These Are A Few of my Favorite Things

Happy Sunday, everyone!!

I have made it through a very tiring, very busy, very hectic week.  But, I got a lot accomplished and even made it out for a pre-wedding 5K for two of my favorite peeps from my running group this morning.  Their wedding was this afternoon…so I hope all in attendance had a fantastic time!!

But I’ll get to that some more in a moment.

This week, I’ve learned a lot about…patience.  I’m Irish.  Patience is not a virtue that I really have.  Not much, anyway.  But if there is one thing this hip labrum tear recovery period has taught me it’s that…I have to be patient.  With myself.  With my body.  With my running.  With vast changes in weather this week, my hip has been screaming at me.  Everything is day-to-day…which is frustrating, but, it’s how it has to be.  That being said, getting out this week in the various weather conditions and with a variety of people for various things has been…good for my soul.

So, with that in mind, here are some things that I found good for my soul this week…

1.  Laura & Mike’s Wedding 5K


When I first started running consistently with the Blue Mile group (which has sort of stayed together despite the store no longer being there…although no more Monday fun runs), I got to know both Laura and Mike rather well.  They are both fantastically bright, fun, and amazing people.  And a perfect match for each other.  When they (finally) got engaged, it was something to be celebrated.  And then, today, Laura & Mike invited everyone out for a special running of the Breakfast Club, for a pre-wedding 5K and then breakfast.  They surprised us all with finisher’s medals that commemorate the event and their special day.  Runners are the best people.  I wish both of my dear friends (both of whom I have had the honor of running with for short and long distances) much luck and love in their future!  CHEERS!!

2.  Louisville City FC First Kick @ Home
12888731_996383654111_351465313773405734_o
Well, the winds were insane.  That’s about all I can say.  Nothing like seeing the guys out on the pitch kick a ball high, have it spin in place and then come right back to them.  We had some crazy strong winds yesterday for the first home match for Louisville City FC.  I (FINALLY) got to hang out with Natalie again, as she took up the third seat in the Season Tickets that we have kept from last year.  Same row.  Same seats.  Same awesome view.  LOVED being there again, despite the cold.  LOVED hanging with Cathy & Natalie, watching the guys take on the New York City Redbulls II.  And…sadly…and very disappointingly…we lost.  Bad.  It felt like we just didn’t have any rhythm.  And we sort of looked a bit like a squad of newbie kids out there just mucking about.  I hope this doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the season because Louisville City FC was SO amazing last year.  Crossing our fingers that Saturday’s match is better.

3.  THESE LEGGINGS!!
010
A gift from my very own Sole Sister, Natalie…I love these leggings.  They fit me perfectly, and they perfectly suit our friendship.  Thank you, Natalie…for these.  I have been sporting them all day and I really don’t want to take them off!!

4.  A Run in the Rain
12916962_995412245821_9030888528426498095_o
A lot of times, I stay out of the rain and opt for a treadmill run or a later run.  But this past Thursday, the 5 miler I put in during the wee hours of the morning was both cleansing and rejuvenating.  I had no pace goals nor expectations.  Normally I don’t want to go out in the rain, but it was the only time that day I’d have to do it, with nasty storms brewing that evening (right about the time I left work).  And I’ve found I hurt a little more after a treadmill run than I do after an outdoor run.  Sometimes a lot more.  So, I opted to throw on some old running shoes, suit up, and take in 5 very wet miles.  And I loved every moment of it.  It was like I was a kid again.  Splashing through puddles (one was ankle deep…thankfully I found that one (accidentally) near the end of the run), hearing my feet against the wet pavement, wondering what the drivers in the few cars that passed thought as I was lighting up the dark with my reflective gear and blinkie lights.  It wasn’t a perfect run, nor a fast run, but it was the run I needed that morning.  And I take every good and enjoyably run I can find these days!

5.  Dinner Rolls
12473514_973881678251_6261521889247736849_o
It’s such a simple thing…and yet, after promising Cathy (the roomie) that I would make my gluten-free dinner rolls for over a month now, today, I finally set out to do it.  And, yes, despite a very busy afternoon, much of it spent away from home…they are being made and I have one very happy roommate on my hands.  Sometimes…it’s the simple things that bring the most joy!  Gluten-free dinner rolls…oh yeah.  As Oprah says…”I love bread.”  HAHA!!  And when I make it myself, I know exactly what is going into it!

6.  Deciding To Run for a Charity
allianceforhealthiergen
I can’t plug this enough.  When you believe in something, you do something.  So, when I found the opportunity to run the Lumiere’s Challenge (Disney Wine & Dine 10K on Saturday and Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on Sunday) for Disney Wine & Dine weekend not just for myself, but for a charity, I couldn’t be happier.  As I said in a previous post…I have wanted to run for charity again for awhile.  My injury kept me out of the running circuit for a year…so…yes…this had to happen.  I am going to be running for Alliance For A Healthier Generation.  And if you would like to support me with a donation, I would be forever grateful!  I love being able to support a cause and do something I love at the same time!

You can throw any donation my way at this link: http://giving.healthiergeneration.org/site/TR/TeamHealthierGeneration/TeamHealthierGeneration?px=1065517&pg=personal&fr_id=1271

So, that was some of the high points of my week. What brought you joy this week?  What made you smile!!

 

Running For A Cause

allianceforhealthiergenAfter a year off from running due to a bad hip injury (which won’t ever heal…I’ve just been trained to work with it), there was one thing I made very clear as day after day ticked by and I started to get a little stronger, and live with a little less pain.

I wanted to run again for charity.

You might recall, back when I was training for my first marathon, Chicago 2013, I ran for the charity Action For Healthy Kids, a charity that Dean Karnazes works with, that aims to fight childhood obesity, undernourishment, and physical inactivity by helping schools become healthier places so kids can have healthier lives.

To keep true to my promise to myself to once again raise money for a cause, I found a great opportunity to do so…this November.

I have signed up to run the Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge at Disney World this November.  You see, the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon is one of my favorite Disney races, and despite some rather major changes to the race this year, I was still eager to return to this one (I ran it 2 years ago on a broken toe, LOL!).  One of the changes made this year was that they added a 10K race the day before the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  So, on Saturday, November 5, at 5:30 a.m., I will be striking out (in costume!) to run the Disney Wine & Dine 10K course.  Then, on Sunday, November 6, at 5:30 a.m. (yep…they moved it to a morning race…which is kind of MEH…but what do you do?), I will be running (in a different costume) the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon.

But the catch is…I’m raising money for a great cause this time!

I chose to run the Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge for Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a charity that also acts as a catalyst for children’s health.  As an auntie to 7 (yes…7) nieces and nephews, I know, firsthand, how important it is for children to have a healthy lifestyle, which includes proper nutrition and physical activity.  Alliance for a Healthier Generation works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals, and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier kids.  After all, childhood obesity is a national epidemic.  Nearly 1 in 3 children (ages 2-19) in the United States is overweight or obese, which puts them at risk for serious health problems.  If obesity among children continues at the current rate, this generation could become the first in American history to live shorter lives than their parents.

Scary, right?

Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s goal is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and empower children to develop lifelong, healthy habits.

As someone who has extensively studied nutrition, has my own food allergies to contend with, and is a dedicated home chef, and longtime food & fitness blogger, this charity seemed like a perfect fit for me.

My personal fundraising goal is $1000 (and hopefully beyond!).  You can help by making a tax deductible donation to the Alliance. Your financial support will turn my efforts into research and programs to develop healthier opportunities during childhood.

If you can, please follow the link below and help support me in my fundraising efforts.  No amount is too small or too big.  And I appreciate any help I can get to achieving my fundraising goal.

You can help support me here:  http://giving.healthiergeneration.org/site/TR/TeamHealthierGeneration/TeamHealthierGeneration?px=1065517&pg=personal&fr_id=1271

I hope to make everyone proud when I head to Disney World to run in November!

The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K – Frankfort, KY (March 17, 2016)

Me at the start of The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K – Frankfort, Kentucky
Me at the start of The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K – Frankfort, Kentucky

Race: The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K

Place: Frankfort, Kentucky

Date: March 17, 2016

Time: 13:09

It took too damn long to get back to Frankfort, Kentucky for an actual race.  It took way too long.  But…yesterday…despite my own skepticism about being able to do this race and do it well enough to make myself not feel totally out of shape and defeated…I ventured out to Frankfort for what used to be the first race of the Frankfort Trifecta.

The Frankfort Trifecta is no longer a thing.  It seems that the Frankfort Striders stepped in and created a HUGE race series that has something like 17 or so races…and I love Frankfort, but there is no way I can do all of that.  So, I’m sticking to my Trifecta races (all three are still running…just not as an overall series…which is nice because it takes a lot of pressure off of me…having placed the 2 years I competed in all three races) and just hoping for the best at this point.

All that being said, the madness began last night.  I was scheduled for 4 miles that day, so I ran 2.25 of them that morning, saving the remaining 1.8 and change for the race.  I kept the miles easy so I would have some gas in the tank at the end of the day.  BUT…it was also a gym morning so off I went, keeping my usual routine much lighter and easier.  Same reasoning.  And then…work.  I stood for half of the day at my standing desk because, starting on Wednesday after work, my left hamstring had been sore and tight…and I figured that it had a lot to do with how much and long I sat on Wednesday.  Trying to counter that, I did more standing than I normally would have on a sprint effort run day.

Oh…that’s the other thing…I…AM…NOT…A…SPRINTER.  I never have been.  I never will be.  I have short legs that can move, but they need time to warm up and find their strides.  5Ks and shorter races are the bane of my racing existence, and yet, I know the importance of doing them…and so I do.

But, I digress.

Where was I?  Oh yes…leg stuff.  My hamstring was still a bit unhappy when I ducked into the bathroom at work to get dressed for the race.  Cathy and I ducked out early to hit the road.  Dinner had to be on-the-go…so it was vegetarian sushi.  Figured it wouldn’t be too heavy before a race, but it wouldn’t have me feeling hungry just before doing it either.  So…yay for that.  We actually hit a few pockets of slow-ass traffic, which hindered our progress to Frankfort, but we got there.  I had to make my mandatory stop at Kroger to use the facilities (if I can avoid port-o-potties, I do…because…PRINCESS!), and then continued into Frankfort to get to the race.  We parked…noticed that the start line wasn’t set up where it usually was…but it was, instead, on the other side of the square.  Interesting.  So, I hiked that way…and realized that packet pickup was not in the building it normally was held in.  Now…with only 10 minutes to race time…I was starting to stress out.  IT WAS ALL DIFFERENT!

And then I found…my dear friend Linda.  She just suddenly was there…a sea of people having parted ways…her back to me…standing on the corner.  I went up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder.  She didn’t know I was coming and gave me the biggest smile and hug.  That helped.

A LOT.

I asked where packet pickup was now and she pointed to a table…then just went over there with me and got my race shirt, bag, and bib.  I handed everything off to Cathy, who began to pin me up while Linda and I talked for a moment.  But, you see, Linda knows EVERYONE!!  So, I got introduced to a bunch of people and got the very fair warning to not run over any kids during the race.  This is important, because this is THAT race where all the kids want to start up front and…well…some of them actually do belong up there, for sure.  Some…maybe not so much, but you gotta love the enthusiasm.  I promised her I would be very vigilant of the little humans.  I wasn’t familiar with the course being run this way, but Linda quickly gave me an overview before everyone started to line up.  There was a prayer and an Irish blessing (it DOES run on St. Patrick’s Day after all) and then we all moved forward and awaited the airhorn that would send us on our way.

It blew.

We took off.

Me after finishing The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K – Frankfort, Kentucky
Me after finishing The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K – Frankfort, Kentucky

My legs felt tired and heavy from the start.  The hamstring, much like in the morning, didn’t bother me while moving though, so that was good.  My hip wasn’t aching…but, I raced hard on Tuesday…did 4 miles on Wednesday, and was now racing hard(ish) again on Thursday.  Talk about giving these legs a bit of a workout this week.  And all of this ahead of another big adventure this weekend.  So…while I made a few surge attempts, the legs were sort of reluctant to get moving…even when I willed them to go a bit faster.

We turned a corner…turned again, stepping over a big hole, and took off up a hill…leading to the main drag that would take us up another (steeper) hill and then across a bridge and toward the state Capitol building.  Close to the turn around point, we hit Mile 1.  I didn’t look at my watch, I just kept going.  I rounded the turn to now run on the other side of the road and headed back the way we came…down the long stretch…up to the bridge…then D-O-W-N to the main drag.  At this point, you know you’re getting there.  You’re almost done.  It was basically straight on to the finish line.

I was slowing down, but I wasn’t having it.  Linda was just slightly ahead of me…and then another woman…and me.  I did all I could, minding my form, my hip, and my leg…to try to catch up, but it wasn’t having it.  Once again, I lack that finisher’s kick that other people have.  I even had people just up and sprint by me…as always.  Frustrating when your mind is willing, but your body just isn’t capable.  Between that and the strong wind that was blowing right into our faces…well…yeah.  It was one of those finishes.

But…I crossed…and it was awesome.  I felt good.  I felt…incredible.

Cathy came over, waving the race sign, and said, “Shit, Twin…you placed!”

All that being said…I grabbed some water and ducked into an alley to do my plyometric exercises and stretches that I’m supposed to do after a run.  See, I can behave.  Well, I did half of them and got bored, to be honest, so I can semi-behave.  We ducked back into the melee and I put my Boston Marathon windbreaker back on…because with the sun going down it was getting chilly.

Rebecca, Linda, and Me...all 1st place finishers in our age divisions at The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K – Frankfort, Kentucky
Rebecca, Linda, and Me…all 1st place finishers in our age divisions at The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K – Frankfort, Kentucky

Cathy was right…I ended up taking first in my age division…and…get this…TYING MY TIME from 2014, when I ran this race last.  I wasn’t expecting that.  I was very, very happy with that performance, considering I was really struggling after that first mile.  My Garmin said my first mile was in 7:01…so…I haven’t run that fast in…a very long time.  VERY long.  And when I do, I can’t sustain it.  So, YES!!  Happy.  SO freakin’ happy because this injury has had me struggling to do this running thing for over a year.  I’ll take a time of 13:09 and celebrate it!!  Embrace it!!

The awards ceremony followed…the only hitch being that someone was being shown as winning female overall that wasn’t the actual female overall winner.  So, they had to pause for a moment and go get it figured out.  I had been chatting with Debbie Brown about my physical therapy and amazing physical therapist when this began and she went to go get it all straightened out.  Because she’s Debbie.  And she’s awesome.

So, once that was straightened out…the awards commenced.  Overall winner was awarded to the correct, and super-fast, Roberta Meyer.  For the overall male winner…it was Aaron Schaffner.  It usually is.  LOL!!  He’s STUPID-FAST!!  As in…blink and you might miss him.  He was also in a Boston Marathon jacket…but I bet he ran his better than I ran mine.  HA!

The rest of the awards for female runners was next…and I took first in the 35-39 age division with my time of 13:09.  My overall pace was 7:04 for the entire 3K distance…so…that’s sort of impressive…for me…at this point in my running.  It was pointed out by the announcer that I was also wearing a Boston Marathon jacket.  Then he said, “Or is that New York.” Cathy said, “She has one of those too.”  LOL!

True story.

Anyway…I stayed and cheered for the other winners, took a picture with Rebecca Atkins (1st female 40-44) and Linda [Word] (1st female 45-49).  And then gave hugs and made my departure.  I might have flailed happily as I was walking away, because this was such a huge boost to my confidence…even though my legs and brain aren’t quite working in tandem yet.  They’ll get there.

I’ll get there.

Me with my age division award at the The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K – Frankfort, Kentucky
Me with my age division award at the The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K – Frankfort, Kentucky

So, the official results of The Good Shepherd Run For The Gold 3K are that I finished in 13:09.  I was 35/701 finishers overall.  I was 9/466 female finishers.  And I was 1/62 finishers in my division.  I take nothing for granted anymore.  Every run I am able to accomplish without pain or with minimal pain is a blessing.  Getting through this week of harder runs, and really pushing and challenging myself has not only terrified me, but empowered me.  I said it 2 years ago…and I’m going to say it again…Running is a gift, and I’m thankful I can do it again…even if it means slowing down for a little while to allow myself ample time to heal.

I’m looking forward (or so I am telling myself) to including a bit of speed work in my upcoming training…as well as continuing to focus on my hill repeats (because Frankfort hills are just…relentless!)…and, maybe I can finally figure out how to get that finishing kick.  Until then…relentless forward motion…

“Don’t fear moving slowly forward…fear standing still.”     ~ Kathleen Harris