking like some sort of derranged mad man in his ski mask and snow suit. Needless to say, but nobody was gonna mess with us being that I was accompanied by what was obviously a mass murderer for my protection.
Anyhow, the trail I ran has 5 hills, which I had the distinct pleasure of running twice (please detect sarcasm here). Let's just say by the time I hit hill number 5 with legs that would not seem to warm up in the unseasonably warm yet still ridicuously cold weather, I was wishing my car was not so far away.
But it was about that time Madelyn woke up from her nap, peeked her little head out of the tiny opening of her car seat cover and flashed me her best toothless grin. The heat from my heart melting, seemed to warm me up a bit and I forgot about that hill and every hill after as my littlest little fan cheered me on without saying a word or even clapping her hands. If everyone had a Madelyn nobody would complain about hills. Then again it might actually be easier to run up them without the 30lbs of jogging stroller/car seat/baby combo. I swear if I keep doing long runs with her I'm going to look like a freak when I run my next race. I won't know what to do with my arms.
Question of the week: Where in fact is global warming when it's time for your long run and you forget your hat? Just wondering...