Posts tagged ‘comfort zone’

The Future

You reach that point in high school when you have to begin thinking about college; you reach that point in college when you have to begin thinking about a career. You even hit that age when you have to start thinking about families, but I am avoiding that one for the time being. I can’t however deny my looming race date and the reality that I must explore the future beyond it.

I am sure there are people who are blessed enough to focus on one goal or one race at a time; I am not one of them.  I have always done too many things at once and need to know what I will be doing next week in order to do what I will need to do today.  So I woke up at 7:00 this Saturday morning to think about  (dom dom doooooohm) The Future.

An hour later, I had mapped out the next six months of my training life in painstaking detail.  The good news is that it can be done.  The scary news is that it is way more than I have ever done before.  But if I do it, I will have run my first half marathon and completed my first sprint triathlon in my thirtieth year of life (with literally no days to spare –I turn 31 the day after my tri).

I would be lying if I said the challenge before me was not intimidating, but I am also thrilled by the idea of new challenges ahead.  I am also super-psyched that boyfriend will be training with me for the tri.  Which is to say, he is doing the tri, though has made it clear he has no desire to train as much as I do or take it as seriously as I do.  And he may still beat me…but that is yet to be seen.

So here’s what the next six months after my first half marathon hold.  I hope a few of you will stick around for that journey as well! I am running 10 miles tomorrow and then just 25 miles till race day.

My 2010 Event and Training Calendar for Half marathon and Sprint Triathlon

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November 21, 2009 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Recap

J&S Race 1

Sis and me before the race.

After running The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K Saturday night, I know understand why half marathon and marathon recaps are so long.  A lot happens during all those miles, and I was lucky enough to share every minute of it with my sister.

Before the race, we sat apart from our guys and discussed our goal time.  We knew 1:20:00 was a perfect race for me, but we neither one expected that.  We knew 2:00:00 was how long the guys were expecting to ride rides and drink beer before we finished.  We secretly decided on 1:45:00 as a goal, but did not tell them.

Sis and I made rounds through the pre-race excitement, getting temporary tattoos and our pics taken.  We also had the traditional pre-race wait in the porta-potty lines.  This was my first time to pee in a porta and luckily my last that night.  I am a little amazed running continues to flourish under these conditions, but I am also a germaphobic freak, so it could just be me.

We lined up in the 9:01-11:00 pack and decided this was the best place to start.  After lots of Disney hoopla we chanted the ten-second countdown and then began moving when the fireworks shot into the air.  We walked, then jogged and were finally running.

During the first mile a few people with Garmins said we were running 11:00 miles.  I thought they were crazy because we seemed to be moving faster than that, but after a hairpin turn we hit the first mile marker and were still at the 11:00 pace.  From there we followed the road to a side access street or something and I was shocked to find myself on gravel.  I don’t run on any surfaces other than roads because I have been prone to ankle issues in the past and don’t feel up to gravel.

It turns out my concerns were founded; I am not up to gravel.  About mile 2:00, I turned my ankle on a lone rock as the gravel transitioned into a dirt path and almost went down.  I grabbed my sister—who thankfully steadied me instead of falling with me—and we made our way to the side.  I was so mad.  We were only 2 miles in!  How could this happen?

If there is one identifying trait that unites us as sisters, it would have to be that we are both very stubborn. I told Sis I would walk it off and kept moving.  I just could not let this slip away, but my ankle was killing me.  After about 100 steps, I was feeling better.  There was a slight break in the pack and we decided to jog back in and see what happened.  Over the next half mile the remaining pain faded and we were back on track.

Actually, we were literally on a track at the Wide World of Sports.  There were cheerleaders and a few people encouraging us here and I felt better.  Sis and I agreed to run 4 miles and then see how we felt.  By 3.5, I was over the ankle and feeling great.  We neither one mentioned walking when we crossed the 4-mile marker (still on 11:00ish pace) though we did celebrate the halfway mark.  We decided to just keep going a half-mile at a time and see what happened.

Miles 4-6 were great for me.  We talked and passed these two little girls who were obviously sisters and running together.  It was less cute when they passed us, but still cute.  I made a water stop and downed my Hammer Gel.  Things were good.  We crossed back onto the Disney grounds.

Running out the end of the 6th mile I started to get tired.  By the start of 7, I was really tired.  And really, really chafed.  We were entering the park and started to see people and rides.  Sis was determined we were going to run the whole thing and kept encouraging me.  She sounded so confident I had tolistened.

At 7.5, I would have started walking if not for my sister.  I was getting chills and my left foot was asleep.  I don’t know if it was a wall or bonk or what, but I was not up to the finish.  Somehow she kept me going.

We rounded a corner and saw the only hill of the entire run.  Seriously?  A nice volunteer told us we would be at the 8-mile marker when we topped the hill.  We trudged up, only to realize 13K does not exactly equal 8 miles.  We had .2 more to go.  I told my sister I could not sprint, and she said we were finishing together no matter what.

Then we saw it: the beautiful finish line.  I saw the clock and it was 1:28:ish.  I looked at Sis and told her my personal goal had been to finish under 1:30 and she told me we could make it. The adrenaline kicked in and with all the energy I had left I sprinted by her side to the finish.  It was really an amazing feeling.  I did it! But more importantly, I did it with my sister.  I felt like “Wind Beneath my Wings” should have been playing instead of whatever was.  We did it!

The final clock time was 1:29:19, but our final chip time was 1:28:06!  The feeling when they put our medals on was so powerful.  I never once earned a trophy or real medal before.

J&S Race 2

Water, Powerade, photos, and food bags, followed by the reunion with our guys.  I know they were both surprised we ran the whole thing.  They were taking photos and smiling and hugging us even though we smelled.  I could tell my boyfriend, H, was a little worried about me, and truthfully I was a little worried too.  I was getting the chills and felt very weak. I kept walking and the Powerade and water kicked in finally.  We waited in line for our stuff and by the time we left the finish line, I was feeling tired but good.

We changed but decided waiting in line for roller coasters is not the best way to recover from 8 miles.  We opted to head back to the car.  An hour later, I was showered and in bed with my medal on the bedside table.  I won’t lie and say it didn’t cross my mind to sleep in it, but I have to save some special honor for my first half!

October 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

Stalked by creepy car during run


I am a shaken from my run today and having a hard time getting my thoughts clearly stated.  I decided to do 4 miles during lunch instead of this morning and headed home at lunch to change.  My run started off pretty normal.  I am still trying to figure out my Nike+ insert but otherwise, non memorable.  Just before the halfway point, a white Honda passed me from behind and slowed down as it drove slowly over the hill and out of site.

Cars slowing down always send alarm bells off in my head, but I tried not to overreact.  The car had just turned from a main road onto a neighborhood road, so maybe he just needed to slow down.  Two minutes later, the car passed me going the opposite direction, and I got a good look at the driving taking a good look at me.  He then turned down one of the side streets.

Despite being very close to a school and in a neighborhood full of cars, there were no people.  I kept running and was approaching my next turn onto a half-mile stretch that would take me back to another main road.  If I stayed straight, I would hit the main road in .2 miles.

Four minutes passed and there was no sign of the car.  I wondered what to do.  I decided I must be overreacting.  I passed a guy walking and almost asked him to walk with me for a few blocks, but decided this was perhaps riskier than a guy in a car and maybe crazy too.  I opted to do the full run since I missed all my runs last week, but distracted I turned one street to soon and ended up on a dead end.  I realized it about six houses in and turned around.  My heart still racing, I decide to slow down and walk back to the street, as I would have a clear view of any cars approaching.

I got off the sidewalk and decided to walk a few feet into the yards.  After about two houses, the white car turned onto the street.  I headed immediately for on of the houses and watched as the driver saw me and then turned the car into the second driveway, backed out and left the street.  I am not sure why realizing I was aware of him made him do this, but I am still thankful.

There was a house with an open garage door and I stood in their driveway a few more minutes.  The car was gone.  At this point I was about a mile from home and needed to get back to work.  I sprinted to the main road and made my way back looking in all directions the entire time.  Every white car made me panic.  I tried to use my anger to run harder, but all I wanted to do was yell.  No person has the right to make another person feel scared.

This is the second time this year something like this has happened to me, once while cycling in Texas and while running today.  Both times the cars left when they realize I was aware of them.  I don’t know what would have attracted either (I was not wearing revealing clothes and there were other joggers/walkers around) and don’t know what their intentions were.  All I could think was that my next trip to the running store would not be for socks or shorts, but for pepper spray.  I wondered about the ads I have seen for personal defense and when the next class would be.  I thought of ways of meeting nice people who would join me for runs.

Writing this blog entry has not made me realize a way to rid the world of all the creeps nor has it settle my still racing heart.  What happened today took away some of that freedom I feel when I start out for a run.  It took some of the joy I feel when I finish a run.  It took the security I feel in my neighborhood and my confidence in my ability to protect myself.  But it will not keep me from running.

Photo credit:

October 15, 2009 at 8:54 pm 1 comment

Visualizing success despite my missing mug

mugDespite the wide selection of coffee mugs available in our office kitchen cabinets, I prefer to bring my own.  I like drinking my tea out of the same mug each day, knowing exactly how I will start my day as I sort my emails.

Today, my mug was gone.  After three separate trips to the kitchen (each time I opened the cabinet and hoped my mug would magically appear), I looped the office and discovered my mug…in the hand of the Global Sr. VP.

It took a few moments for the creepy feeling I often get when people want to try on my shoes or borrow my favorite blanket or just invade into my personal space a little too much to pass.  Then I faced two simple facts: 1) I am not going to tell the Global Sr. VP she has my mug, and 2) If I am going to drink my morning tea, I will be drinking it in something else.

Two more trips to the kitchen cabinets and I finally selected a disposable cup.  I just could not commit to another one.

I am really not a structured person, but I often find these little glitches to how I envisioned my day become major roadblocks.  I’ve learned that if I cannot get a positive mental picture of myself doing something, I either won’t do it or I do it and it usually turns out as I imagined.  I turned down a full scholarship to one university because the image that immediately popped in my head each time I considered attending was of me walking to class alone on a gray winter morning, a scarf at my neck blowing wildly in the harsh wind.  (It was an SEC school, so this scenario was really pretty ridiculous.)

Yet, I have also learned that powerful positive visualization can be the key to successful runs.   When I take the time to see myself running powerfully mile after mile, then the miles are usually just as I thought they would be.  Lately, I’ve decided what I am wearing the night before so I can see my pink-shirted self moving through the streets on my “hilly Thursday route.”  I imagine the chill on my legs and dew in the grass and hear my power song encouraging me up the big monster.

After a week of eyes so swollen from a nasty cold that the only thing I could envision was my bed, I am finally better and overcome with exciting images of tomorrow’s run.  Green shirt, lucky shorts, 61 degrees, uphill start in the fading darkness, flat finish, all power.   And after the run, my shower and my commute, I see myself celebrating with a whole-wheat bagel, string cheese and a cup of decaf tea in my mug.

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October 12, 2009 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

Seeing Double

Oktoberfest 2008, sisters

Oktoberfest 2008, sisters

In high school, it was my younger sister that ran cross country.  I distinctly remember her coming in from practice, read-faced and sweaty, only to moan on the sofa for the rest of the night.  Race days were even worse.  I always thought running must be the most excruciating torture one could self inflict.

That changed when I started running.  I did have those really bad runs I remembered my sister having, but I also had the really good runs that finally explained why she chose to run week after week.

No one would have guessed that ten years after she graduated, I would be the one logging miles.  She was always the competitive one, the athlete. I was…well, we don’t have to go into what I was, but trust me, no one ever pictured me running.  Most certainly not my sister.

It only took two weeks of me talking about my runs for her to want a run of her own.  I could say this was a complete shock, but it wasn’t.  I had planned on her being my running partner all along, albeit a running partner who lives 15 hours away.  She emailed me a few weeks ago to ask if I wanted to run The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  I am glad she could not see the “I knew it” look on my face when I replied, “YES!”

I will be spending this weekend at a family reunion (which we affectionately refer to as Oktoberfest) , where my sister and I will talk about our first run together after 28 years of being sisters.  I am ecstatic to share this moment with one of the people I love most in the world, even if she is a competitive and a whiner.  For now, I am faster than she is and running further, and she still thinks any one who runs a half marathon is crazy, but I don’t care if that changes.  We are tackling our runs together, and, after all these years, are on the same team. If my parents weren’t so shocked I am sure they would be really proud.

October 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm Leave a comment

Out of the Comfort Zone

Leave behind the comfort zone

Leave behind the comfort zone

Who doesn’t love Friday?  Now, in addition to being the best day of the workweek, Fridays are also the best day of my training week: rest day. Running, while exhilarating, is also exhausting.  After a really tough run on Thursday (more about that in my next post), I made sure to do nothing on Friday.

Saturday I cross train, and this week Hal Higdon recommends 40 minutes of cross training and recovery.  I am not very good at recovery exercise.  I feel like if I am going to be out there I need to work hard.  But overtraining is a real concern for me, especially since I am rapidly increasing my weekly miles.  I decided a nice, leisurely bike ride was exactly what I needed.

One of my favorite people to ride with is my mom.  Moving has put me within three hours of my hometown and made it much easier for us to occasionally ride together. I woke up early Saturday, loaded my bike and the dog and headed down the familiar road to Mom’s.  I don’t think I could ever live in a small town again, but they are the ideal place to ride.  Mom and I rode for 45 minutes, cruising side-by-side the whole way, discussing the people who have moved and the people who have stayed.

Moving to a new place isn’t always easy.  Adjusting to new people, roads, routines, jobs, and gyms is as exhilarating and exhausting as running.  But visiting my hometown also reminded me of all we gain by leaving our comfort zones and how much I have changed in the ten years since I called it home.

Tomorrow, once again, I step out of my comfort zone and into my running shoes, drawing ever closer to my half marathon.  The road toward this goal is unfamiliar, and I don’t know how many hills I’ll climb on my way, but I know I am going to run into that stadium on December 5 having completed my first half marathon. And really, how could my comfort zone ever compete with that?

October 5, 2009 at 1:55 pm Leave a comment

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