Thursday, October 29, 2009

90% Mental? I guess...

When I was at physical therapy on Tuesday, I was reading a Charlotte running magazine. One of the editors had set out to run the Boston Marathon. Apparently the first half of this race is a lot of downhill running, and the veteran runners will tell you not to get too excited and push past your pace, because the second half of the race will get you. He apparently wasn't thinking about that, because he started running too fast for the first half, and he was dying the second half. But, he did meet his goal to finish the race in under 4 hours...I think he made it in 3:57. One of the things I read in the magazine was that running was 90% mental and 10% physical. I think I agree with this...somewhat.

Case in point - yesterday, I went running with my coworker, T. Now T used to run track in college, and she was a 400 runner. And apparently a pretty good one. I hated that 400 and only ran it when forced to. But I haven't run track in 15 years or more. She apparently still has her track legs and her track lungs. We are running the 5K on Saturday, along with another co-worker. Yesterday we went for a 3 mile run. Before we got started she said, "now this is going to just be an easy jog, right?" Like I was gonna take off and sprint. I was like yeah, easy jog.

Peeps, an easy jog for me is a 12 minute mile pace. I can talk, laugh and all that at that pace. No problems. This about the pace we run when we do our long distance ru ns (6 miles or more). Had I been smarter, I would have asked her what she though "easy" was, and how she calculated that. It's harder to set your pace when you run outside, than it is on the treadmill. But just for math's sake, I'll tell you that a 12 minute mile means you are running at 5.0 on the treadmill, and a 10 minute mile means you are runing at 6.0 on the treadmill.

We get started and I let her set the pace. When we get to the 1 mile marker we are at 10 minutes. I'm breathing harder. It's a little harder to talk. I can still eek out a few sentences here and there. I tell her that it took is 10 minutes and she says ok. OK? Well, I guess I have to just try to hang in here with this. We run out to the 1.5 mile marker and turn around. When we get back to the 1.0 marker, that is another mile, and I see that it also took us 10 minutes. By this time, I'm breathing HARD. At least it seems that way to me. I feel like my heart is about to pound outta my chest! Break through the skin, climb up my chest to my face, and cuss me out. Literally.

I'm not sure what happened when she hit the 3/4 mile marker, but she just kept getting faster. At this point, I thought about the article, and the whle 90% mental. I really wanted to keep up with her. For one, I'd feel great to be able to finish at that pace. Secondly, I was just ready to be done with that 3 mile run. Third, I figured if I could run at a good clip today, I'd be great for the race on Saturday.

Hmph! I don't care what my MIND said, my body was NOT FEELING IT. NOT. FEELING. IT. I just kept watching T pull further and further away. I watched her foot turnover speed is simply not that fast! It's time for some speed work. Some intervals, some fartleks...something! At that point, it just became about finishing without walking, and without having a heart attack. She told me this morning that she didn't realize running a 10 minute mile was equivalent to getting on that treadmill and busting a move at 6.0 mph. In my mind, I was thining we are running like we are running for freedom on the Underground Railroad! I her mind, she thought that I was ok with the pace and that we were taking it easy. Go figure!

I'm going to estimate that I was about 40 seconds behind her when it was all said and done, but it really felt like an eternity. I think at that point she could have run 1/2 mile to a mile more, and I was about to keel over. Oh well. This just tells me that while my mind is ready, my cardiovascular system is NOT. Speed training is definitely in order. But I do agree that you have to have your mind right in any thing you are trying to do. If you tell yourself you can't do it, you won't be able to. I envision being able to run a 5K in 30 minutes or less, at some point. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Today's Hair Style

This didn't come out like I thought it would, but not too bad. I need to tweak the back a bit. I wish I could find a flat twist style that I could put in and just leave in for a week. I'm kinda tired of messing with my hair right now. But I will not cut it!

Another memory story about those earrings - true 80s relics. My sister bought those - one side is a teal pig, and the other earring says "OINK." I used to have a pair that was a cat and then "MEOW." I think the cat is still here somewhere, but MEOW broke and is missing in action. I didn't wear those to work today - just threw them on 'cause I saw them this morning in my jewelry box and it made me laugh.

OK, I think I've bored you enough with pics. Last night I combed out so much shed hair. At least it was shed hair and not breakage, but still. I might be time for the Alter Ego Garlic Treatment. It's supposed to help reduce shedding.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Musing on Memories...

This is a picture of me in my favorite head scarf (I've got a flat twist style under here that I'll unveil tomorrow if it's cute. :lol:). I have yet to find another scarf that truly stays on my head at night. I'm not even sure what material this is, but it doesn't snag my hair or anything. But let me tell you why this is REALLY my favorite scarf.

I "stole" it from my mom. Yep. I'm one of those kids who takes stuff from her mom. :lol: I must have needed a scarf one day, and probably asked to borrow one. I'm sure she dug through her drawer of scarves and other hair accessories, and handed me this one. I can't even remember when I got it from her, but it's been around for a while. Every time she sees me with it, she says, "that is MY scarf!" We laugh...but she's not getting this scarf back!

OK...if she really needed it, I'd give it back. But really, I just like having little pieces of home with me. My sisters and I laugh about this all the time. My sister Pam has this ceramic bowl that we used to always use to mix up cake batter and other goodies. I have this old glass candy dish (and do I put candy in it? Nope! In college it held the pens and pencils on my desk). I don't now what my sister Shelley has. I think I have the old cookie cutters as well...and I can't even tell you the last time I made some homemade cookies that required cutters. But I got 'em! Once, I was at the flea market when I first moved here, and I bought these HUGE wooden utensils. You know the ones - the fork and the spoon that every black family had on the wall in the 70s? They reminded me of home. I think I paid $2. And note that my mom still has hers on the wall. For years, my mom forbade us from removing our baby books from the house. A couple of years ago she finally said, just take 'em! So now I have my baby book with photos, my first footprints, report cards from elementary school, and notes from my pre-school teachers. I love it. I know everything that's in there, but I just go back and glance for GP sometimes.

These are all the items that remind me of Bruce Street - that's the street we grew up on. We lived there until I was 19. In an old school colonial house. We had a basement and an attic, in addition to the main floor and upstairs. We spent so many good times in that house. When I go home I usually drive by...I wish my parents still lived there. Those were really the good ol' days. I was able to go to the bus stop by myself. I walked home from school with no issues. My high school sweetheart kissed me for the first time on the corner of Bruce and Salt Springs, while it was lightly snowing. When I was little, and it would snow really hard, my brothers would be charged with shoveling the sidewalk in front of the house, and our driveway. I had a mini shovel and I would go outside and "help" with the shoveling. I remember it taking 15 minutes just to get dressed to go outside. Then we'd be out there for 15 minutes and our toes and fingers would be numb, and we'd be back inside. I'm sure my mom just shook her head.

Bruce Street was the place of the late night Pokeno parties my mom used to have. The place where a lot of our holiday gatherings took place - Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th of July. We had a huge backyard...sometimes my mom would let all the neighborhood kids come to our yard for Easter Egg hunts. If my friend Jemica and I couldn't finda 3rd person for double dutch, we would tie the ropes to the chain link fence back there, and the two of us would take turns jumping and turning in the driveway.

Our house was right at the crest of the hill. The sewer cover that was in the middle of the street, across from our driveway, was "home base" for kick ball and baseball. The utility pole across from our front yard was the start of many street races. The tree to the left of our driveway was the base for hide and go seek. Many games of "red light-green light" and "freeze tag" were played in front of our house.

Even when we couldn't go outside, we had plenty of stuff to do in the house. We had a sunporch off of the den. In the summer time if it was raining, sometimes we'd sit out on the porch (it was screened in). We used to roller skate in the basement. Matter of fact, I have a scar on my right shin to this day, from accidentally skating into my dad's tool box. At some point my parents got a pool table from someone, and we used to play pool down there. I had a love-hate relationship with that basement. I don't do creepy crawlies, and of course there were always spiders, and in the summer time, the snails used to get in. Blech! But, it was the coolest placed to be in the summer time, because we didn't have central air.

The attic was sweltering in the summer time, and freezing in the winter time. That was our place to accumulate our "junk." Stuff we weren't using, but we absolutely HAD to hold on to. My mom would wake us up in the summer time at 6:00 am to clean it out. The attic door was the basketball rim for me and my brother. We'd take an old wire hanger and untwist the top, then bend it into a circle. Hang the "hook" part of the hanger over the door - instant hoop! We only played with a tennis ball, though. And he always cheated.

I could really go on here for days...I had a really blessed childhood, and I think my brothers and sisters would all agree. I just love looking around the apartment and seeing reminders of it. I could be having a horrible day, but then I see that candy dish, and I smile.

What are some of your favorite childhood memories? Do you have "pieces of home" around your residence?

5 days...

5 more days until the concert! Mint Condition, Eric Benet and Ledisi...when I bought the tickets, Ledisi was not listed on the bill, but a friend of mine told me he heard an advertisment that stated she would be here, too. Not surprising, since she has been with them in other cities. I just wish they had made it known she would be here. I have at least two friends who would have bought tickets had they known she was coming.

I'm so excited my tickets are in the 2nd row! It's Mint Condition Tuesday - my MC playlist is bumping on the iPod. I need to figure out what I'm gonna wear! What's sad is that I really liked Eric's last album, but I don't evn care about seeing him. LOL!

I heard Maxwell's concert was NICE. I hate I missed it. Anyone been to any good shows lately, or have any good shows coming up?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Recap

Happy Monday, Bloggers!

This weekend was not too bad. I worked out on Friday and then took it on home to the crib. I was feeling tired and I just wanted to veg for a bit. I promised a co-worker/friend that I'd go out with her on Saturday night, so I figured I'd just chill. Now, the last time I went out with her was last Thursday, and that chick had me out until 3:00 a.m. I already told her we were setting a time limit, and I meant it!

Saturday morning I got up for our 6 mile run. I must have had my Wheaties that morning, because I took off for the last 3 miles and finished about 4 minutes ahead of my running buddies. I was just ready to get done. It was starting to rain, and I was DRENCHED the last 1.5 miles. Drenched. I mean, the coconut oil I had put in my hair the night before had dripped down my face. I had to keep wiping my eyes. It rained HARD. Afterwards, I went to Trader Joe's and got some apples, bananas, and some frozen fruit for strawberries. I am not happy with the 9 lbs I've gained. I know some of it is muscle, but not all of it is. I'm on a self imposed ban from cookies and those types of sweets, for the next few weeks. Pray for me.

After I got home from my run, I washed and deep conditioned my hair. Then I did some cleaning around the apartment. At this point, I am talking myself out of going out that night. The person I was going to hang out with (she needs a nickname, I will come up with one) is really nice, and she's sweet. SHe's 29, and sort of "going through" - she's separated from her hubby (he cheated on her). So now she's on this kick to just meet someone, and we keep trying to tell her to slow down, to no avail. So going out with her is interesting, to say the least. But I said I was going to get out and do more. She sent me a text to make sure I was going. I told her my entire body hurt, and I really didn't feel like going...but then she begged and I relented. I told myself, I would just be open to the events of the night and try to have fun.

She came to get me around 9:00. Everyone who knows me knows I HATE parking uptown. If you want me to go, the best bet is for you to drive and I'll help you pay for parking. :lol: We went to this spot called Cosmos, and had some martinis. Nothing was really going on there, so we walked back down to the EpiCenter. This is a new entertainment area they just built in Uptown Charlotte. Restaurants, bars, etc. It really doesn't cater to "us" per se, but still lots of things to do.

I'm a lightweight, so the one martini I had at Cosmos is kicking in, and I told her I needed something to eat. We ended up going to Wild Wing Cafe. Where a 70 year old cowboy, dressed in all black, decided to hit on us. Comedy! Not to mention all the half dressed college chicks. They had a Halloween party this weekend, and I swear most of them came dressed as Playboy bunnies. I was trying to get a picture of this group of girls but the flash on the Blackberry is too bright! So much for being incognegro.

After I got my wings, we decided to go back to Black Finn - this is the place we were at the week before. I wondered why the line was so long, and I realized these fools were charging a cover charge! Um, no. But she wanted to go, so she said, I'll just pay it. OK - suit yourself! We get inside and it's jammed packed. We're like sardines. When they DO play good music, you barely have room enough to move. At one point, we move closer to the DJ booth and I see this guy. Bald head, handsome...but I keep stealing glances at him, because he looks white, but I can't really tell. Yes, that's how bored I was, that I was sitting there trying to figure out if this dude was white.

We kept getting jostled into him because of the crowd. He was just kind of standing there...nursing his drink, and then he left for a little while. But then he ultimately made his way back. My co-worker asked me if he was a bouncer, and I told her I didn't think so. Being the person that she is, of course she asked him. That started the conversation. He told us he had just moved up from FL not too long ago, and this was his first time trying to head out on the town in Charlotte. I could tell he was a little bit older, and probably not wanting to be there with all those dayum college kids. Neither did I! I felt his pain.

Co-worker decided that she was hungry, and wanted Fuel Pizza. So we invited our new friend to walk down the street to the pizza place with us. We got to the pizza place and now I could see him in the light. He actually reminds me of KC, but taller. He told us he was 46...he really does NOT look it. I was thinking, here we go with the folks in their mid-40s. Where are the 34 - 38 year olds??

Florida paid for our pizza and drinks and we sat down to chat. I swear we sat there talking for at least an hour or more. I was telling him about a wine tasting/jazz spot that Serenity told me about, because he mentioned he liked jazz. I could not remember the name of the place, so I told him I'd let him know. He gave us his number and I asked him for his last name (y'all know I got to Google folks). So he gave it to us, and co-worker asked him to repeat it, since it was a foreign name and she couldn't quite catch it. That's when he said he was Nigerian and something Latino (I cannot remember for the life of me), and I was like BINGO! I leaned over and told him, "I knew it!" and we just started know how when you are sharing the inside joke with your "colored" friends...LOL!

Once again, Co-worker had kept me out until 3:00 a.m., BUT I've forgiven her for this, because now I may have a new friend. :) Seriously, he seemed really cool and I think I could just actually hang out with him, and that be it. So, we'll see.

I think I got home and got to bed around 3:30, and dragged myself out of bed at 7:15 so I could meet the girls for our 3 mile recovery run at 8:00. We enjoyed our usual ritual of Cracker Barrel after the run, and then I took it to the crib. Co-worker had invited me to the Panthers game, and another friend invited me to go to the hot air balloon festival with her, but I could not muster up the energy for either one. I didn't even go skating last night. I know, right? That didn't stop NY from calling to see if I was going to the skate jam in SC. I told him I was not, and that I was not going to be at the rink next week, either (Mint Condition concert - whoo hooo!). That fool had the nerve to ask me if I had a date for the concert.

So, that was my weekend. How was yours?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Musings on Relationships/Dating

Last night, after cutting up with Serenity via the world wide web, I went to the movies with NY. We went to see Law Abiding Citizen. The critics HATED it, but it kept me entertained. The carnage was a bit much for my tastes, but past that, I was intrigued with how they were going to stop this guy.

Anywho, before we went to the movies, we had a quick bite at Wild Wing Cafe, where some interesting karaoke was going on. We both had worked out and needed to get a little bit of food. He kept telling me about how he was thinking about me all week, and was so glad that we got a chance to hang out. I just sort of smiled. He's really not a bad person, he's not unfortunate looking, but there really isn't any spark. I guess I keep going to see if one will ever light up?

When we got to the theater, it was a late show, so we had to purchase our tickets inside, at the concession counter. He told the woman working there that we were going to see the 9:55 show. He handed her his debit card and she said, "one ticket or two?" We both laughed, and were like, "what??" She said that she always asks now, because she's been in situations where she assumed the guy was paying for both and rang him up for both, when he only meant to pay for one ticket. NY says, "well I'm old mom taught me that if I take a lady out, I need to take care of the evening." He almost seemed to be in disbelief, when the employee and I were discussing the fact that lots of times, people go dutch.

Ladies - how do you feel about this? Do you go dutch? Or should he pay if he asked you out? And I'm not talking about someone you've been in a relationship with...I'm talking about the actual, early "dating" phase, when you're just trying to get to know one another. Do you absolutely expect him to pay 100% of the time? Do you make a half hearted offer to pay, because you know he's going to tell you to put your money away? Or when the bill comes, do you side eye him and raise your eye brown a la The Rock and think, "I hope he doesn't think I'm about to pay for this??" :lol:

An inquiring mind wants to know.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

5 Miles 'Til Empty...

That's the title of the only song I listen to from Brownstone's second album, and also what I was feeling like during today's race.

I woke up this morning around 5:15. My alarm was set to go off at 5:35, but I woke up earlier than that. I got up and kind of walked around for a little bit, trying to make sure I was truly awake. Updated my FB status, of course. And as it has been for the past few weeks, my Achilles' were achy. I'll really be glad when this injury is resolved.

I jumped in the shower and then got myself dressed. I found a great track suit at Walmart - $13 for the top and $13 for the bottoms, and it made it's debut for today's race, along with a new sports bra. I checked my gear - fuel belt, one bottle filled with water, the other empty and ready for me to get some Propel, my 2 Gu's, my iPod, an extra t-shirt, gloves - I was ready. I gave Bogey some treats, turned on the cable box for her (yes, she's spoiled with background noise while mommy is gone), and rolled out.

I ran to the Teeter around 6:20 or so. I needed Propel water and some Gatorade as my stomach was feeling iffy. I think it was just nerves. This was going to be my first road race. Would I finish it? Would I embarrass myself? Why the hell did I agree to do this in the first place??

It was rainy and about 47 degrees. Yeah. Sucky weather to run in. Not so much the temperature, but the rain. I'm not a fan of running in the rain. But there was no turning back now! I met up with the crew at Harvest (a church about 15 minutes from my apartment), and we carpooled up to the race location in Lake Norman. When we got there, people and cars were EVERYWHERE. We had a hard time finding some place to park. I really didn't know what kind of chaos to expect, given that this was my first official road race. A smart person would have just started with a 5K!

You could tell the serious runners, from the newbies. By this time it's a sweltering 49 degrees, and some of these folks have shorts on! Some of the men had on sleeveless tops. We had the heat nice and toasty in Cheryl's SUV, and when I opened that door, I officially confirmed that these people were crazy with their wardrobe choices. One of the girls in the running group asked me if I was going to run with my jacket on. Um, yeah! And my gloves, too! It's 49 degrees!

I did my best to stretch and then we headed over to the registration tables to pick up our "chips." The chips are what they use to keep track of your time. Which I love, because you can't really go by the clock you see at the end, unless you were first at the line and started at the front of the race. The great thing about the chip is that it doesn't start counting until you actually cross the start line. Genius, right? You can either thread it through your shoe laces, or you can attach it with these little plastic ties they provide. Janelle - whom we affectionately call "Coach" - advised me to use the ties, because if I put it through my shoe laces, I was not going to feel like unlacing my shoes at the end of that race.

The initial plan was to start the runners and walkers at different times, but they decided they were going to start everyone at once. As we walked up to the line we decided to take our first Gu. I had Vanilla Bean and Chocolate, so I chose Vanilla Bean to start with. Blech! Way too sweet and just nasty. I had to force myself to take the whole gel, and then chase it with some water. I looked around and saw folks from all walks of life. Black, white, male, female...wheelchair racers, walkers, runners, young and old. All with one thing in common - we are crazy enough to want to run/walk either 5K or 15K at 7:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning, when most folks are still asleep.

The race started and the crowd moved up the hill towards the starting line. A smart person would have previewed the course online, but I did not. One of the girls at Run For Your Life told me there would be one big hill at the beginning, but then after that it was pretty "straight forward." OK, cool. Me no likey the hills. I'm all for getting the big hill out of the way.

What she NEGLECTED to tell me, was that this entire course was like a big ol' yo-yo - constant up and down, up and down. "Little" hills. Hills that if you were driving, you really wouldn't think of them as hills. After that first big hill, the course took us into a park. Aside from the slickly painted speed bumps, not too much going on in there. There were some slight inclines, but nothing major. I was thinking that if the whole course was like this, I'd be perfectly fine. They placed a timer clock at the 1 mile mark. I was feeling great! Fresh air, beautiful fall surroundings...Janelle - whom I have now nicknamed Happy Sprite after today - chatting with Cheryl and I about the race itself, and what our pace should be. Life was good!

At mile two, we were almost out of the park. We reached our first water table, so we stopped to walk for about 20 seconds or so. Cheryl had forgotten her fuel belt, so she was going to have to stop at the tables periodically to hydrate. I was still feeling great at this point. Laughing to myself at this woman with red hair and a pink outfit. While we were plugging along at a steady pace, she had chosen to do walk/run intervals. However, she was walking so slowly, she had to really run on the run intervals. So she would pass us, then stop to walk...pass us, then stop to walk. I kept thinking, "chick - just run with us. You are doing way too much."

Then I had to stop thinking about her, because the hills became a little bit harder. They were steeper and longer, with less of a break in between. Most of or chatting ceased. I turned up the volume on my 80s pop playlist. Somewhere between miles 1 and 2, I had taken off my jacketamd gloves because I was starting to heat up. Now I'm running with a short sleeved t-shirt on. I'm one of the crazy ones now! The wind is picking up, but I'm still sweating. At this point I'm thinking, I just need to get halfway between mile markers 4 and 5, because then we're halfway done with this race! I Jedi mind tricked myself to not think about the torture I was going through, and paid more attention to my surroundings.

Halfway through mile 3, we turned into Lifestyes of the Rich and Famous. These houses were NIIIIIIICE and near the water. It was nice that the course took us through some neighborhoods, but I was still tired of all the hills. Did I mention the hills? Constantly ongoing. We passed mile marker 4. Still going! Cheryl was a few paces behind us, but still hanging. I was starting to get tired, and thinking that Janelle was way too happy about this situation. I asked her if we'd stop at mile marker 5 to have our 2nd Gu, and she said that we would.

MIle 5 was a welcomed break. This was the longest walking break we took. Lemme tell you - chocolate Gu tastes like Godiva after you've run 5 miles. While we were lamenting about our dislike of some of the Gu flavors, the Speedwalker Twins went by and one of them told me to try the Espresso flavor. Duly noted!

We started back up after about a minute or so of walking. This was the turning point in the race for me; my body started fighting me. I think it was also mental, too. I was so sick of the damn hills! Pressing on...pressing on. My mind started wandering and wondering. Thinking it was taking entirely too long for us to travel between these mile markers. Janelle was worried about us making it back in less than 2 hours. I was simply worried about making it back, period.

Mile marker 6 - 3.3 miles to go. At this point I just wanted to be done, yet lacked the energy to really pick up the pace. I was starting to struggle to keep up with Janelle, but I did my best. Perky teenagers were working the water tables, yelling things like, "good job, ladies!" and "you can do it, almost there!" Almost there? The greatest was the sign that said "Hills build character." I woulda kicked it down, but I didn't have the energy. My character was being torn down, not built up!

Once we got 7 miles in, we were actually back on the same road we had run on when we exited the park. However, I was delirious and did not realize this until we were almost back to the finish line. Scenery looks mighty different when you're running more uphill than downhill. At this point I've had to take a couple of 30 second walk breaks, because the inclines are becoming longer in distance. Janelle is pressing on. I feel bad 'cause I'm 34 and she's 50. That's my logic I use to catch back up to her, somewhere between miles 7 and 8. Never mind that they've been training longer than me. I'm the youngin' of the group, as they often remind me. I need to get back to it! The other problem that's plaguing me at this point, is that my left ankle is starting to hurt. Not on the sides, but at the top of the foot. I can't think of anything else but this, each time my left foot strikes the pavement. I felt like crying, but I didn't want to waste the energy, so I pressed on.

Mile marker 8! God bless you, mile marker 8. Janelle is excited. We have 1.3 miles to go and will make it just shy of 2 hours. I'm trying to do math - again, anything for a distraction - and I'm guessing that we're on par with a 13 minute per mile pace. I think. Did I carry the 1? Long division doesn't pair well with running.

If this course had been more flat, I would have been burning rubber at this point. I really wanted to be DONE. But mile marker 8 was in the middle of another stupid hill. Ugh! Wait, no. Think positive - you just ran 8 miles! I try to focus on this as we get to the top of what I thought was the last hill. We make our left turn and get to go down the big hill that was at the beginning of the race. Two ladies jog by us and tell us we're doing a great job and we're almost done! Happy Sprites 2 and 3! Janelle - look at your cousins! Can one of y'all carry me the rest of the way?

At the bottom of the hill, one of the race volunteers tells us we look great and are doing great, only .5 to go! I told him that I felt like crap but Janelle felt great! He laughed and we laughed. I was feeling a little bit happier. .5? I got this! Then, I had to go up yet another hill. I pushed it because I thought this was truly the last hill, like for real, for real. All we had to do was get to the top of this hill, make a right at the stop sign, and it would be smooth sailing, right?

WRONG! While it wasn't a "hill" per se, it was another incline. I don't know what Janelle had on her playlist, but it had motivated her, because she got a second wind. That, and she saw Jay ahead and I think she wanted to try and beat him (Jay runs with us as well). I let Happy Sprite carry on, because I just could not do it. Matter of fact, this is where I took my last 20 - 30 second walk break. I just needed to get past that incline.

One of my old co-workers was on the sidelines, apparently helping to work the event. I heard him say, 2 left turns to go! Best thing I'd heard all morning. I saw Janelle and Jay round the first turn. Then I saw this little old man shuffling along, and realized this is the man they've been telling me about for 2 weeks now. He is 76 years old, and seems to run in just about all the road races around here. He will talk to you the entire time if he's running with you. Simply amazing. I hope I can still run when I'm 76. But at this moment in the race, my brain said, "I'ma need you to pick up the pace 'cause you're about to get beat by a 76 year old!"

I passed him at the 2nd left turn, and the finish line was maybe 60 yards away. I found the energy to kick it in. The clock said 1:58 and some change when I passed under it. I was too tired to even reach down and rip the chip off of my shoe, so thankfully one of the volunteers did it for me. Thanks, sir! I don't even know your name, you're the greatest. I don't even know if I can reach my foot right now. I walked around for about 15 seconds before I remembered that Janelle said we'd go back and find Cheryl and run back in with her. Thankfully, she wasn't too far behind, so we caught her just as she rounded the 2nd left turn. Everyone crossed the finish line! And we're still alive.

We met up at one of the benches to stretch and have an injury recap. Jay, who hadn't run in 2 weeks, kept catching cramps in his calves. That explains why we caught up with him, because he runs much faster than we do. Cheryl's toes/foot were hurting. Heather was just simply cold...but she had just run the freakin' marathon the week before in Chicago, so I don't even know how she was out there with us. I think Janelle was the only one who really didn't have an injury. My right hip was hurting a bit, and of course that left foot thing. But overall, not too shabby for my first road race!

Tomorrow, we have a 3 mile recovery run. I think it's going to be more of a walk. I frankly don't want to go, but I know I have to. My body hurts all over, but I am truly glad they talked me into running the race. I look forward to beating my time next year! And even if I don't run that far again, I can officially say I finished a 15K, and add it to my list of "firsts."

Oh - my official pace turned out to be 12:45/mile, and I finished in 1:57:57. Slow, but I'll take it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I've been thinking...

...about this whole "being a mother" idea of mine. If you had asked me in my 20s, I might have said, "absolutely not!" And for the last couple of years, I've been leaning more towards "maybe" and "yes."

But now, as I approach my 35th birthday (in January), I'm leaning more towards, "it's not going to happen." I feel like this for several reasons. First and foremost, I'm hitting that magical age where you become elderly in terms of maternity. Extra tests for the baby, extra risks for you and the baby...truly frightening. I know that plenty of women have had babies over 35 - heck, over 40 - with no issues. But it is definitely a concern.

Secondly, this dating scene out here? Straight DISMAL. I've met maybe one guy whom I can envision as father material. And the older I get, the less likely I am to meet someone who has no kids. Cheryl was telling me she read an article about Black women and marriage, and it stated that in the 70s, most children were being raised by a mother and a father. Today's stat is that 70% are being raised by single women. That increases the chances of meeting a man who has drama with the mother of his children. I don't know if I'm ready to even deal with that.

Third, I enjoy my "me" time. I really do. I know that sounds selfish, but I can admit it. All my friends with kids - whether they are married or single - all say they need about 10 more hours in the day. I like that I can work a bit of OT if needed, without worrying about daycare time limits. I like being able to leave work and go for a 4 mile run, without needing a Franklin Planner to set the time aside (do they still use Franklin planners? I remember they were all the rage when I was in INROADS, LOL). I have a few friends who would like to start working out and doing things for their mental, spiritual, and physical health, and they just simply do not have the time. After work their evenings are consumed with pickups from day care, homework, dinner, cleaning up, putting kids to bed...I admire all of them because I just don't understand how they get it all done. I guess I'm scared I WON'T be able to get it all done. People say, when you have kids you just do it. Just like when I tell my mom that I have no maternal instinct whatsoever, and she says, "when you have a baby you'll see, it will kick in." And I look at her and say, "uh huh...ok."

I don't know. I know this all could change if I meet the right man. But right now, I don't think it's going to happen...and I don't know how I feel about that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Keep Runnin'...Keep on Runnin'!

I forgot to add this to the other post. I have informally joined a running group, composed of my old supervisor and two of her friends. They are training for a half marathon to be run in December. I don't think I will be doing that, but I knew I needed to do more so I could increase my distance. So I've decided during the week I will work on speed, and when I run with them on the weekends it will be about distance.

Saturday, their plan was to run 8 miles (they have been working themselves up to this by adding a mile each week). Janelle told me that since I've been up to about 4 miles, I could run maybe 5 and then turn around and walk, and they'd catch up with me. When it got to the point where I could have turned around, I was feeling really good. I said, "I'll keep going." Janelle, a.k.a. Coach, asked me if I was sure. She knew I had the cardio strength to do it, but wanted to make sure my legs would be ok. Now generally, it's the opposite for me - my legs are usually fine, and I struggle with my breathing.

In the end,I did the entire 8 miles! We stopped after 4 and walked for a quick break (for water and Gu), then started jogging back to our start point. With 2 miles to go, I was really over it and ready to be done. It was a cloudy day, it was sprinkling on us off and on. We met up with another runner on the trail and took a quick break to talk to him, then set out to finish. I was so happy to see the marker for 1 mile, I didn't know what to do. The paved portion of the greenway has markers at every 1/4 mile - but because we went pretty far, we ran on the unpaved portion and that's about a mile with no markers. I was glad to see the pavement again.

Someone apparently knocked down the sign for 1/2 mile. I didn't know that, and after the 3/4 mile sign, I felt like I had been running forever and a day and figured I must be really tired. Then I saw it - the 1/4 mile marker. At that point I was so over it, I just took off and kicked it in. I was truly on auto pilot - I didn't think I had it in me to run that fast after 7 3/4 miles. Which goes back to Cheryl's saying that it's always a mental thing.

I felt good when that run was over, except for a slight twinge in my right hip (which I've gotten before when I ran on the treadmill) and the bottom edge of my right foot was sore. Things tend to happen to me on my right side, because I over-pronate that foot the most. It was nothing major, though. I made sure to stretch and then I went home and henna'd my hair and went to sleep! :lol:

The next day, we ran our 3 mile "recovery" run. I think we ran it faster than we usually go. That might have been my fault - again, was ready to be done. Why? Because after the 3 mile recovery run, we go to Cracker Barrel! I know. But I deserved Cracker Barrel after running 8 miles the day before.

This weekend, Cheryl and Janelle are running a 15K race. I haven't signed up for it. I don't know if I'm ready to add another mile and 3/4 to that 8 miles I just conquered. I think I have a couple more days before I have to decide. If I don't run the race with them, I will do some type of distance run on Saturday. I just have to decide what I'll do.

Today I'm due for a 4 or 5 mile run. It will probably be closer to 4, but I'll work on my speed and hills. Wish me luck!

What's going on, Bloggers?

Sorry to have been MIA. And this post is going to be a mish-mash of a lot of random stuff, so bare with me. :)

I'm sure, by now, everyone is aware of the buzz surrounding Chris Rock's new movie, "Good Hair." I really was debating as to whether or not I'd even go see it. My Natural Hair Meet Up group was going to go see it over the weekend, but Charlotte wasn't one of the cities that got the limited release. We've rescheduled for next weekend, and I tentatively said I'd go.

The hair boards are all a-buzz with the chatter about this movie. Some women think that it will open up diaolgue, and the appreciate Chris' humerous approach. Others straight up said they feel that Black women are being clowned - they are definitely not happy with the movie.

I think I posted about a guy I used to date in Atlanta. When he met me, I had natural hair...I guess he figured he'd try to work around it. A few months in to the relationship, it'd be little random suggestions, "can you wear your hair like this?" or, "do you ever straighten your hair?" ETC. I tried to be patient, but eventually I had to just flat out cuss him out about this issue, chunk the deuces and tell him to pound sand (we didn't just part over this issue, although this was a big factor). I mean, he was going bald - I never told him to get Rogaine. Men are so dumb. Anywho...I was at the rink on Sunday night, and I get a text message from him. He saw the movie and said he apologized for any hair comment he ever made. I just replied with "wow" and told him I hadn't seen it yet. He said his whole perspective changed...I doubt that. But at least it got him thinking. So now I kinda want to see it to see what got into him.

I can't remember if I posted that both my Achilles' tendons have been sore and achy for a few weeks now. I went to the sports medicine doc this morning and have been officially diagnosed with tendonitis. I have to go for a physical therapy evaluation/treatment next Tuesday, and he has given me an Rx for two anti-inflammatory drugs, one of which is a patch to apply to my heels at night. I also need to put some heel inserts into my sneakers. Two friends on FB have suggested some natural remedies...I may look in to them if the Rx prices are out of control. So, I'm not sure about rebounding right now. I will see what the therapist says, as far as what I can do and what I need to avoid for the time being.

I had a friend who was really going through some changes. Last week she emailed me and was really down. So I decided to get the workbook that Serenity has referenced in several of her posts lately. It's called Woman After God's Own Heart. It's actually a video series, but you don't need the video to use the workbook. While I was browsing the website, I also saw Breaking the Worry Habit...Forever! I know I am a constant worrier, and that's something I need to work on. I got the book for my friend and for myself. I'm still working on the first five books of the Bible (currently in Exodus), so I'm trying to work in time to read both.

I talked to my dad for about an hour last night. I was telling him about how my friend Kristen's dad passed away the other week. He asked me what kind of cancer it was...and was telling me the doctors had initially been concerned about his cancer spreading to his kidney, but he is in the clear for that. He has another scan appointment coming up soon to make sure the cancer has not come back/spread. I think the doctor is concerned because he's not gaining weight, and has lost a couple of pounds. But I think that's mostly because he's still trying to eat like he has his whole stomach. He gets too full and he can't hold the food down. The doc told him to drink Ensure for breakfast and dinner, and have a nice lunch...but I know him. And he said, "I wanna eat some real food!" :lol: I just need him to follow directions. Anyway, so far so good, and we are just waiting on him to have the next scan. :)

Last night, I attended a wine tasting class at Trader Joe's - it was all about Italian wines. I forgot to sign up and all the classes are full, but a friend's stepdad decided he doesn't want to attend, so I went in his place. I am also going to attend a Sparking Wine class on 11/16, and then one on Pinot Noir on 11/23. I'm trying to broaden my horizons, get out of the house, and do something different.

OK...I think that's it and enough for one post. Hope everyone is doing well!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rebounding - update

OK so...last week I slacked and I don't think I was able to get on at all. I got home so late, and didn't want to be jumping on top of the neighbors, LOL. The first week I did the work out DVD for 2 days. THen one day I just got on there and jumped for 30 minutes, while watching Spongebob Squarepants (lol). I just did various combos of the exercises Mia uses on the DVD.

I made sure to get my running in last week, because I didn't want to do too much before KOmen Race for the Cure. My team raised $475 and we had a great time. I finished the run in about 34:07. It said 36:07 when I crossed, but since we didn't start right when the clock started, we're shaving off 2 minutes, LOL. It was likely closer to 35. Oh well. There were three hills in that race and they got me GOOD.

Anywho, should be able to get back on the rebounder tomorrow. I'm going to try to get in at least 3 weeks consistently, and then I can let you know how I feel about the cellulite. I also have to get my eating habits under control, and get my water intake back up.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Watching Someone Say Goodbye

Everyone handles grief in different ways. Some people just keep themselves busy; they don't want to think about it. Others retreat inside themselves, and they are just barely capable of functioning. I hate to see anyone going through this kind of grief, and thus, I am not a big fan of funerals. I have mixed feelings about my last vision of someone being them in a casket. Today, a very good friend had to say goodbye to her father. His 2 year battle with cancer came to an end last Friday morning.I wonder why we need the funerals sometimes. It seems like it just makes the grief worse. We have the viewing, and then with great finality the casket is closed, and you really realize - like for real - that you are never going to see that person again.

My stomach was in knots all morning. Besides the fact that I hadn't been feeling well for the past two days, I knew I had this funeral to go to. I'm just not a big fan of funerals, but I wanted to be there for my friend. I knew she would have plenty of family there, but there's something about looking out and seeing your friends. When my aunt died, I spent the majority of the days between her death and her funeral, trying to be strong for my mother. It was like, as soon as I had a second to really think about it, and start crying, something would come up that had to be taken care of. My mom was so distraught at the funeral, I spent the majority of the time trying to comfort her. When we got to the grave site, I remember just praying that they would wait until we left before they started to lower her casket, because I knew my mom could not take that. I was angry, sad, nervous, frustrated...everything. I was standing there, finally letting out some of my pent up sadness, when I felt a hand reach out and rub my back. I turned, and it was my best friend. I didn't even know that she had made it to the service. I don't even know if she knows how much that gesture meant to me. I'll never forget it. I felt alone with my feelings...even though I was surrounded by all my family. Her one gesture just brought me back. I say all that to say, I know K appreciated us being there.

I'm just going to really pray for her. She was really close to her dad. I've sort of dreaded this day for a while, because I just didn't know how she would take it. I'm very proud of her, she did very well, considering. These next few months are going to be really hard. Thankfully, she has a great support system in her family and friends.