Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August bust

August was such a bust. Between my husband traveling for work and the weather insisting on being so hot and humid, very few miles have ensued. On top of that, we took a few day trips to visit friends,  enjoyed some out of town family visiting, and I decided I needed to repaint and redecorate my daughter's room. Whew! It has been busy, but it has also been an enjoyable end to the summer.
That said, I am truly looking forward to a more productive running schedule in September as soon as the kids start school. I'm a little worried about my next race on September 10th in Wisconsin. I really haven't trained as much as I normally would, and I feel a bit out of shape from all the parties, trips and lack of normal dieting. I know I will finish, but it won't be a strong finish, I'm afraid. I've got a week and a half to get some miles in, so I will see what I can do. I ran a 10-miler about a week and a half ago, so I at least have that to help gauge my readiness. I'm predicting one slow 13 mile race in my future. No big deal. There are much worse things to stress over.
So, back to the heat. I feel like mostly the entire month of August has been one giant heat oppressive pocket of yuck. Taking a first step out my front door at 7 or 8 am and getting knocked in the face with a sweaty ball of humidity was just too much to take. I kept remembering back to one run I had earlier in the summer on an uncommonly hot and humid June day. I got about two miles in to that run and thought I was going to pass out. I felt dizzy and slow and in fact, I think I had to stop and take two walk breaks. Not worth risking my health, so I ditched that run after about 2.5 miles. Now fast forward to August where the entire month basically felt like that. 
Post-run, red-faced, sweaty and goofy!
The few times I managed to run were ok, but each time I arrived back at home extremely red-faced and dripping with major sweat. What I should have done on the non-running days was fall back on an exercise dvd or at the very least a walk with the kids. I opted to do other projects instead (hence the room painting, and building a new fire pit!). 

Fire pit project. A surprise birthday gift for my husband.
Even though I shouldn't plan to run too much this last week or so before the race, I'm trying to get in as many runs as I can. I want to keep them short and at a slow/comfortable pace so as not to end up injured. No need to taper when most of the month has been one giant taper. I guess it is ok to let my body rest from time to time, but I'm ready to get back in the game. 
Speaking of games, I really enjoyed watching the Olympic Games in Rio this year. I loved watching the women's and men's marathons along with some of the shorter running events. Usain Bolt was a lot of fun to watch, and I was completely bummed out that Meb Keflezighi struggled so much through his marathon run, and I was pleased that my fave girl Shalane Flanagan finished as the top American woman in 6th place. And props to Galen Rupp for his medal-winning performance. It was inspiring to watch these runners. They really make it look so easy, but that is because of all the hours of hard work and training behind those events. Amazing.
The rest of the Olympics were fun to watch, too. The swimming and gymnastics events were exciting, and it was especially lovely this year to see my oldest daughter really get in to cheering for the United States in all the events. It was the first time she really understood what was going on, and that was cool to watch, too. 
So onward we march to September. I'm ready for the return to routine and to work diligently on organizing my house. I really let things slide last year while I was so work focused. I'm ready to jump back in to my various volunteering roles, and recommit to healthy meal prep. And of course get back to hitting the pavement in a big way.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

That one time as front runner and torch bearer...

Yesterday I had the pleasure of combining two worlds for a fun event. I worked with my town's public library to host a fun run/walk as an event in support of the summer reading program theme "Get Ready, Get Set, Read." The slogan lends itself to sports and activity, so many months ago when it was announced, I put a bug in the ear of my children's librarian friend, Miss Lisa, that a fun run/walk would be a nice "active" event that could tie in. I offered my services to be the lead runner and help folks know the route to follow.
She settled on a date, and as the date inched closer, I kept coming up with ideas for them to incorporate. (I know, so nice of me, right? :)) To tie in with the first day of the Olympic Games, they made sure to have finishers medals to hand out, a must at any race. A table with cold water and Goldfish crackers was set up for post-race recovery, also a must because everyone wants a cold drink after running on a hot day. And finally, they put together some anthemic music to get everyone pumped up, always a hit at any starting line.
The event ended up being very fun! I gathered the small but enthusiastic crowd together on the back lawn of the library for a few sun salutations to gently stretch before we lined up. The kids were so funny doing the yoga, complaining that their hands or legs were hurting depending on whether we were in upward or downward dog position. 
Starting line for the library's Fun Run/Walk
After stretching, we headed to the starting line for a few last minute instructions and safety tips. Kids, stay with your grown ups! Keep to the sidewalk. Make sure you wait for the police officers to give you the go-ahead before crossing the street. I had my homemade Olympic torch in my hand and was ready to lead the charge. Right after one traditional starting line selfie. 
Our race crowd...pre-race selfie!
And then we were off. As with most kid-friendly races/runs, the kids shot off like a bolt of blue. They were sprinting their fastest, and I tried my best to keep up. I had given the disclaimer to the crowd that I was the lead runner, but that I wasn't the fastest runner by any means, so that if anyone wanted to get ahead of me, that was fine. Well, those little kids definitely took me up on that!
However, once we left the library property and entered the front sidewalk on Middle Road, most of the littles had to slow down to catch their breath. I was left up in front with two older kids and one fellow runner, a dad. These kids were terrific runners. It wasn't easy to keep up with them, but I managed it and chatted with them and the dad along the way. The dad runs full marathons, so we chatted a little about our race experiences. 
At the first main street crossing on to South Road, the boys dropped back a little, and I was on my own. My goal was just to give folks a visual as to where to run/walk, in case they were unfamiliar with the neighborhood. The front runner, so to speak. My first time ever in that role. It felt great, although the morning was very humid. I was super sweaty as I finished up the 1.3 mile loop back at the library grounds. 
It was fun watching the other participants come in to the finish line, including my own kids and husband. Thanks for running, guys! I helped hand out medals to the finishers while children's librarian Miss Kristin took photos. One little kid somersaulted over the finish line. What a way to end! 
The whole event was done start to finish in about an hour, and some families lingered at the library playground after. It was a healthy, feel-good way to start the morning. If you are from Connecticut, take a look to see if your local library is offering any active programming this summer in connection with the summer reading theme. Get ready, get set....