Sunday, October 26, 2008

Killing me softly

"I choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman" Anais Nin

I chose "this man" to train me to not only complete my first marathon, but to help me qualify for the 2009 Boston Marathon.   The Boston Marathon represents  the top 10% of elite runners in the to be able to qualify is one thing..but to qualify for Boston in my first marathon is a completely different story.  You guys know that "this man" is my daddy and I am already looking forward to running the streets of Boston with him by my side.  

Yesterday he sat out to test me.  We have completed so many different runs and I have responded well to all of our training.  Dad has been saying for weeks that he can't quite figure me out...he's pushing buttons and I'm responding well.  His reward for my progress...push the one button certain to test my resolve.  

Let me back up for a minute...
For those of you who have followed my journey, you know that I have learned so much from running.  I found discipline when I needed it...I found the importance of maintaining priorities...I've learned to not only love but have a deep appreciation for my body...and yesterday while I was lugging around my sweet little Layla up and down the steps before my big run, I realized that I SERIOUSLY need to work on my mental toughness.  I've always been one to freak out.  I have a crazy imagination and I find it very difficult to reign in my not let them consume and sometimes defeat me.  This is not just a running thing...but its a "me" thing--its an emotional intelligence thing.  I realized even before my run, that I needed some work.  I also have a hard time with "not knowing".  I like to have a plan a, b and c.  I like to walk through each plan on try to see where it my fail and how I'll respond.  Clearly...not knowing my route for the run was going to be a huge test.  I was already a nut job. forward to 1:30pm  yesterday.  Dad and I drove out to the country...I kind of knew where we were heading, even though dad kept all the details TOP part of my test.

The first couple of miles were on rolling hills (note...the name of the town was, yeah).  I thought, if this is all dad can throw at me, I am SO good to go.  It was difficult, but no more difficult than anything else I've done.  The last turn we made was on Hillsville Rd.  We were on that road for what seemed like an eternity.  I was praying for a stop sign...a sign indicating a bridge...even a little yellow sign warning of a side road--something to break up the silence of the road.  NOTHING for miles and miles except for some encouraging McCain signs and burning leaves.  I thought this was my mental test.  I was getting sort of frustrated with not knowing how much longer we had or what was up ahead...but I knew I had to pass this test.

Dad passed me a Gu pack...told me to take it even though we only had three miles to go?  Strange--but okay?  We went down a nice little hill and I looked ahead and saw a mountain--Caraway Mountain.  Interesting.  How were we going to get around that mountain.  It so clearly looked as if we were going to have to run up it...that would be silly though, right.  Um, wrong.  Dad and I ran uphill for 2 miles...up mountain hills for 2 miles.  No downhill leveling out...2 MILES of uphill climbing.  Around each curve in the mountain, I thought "this has got to be then end".  I was looking like crazy for break lights...yellow signs.  We made our last turn...I looked up and saw a hill with an incline so steep that I couldn't even see the top.  I lost it.  I cried...right there on the road.  Completely broken.  I told dad that I've never been more mad at him in all my life...and it was true.  We started up and half way...I stopped.  My legs burned so bad that I couldn't move.  I would have laid on the side of the road in the ditch if I knew it wouldn't take so much energy to get up and walk again.  Dad talked me through it (bless his heart)...I gathered myself and what was left of my mind and legs and started back up.  We made it...I experienced my dad was proud of me.  

Go back and read the quote at the top of the page..perfect description of how I think my dad treats me...

Dad told me in the car on the way home that finishing a marathon takes preparation  and muscular endurance and strength...but qualifying for Boston during your first time out requires a mental toughness that you can just get by doing normal long runs.  I have to be able to push past hurt, exhaustion, dig deep...because in December...I won't know what's around every curve. I passed my test and left everything on that mountain.  I can wait to find a pupil to take out on that same run with me one day...anyone interested?  Come'll be fun.  

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kids and Kin


Layla continues to surprise me.  For the past two or three days, she's been REALLY into counting.  She counts steps...cereal...crayons....buttons on my name it, it has been counted.  I am surprised that she's able to count to 10 already.  Maybe I shouldn't be surprised--I don't know at what age they are supposed to do that kind of thing?

AND our night routine has been really strange.  She's pulling out all the stops to avoid sleep...she's requesting additional in her crib...more singing.  She's already memorized both of her night night songs and actually puts out some pretty good background vocals--she stays about a word behind me.  Its so cute that I can't help but keep singing them over and over.  Right now...I can hear her singing Baby Mine (Dumbo theme song) over the monitor.  I looked at our little TV screen monitor and saw that she's rocking her bunny.  Poor bunny must be fighting his nap too :-)

Dad and I have still been doing our speed work at the track and tempo training every other week.  The past couple of Saturday runs have been used to practice pacing.  Last Saturday we did great...we averaged 8:20 miles which is enough to qualify us for Boston!  YAY!  AND this Wednesday at the track, we ran our 6th mile repeat in 7:22 and in 42 degree weather--and this clip instantly came to my head

Dad told me last Saturday that he has something up his sleeve for this weekend.  I'm afraid its going to be super hard...he said it would really test my mental toughness and physical strength.  Now...I don't know what that could mean...Maybe we are sprinting up Grandfather Mountain (please NO)  or maybe we are running a slow, short run and gearing up for our three 20+ mile runs?  I don't know...but rest assured that I'll write about it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Silent Woods

Just a short little note...
My wonderfully talented and amazing husband is WOW...starting his own business.  I'm so proud of him...his creativity...his commitment...he's like the "little engine that could" but with a super cool paint job.  

So yeah...he's started a blog...and has the skeleton of his web page up and running.  

Check it out...and send some encouragement his way :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wanna get dirty

Dad and I were talking about discipline a few weeks ago as we were doing a long run...he told me when he was younger and a wrestler in high school that he would work on his mental discipline in every aspect of his life.  He told me how when he'd brush his teeth in the morning and at night and when he felt like quitting, he'd force himself brush his teeth just a couple of minutes more.  He used that one little exercise (along with many others) to work on disciplining himself to go a couple more steps past quitting.  

SO...after my experience yesterday with the ivy...and with the dirt and bugs in general, I decided to work on some discipline of my own.  Now, you guys know from reading my blogs about running, that I am a person of extremes....SO this shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
My mom came over today to spend some time with I decided to get sweaty and dirty and see how much I could handle.  SO, I got out the Clorox and some gloves...a nice little household brush (like you'd use on tires) and scrubbed the siding on my house.  Then, I scrubbed the cushions that go on the porch swings....then...I got out the shovel (Oh yes...dirt time) and dug up some small shrubs that have been driving me nuts for a little while...then..I dug up some tiny saplings that were randomly growing around the house...THEN...with dirt in my hair...bleach on my skin..I thought what the heck..I'm digging up some bushes that I've been dying to get rid of.  SO, with Christina Aguilera's "Dirty" playing in my head, I and my shovel approached said bushes and in 20 minutes, they were out at the road for garbage pickup.  YAY!

Today my friends, I battled dirt and bugs...and I won.  I took a little picture as evidence of my victory.  It probably doesn't do me justice.  I swear the bushes are much larger than they appear in the photo.  They're boxwoods...crazy old boxwoods.    OH and notice all the pretty white pieces of siding in the background.  I think I'm going to have dinner tonight in my neighbor's yard...facing my house.   Ahhhh...the thrill of victory.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Not the hands of a lady

Layla An- seems like she's changing every day!  She's started playing in her room by herself in the mornings and sometimes a little the afternoon!  I noticed the other day that I was kind of getting in her space so I asked her if she'd like mommy to go downstairs and she could stay in her room and play.  She said "yes"...I walked downstairs and turned the monitor up.  I sat and listened to her talk to her "BAby" her telephone...she sang a little bit...I had to fight the urge to run back upstairs and squeeze her.  She played alone for over 15 minutes.

HA-and she also did the funniest thing on Tuesday morning.  I went up to her room when she woke up as I normally do.  I had a North Face over my pink and white polka dot dress shirt (a shirt Layla's never seen)...I took off my jacket...Layla's eyes lit up, she gasped and said..."ooooooo prettty" and then danced in circles.  HA!  She was commenting on my shirt!  So funny.  

I don't really do yard work...I don't like dirt...I don't like bugs...I'm not at all prissy...I SWEAR...I just am not a fan of dirty hands...

SO after working all afternoon in my front bed pulling up variegated ivy that had been growing for two years and cursing in my head more than I did driving back and forth to downtown Charlotte every day for 5 months, I wondered why someone so NOT prissy hated dirt on my hands and bugs crawling up my arms.  When I felt like taking a knee in my front bed...looking at my house and screaming "As God is my witness, they're not going to lick me....As God is my witness, I'll never go hungry again"--HA--I remembered my love of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind--oh yeah...and my inclination toward the slightly dramatic.  

My favorite movie growing up was Gone with the Wind--in fact, there was a short period of time when I watched it multiple times a month.  I say all this to say...I honestly believe that I was crazy influenced by the movie...I've noted random parts of Scarlett in my responses and outlook on things way too many times.  Certainly not something I'm very proud of... I remembered this part from the movie while washing the dirt off my hands. Scarlett goes to visit Rhett in jail as an attempt to get money for the taxes her family owes on Tara.  She's quite successful with Rhett until he notices her normally soft hands are calloused from having to work in the fields.  

Rhett:  What have you been doing with your hands.
Scarlett:  I went riding yesterday without my gloves
Rhett:  Those aren't the hands of a lady, you've been working with them like a field hen. hands are so yucky today...BUT...BUT BUT...all of the ivy is gone and an intense moisturizing treatment for my hands has commenced.  We battled hard.  I sensed it starting to get weaker...easier to pull out huge masses at a time...and when I sensed it getting weaker--I pulled out a major offensive BAM...gone!  You know...gloves would have probably prevented 9/10 of the ugly words coming to my head.  And can I just say...I dreamed about that stinkin ivy last night.  I woke Neil up because I was thrashing around in bed...I thought the ivy was wrapped around my ankle.  I think it was mocking me.  Strange that that stinkin ivy would take on a life of its own!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

80% happy

YES..I am that mom...

That mom who is just now getting around to completely weaning her 20 MONTH OLD!
That mom who has put her baby down for bed every night (except for maybe two or three) for her entire 20 months...It just kind of happened that way, for some reason--but definitely not on purpose
That mom who was hoping when my mom put my baby down for bed last night that she'd at least cry for a mili second and ask for me :-)  

She didn't.  I listened for 20 minutes over the baby monitor as my mom sang and hummed to Layla and then put her in her crib without even a tiny whimper...not even a little tiny "mama"
I told mom when she came back downstairs that I was 80% happy that Layla went down so easy without me but 20% sad...maybe its more of a 90-10 split..but you get the point.  Holding on tight and letting go at the same time...strange concept.

TODAY Layla and I went out to buy new fall/winter shoes.  This was our third shoe hunting trip in two weeks.  Here is a little taste of shoe shopping with my fashionista Layla and a mommy who chokes on making a decision when overwhelmed with choices.  Layla ran around the store picking up the TACKIEST shoes she could find...Pepto pink, glittery boots with pink furry pom poms--pink, purple and teal sparkly shoes with lights--do you get the idea--and brought them all to me.  I had to put each shoe on her little foot as she marched around the store excited about her "new shoes".  She had the shoe ladies ROLLING with laughter.  I hated to break it to her so harshly...I mean...she's only a toddler.  BUT I told her that mommy could not afford to buy her the BEAUTIFUL plain brown mary janes AND the very nice pink furry boots.  We'd have to pick one (picture mommy holding up the brown shoes with a look of excitement on my face--DID NOT WORK).  She looked at me...said "no" (very matter of fact) to the plain brown shoe and ran to the front of the store with her pink glitter furry boots AND the box.  In retrospect, I should have bought the pink furry boots--I mean in the grand scheme of things, who really cares as much as Layla does about her own shoes.  I didn't--really. BUT I did not make a single purchase.  All of the sudden Rack Room became like K&W with all the choices and decisions...I froze...and decided it best to leave, collect myself and return again for trip number 4 :-)

Sweet little Layla and her flair for fashion.  I was quite surprised that she didn't make a peep when we put both shoes back and left the store empty handed.  YAY..public tantrum avoided! She did talk about shoes..all the way home.  So please, if you see my child running around with awful pink boots and say...a red shirt...really, just tell her how much you love her shoes.  HA!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Practice Practice Practice

**UPDATE:  Dad and I completed 16.6 miles last night (Friday)...we thought we'd increase our long run pace a little...but when all was said and done, we'd ran 16.6 miles at race pace--and it didn't feel that difficult.  I'm sore this morning...sore like crazy, sore.  But, HOLY COW I am so proud of us!  16.6 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes...YAY!  Boston Marathon here we come.  

WELL...I have officially taken a weeks worth of random pictures--mostly of Layla but I have quite a few of my lamp...artificial flowers...a bug??  Layla has ran around for the better part of the week saying "cheese" at every little black box that she sees.  It was quite humorous when she "cheesed" for a lady's black cell phone at the grocery the other day.  She's also started gasping with excitement when she hears the camera click!  So funny.  She's such a good mirror for my reactions--reminds me I better watch my attitude double time since she's picking up on everything.  

Layla in her little tutu--she loves that little tutu...wears it ALL day

SO yeah...I have my third wedding with dad this weekend and I couldn't be more excited if I tried.  I don't know how dad does it...waiting a whole week to get out there and get his game on.  It was only Tuesday and I was up at 3am thinking about the wedding this weekend.  I really think I've stumbled upon something that seems so unlikely..but something that I actually love and am developing a passion for--and something that actually makes money--as opposed to running which has been a debit since I started (cue Disney fairy tale music....or maybe I'll get a sponsorship...ahhhhhh...nice...Asics maybe--Nike???). 

Finally...speaking of running...
Dad and I did a tempo run on Wednesday--3.5 faster miles between a warm up and cool down.  Our plan was to do the faster miles at a little less fast than race pace (8:20 per mile)--say around 8:30 a mile.  After the second fast mile,  I was thinking...hummm....not as easy as I thought it would be.  Dad and I neglected to actually go out and mark miles on the we were doing a best guess.  When we finished and plugged in the numbers we found out that we were running 7:23 miles!!!  So 8:20 should feel like a breeze, right?  We'll see next week as we add on another mile to the fast 3.5 :-).  Tonight we'll head out and do another 16.5 miles at a slightly faster pace before gearing up for the last BIG push.