Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Newest Running Partner

Meet Monte, the Amazing Running Pug!
So, though I love running in the company of my good friends, I've really only run with others for about 6 months. Before that it was, for the most part, alone or with Rick. Now that it's light out by 5:30 (my criteria for running alone), I have tried some solo runs. The most obvious benefit is the efficiency in time--I can leave right from my door instead of driving to a meeting place, which means more time to sleep in! But I also enjoy setting my own pace and distance and being lost in my own thoughts. And a really strange thing I like to do when I run solo is try to keep my mouth closed for the entire run (that tells you that I'm not really running all that hard!). I listen to 88.1 (Christian radio) or other songs on my MPs player (Mandisa and others, really a big mix including a bunch of preschool Jack Hartmann songs on there that I have to keep forwarding!). By listening to the Christian songs and running in such pretty surroundings (the creek is on my route), I end up feeling closer to God and more focused on Him.
I've also decided that I should include our first and most neglected baby in on my runs. Monte is our nearly 6 year old pug and was a pretty good runner back in the day. He used to run LONG with us--like over 10 mile runs, and he also ran trails quite a bit with Rick while I was pregnant (I was the jealous ex who got replaced!). His run always looks like a casual jaunt, and he saunters along like he does this every day. It is especially funny to see him to this on the trails, like going up Waterline on Monte Sano. He barely looks winded as he races in front of us, but his is shorter. I think his height and his four legs to our two are quite an advantage on the trails. Anyway, if you know anything about pugs, you know that they are not meant to be outdoorsy dogs. They were bred to be lapdogs, and, with their little pug noses, they often can't even breathe all that well when they get overexerted. So we never went into the adoption of Monte thinking that he would ever run with us (even though he was named after our favorite mountain to run on, Monte Sano). Surprisingly, we found that his smaller stature than most pugs (he was bred to be leaner than your traditional pug) and his HIGH energy level made him the perfect running companion. I love that he provides a little company while on the run, and some security too (he pulls when someone approaches from behind). And running gives him some much-needed exercise (he gained 4 pounds on his 15-pound frame the year after my daughter was born and all of our running suffered). Back in the day, we dubbed him "Monte the Amazing Running Pug," and I think this little guy (who came on my 6-plus mile run with me today) still deserves this title!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The post in which I make fun of myself

The Twilight 5K--near the finish line
Photo by Robert Barnes
Seriously, this is what I look like when I run? I seem to always have that blah expression when I am running, I guess because my mouth is open because I am breathing out of it? And look at my thumbs--I always look like I am trying to hitchhike! Oh well, at least I look like I am really trying and not just out for a jog! I was really trying to book it here, so I guess that's what I get! This photo was on facebook (where I always get tempted to remove my tag), so everyone gets to see it and now you too!

Paint the Streets 5K

My husband and I chat with another runner after the race
Picture by James Hurley
Rick and I ran the Paint the Streets 5K on Saturday--a good charity run and an inaugural event. We had family in town watching the children, so we were excited to both run the race, and I wanted to try another 5K to try to shave a bit of time off my last 5K (21:09). This is the way I get faster--by pushing myself to do a little bit better each time. Reaching the sub 7-minute mile pace for a 5K took me awhile to get back to, probably because I don't do speed work! Rick is training with a little more structure, and his times keep getting faster too.

The race was well organized and started at the SAIC building only a few miles from our house. We did a warm up together through the Research Park area, and ran along the pretty Adtran fountains. Before the race, I met up with Kathy, who had run 8 miles to get to the race and was going to run 8 miles back after it was over (and she beat me in the race too--she is incredible!).
My splits were more even this time--6:30, 6:40, 6:44, and I finished 2nd overall with a time of 20:37. I am nearing my PR within nearly 30 seconds now, but I can't imagine running 10 seconds faster per mile right now. But I am going to keep trying since I haven't been this close since the babies were born! Rick got a 19:31, about 15 seconds faster than his last race. We both got first in our age group, reminding me of our "old days" in the 20-24 and 25-29 age groups. We often each placed first in our respective groups, something I always thought was really cute. It also makes we thankful to be married to another runner--one who had encouraged me since before we were dating and always pushed me to do my best while running.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Twilight 5K

The Twilight 5K was surprisingly cooler than I expected. It was a fun race, but I started too fast (splits were 6:20, 6:58, 7:10, and 39 seconds). I ended up in 5th place, 21:09, and you can see I slowed down a lot for miles 2 and 3. I was proud of the other FF team members in front of me--Candace in 2nd, Kathy in 3rd, and Dana in 4th. If you have never met Kathy, she is an amazing woman with talents in shorter races like the 5K, but also in longer races, like 100-milers! She is so impressive and very modest too.

My kids came to the race and Rick and I took turns watching them. During my race, they were playing under a magnolia tree. Their cheering helped me a lot. It is fun running when others are cheering for you, but no one can cheer for you like your own family!

In case you don't catch the talking in the video, my daughter says, "It WAS her!" (there were 2 other runners who looked rather similar to me and who were wearing the same uniform in front of me. I guess there was some debate about whether it was me from far away. Don't you love her lisp?). Then my son says, "Mommy's gonna win!" (again, I got 5th place, not quite a win!).

The kids ran the one mile together (we finished almost last and I had to sing songs to distract them enough to run/walk to the end. Of course, when they were done, they were back to running around everywhere chasing the tennis balls they found!). Rick got a 19:45 and has been steadily shaving time off of his sub-20 time. Go honey!

Friday, July 16, 2010


We have done a lot of the local races a lot of times. Like some for 10 years or more. Now I'm not good about setting a streak or anything like that (those are hard for women to do anyway--if you're having a baby, it's rather hard to not miss a year of a race no matter how short it is). But each year as the race rolls around, I look back and remember what I was doing at that same time "x" years ago. The race begins to hold memories for me and reminds me of those happy times. Running is woven into our relationship and into our memories as a family:

-The Rocket City Marathon where Rick ran with me for the first 1/2 (and it was my first marathon)
-The Country Music marathon where Rick said he loved me for the first time
-The spot in the McKay Hollow 50K where Rick proposed to me during a training run (pass by it every year near the 29 mile mark and it picks me up!)
-The Scholarship Fund Run where I ran/waddled at 5 months pregnant
-The Twilight Run where I ran for the first time since having Nate 2 1/2 weeks before (no one told me that running that early jostles everything around!)
-The 1st Cotton Row where all 4 family members ran (2010!)

Looking forward to the Twilight Run this weekend...