Bless My Heart

the improvement of a southern girl


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The Spa10k Recap

Whew! It’s done! 5 weeks of hard work and perseverance has paid off and I rocked my 10k race yesterday. We got in to the hotel around 9pm and after laying out my clothes for the next morning, I was asleep by 10:15. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep because of nerves, but the long drive made me ready to crawl into bed. I slept fast and quick and woke up bright and early at 5:57am. Three minutes before my alarm went off. Why does that happen??? The Man showered while I found a vending machine and bought some nasty stale peanut butter crackers. I ate four out of the six and made some coffee. Then it was time to go! The start was at the convention center about .5 mile south of the hotel. I was happy to find out it wasn’t toooo cold when we got out the door. We got there about 7, so we had about an hour to kill before the start. I kept myself busy getting ready. This was my first race to use a timing chip, so it took a minute to figure out how to put it on my shoe. *See my Garmin watch?I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and was excited about racing with it. I turned it on and quickly found out that the battery was dead.  I fully charged it before packing… I guess it was bumped on somehow. I was bummed. No Garmin 😦 And there’s the bib. #89. It kept me thinking about my big sister. She graduated high school in ’89. I saw that number a lot when I was a kid 😉 All ready to go!! Thumbs up was apparently my “thing” yesterday. I swear I gave a thumbs up to at least a dozen volunteers/cops while running the course. I guess I was encouraging myself in a roundabout way. I went to the bathroom at least three times in the hour I was waiting, but sure enough, as soon as they said it was time to line up, I had to pee again. No time to go though, so I felt like I had to pee the first 2 miles. Nerves, stupid nerves. Here we go! Rocking the thumbs up!

Mile 1 – trying to forget about the fact that I need to pee. settling in, keeping my pace. humoring myself with townspeople watching us like we are on parade. it feels like a parade.

Mile 2 – reminding myself that I have to do this for over and hour and zoning out a bit. pacer girl tells me my time, and I’m on pace. I feel good.

Mile 3 – water. yeah! I turn a corner and there is a mountain I have to run up. But, hey, I can do it. I pass people for the first time since mile 1. Training on my long hilly road at home as helped!

Mile 4 – start going downhill. crap, it’s going back up! ok, now down for good.

Mile 5 – more water! and finishing it out through the old neighborhoods. I probably could run faster, but I’m still afraid of burning out before the finish. FINISH! I finished in 1:15:21, which gave me a 12:09 mile pace. Still turtle-ish, but it about :20 mile faster than it used to be, so I’ll take it. Hey, it’s faster than being on the couch 🙂 We ditched the end awards and ceremony blah blah and went back to the hotel for me to get a shower and change. I was ready for some pancakes! This is supposed to be the place to go for breakfast. It was -eh- okay. I make a better pancake. I didn’t really care though, cause I was hungry! I had blueberry buckwheat pancakes with one egg and bacon. I have to say, I ate most of this. Hey, I had just ran 6.2 miles! I really like my race shirt! It’s a Brooks technical shirt. After pancakes we did a little Christmas shopping, watched a little football, I got a massage (heaven), and planned our evening. I had the Man drive me around the course so I could show him the mountain. Had to get out and take a picture. You can see the rise of the hill in the background a little. We were up a bit! It was a great day, but I had to make an emergency trip to Walgreens for some Tylenol around 5. My legs were so sore already! Luckily it kicked in and I made it through date night to watch some bands play. Can’t say I did any booty shaking, though. Found myself a chair and stayed in it! I’m so glad that I decided to do this race, and although I’m a little sore, I’m sitting here planning my next one. There is a 5k in two weeks that I’ll probably do, and then…  the half marathon?????  Do I dare?


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10k in 6 Days

Note to self – Don’t pick up big terra cotta pots the week before a race EVER. I need to stop thinking I’m She-Ra and get my Man to help me more. To be fair, he did warn me, but I rolled my eyes and heaved and hoed anyway. Been icing my back ever since.

So anyway, it’s the week of my race. It’s coming up fast this Saturday. I had an “easy” 2 mile run scheduled for today, but it not happening with my back feeling like its breaking when I stand up, so I’m skipping today and waiting till Wednesday to run 4-5 miles. I’m not too worried about it because I skipped last Monday’s “easy” 2 miler and did fine for the rest of the week. My body needs rest, and I’ve learned to give in when it calls for it.

It’s been a good training session so far, but I’m looking forward to the completion.

This is my personalized 5 week training plan I got from Runner’s World. It’s a pretty simple way of getting a running schedule to fit whatever you are training for. I recommend it, for ease of use if nothing else.

In other news, I was gifted with some venison hamburger meat today, and this crazy cold weather came up from nowhere, so making chili just had to happen.

I had no recipe, I just threw things that were on hand and on my “diet” in pot.

  • onion/bell pepper/garlic in canola oil
  • pound of venison
  • can of kidney beans, drained
  • two cans of diced tomatoes
  • cumin/chipotle chili powder/ s & p

Hit the spot.

Later, taters.


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Comfort Zone *outside*

I teach middle school kids how to play music. It’s a process, believe me. I start with showing them how to read notes, then we move to simple rhythms, holding the instrument, and finally, making sounds. The sounds aren’t very musical at first, but they are excited and happy so we trudge along until it develops into something a little more tolerable.

At some point, they start to feel comfortable with how they are playing. They can play a few songs, they can make some good sounds, and then they get… well…  they get lazy. My job then, is to figure out how to push them further. How to get young teenagers to leave their comfort zone and push themselves to the next level. The best way to do this, I have discovered, is to find a piece of music that will be challenging for them to learn. A piece they could not possible play unless they worked on it.  A song that will bring them all to the next level.

But it’s got to be a song that gets them excited. Something that is fun and interesting, but visibly “hard”. Something that will make them want to practice to get it right.

And the great thing is, they will do it.

Every time I pass out a new piece of music and I have a kid say, “that looks HARD”. I immediately say “No. It’s not hard, it’s just new. You just need to learn it.” And I say, “You’re first note was HARD until you learned how to play it. Now it’s a breeze. It’s the same thing”. Then they tilt their head to the side, squint their face and think about what I said, and say simply, “Ok”.

And then they do it.

This relates to where I am in my own life on so many levels. The comfort zone. The place where everything gets comfortable and routine and easy. Life becomes automatic.

But I don’t want my life to be automatic. I want it to be better. I want to step outside my comfort zone and find whatever excites me and makes me want to improve myself, my marriage, my family, my life. I see no point in twiddling my thumbs anymore, waiting for whatever is going to happen to happen. I want to make it happen. It’s not “easy” to do it, but I don’t necessarily think it is “hard” either. I think it’s new. I think I just need to figure out how to do it, then do it over and over again until I get it right. Just like music. Practice doesn’t make it perfect, it makes it better.

Right now this is how I’m relating to my race training. My challenge, when I was just starting the Couch to 5k training program, was to jog 60 seconds at a time without dying. And believe me, that was a challenge. But I kept on practicing, I kept on pushing myself out of my comfort zone and into the next level. And you know what? It worked. My training for this week, just four weeks before my 10k, is run a 2 mile day, and two 3 mile days. I did one of the three milers on Monday, running for over 30 minutes at once. That’s huge for me if I stop and think about it. From barely being able to do ONE minute, to now doing more than THIRTY. It makes me believe that I can do a lot of things I can’t do right now. My body, and my life, seem to be just waiting for me to reach further. I just have to do it.

Practice doesn’t make perfect. It makes better.


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Another Round

I have being going through waves of exercise periods here lately. I’ll get on a roll for a few months, then drop off for a week, then hit it hard again for another month, then slack for the next. You get the idea. In fact, the last time I was consistently training was probably last spring, when The Man and I were going on gym dates twice a week and I was training for a 5k.

Then school got out for the summer. Then it got hot. Then I went on vacation. Then it got hotter than hell.

You see a pattern? Welcome to Louisiana. People don’t run outside in the summertime here. The only time you do that is if..  well.. maybe if you…  no, can’t think of any good reason. It’s just “too darn hot”, as Ella would put it. I actually tried to do a 5k this summer, and suffered from heat exhaustion (shakes, chills, dizziness) during the run. And I get bored on the treadmill, so that idea never lasts too long. Thus, me gets lazy.

To jump start myself again, I’ve decided I need something to work for, and that something would be the race I just registered for. It’s the Spa10k in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on November 21st. It’s just what I need to get myself going again. I’ve run in four 5k’s now, and although I haven’t gotten the time that I would like, it is just not that important to me. I’m not really competitive. I don’t care if I win anything. I just want to do it. I want to run the race. I want to complete something that I previously could not. I want to check it off my list.

And that is what I am going to do.

5 weeks of training should be just enough time to get it done. I’m looking forward to it. Spending my time tonight making new playlist for my ipod, and considering buying a new toy, the Garmin Forerunner 205. Happy October to me.

I went on a jog today, before I registered, to convince myself that I was strong enough to sign up. It was a beautiful evening, with perfect temperatures and a lovely sunset. Lucky for me, my road has hills, so hopefully I’ll be ready for Arkansas’ rolling hills in a month.

My road

My road