Thursday, February 25, 2010

OK, so this running thing is hard.

And on top of it, apparently I need new shoes.

I thought running was the only free sport. But I digress.

2.4 miles today and they were slogged out, grumpily, in and around my training time. Painful 1 mile to start. Then running bits crammed around reps of side plank, lifts and pendulum lunges, which, by the way, suck. Suck, suck, suck. I truly hate the pendulum lunge and I don't even feel bad telling you about it. Take that pendulum lunge.

Anyway, needed 1.4 miles still at the end of it all and I just didn't have it. My one banana was long since burned and I still just can't bring myself to eat more than that at five in the morning.

Plus, what if the kids wake up while I'm cooking up a couple of pre-dawn eggs and toast? Not good, not good at all.

So, worse than the fact I need new running shoes, is that I HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE GYM TOMORROW and RUN ONE MORE MILE. Then this weekend, the big 4.5 long run looms ahead of me like a dentist appointment.

Oy. I'm not sure about this.

Did I mention I have not lost any real weight?

I am thinking perseverance may be overrated. But in the interest of the 240, I am going to abandon all thinking now and just run.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No running today. Thinking.

Yesterday was a terrible day. I was late to work, and worse I was late to work at Reese's school and I walked into her class, oblivious of my offense, to see her dissolved in tears in her teacher's lap.

"She thought you forgot," Miss Di told me, looking for all the world like she thought so too.

It was only 11:05. Oh-five. Five minutes and I had undone all that had gone before that morning. That six years. Failure descended on me as I comforted my sweet girl. It only took three hugs and a promise of chocolate after dinner to delight her and before long we were working on handwriting with the other kindergartners, me cracking them up only to see Reese looking stern, letting me know in no uncertain terms that we were supposed to be concentrating.

I screw up so often at this. And I try so unbelievably hard. Which makes my sucking so much worse, I think. If I weren't trying, maybe the sting would be less.

That's why, when I read this excerpt today, from one of my very favorite writers, Kelly Corrigan, I was bowled over. And comforted, too. From "Lift":

"This tug-of-war often obscures what’s also happening between us. I am your mother, the first mile of your road. Me and all my obvious and hidden limitations. That means that in addition to possibly wrecking you, I have the chance to give to you what was given to me: a decent childhood, more good memories than bad, some values, a sense of a tribe, a run at happiness. You can’t imagine how seriously I take that—even as I fail you. Mothering you is the first thing of consequence that I have ever done."

Absolutely, positively could not have said it better myself. Thanks Kelly.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2 miles for Reese.

Interesting side note of getting in shape: having more confidence that your body can do things they've never done before.

Case in point: sledding.

I'm a city child. I have seen snow fall maybe twice in my life and the second time was this past weekend in Lake Tahoe. We were up for the weekend with good friends in a cabin nicer than our house having a wonderful time. I didn't ski, as lessons for growups didn't really figure into our timing, but I did sled and inner tube with both my kidlets. And embarrassingly, I admit that there was a time, oh, maybe six or seven weeks ago where I would have handed off "outside" activities, activities that required movement and climbing up hills and then flying down them, to Dad, the VP of outdoor fun at our house.

But this past weekend, I didn't hand off the joy of flying down the hill, with Finn in my lap, my generous bottom wedged into what amounted to a giant donut, as we sailed down the hill. It was so quiet, I could hear us both breathing, cheek to cheek, and then maybe holding our breath over a bump and then letting out a scream at the end as we hit the bottom and careened smoothly off the side.

"Again! Again!" Finn would say. And so we would.

With Reese, it was sledding and we went down side by side. She wanted to hold hands the whole way. This is us climbing up together on the way to a second time down.

I had no idea my fixation on my thighs would end up bringing me so much closer to my children.

Today's two miles was for my girl. Thanks baby.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What I really wanted was fish and chips.

But I decided to run a mile first and right when I was finishing, here's what I saw: my very favorite Sacramento sight - the cherry trees in bloom.

Spring is here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

10.9 done: here's what's left of me.

OK, first week accomplished. Barely, sweatingly, tiredly accomplished.

Today I had 3.11 left of my 10.9 mileage needed for the week (I need to knock out 10.9 each week to make it to 240 miles before my 40th birthday) and I had my trainer today as well. So we did this punishment:

1 mile run to warm up.

Dips, push-ups, squats, then run .25 miles. Repeat three times.

1.61 miles to finish.

Wow. I am so out of shape. The kind of out of shape where my butt is finishing the run about 12 minutes behind the rest of me.

But I did it.

10.9 miles completed. 229.1 to go. Or a million, depending on your outlook.

But, when I came back home this morning, gym clothes stuck to me, I checked my email and found an old friend from college had written to say she is also turning 40 this year and IS GOING TO MATCH MY 240.

How cool is that?

So not only am I now running toward the milestone, instead of away from it, I'm running with someone. Granted, someone who lives thousands of miles away. But still, we're running together. And it feels great.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2 miles for Frank.

Today was for Frank, our much loved friend, adopted Grandpa and neighbor who has been ill and confined at home for the past few weeks. When I was running today, after a mile or so, I was losing steam and realized I had forgotten to eat before I left the house. I wanted to stop so badly, but instead I just thought of Frank and all the times I've watched him with my son Finn, out in the dirt, looking for bugs side by side, both of them laughing their heads off in the summer light.

Today, I ran for you, Frank. And I thought of you every step of the way.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A slip up, already?

So, I've got my plan: 2.5 miles for the next three days and workout with my trainer today at 5:45am. But, oh no, she's sick, the gym owner informs me as I begin my workout.

Quick evaluation while I'm on the treadmill - the options temptingly unfold before me:

1 - Leave and grab some hotcakes at 33rd Street Bistro. Yum, syrup.

2 - Go back to warm bed.

3 - Continue with workout on my own. Pain ensues.

Barely, just barely chose 3. Got three miles done, plus some strength training of my own devising, which included sit-ups, step-ups and this exercise they call mountain climbing but really is just me on all fours, my feet pumping on these little purple disks, looking for all the world like a cat on ice skates. A highly uncoordinated cat.

So, with zero grace, three miles: check.

Counter: 6.29 miles/240.

Oy vey.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The math.

So running 10.9 miles per week, for me, the math dis-inclined, took awhile to figure. Here's the word problem:

If 39.6 year-old Geri needs to run 10.9 miles per week and has already run 2.39 miles but is going to be out of town this weekend and only has two scheduled work out times available, how messed up is she already and it's only the first week?

Answer: Very.

So, either I run up in the snow in Tahoe (chances decidedly unlikely) or I get an extra workout in this week sometime. Options are after work on Wednesday or Wednesday morning, which means runing 2.5 miles Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning, two days of which I will also be doing an hour of strength training, previously purchased.

Whose idea was this anyway?

The good news? My little sister got engaged last night. And she asked me to be her Matron of Honor. Oh my goodness. So thrilled for her. And honored to be honored.

Next thought: the dress. I have not been in a wedding since before I had kids and I recall getting into bridal wear, even back then, was no picnic. More inspiration, I suppose. More need to make the numbers work: I am going to rock that taffeta, baby.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A little history.

I am worse than a couch potato, really.

That's because I don't even watch TV. Or needlepoint. Or even just lay around. I have no good excuse for my complete dislike of movement. Other than being uncoordinated, easily distracted, the mother of two small children, the employee of one busy job, the owner of two untrained dogs, the wife of one loving husband. Not that you'd asked or anything.

Truth is, I've ridden my Metabolism Train for a good thirty-something years now; I can still hear the voice of my mother as I stuffed my teenage mouth and my string bean body with every kind of chocolate I could purchase with my meager allowance - "it's going to catch up with you", she'd said, my mother, the soothsayer.

Well, catch up to me it did. In fact, once it caught me, it attached itself to me like a bad first date; to my butt, my thighs and most recently, my belly. Yowza. Nothing like looking postpartum with a three year old in tow.

I can blame my metabolism and my big 4-0 coming up fast and furious in a few months; I can blame my love of cheese and chocolate and bread and my childhood addiction to my Bubbie's potato salad. And then there's the fact that the only role exercise has ever played in my life has been that of an unfortunate chore, like cleaning out the attic or dusting the house fans: incidental, a nuisance, infrequent at best.

But, some things can only be ignored for so long. Around the end of 2009, I pushed aside the Tootsie Roll wrappers long enough to take a good look at my figure. A pear shape that once was kind of juicy is now all the wrong texture and just entirely too pear-y. The thighs are getting a bit too acquainted. I keep losing pants that decide they are just not up for the zipper fight. And the belly, well, we already covered that.

So I called Nikki, a personal trainer who'd punished me, I mean trained me, in times of need before, and immediately wired her a big fat check before I could change my mind. I told her the time had come, I was serious. Let's go at this Rocky style, I told her, I can just carry you around on my back or something and you can yell insults at me.

That's how it works, right?

Anyway, on January 4th, I showed up at our appointed meeting and sweet Nikki had the nerve to be pregnant so I couldn't even really resent her as she put me through the running, sweating, dips, planks, sit ups, weights and other assorted torture she must lay awake at night inventing. We've been meeting twice a week since then, six weeks completed now and somewhere along the way I committed to running a relay half marathon with my naturally in shape and healthy and can eat anything husband, on March 14th.

The good news: I can now run 3.5 miles (in 5 minute running, 1 minute walking increments). The race is in four weeks and I'll need to run 6 miles so I'm ramping up for that each week, tacking on mileage painfully; the fact that I am covering 3.5 miles while not behind the wheel of an automobile is mind blowing and I have to say it feels pretty good. Especially when it's over.

The bad news: I have not lost a single pound.

That's right, folks, not a single pound. My jeans are a bit friendlier though. Underwear too.

So, I decided to do what I always do when I'm struggling, write. Trying to start this blog, I couldn't get the Running To 40 blog title, so I took Running 240. That's when the brainstorm occured: why don't I run 240 miles between now and my birthday? Some quick math indicated this would be 10.9 miles a week for five months. I could do that, right?

Somehow, it made me feel as though I am running toward the milestone that feels much bigger than it should. And I'm hoping it'll help me take my eyes off my thighs and onto the pavement. And around to the rest of the world.

Today was my first outside run. Up until now, it's just been me and the treadmill. It was beautiful out and when I was finishing, my husband, my three year old son and my six year old daughter were outside playing. When they saw me running toward them, they started clapping and cheering, like it was the last leg of the Olympic torch. My son ran toward me and grabbed my hand in his, pulling me the rest of the way home.

The first 3.29 miles of 240: check.