Friday, April 29, 2011

Whirlwind...Like Whoa!!

What a Week!!

I'm happy to report that my foot/piriformis muscle issue has "worked" itself out...Woohoo!  I happened to be reaching into the back seat to hand Ella a snack and my back cracked like crazy and the pain in my rear and foot are gone.  How's that for saving money on copays...rock on!!  You know what that means....tomorrows 14 miler is a GO!!

Speaking of baby turns 4 tomorrow!!!   It just doesn't seem possible!  This morning, a day shy of this monumental day, she sat on the counter licking a beater clean of cupcake batter while watching a real princess get married (you all know what I'm talking about...yes, I tuned in), and I stood there for as long as possible ingraining that moment in my brain.  It's like a reel of every precious memory leading up to this one replayed in my mind, and I couldn't help but get emotional and smile the biggest grin at how amazing she is.  In true fashion, she looked over at me as she could finally feel me starring and said "What Mom!"  I smiled and told her how cute she was, and that she must really like cupcake batter.   She knew it was all over her face and started to lick all around her lips.  Reading my mind she followed it up with...."Don't ask to take a picture, I don't want anyone to know I look silly."  I have to add that a few moments earlier I took Paige's picture after she decided to dip her pretzel into her paints and smear it all over her face and arms.  I sent it too a friend who I knew would get a kick out of it.  Anyway, just like that she is such a "Big Girl" that she doesn't want to be silly, or for me to smile at her, or even take her picture.  Perhaps, maybe, I'm a little sensitive today  :)

Last but not least, I thought I'd give a quick update on my DetermiNation fundraising.  For those that don't know, I'm running the Fifth Third River Bank 25k on May 14th, and am raising money for The American Cancer Society too!!  As it stands right this second I'm in Third Place with $936.96!!!  We are two weeks out from the race and I'm in the final push.  If you are interested in making a donation I would really love your help!!!   Just go to my donation page HERE and do so.  Thanks a bunch!!

The sun is finally shining here in Mid-Michigan....gotta get outside Stat!!


Jen B.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Body's Training Plan Protest.

It seems that what was written on the trusty training plan was completely thrown out the window this week...Ugh!  The week wasn't a total loss, but it does nothing for building my confidence for race day either.  Let's see...

Tuesday~Saucony Fun Run at Lake Lansing~4.15 Miles @8:42P

Playmaker's, our local running store, has really been putting together some fun events for us.  I was hoping to test out a shoe of theirs, I solely run in their Kinvaras, but wouldn't mind having a pair of shoes with a little more to em.  I had been experiencing some phantom foot pain on the outside of my foot randomly on Monday following my windy "almost" twelve miler.  Unfortunately they didn't have my size, so I just enjoyed myself running with my husband and other running buds.  The pizza was delish and the beers were fantastic.

Wednesday~4.02 Miles @ 9:15P

I was blessed with time to get out and do something and I chose to run  :)   Nice and easy out and back.  Foot pain was fine during the run, but felt like a sharp spasm when I took off my shoe.   I iced it and it felt better by the next day.  By better, I don't mean 100%.  Here and there it twinges and aches.

Thursday~Free Ab Class At The Gym

A really great 30 minutes concentrating on core work incorporating full body moves.  Did some partner stuff with the medicine balls, mountain climbers, planks, and dumbbell exercises.  Lots of squats got the legs burning too.

Friday~Upper Body Strength Session

My husband had the day off for Good Friday, so back to the gym for some arms, chest, and back strength training. 

Saturday~Sunday~No Long Run

At about the time I was set to take off for my long run, I decided on a whim to call a dear friend of mine to ask about my foot pain.  She is a massage therapist and helped me so much during my ITB injury.  She came right over speculating that it was housed somewhere in my hip/glute and the pain I felt was nerve pain instead.  Sure enough, it didn't take her long to find a sweet spot in my butt that sent me into delirium with pain when she went to get the muscle to release.  It was my piriformis...ALL sorts of jacked up.  She really encouraged me to give it some time to heal, no stretching, just icing.  Each night I'm falling asleep on my stomach with my bag of peas resting on it.  So, no long run Sunday either...just didn't want to push it.

Weekly Total   8.17
Running 8.17
Cycling 0
XT 1 hr 35 mins

I feel like I'm in the same spot as right before Martian, in that I am going out for a med-long run today with a 14 miler on deck for the weekend (longest mileage to date).  I'm not going to push through today's run if it's not feeling insure I get through the mileage this weekend, BUT it would do wonders for my mojo if it all works out this week!

I'm trying to stay patient and trust that I will have a successful race day like Martian again, but this just isn't how I planned to feel at this point.  I won't give up, and I'm getting butterflies when thinking of the race.   I'm really excited and will do the best I can!!!

Peace and Blessings,

Jen B.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

~With a Blink of an Eye~

I am in deep concentration as the woman, who's hair I'm braiding, is sitting with a serious 
lean to the left.  I am strategic in how I pull and tug the strands to get them to lay in 
a neat row down the center of her scalp.

"Can I tell you about my dream last night?" she says, quick to retract her statement.  
"Perhaps it wasn't from last night...or even this week really, I can't remember."

"Sure," I say, fumbling with the brush to tackle some tangles.

"My dream was that I was sitting in a chair and you were on my lap, and Ella was on your lap, and Paige was on her's.  I looked up and all of a sudden there was a whole 
line of children, waiting to be held.  I kinda felt like Santa Claus."

Strange, I thought.  As I am finishing up the intricate part of my work, I'm glad to only have a few quick twists left.  When finished, I casually reach for a rubber band.

She continues...

"Remember when I used to hold you like a little baby??"  With a chuckle she adds, 

"I mean, EVEN as a middle schooler??" 
"I think my dream was really about wanting to hold you like that again."

I stop, stunned and paralyzed. My mind starts whirling....

There's that photo I have in my "School Life and Memories" 
album in the storage bin labeled "Old Photos."  
It must have been from the summer of 1991....or 92.  
How old was I then?  
I always cherished those moments....

"Time for A Snack," my grandmother says.  

Just like that, the silence is broken, and life goes on.  

The universe has a funny way of presenting us with exactly what we need at a time we least expect. 
The planets align is such a way that a moment is created in which, we can either cloud our brains with details and when's and where's, OR allow ourselves the opportunity to be right there ready to say exactly what we've practiced in repetition a million times.  A slight hesitation, and the moment passes and a sense of disbelief follows that what just happened couldn't have ACTUALLY happened. 

Could it?

Dear Mom,

I have waited patiently for two decades for you to say such a sweet thing to me.  I remember the days that we would sit in the recliner, and I would listen to your heart beat.  In times of separation I often wished I had the opportunity to enjoy your loving affection.  They are my most precious times as a child.  See mom, I even have a treasured picture to share.... 

I apologize that I wasn't able to share this with you the other day.   

With Love and Compassion,


Growing up, I watched my mother ravage her body living a "Rockstar" lifestyle.  Forty plus years of excessive amounts of opiates and booze has left her now in her mid fifties living with, and slowly dying from, chronic health issues as a result. With her liver unable to filter toxins from her blood, she has permanent brain damage and is unable to care for herself.  Although incredibly painful to see the suffering she endures, I have found the courage to visit her whenever time allows.  Conversation is usually dominated by memories from her past.  I can't imagine looking to the future has much relevance.  She has a shrine of photos from throughout her life, and I am sending this one to her because I know it will bring her so much joy. 

It is a constant reminder why taking care of my body and putting my health number one on my long list of to-do's is so important.  It's been easy for me to know what I don't want to be like later in life.  There are always consequences to the choices we make now, there is always a price to pay.  It is my mission to inspire my children to know what you can be and do through a positive and conscious example.

This is why I run

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Seems that it's taking me longer to get back into the training groove than expected.  My 25k is less than 4 weeks away, and I keep finding myself feeling like I just need to hold on long enough to get through it.  My attitude needs some adjusting to say the least.  I've been shaking things up a bit by cutting back on the running a little and incorporating more cycling and strength training.  This approach will demand that I be creative in finding the time to fit it all feels extremely foreign and I'm not sure where to start sometimes. 

Monday 5Miles Easy
Actual 5 Miles @ 8:59P

It was a great day to run on my favorite out-and-back route.

Actual~7 Miles on the Bike @ 13.6 mph

I'm really enjoying every minute of being on the bike.   Perhaps it's because I just zoom around with no expectations or goals in mind.  My quads get quite the workout as I have to slow down a lot to get around people and then I push hard until I get nervous with the speed.  I'm feeling more comfortable on it each time I take it out.

Thursday ~Strength
Did the Slim and 6 pack Dvd and then some arm weights and alternating lunges.   I finally admitted to myself that this kind on "at home in, the basement" approach is NOT working!!

Friday.....I joined a gym  :)

Sat~12 Miles Easy
Actual~ZERO...had a bit too much fun Friday night with a few girlfriends.

Sunday~11.41 Miles @9:33P

The weather has been so wishy-washy the last few weeks, no surprise as it's springtime in Michigan.  The forecast called for High Winds at 25-30mph and unfortunately the weatherman actually had it right for once.  My goal was to make it through the mileage, conserving energy from not plowing through the wind to then use to keep a consistent pace at the end.  Legs were toast a mile from home so I just decided to bring it in instead of trying to extend the run to get a full 12.  As my first real long run since Martian I'm happy with it. 

Total Mileage  23.37
Running 16.41
Cycling 6.95

As plans are starting to be set up for the weekend of the big race, my excitement is building.  I feel I am running that race for something larger than myself.  I can't wait to honor my pledge to raise money for the American Cancer Society, as well as give back to everyone being affected by cancer.


Jen B.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Recovery Week & Randoms

First things first....I finally have my official half marathon results....

Kinda late on sharing, but I was hoping to have my finishers photo too and they haven't sent it to me yet.  Has anyone experienced a lapse in time of getting their jpeg?  
This week was recovery week from the race....and it was interesting to say the least!!

It started with some major delayed muscle soreness...just as my youngest daughter came down with the nasty stomach flu that seems to be going around.  I spent two straight days with her on my lap, trying to get sleep in between bouts of projectile vomiting.  I can't imagine how the body can do this as such a small child.  Too cruel to even wish on my worst enemy!!   She finally started to come around Thursday night...and has since returned to her spunky self, still snugly yet not as clingy.  Phew!!!
I managed to get in two runs...
Wednesday~3.3 Easy @ 9:47P   (Super Stiff and Hurt Like the Dickens with each step)
Saturday~8.03 Miles @ 9:18 P  (Getting much better....need a few more zzz's and some nutrition and we'll be 100% with a snap)
Sunday~Biking extravaganza!!
Because I felt like such a slacker all week, my hubby could tell I was all sorts of fidgety on Sunday morning, so he put air in my tires and I went for a fun ride around the river trail.  We were experiencing a 24 hour heat wave here in MI...getting up to somewhere in the low 80's, so it definitely felt like summer!  That afternoon when I got home from work, Jeff took off to take a look at a used bike trailer.  It's been a goal of ours to get one so we can take the girls around town to different parks and the local zoo with greater ease.  We was successful in finding an amazing deal, so after dinner we went back out for a cruise.  The girls had so much fun!! 
Weekly totals~~Running 11.33~~Cycling~~11.04

With all of that said though....this week has been the weirdest week in quite some time.  This is where the "Random" part of my post comes in.  Jason B. hit the nail on the head with his recent post HERE.  Does anyone feel like they did whole lot of waiting around and mental "Shouldn't I be doing something today" kinda stuff???   Granted it's not exactly comparing apples to apples when I mention his post because he completed a Half Ironman last weekend (kinda makes my half marathon a casual Sunday stroll), but my body had gotten used to working hard on Tues, Thurs, and Sat.   As my body recovers and heals, my mind has been playing all kinds of tricks with me since the race.....
For Example....
I've been pretty tight lipped about saying this out loud, but my attitude has been less than desirable.  I find myself thinking....
"What is the point of ever running a 5k again"   
                              As in "I'm too good" for the distance....Who am I?
"Why even run this 8 miler when it isn't going to compare to that zen buzz you got at the race" 
              Um, hello, that's why we we can feel that awesomeness on race day!!
I even ate two pieces of bacon and drank a 12 pack of IPA's this weekend...WTF!!  
 I rationalized it with the old...."Because I Can and Damn It I Deserve It" line.  
Shame on me!!!
I became increasingly confused....why all this crazy banter, this so me.......5 YEARS AGO!!
OLD HABITS my friends.  I had nothing really on the hit me a curve ball, and I completely reverted back to the lazy, pathetic, negative procrastinator mentality I once had.  Tsk..Tsk 
I'm happy that my realist rational side of me is able to put my ego in its place pretty quick with each encounter.
Although I'm happy to report that a bolt of lightning did NOT hit me for eating the bacon, I'm kinda glad I took the moment to have it because it totally reminded me that I'm not missing anything.  The beer situation is a continued work in progress.  Anyone who knows me knows I love me an IPA, but this weekend certainly didn't seem moderate, so I will be back to cutting back as of today.  Time to rehydrate!!!
I'm really grateful to have Fifth Third to reel me back in.  I've spent quite a bit of time thinking of this race, and what I'll be doing differently this time around.  The list is long and I'm going to save it for a future post.   I see improvements in my future so I'm excited.  I do so much better this way, and my attitude is always better for it too!!

 Peace and Blessings,
Jen B.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Martian Invasion Half-Marathon Race Recap

I've given myself a day to bask in the after glow of my biggest race to date.  My quads hate me, but my spirits are high and I'm so excited to devote some time into preparing this recap.

Race Day ~ Rise and Shine!!!
The day started when I awoke at 4 am desperately needing to hit the bathroom...damn nerves!!  When I was heading back to bed I peeked outside and saw DRY PAVEMENT!!  Anyone stalking the weather up until heading to bed knows that it was calling for rain/sleet at a 50% chance or more ALL night and into Saturday afternoon.   Could we really be blessed with decent weather after all?  I headed straight to the computer and sure enough, dry...low winds...and perfect temps until well after our race would finish!!

I laid back down...until 5 or so and then started getting dressed and getting my stuff around.  This was proving to be way more nerve racking than I had anticipated.  My stomach was in knots, I was shaking, and I could barely choke down my breakfast.  Before I knew it, we were pulling out of the driveway and on 96 Eastbound.  It was a pretty quiet ride...talked a bit about race strategy and how to use our new camera.  All the while, motivational texts and facebook comments kept coming on my phone...wishing me well and pumping me up.  Just as we were heading down Michigan Ave into Dearborn, the sun was rising.....

~Such a Gorgeous Morning~

......and Jeff fumbled with the radio to put on my favorite race song...the one posted the other day...James Holden "The Difference It Makes."  I of course balled my eyes out, but I kinda needed to get it out of the way.

With that...we found our parking lot, got my bib and shirt, and then headed to the blogger meet-up, hosted by our beloved Redhead.

Wasn't hard to spot where to meet!

Check out Red and all her Martian Bling
So nervous I can barely put lip gloss on

My Hero!

I can't say I stuck around much...time was ticking fast and before I knew it, it was time to hit the porto-johns...warm up...and Toe The Line!!! 


Miles 1-3

It took us a bit to get to the start line, but once we crossed those mats and started our Garmins, it was go time!!  I choked up thinking about the experience I was about to have...said a few prayers...and looked forward to seeing Jeffrey at about mile 1.   I was FINALLY running, and all of those jitters and nerves just seemed to melt away.   I practically had to wave and scream to get Jeff's attention, a second later he snapped a quick shot...

Goofy grin...feeling good!

With Jeff's words "Settle in Babe," it was time to focus.  I was officially on my own. I kept things nice and easy for the first 5k.  I was able to feel my toes and fingertips again just as I moved on to the next phase of my race.

Splits:  9:10, 9:27, 9:14. 

Miles 4-11

My goal for this portion of the run was to maintain or slightly sub a 9 minute mile pace.  I was really feeling great out on the open road with lots of room to move around and minimal congestion at water stations.  I ditched my gloves, hydrated, and gu'd at mile five.  It was fun to see all the runners coming back in our direction and I was able to cheer on my buddy Spike as he passed. The turn around came and I was so stoked to be half way there.  It put a little pep in my step as I headed back.   At mile 10 I took a honey stinger and a full cup of water.  I happened to catch Mike out taking pics on the course somewhere during mile 10...can't wait to see if he got any good mid-race photos.  This is about the time that I started to really assess how I was feeling and how to approach my final few miles.  I still felt really relaxed and maintaining my pace well, so with two miles to go, it was time to push just a bit more.

Splits:  9:00, 8:53, 9:02, 8:53, 8:59, 8:56, 8:57, 9:01

Miles 12+

My plan was to hit the last two miles at a 8:30ish pace and give whatever I had left to the last .1.   When Garmin chirped 11, I picked up the pace that felt "comfortably hard" in effort.  We transitioned from the open road to paved trail much like the river trail here in town.  I quickly noticed that things were a lot more congested and this portion of the race would take mental focus to keep pace regardless of what everyone else was running.  Passing people was a so many folks seemed to be dropping like flies.  All of a sudden we start running across this wooden bridge and I literally have to break stride in order to keep my balance.  This thing was so bouncy that I got off of it and had to run off into the grass and stop.  I seriously thought I was going to pass out and the dizziness was crazy!  After a few seconds I force myself to start running again since I seem to be still standing.  My legs come back after a minute or two and at mile 12, I stopped at the last aid station to drink two full cups of Gatorade.   I look over and see a man being helped by medics and I thought to myself...."Oh Hell No, I'm not going out like that!"   I start running again and encounter ANOTHER shitty wooden bridge that this time I have to walk across while holding the rail.  This one didn't affect me as bad so I start running again...passing people on the uphill climb back onto Michigan.  I remember thinking that at almost 13 miles, I should be hearing announcers by now.  Just as I get to the corner,  Garmin chirps 13 miles and the finish line is NOWHERE in sight.

"Where the fuck is the finish line!!"

My mind starts going all crazy and by breathing gets all wonky while fighting back tears and I literally have to tell myself to "Calm the Fuck're almost can do this!!"   

Thank god that last half mile was downhill!!  At the bottom of the hill I see my amazing husband....Hear Spike and Morgan yell their encouragements...

No more fighting back the tears...

Form is still strong

Almost there!!

And just like that, I rounded the corner to the finish and my first half-marathon is done!

Splits  9:22, 9:15, (.5) 8:42

I grabbed my medal and a water....the chip nazis cut off my tag...and I headed back towards the corner and received the best hug and kiss from Jeff.  Not long after we found Morgan and Spike, more hugs, and we're ready to head towards our brunch destination.

****Huge fail...and something I will never do not grab something to eat right after I finish****

I was surprisingly ready to bail really fast after the race.....I wanted to stretch, sit, and eat. 

In the car I finally had a moment to look at Garmin....and my thoughts were....

1.    2:02+ I must have really tanked those last two miles....
2.    Hmmm....those splits weren't so bad...
3.    Yup...the course was long....phew!

When we got to Leo's Coney Island for breakfast I could tell that I was all sorts of shaky and kinda loopy...whooped and ready to stuff my face.   Waiting patiently for my food we all had a chance to chat about our races.  I shared my inspirations I wrote on my arms...

Run Strong...Breathe...Ella & Paige
 I don't even remember what my pancakes tasted like, but half-way through my eggs my body was officially revolting all I had put it through that day.   I literally glazed over and could no longer pay attention to anything...the time to go was now!  We said a quick good bye...thank you's to all who had come to spectate...and headed home.   I went straight to bed and took a nice nap.

I have to say that it was so cool to finally put a face to some names of bloggers that I follow.  So nice to meet you Marlene, Bill, and Joanna!  Hopefully next time I won't be so out of it, and able to be more social.  Your encouragements along the way have been so nice...Thank you!!

On the injured list and smiling....LOVE YOU!!

A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to Morgan and Jeffrey for being two of the most amazing supporters and spectators I could have EVER asked for.  Thank you for all of the encouragement before the race...throughout my entire training cycle....through all the ups and downs along the way.   Thank you for being at the race....injured and unable to run....for all of us who did.   I love you both dearly!!!  

I'm still waiting on official results and to see my finish photo.   Right now my time is 2:02:28 for an official 13.4 mile race.  I've looked around at different calculators and predict it will be 1:59 something.  I am super stoked to have a sub 2 hour half marathon as a baseline to work at....Woot!!

Peace and Blessings,

Jen B.

P.S.  Looking forward to Fifth Third 25k in May...the adventure continues!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pre-Race Wrap Up

I thought I'd post the last two workouts and some other thoughts before the big day tomorrow.  Hard to believe it's finally upon excitement is overflowing as I prepare to head east.

Actual~7.66 @ 9:15P

This was my last longish run that carried over into this week after a very busy and exhausting weekend.  I shortened the original plan since this is race week.  I felt pretty good, keeping things feeling easy and not looking at my watch.

Splits:  9:11, 9:03, 9:19, 9:20, 9:23, 9:19, 9:14, (.66) 9:09

Wed~4 Miles Easy
Actual~4 Miles @ 9:20P

Is it me or is it practically impossible to go "Easy" on short runs right before the big race!!!  At least I kept myself from pushing up the last .4 worth of hill that leads to my house.  The wind in my face helped too  :)

Splits:  9:17, 9:17, 9:18, 9:29

So with that I am now about 24 hours away from the race.  Lots to do today, including pack up the kids and get them to their sleepover with their bff Daphne (shhhhh....don't tell them just yet, they need to get a nap in first), laundry, pack my own bag which apparently will include a variety of clothes since the weather can't and won't cooperate, and love on my husband tonight since we'll be childless  :)

My favorite racing tune keeps coming to mind....Enjoy!

I love me some techno to get the blood flowing!!!

Oh!!   I almost forgot!!!   Who went to see "MY RUN" last night?   I had the privilege of going with my girl Red to see it in our city.  I had watched the trailer before attending the show, so I kinda knew this movie was going to be a tear jerker, and more focused on the human spirit than running, but I didn't realize I would need a WHOLE BOX OF KLEENEX.  This movie came at perfect time in my life, as I needed this cry session in the worst (yet best) way!   This was the perfect story of inspirational triumph and just how determined a human, both mentally and physically, can be. My favorite line was right at the end when Terry Hitchcock said "Get off your butt and do something....Be a Hero, Be somebody's Hero."   How profound is that? 

With that I'll be back in a day or two or three with my full race recap of the Martian Invasion Half-Marathon!!  Wishing all my fellow peeps a safe and successful race! 

Peace and Blessings,

Jen B.

P.S.  Run Strong, Breathe, Relax!!