Saturday, July 27, 2013

Houston, We Have a Problem

The marathon training hit a major snag today.  Well, the snag won't come for several more weeks, but I found out about it today.  Neither of my running buddies plans on finishing the marathon training. That means there will be 2-5 weeks (depending on how long they choose to continue running) where I'll be on my own for the long training run.  I don't do solo runs.  I'm glad they told me now so I have a bit of time to see if there's someone else I can run with or so I can figure something else out.  But after today I wonder if I won't just choose to stop the training also.

There are several reasons I'm torn about the decision.  For one thing, in my book it says that if I follow the training and advice I will complete a marathon.  That's pretty exciting and I trust it entirely.  On the other hand, I'm tired.  So tired.  Our run today was 11 miles.  We ran 8 down the canyon and 3 more in town.  I started to get some stomach cramps three or four miles in and those were pretty uncomfortable.  It was hard.  The opposite of that, of course, is that I never expected this to be easy.  Every hard, worthwhile thing I've ever done has always included a time when I wanted to give up and quit.  I'm a rather stubborn and prideful girl, which makes me balk at the idea of just saying I'm done without finishing.  Then there's how I feel after the long run every Saturday.  The runner's diarrhea is bad enough to make me question if I am willing to feel it every week until the end of October.  That's 13 more weeks of miserable Saturdays.  On the other hand (I'm starting to sound like Tevye), if I don't do this now it is unlikely that I ever will.  How will I feel in 13 weeks knowing I had planned on running a marathon that day but had simply given up during the training? That thought grates on me worse than any other.  However, there is my family to consider and that is a HUGE consideration.  The Hubs has been so wonderfully supportive of me in my attempt.  Every Saturday he makes sure he's in charge of the kids and the house while I run and then take a couple of hours to recover and shower.  Even after that I'm fairly useless because I feel cruddy.  By the evening or the next morning I'm fine, but it's not a fun way for the Hubs to spend his one day that is completely off.  There are times when I can see the strain and I feel guilty knowing I'm the cause.  I also know that he would never ask me to stop.  The kids don't seem to mind that I'm gone though.

So now that you know what's going on in my head I'll move on to the big run itself.  I actually really enjoyed most of it.  I didn't urn my music on for quite a while because I really love listening to the sounds of the canyon as I run.  City sounds aren't my favorite but it's had to beat the sound of a mountain stream--so peaceful.  We've been running down the canyon to keep cool, to have an "easier" run, and to train the muscles we don't usually use in a city run.  We learned about those running muscles last week. :)  We've talked about running the Mt. Nebo half marathon and this is great training for that.  Not to mention that the marathon I intend to run is also a downhill canyon race.  There doesn't seem to be a better way to train than to actually do something identical or similar to what I plan. Aside from the oh-so-lovely stomach cramps, I think I would have been quite pleased with the run had it not been so hard on my running buddies.  It was pretty hard on them which, in turn, got me thinking about what was difficult for me.  Not a good way to feel confident.  The plus part is that I made it to the top of the final hill by chanting, "I am a marathoner.  I am strong.  I love to run." until I made it all the way up.  That little mental trick works wonders.  Really what I need to do is focus on me and what's going on with me to keep totally positive.  I think that will give me the best idea of my body's capabilities.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Above and Below Average

I'm still on the running kick.  Most of my sewing has been on hold as I've been doing other things. The marathon is the big goal for the next three months.  But I will be making some shirts and a pair of pants as Blue Eyes gets ready for Kindergarten in the fall.  Gah!  My baby is growing up.  :(

Anyway, I was talking about the marathon.  The only reason I started running as because I needed to lose weight and having an end goal kept me motivated.  That was why I started training for a 5k last year.  Marathon training lasts longer and, therefore, keeps the motivation up for longer.  Moving on.

I was reading through the new chapter in my book and part of the chapter is about nutrition.  In the section where they talk about how many calories are used there's a line about "the average 120 pound female runner."  That's where I burst out laughing.  I am way, way above average on that count.  I weigh almost half again as much as the "average" female runner.

Now for the below average part.  This week has the miles for the two short runs of the week bumped up to four miles from the three I've been doing for the past several weeks.  The book said I wouldn't even notice it.  I was amazed to find it was true!  I was still sore from the 10 mile run on Saturday (we ran almost all of it downhill and used muscles we're not generally accustomed to) so I expected the four miles on Monday to be akin to torture.  I was shocked at how easy the four miles were.  Today's medium run was also bumped up from five miles to six.  It was very challenging.  The worst part was the last mile.  It was only sheer force of will that kept my legs going.  "You won't even notice it" my foot!  It was miserable.  I felt like I'd hit the wall after hitting five miles.  But I was pleased with myself for pushing through regardless of my desire to stop.

After I was all done and showered and recovering from a difficult run I took another peek in the book. The reason that last mile was so blasted horrible was because...I wasn't supposed to do it.  It was still supposed to be five miles but I jumped the gun and didn't check the schedule.  Silly me.  But hey, if my weight is above average at least my intelligence is below.  ;)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

10 Miles!!!!!

Last time I said I needed to have a good run.  Well, I can check that off now.  I've had two GREAT runs in a row.  Actually, I guess it's three.  Last Tuesday's five mile run was so much better than I expected.  It certainly wasn't easy, it was just way better.  I was worried during the run that I hadn't had enough to drink because I was hardly sweating at all.  Turns out I was sweating profusely from my head and it all went into my ponytail.  When I finished I was able to wring it out.  Three times.  And I felt great when I was done.  Thursday's three mile run was the same but with less sweat.

Today was my first ten miler.  We started out going down the canyon single file with one of the husbands following in the car.  There was some concern about being mauled by a bear or a mountain lion. It was also nice to have someone to whom we could give our cast off items we didn't want to carry (long sleeved shirts for them and a waist pack for me).  That took care of the first 6.8 miles and the rest were done in town.  It felt great!  There were obviously parts where I was tired or thought it would be nice to just walk for a bit, but it is easily my favorite run of all time.  Who'd have thought I would ever say that about a 10 mile run?!  We did stop a couple of times to stretch or walk for a bit and for me to go to the bathroom.

Now comes the honest part.  As great as he run was and as terrific as I felt immediately afterward, I'm still paying for it hours later.  I'm pretty sure my intestines are angry I bounced them around for two hours and are now wreaking their vengeance.  Last week I thought I'd figured out why they were so mad at me.  I must have been mistaken because it's all the same this week.  Stomach cramps are not my friend.  On the plus side, I can eat anything I darn well please today and tomorrow.  I probably burned at least 1800 calories on this run and my...uh...urges...will be gone by morning.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Princess Festival

One of the prizes Q-ball got at the Baby Contest was a pass for this year's Princess Festival.  He didn't use the pass, but the girls and I did.  We even got to bring along some friends.  It was pretty terrific. The kids and parents are invited to dress up as princesses and go on adventures.  That's where the sewing was involved.  I didn't make anything new for the girls because they already had short sleeved princess dresses.  They didn't get a choice about which dress to wear because they each only have one dress in their size without long sleeves.  The girls didn't mind me dictating which costume to wear.  Blue Eyes went as Cinderella in a dress she got from her aunt and Pink Blur went in her Snow White dress from Halloween.  I was able to bring along my niece.  She was in the Cinderella dress my mom made for her.  I was also able to bring along some neighborhood friends and their mom to join in the festivities.
The group of us at the end of the day.  Looking at all that blonde hair I feel like singing "One of These Things is Not Like the Other Things".
L to R: D (my niece), Me, Pink Blur, T, friend C, M, and Blue Eyes
 The only sewing I did specifically for the festival was my shirt.  The skirt I wore for my brother's wedding made for a great start of a Sleeping Beauty costume.  I found a t-shirt pattern and grabbed some fabric from the box of blue fabric at my parents' house.  I made a half-hearted attempt at adding white things to the sleeves to really look like Sleeping Beauty.  As half of an attempt tends to make for failure, I abandoned the sleeve embellishment as it failed the first time.  It was also midnight when I decided that "good enough" really was good enough.
You can't really see the shirt well, but there it is.  We're getting autographs from the Cheshire Cat.
I am ever so glad I didn't try to go over the top with my costume.  It ended up not being too hot to wear and was super comfy.  But I won't be wearing it anymore.  I'm not a huge fan of the length or the cut but it was great for its intended use.  If we go next year I'll have to get myself a different dress. I could have fun with my very own princess dress.  The pattern I used was 5-10 years old, when shirt length was shorter.  I survived being slightly less fashionable.  :) 
Here's a better view of the costume.  The tee is just a basic V neck with gathered sleeves.  Nice and comfy.
The girls are using magic to work together and fix the crown.
I had briefly considered wearing my Arwen costume from several years ago and I'm so glad I decided against it.  The sleeves would have been ridiculously hot.  It was also fun to see the costumes the princesses had.  The mermaid princess costume was phenomenal.
Blue Eyes wasn't the only one who wanted to touch the costume and see what it was made of.  I'm just the one of us who respects personal space.
It was a fun time.  I'm glad I made the shirt so I would have a princess costume to wear.  I also really did enjoy seeing the other costumes and getting ideas for things to make in the future.  

And now I'll leave you with a few more pictures because they were really cute.

The photo prop of death.  Before this picture it had already fallen down once, which is why my friend C is in the back holding it up.  After we finished taking pictures it fell over on Pink Blur and pinned her underneath.  She was unhappy about that.  We let it stay face down after that.
All set for the carriage ride.  I had abandoned my curly hair piece by then.

Rapunzel was very sweet after D fell down and got a nose bleed.  D was pretty upset about it and I was just glad her parents happened to pack a little hand towel in her bag.  Brilliant!


Oh, how I wish I had a really encouraging, uplifting post to cover the past few days.  But I promised myself I would be completely real.  I am in serious need of a good run.  Maybe I should say I'm in serious need of an easy run.  There have been quite a few truly difficult runs over the past week or so. The 8 mile run on Saturday just about finished me off.  It was partly the distance, partly my lack of water, and mostly the heat.  I'm not so good with heat.

We took a new route that none of us had ever run before.  There was a big section of straight and flat that my running buddies really hated.  Because I'm on a treadmill the other three days of training a week that wasn't so bad for me.  But my body just kind of gave up.  At one point I thought to myself that it would just be easier to get pregnant and deal with that instead of the run.  Obviously I wasn't thinking very clearly.

The last mile or two was pretty bad.  I started to get a bit light-headed and had to walk while I downed some fruit snacks.  Then I pretty much hobbled the last little way back.  I was not helped along by the fact that there was some idiot standing around right by where we were going to finish that started heckling us.  I had a couple of choice words saved up for him until I realized it was the husband of one of my buddies and he was cheering us on.  And he had ice cold water bottles.  Then I decided he was my new best friend.

This morning was another 3 mile run.  It was hard.  My legs were so tired.  I guess that's to be expected after only one day of rest.  Tomorrow I have a five mile run so we will see how that goes.  I just need to remind myself that I don't need to be a hero or a speed demon.  Saturday is a 10 miler.  I've asked them if we can keep it to 9 miles because I'm not sure I'm ready for 10 after last week's run.  The other part of me wants to just push forward.  It will be an easier run because most of it will be down hill through the canyon and earlier in the morning so it won't be so hot.  As I write that out I feel a little more confident about doing it.

I've been trying to think of ways to encourage myself and get past the mental block, so here goes.  I'm no stranger to doing hard things.  There is always some point at which I think I can't possibly go on, that I don't want to, that it's not worth it, or any number of things that make me feel like simply quitting.  Quitting would be easier but there would always be regret that I didn't finish what I started.  The big thing I keep trying to remember is that I built a house.  While I was pregnant.  There were several times I felt like we would be building forever and never actually move in.  Moving day was a year and a half ago, so obviously we did finish building.  I tell myself that this is just one of those times when I feel like I'll be training forever and never cross that finish line.  That helps me get through.  If I could build a house while pregnant I should be able to do anything.  The mental game is just as important and the physical one.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When Long Becomes Medium

Documenting the marathon training is starting to seem a little silly to me, but I know I'll want it in the future.  So, for anyone who isn't interested in yet another running post, this would be one to skip.

Every week I run four times.  The first and third runs are short runs, the second is a medium distance, and the fourth day is the long run.  I've scheduled my runs for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  This week the medium run bumped up from four miles to five.  It's amazing to me to think that it was only three and a half weeks ago when I was nervous to run five miles for my first long run. Even more amazing is knowing that in seven weeks the five mile distance will be the short runs in my week.  It's not easy, but it is doable.  I never thought it would be easy.

Probably the hardest thing about upping the miles is the time commitment.  I seem to have a mindset that a workout lasts for around 30 minutes and then you get on with your day.  Five miles, including the warm up, cool down, and stretching, takes me over an hour.  The miles go up just a little at a time so, while it is challenging, the amount of time I spend on the road or on the treadmill is harder than the physical work.  At least it is at this point.  I imagine that when the long runs get past 10 or 12 miles I'll think the physical demands are the hard part.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Running Buddies and Seven Miles

I'm afraid to run outside by myself.  It's true.  There are too many stories of women running alone and being attacked or kidnapped, as well as my own fear of overdoing it and not being able to make it back home on my own steam.  On the other hand, I was nervous to basically ask someone if they wanted to marathon train with me.  "Hey, I know we haven't talked a whole lot, but I know you're a runner sooo...wanna run a marathon?"  Awkward.  So it was with hope, excitement, and anxiety that I sent an email to a lady I go to church with and asked her if she would be my running buddy.  I needn't have worried.  She was great about it and I even ended up with two buddies instead of just one.  Score!  The other one is someone I had tested the waters with and it seemed she wasn't ready.  They're both great.

Running outside with these two lovelies is one of the best things that has ever happened to my running.  We run at the same pace (how lucky is that!), we all listen to music rather than chat, and they are wonderfully encouraging.  Running with them has been terrific because they are easy going and they know what they're doing and where they're going.  All I have to worry about is keeping up and listening to my body.  On the longer runs I've figured out that my right foot rolls to the inside as I run.  I'll probably need stability shoes to help with that.  In the mean time I just run wherever the street or sidewalk slopes down to the right.

This week's long run of seven miles was fan-flippin'-tastic!  After the Freedom Run I was sure that trying to go seven miles would be my doom.  I was wrong; it was great!  The hills were difficult but the breeze was a lifesaver.  I'm pretty sure I can do anything now.  One reason I was so nervous is because we had to go in the evening.  Usually I run in the morning when I have more energy.  I took a couple of Excedrin pills before the run to stave off aches and give me a little jolt of caffeine.  It was a good choice and I felt great at the end of the run.  I did end up getting kind of sick after I got home because my body needed to eject a few things, but it went away by morning.

Now this week brings a small bump up in distance during the week.  My short runs will still be 3 miles, but the medium run goes up to 5 miles.  I can do this!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Freedom Run 5k!!!

WOW!!!  This race was about a thousand times harder than I expected.  Bragging:  I've progressed to the point now that a three mile run is no big deal.  Not bragging: This run nearly did me in.  I had assumed it would be a really easy run and it would just be my regular workout with my training schedule.  I was going to pass out a few cards (which I did) and push hard to get a PR on a 5k.  My time to beat was 30 min flat, the time I got in December at the Santa Run.  The last two Saturdays I've done 6 mile runs.  Both of those were easier than this 5k was for me.  No joke.
Before, while I still looked lovelyish.  I'm #840.  I'd never met the two in the middle, but the other three are family friends.  The one on the far right is the one who organized the fundraiser.  The other two I know are her mom and her sister-in-law.

Hey, look!  It's my back!
What I didn't count on that day was the humidity.  Really?  Humidity?  Here?  I'm used to a dry heat.  And a touch of a breeze.  We had neither.  I also got a surprise from my monthly visitor that morning.  I swear that adds 15 pounds to each leg.  Neither of those were things I had any control over.  I did, however, have control over my pace.  I decided to be a big shot and keep pace with C, the one I'm talking to in the above pic.  That worked for the first mile or so until I told her to run ahead because I needed to slow down.  She ended up finishing more than four minutes ahead of me, so I'm glad I didn't try to keep up or slow her down.

It's my back again!  Betcha can't guess who forgot to bring her camera... 
I finally gave up and started walking a little after the halfway point.  I preferred that to complete collapse.  It wasn't the first time I would walk.  I did make sure that when I walked I was going pretty quick  I kept up with my music, which was fast.  At first I felt like maybe I wasn't doing my best, but the humidity really was oppressive to me.  If it gives you any idea, I spilled a little on my shirt when I went to a water station.  It took well over an hour to dry.  When I bought the pink shirt to run in I debated over the one I got and a tank top.  I sooooo should have gotten the tank.  Anyway.  One of the difficult things was that during the run I started to seriously question whether or not I really want to try for a marathon.  If I hated a short run so much then why on earth would I want to add another 23.1 miles to it?  However, one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received is "don't quit on a bad day."  So I'm not quitting.

Most of the race is flat, but the last part is uphill. Such a mean, dirty trick.  Toward the finish line I tried to pick up the pace a little and that was moderately successful.  I went faster but there wasn't a whole lot left to give.  I made it, though!  I went through the lines to get my souvenir water bottle and some food and watched the people around me.  I heard someone say, "Man, after Ragnar I thought this would be cake but it wasn't!"  I've heard how truly challenging Ragnar is so that made me feel like I'm less of a wimp.  I really had been disappointed not to run the whole thing.  I heard someone else ask their friend if it was worth waiting in line to get the special water bottle.  That's the hardest 3 miles I've run in a loooooooong time, so there was no way I was leaving without that water bottle.  I earned it, man!  In the end I'm actually pretty proud of how I did.  With the humidity and my other...uh...bodily ailments, I think I still did well.  Final time was 31:48.6 (10:15 pace) and I placed 55 out of 214 in my age division.  Not too shabby.  It was just complete misery while I was doing it.  I'll have to go for another PR in the future; it's okay that this one wasn't my best.

Now it's on to tomorrow's seven mile run.  I am once again apprehensive to do the long run because yesterday's three was so beastly.  I'm nervous for tomorrow and hoping for much, MUCH less humidity.

**UPDATE**  The professional pictures from the Freedom Run have been posted.  Find mine here.  If you look at picture 13 you'll see I apparently came in just behind "Ridiculously Photogenic Guy"... who is pushing a stroller.  Maybe next year I'll make it ahead of the stroller-pushers. :)

Independence Day Attire

This one's a quickie.  After making Q-ball's costume for the baby contest I had some leftover fabric and knew it would be perfect for shirts for the girls.  I already had McCall's 6737 pattern (a pattern that's not discontinued but actually new?  Miracles do happen.) on hand.
Meeting the princess.  The girls had not yet abandoned all semblance of being groomed. That happened later...and so did the potty accidents.
It was a quick sew.  I wasn't pleased with the width of the neck so I narrowed it on Pink Blur's top by cutting the contrast panel smaller. The sleeves also sew in a little funny.  It's probably not a pattern I'll use again but it worked well for it's purpose.  The front and back pieces are identical, making it super-duper easy to match stripes or other designs.  The shirts are pretty cute and the girls love them.  I think Blue Eyes will be able to wear hers another year.
My cutie pies with the sweet princess.  We had a great Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Not What I Wanted...Better!

For years (YEARS!) I have wanted to participate in the Freedom Run on the Fourth of July.  Even back in the days of hating running only slightly less than I hate stepping on Lego pieces I still wanted to do it.  I wanted the cool shirt and I wanted to be able to do it.  I've never done it because I've never been ready for one reason or another.  This year I'm ready!  I actually considered running the 10k, but my training schedule has me down for 3 miles that day and I've been determined to stick to it religiously.
Last year's (or maybe it's for this year, not sure...) shirt and the measurements.  Because the two were connected.

Now that I'm all signed up and don't even see a 5k as particularly difficult (what did that happen?!?) I'm way excited.  I finally get to run along with everyone in their red, white, and blue tech shirts.  Because I've gotten better at running I've even been looking forward to seeing how much time improvement I'll have over my last 5k.  My last time was exactly 30 minutes and I'm pretty sure I can do better.  I've been looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Then something happened.  A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was running the Freedom Run 5k in support of one of her former mission companions, Kassi.  I told her I'd see her there.  When she replied back she asked if I would hand out a couple flyers with a website for donating to help with the costs of Kassi's fight with brain cancer.  I said I would be happy to help.
The flyers
Not long after that the brakes in my head screeched me to a halt as I realized what handing out flyers would mean.  If I were to hand them out along the way it could seriously effect how long it takes to reach the finish line and that time is important to me.   As I read more on my friend's Facebook page I saw that those who are supporting Kassi could also wear hot pink and gray to be noticed among the sea of red, white, and blue clad runners.  That would mean not wearing the shirt I've coveted for so long and wanted to wear along with all the other runners.  And that was it.  The selfish part of me couldn't get past giving up the two things about this race that were most important to me.  I didn't want to do it anymore.  And then a thought occurred to me: I'm pretty sure Kassi doesn't want to have cancer or go through the treatments.  I bet her husband doesn't want it for his wife.  I bet their newborn daughter wants her mommy.  That certainly put things in perspective.

I've never met Kassi and, as she doesn't know me from Adam, I'm pretty sure our paths will never cross.  But I do know Lori.  She and her family live around the corner from us and moved into the development about seven months before we did, around the beginning of July 2011.  Her husband was in the final stages of brain cancer.  The day of the Freedom Run is the second anniversary of his death.  I know, love, and admire Lori.  She is raising two amazing children and supporting her family by running a preschool from her home.  She's pretty incredible.  I wasn't able to do anything to support Lori, but I can do this as a tribute to her family as well as to help Kassi and her family now that she has started her treatments.  So now I won't be running in my matching shirt and I may not beat my old time.  That's okay; this is better.

If you want to help and read more about Kassi, go to the donation website:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Perfect Playtime Pants Pattern Review

Most of what I have blogged (or thought about blogging) this past little while has all been about marathon training.  There are things I've sewn but never got around to posting.  This is one of them.

A while back I was lucky to test the Perfect Playtime Pants pattern from Feather's Flights.  I loved the different options for length and that it's a unisex pattern.
Roomy and comfy
I grabbed some fabric from my stash to whip them a pair in the bloomer length.  These pants don't take long to sew and are a great instant gratification project.  There are pockets for the longer lengths and those are pretty cute.  I wanted the bloomers because Pink Blur was in serious need of some summer duds.
Matching top is modified from the Blank Tank pattern by Blank Slate Patterns
The pattern fit well and the instructions were thorough.  Pink Blur loves her new outfit and gets excited whenever I pull it out of the drawer.  It's perfect for the deathly warmer weather we've been having recently.  Now she's ready for BBQ season!
Check out Heather's stuff here!