Friday, September 30, 2011

Fitness Friday: High School Sports

Were you active in high school sports?  Run track? Play basketball? Cheerleading?  Anything?  I wasn't.  Not even a little bit.  Sure, I was in the marching band for a couple years until I rebelled and quit.  I sang in choir and was in a few school musicals (always in the chorus, never a speaking role), but I never even attempted sports in high school.

Maybe this is why I've pushed encouraged my kids to try their hands at sports.  I want my kids to be active and healthy.  I want them to be busy.  Sometimes I think maybe I've taken it a bit too far.

My daughter is a jock.  She officially proved it last night by earning her first varsity letter in diving - as a freshman!

To say I'm proud of her would be an understatement.  But, she also makes me crazy.  She butts heads with her coach on a regular a basis and puts the A in Attitude.  She's taking 3 AP classes, in the competition marching band, and is stressed out about homework and learning how to make everything she has to do fit into the hours of the day.  It won't get any easier next season when she does gymnastics or in the spring when she runs track.  But, she'll figure it out.  Because that's who she is.  High school sports and a heavy academic load are going to prepare her for the time management skills she needs in college and beyond.

Now, not to discount my son, either.  He tried sports in middle school and they weren't for him.  But, he's no slacker either.  He also takes 3 AP classes, is in the competition marching band, in jazz band, and just auditioned for and got a role in the first high school play he's ever tried out for.  Granted, he's not quite as busy as his sister, but his laid back, chill attitude is really keeping me sane right now.  I've even told him as much.  Pretty soon I'll be posting video of his thespian pursuits, and I think that's pretty freaking cool too.

What about you?  Were you active in HS sports or the arts?  How did you learn to manage it all?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Furry Kids

Furry kids, fur babies, pets. No matter what you call them, they are members of your family. For many couples, pets are their first attempt at keeping another being alive besides themselves!

No matter what kind of day I'm having, I can count on Squirt to make me smile. Even when she's being naughty, like when she steals my half of the bed or when she jumps on the table and camps out in my lunch box, she shows me unconditional (no, wait, she's a cat so there are always "conditions") love everyday.

Thank you, Squirt, for finding your way into our garage 13 years ago and jumping into K's carseat (while she was still in it) when I opened the van door. Our family wouldn't be the same without you.

Do you have a favorite furry kid (past or present)?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Check-In: On the Sidelines

Today starts the newest challenge over at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  Back by popular demand is: 
It is with some sadness that I am choosing to sit this one out.  I've had a few people ask me on twitter why I'm not participating this go-round.  Honestly, I really struggled with wanting to do this.  It was a ton of fun the first time and if you are participating you are going to love it.

So why did I decide to cheer from the sidelines?  Bottom line, I need to focus on the final 2 1/2 weeks before my first full marathon.  I'll be clocking some decent exercise minutes (on the weekends at least), but after the marathon, I don't know what condition I'm going to be in.  I didn't want to bring a tribe down if I ended up not contributing.  

Even though I'm not playing along, I'll be checking in and blog-hopping to encourage all of you.  So, have fun as you 
Outfit, Outlose, Outlast

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

True Confessions: the post wall edition

After finishing a very rough 20 mile run on Sunday, I have come to a shocking conclusion.  Ready?

I need to use these tools WAY more than I have been.  I know this, but because I've been feeling pretty good and recovering from my long runs easily and quickly, I've been neglecting the stretching and rolling.  

As I was laying on the couch in misery Sunday night, texting away with Kirsten, she reminded me how much I need to stretch and roll.  Especially after these long, brutal runs.  Sunday really kicked my ass, mentally and physically.  I'm still extremely sore (not "injured" sore, but tight muscles - hip flexors and hamstrings especially) and I'm a bit scared to go do speedwork tonight.  I went for an 8 mile, easy bike ride yesterday and it really didn't help loosen anything up.  Can't wait to hear what my sports chiro says tomorrow.

And, since this is true confession day, I really need to lay off the pretzel M&Ms.

What about you, anything you want to get off your chest today?

Monday, September 26, 2011

LLRB 365: 2011 Week 38

My Team Sparkle skirt arrived today! I may look like I'm dying on my marathon, but I'm going to be ADORABLE doing it!

A bunch of districts had fog delays.  Not us.  Points if you can find my school.

Necessities for my meeting this morning.

My students finished my bulletin board.

Pre-pre-long run fueling?

It was a great day to be a Grandville student.  
My girl took first in the 6-dive division and one of her teammates took 1st in the 11 dive division!
Then, later in the evening, the Grandville HS Marching Band were awarded Grand Champion at their first marching band competition of the year!

Finished my last 20 mile training run for the Grand Rapids Marathon.  If you want to read about how I hit "The Wall" you can go here.  At least some creatures like the weather :)

Obviously, my 20 mile training run was my biggest accomplishment this week.  What was yours?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday: I love my job

Today I'm giving thanks for all the little creatures who make it so fun to come to work each day. They never fail to put a smile on my face.

What are you thankful for today?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

A few scenes from my 10 mile Grand Rapids Bridge Run

You can read my race recap here.  This turned out to be a perfect tune-up race for the Grand Rapids Marathon, which is now only 24 days away!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Epic 10 Miler: A Race Report

I already sorta posted my runGR Bridge Run race report over at Daily Mile, but since many of you don't follow me over there (but you can - just click on the daily mile stats over on the right--->) I decided to write a little more about the race here. OK, a lot more, I never claimed I could be brief.

Earlier in the week last week, I was struggling with how I wanted to run this race.  You see, I haven't been training for a 10 mile race.  I've been training for a marathon.  I did what any good user of social media would do, and threw the question out there for cyberspace to answer.  WOW.  I had more hits on that post than I could have imagined and tons of comments, on the post itself, twitter and facebook.  I can't say how thankful I am to have such wonderful friends and followers out there.  You all definitely gave me a lot to think about.

In the end, my decision was made for me.  I'd planned to run 1-2 miles at the gym before the race, but I found out it wouldn't be open early enough.  So, after talking to my sports chiro, I decided to just go all out and run this 10 as hard as I possibly could.  He said if something felt off or I just wasn't feeling the speed, back it down and run a couple more miles later in the day.

Sunday morning started like any other race morning.  Early.  And with almost no sleep the night before thanks to my wonderful snoring husband because I never sleep well before a race.  I got up, made my usual 1/2 cup of oatmeal, and tried to eat some yogurt.  I also checked twitter to see how my friend Kirsten fared at the ER after her epic Tough Mudder race.  After reading her tweets, I promptly got all clammy, lightheaded, and started to strip off layers of clothing because I thought I was going to pass out.  Head between the knees for a few minutes and I was back to feeling OK.  Seriously, go read her race report and give the girl some mad props - she earned them!  Just be warned, some of the content isn't for the faint of heart.

I loaded my crap in the car and headed for downtown Grand Rapids (a whopping 10 miles away - gotta love a close race).  I parked in a lot about a 1/2 mile or so from the start and noticed my engine was smoking and there was a nasty smell coming from under the hood.  Crap.  I seriously thought my car was on fire.  The smoke seemed to go away after a few minutes, so I called the husband (waking his sleepy butt up) to tell him my car was possibly on fire and where it was parked, but that I was going to walk into town for the race. I want a newer van anyway, maybe this is my chance and if I'm lucky it will be a smoldering heap when I get back.  Sadly, it was still parked where I left it and hubs had figured out where the smoke and smell were coming from.

They don't call this the "Bridge Run" for nothing.  I'm standing on the Pearl St. bridge.  The first shot is facing south - we'll run across the 2nd bridge with the lights on top at the end of the race.  The 2nd shot faces north and there are a couple bridges that direction that we will run across.  This is in addition to some little wooden bridges in a park on the far north end of town. 

My friend Pete was also running this race, plus a few friends from church and my next-door neighbor.  I  met up with Pete and we hung out for an hour or so waiting for the race to start and chatted a bit with my neighbor, who never fails to entertain.  I took the obligatory pre-race picture (like the new lime-green armwarmers?!? they came in handy waiting around in the 50* temperature), hit the port-a-johns a couple times (luckily there were tons of them and the line moved really fast).  I lined up with Lightening Pete, bid him a good race, and we were off.

I didn't feel like I was running very fast and tons of people were passing me at the start.  This freaked me out a bit since I had a goal in mind of finishing with a PR.  (I was looking to come in just south of 1:45, with my PR being 1:47 set at the Soldier Field 10 Mile back in May).  I tried to not panic and just get my footing. We hit the 1 mile mark and I glanced at my Garmin.  9:46! Are you freaking kidding me?!? I've never run a 9:46 first mile in my LIFE.  I had to ask myself whether I thought I should reign it in or just keep moving.  I decided to keep moving since it felt good.  I figured I could always slow down later if I needed to.  My next 3 miles were in 9:45, 9:55, and 10:01.  I had just run 4 miles at a sub 10 m/m pace and I felt great.  There was even a pretty good hill just past the 2 mile mark.  

Miles 4-5-6 looped through a beautiful park with some cute (read scary) wooden bridges, duck ponds, and along the Grand River.  I got to see the lead guys and girls come flying back through (they were at mile 6 and I was barely to mile 4!)  Pete even saw me as he looped back and I heard him holler my name across the park.  "Hi Pete!"  I took a gu at mile 5, making sure to nurse it for most of the mile.  I was carrying Nuun, so I only stopped for one water station.  Miles 5, 6 and 7 were completed in 10:20, 10:22 and 10:25.  I was definitely feeling my legs by mile 7 and even walked for just a few seconds heading back up a small hill. I also peeled off the arm warmers somewhere between mile 6 and 7 and left them around my wrists.  I can't wait to see how silly that looks in the official race photos!

Thankfully, the 8th mile included the same big hill in mile 3, but I got to go down in this time and also noticed that there was a bit of a downhill as we headed back south into town. That nice downhill resulted in a 9:54 8th mile! Mile 8 took us back over the very cool 6th St. Bridge (cobblestone!) and I chicked 2 guys on the bridge, clocking mile 8 in 9:54.  At this point, my quads are KILLING me, but I have absolutely NO intention of slowing down.  I mean, seriously, I only have 2 more miles to run!  The Glee version of Brittany Spears "Stronger" came on the iPod right as I hit the 9 mile sign (10:04) and I realized how much stronger I've become in the past few months of training.  I had 1 mile to go and I was going to run it all out.  The final mile took us past The Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum, including his and First Lady Betty Ford's final resting place, through a beautiful park and through the Grand Valley State University downtown campus.  I came out of campus to run across the pedestrian bridge and saw Pete at the other end.  Pete ran with me for about the last 1/4 mile and told me to "run it in".  I did.  I finished that final mile in 9:45 (and the last few feet in 8:17)!  I completely SMASHED my expectations for the race and knocked my PR out of the park.  How's this for a happy smile :-)