Bless My Heart

the improvement of a southern girl


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Springin’ into this thing

Yeah for running! I’ve missed it! I have not been very consistent for the last month, but I’m finally ready to get back in to it. If nothing else, it’s nice to have time to just be me by myself. 30 minutes of me and my thoughts and my music. Good therapy 🙂

The temperature (and HUMIDITY) is definitely creeping higher. It’s going to be hard to get out there when summer gets here 😦 We southerners tend to hibernate in the air conditioning come May.

After I back to the house, I walked over to check my crepe myrtle and found a little friend.

I *LOVE* dragonflies. This’n was a big’n 🙂

Then I looked around to find mess everywhere else. I’m tired of oak tree trash all over my yard!

But I tried to take time to enjoy the little things that make me happy:

I hope you still stop and spread the dandelion seeds from time to time as well 🙂 Make a wish!

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Portland Shamrock Run

I had the pleasure of being invited by my sister and her boyfriend to join them in running the Shamrock Run in Portland, Oregon last weekend. This was the first 5k for my big sis, and I knew I wanted to join her as soon as she asked.

Yes, this is my “big” sister. My other “big” sister is tiny, too. I don’t know what to tell you except for my theory that my mother’s body knew that I was her last fetus and it supplied to me every growth hormone and amazon-woman gene it could find.

Yeah I just made that up.

After visiting the village of port-a-potties, we found where we were supposed to be.

There were a TON of people at this event. 26,000+ to be exact. There are 3 different races; 5k, 8k, and 15k. Our 5k had around 7500 runners.  Come time to start, we made our way into the thick of ’em.

It took around 15 or minutes or so to get to the start line after the gun. We were in the “10:00 and higher” corral towards the back of the pack.

You can see the START in this picture, as well as the timer to the left that says 13:08 on the gun time. The leaders of the race were more than 2/3rds done by the time this pic was taken 😦

I took my phone out about halfway through to take an action shot. This was the beginning of a big hill that took up most of the 2nd  mile. You can see that the congestion never really let up. The whole race was a constant traffic jam; swerving around slowpokes and being passed by speeders. It kept us on our toes for sure. Speaking of toes, we saw a girl running the whole way on her tippy-toes. How do you do that??? Why??

We finished around 36 minutes in. A normal pace for me and a good pace for sister’s first time. We actually did the last mile in 10:15, but the big hill killed us earlier on. As soon as we crossed the finish line we turned in our timer and headed to the water bottles. I took a picture of the timer because this was the first time I’d used one of these. It went around my ankle and I DIDN’T LIKE IT AT ALL! I like shoelace chips!

It was a great race and I’m very proud of my sister and how well she did the first time out (with hardly ANY training, by the way). I am looking forward to focusing my training for faster paces now that I am done with adding distance. Although I do have the idea of doing another half marathon at the end of this season in the back of my mind ;).


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I AM NOT A RUNNER

I have never, ever been a good runner. It’s just not really in my “nature”. I’m big boned and awkward and have been overweight since the moment I was born.

No, really.. I was a 10+ lb baby. I have ALWAYS been big.

P.E. was never really fun for me while growing up. Especially in junior high when we had to run outside in Wyoming in winter. I remember a specific day where I truly felt like my lungs were being ripped apart inside me. I think I had to jog for a minute that day 😦

The funny thing is, I played team basketball from 5th grade till my senior year. I was decent, but always a bench player. I had no endurance. I was not a runner.

I think that is the reason I am sticking with it right now. I AM NOT A RUNNER. This is not easy for me. Every run is a test of willpower. Every completed run is a major victory. It’s doing something I never imagined I could do.

Every time I add another mile to my long run, I am reminded of how far I’ve come. These “milestones” have become major memories for me to build on. The first three stick out the most:

First Mile – I was at high school basketball practice. We were outside on the track after school. For whatever reason, I pushed myself harder that day and completed four laps for the first time without walking. I was so proud I went and told my coach about it after practice. I don’t think she was very impressed.

First 2 Miles – I had started running with my college roommate as she was getting ready to do her military physical. She had to run 2 miles in a certain amount of time, so I went with her 2 or 3 times a week to the track. After working and working, I finally made the 8 laps without taking a walk break. I was in pretty good shape. Then she took her test and I became a vegetable again 😦

First 3 Miles – Years and years later, after I had my second child, I had had enough of carrying around “baby weight”. I started the Couch to 5k program with Nike+ setup. 9 weeks later I was done with the program and completed two laps around the neighborhood, making 3 miles. It was nighttime and I remember walking into the house covered with sweat but feeling like I had just conquered the world. 3 MILES!

Like I said, those first 3 were the most memorable. After that…  it’s just bigger pats on the back. Miles 4, 5, 6, 7 have been completed since October of this year, and 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and finally 13 will be complete by the end of February if all goes well. I believe I can do it. To me, if I can do one mile, I can do 13. Sure, it hurts more, but it is possible. A half marathon is no longer an unattainable goal for me. It is the next step in this journey.

This weeks runs have had mixed results. Tuesday I rocked 4.5 miles on the treadmill, but Thursday I tried to do the distance again outside and I only made it for 2. I had to force myself to squeeze out that 2, too. I wanted to turn around 3 minutes into the run. The wind was blowing hard, my toe hurt, I had to pee (I didn’t realize I had to until after I got going), and I just wasn’t feeling it because I AM NOT A RUNNER!  I was going to make it up today when I got home from work, but it has been storming all day and now it’s nasty cold outside. So here I am. Blogging. I’m going to do a cross training workout tomorrow and then my long run Sunday. At this point, I really don’t know how it’ll all turn out. We’ll just have to see… the suspense is killer 🙂

I’ve been trying to lose a few pounds during all this training as well, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Running more just makes you eat more. I have noticed my legs tightening up and my face looking thinner, but I’m gonna have to tell you… I have to squeeeeeeeze into my jeans. *MUST WORK ON THIS*  It really has everything to do with me surviving on carbs most days of the week. Like I said… bread… 😉  I have 4 weeks left of training, so I’m going to push to see if I can lose at least 5 lbs more before the big race day. I’ve lost about 4 since Christmas. Nothing exciting about that, though. It’s the same four I’ve gained/lost for the last year and a half. My body is certainly comfortable where it is right now. I’m not. It’s a work in progress.


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A Sunday for the Dogs

Today marks the completion of my first week of half-marathon training and the day of my long run. It was “only” a 4 miler today, and I say “only” because I was up to 6 miles a couple of weeks ago, not because it was easy. I went a different route today and found out that I chose a road with mega hills on it. My butt was aching the entire time. But that’s good I guess, as my butt needs some major work 🙂

I was about .75 miles into the run when I turned a corner and found three dogs staring at me as I approached. Yes, three. A gang. All heads and ears perked up as I got closer and I began to have visions of me being chewed into ground beef on the side of the road. As I got closer, I could definitely see that they were interested in me. I was nervous.

I was almost scared.

And then….

And then….

They all wagged their tails, sniffed me politely as I went by, and proceeded to run the next 3 miles with me.

I couldn’t shake ’em. I thought I did when I turned back and headed the other way. But sure enough, they caught up with me. It was fun. They kept me entertained.

And I know you are wondering how/why I have a video of this??!! My Man bought me an updated ipod nano with the video player for my birthday in September. I was thinking that this was a pointless feature for me on my runs up until today, when I just slid it out and took a little video of my new friends. Thanks, babe. Came in handy after all 🙂

And I’m not telling you what I’ve been eating because, well, goshdarnit, it’s the holidays and I’m eating whatever I want to. Just trying to not completely pig out every day. Running plan is the focus right now, diet will probably be postponed until Dec. 26th. 😉


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A Cold Run

Have I said that it is winter now? Well, it is.

Like, cold.

But I still have to run.  Today was a rest day. Yesterday I ran 3 miles in 30-something degree weather.

I was warmer than the car.

But I was still pretty cold.

It takes at least a mile to warm up. But by the time I was through I was unzipping my jacket. 30-something degree runs aren’t so bad. Maybe I can make it through the winter training?!


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Break.Start.Go.

So….  as happens after I have achieved something I work so hard to accomplish, I took a break. After my 10k almost TWO WEEKS ago, I maybe have run 3-4 times. And don’t ask about my eating patterns. Ugh. I reminded myself of the Pillsbury Doughboy the other day after I squeezed into my britches. I poked my tummy, but I didn’t laugh 😦

This is my life.

And this is why I run.

Now that I have completed the 10k, the obvious step for me, with my personality, is to go to the next goal as quickly as possible. No more of this lazy potato chipping and cookie nonsense! And, by the way, WHAT WAS WITH my school having fresh hot doughnuts in the teacher’s lounge for TWO DAYS in a row!!???!!!  My mojo was weak. I succumbed multiple times.

Moving on….

I signed myself up for a half the day after I got back from Hot Springs.

Yeah. A Half.

As in, Half Marathon. Wow. I know, right? But it’s just the next logical step for me. Something to keep me focused and on-task. I’m doing this one….. The Inaugural Rock ‘n Roll Mardi Gras Marathon. It’s in New Orleans (duh) on the last Sunday in February. That gives me 12 weeks from this coming Monday to train. I think I can do it. We’re gonna see.

Hal Higdon and his training plans are pretty much where it is at for long-distance running. I’m going to give him a shot.

I really, really want to do this.

Really.

To motivate me and to keep me honest, I’m going to document the whole training process on my blog. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, you get to see it all right here. The WHOLE THING. The sweat, the tears, the food, the lack of sleep. This will be a tough three months. Wow. THREE MONTHS. Which, by the way, happen to be a very busy three months at work as well.

It’ll be loads of fun for all.

I’m actually wanting to transfer the stress energy I take from work and use this training as a way to release it. That’ll be a process in itself, I’m sure.

I’ll also have little moments like these to relieve stress as well…

See you soon 🙂 I start on Monday!


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the penultimate run

Although limping around like a kicked dog the last couple of days with a stiff back, I loosened up a bit today and was ready to make my last training run before Saturday’s race. I have to say that it was the only thing I was looking forward to today. I’m a burned out teacher right now, and Thanksgiving break can’t get here fast enough.

I was shooting for 4-5 miles today, and I’m proud to say I made it for a full 5. I’m starting to think I’m getting the hang of this running stuff. My knees and feet were close to giving out on me and the end, though, so I wouldn’t say it was all that easy. I do enjoy being alone with my thoughts and my ipod for an hour, though. Today I entertained myself with thoughts of the wonderful massage I’m planning on getting in Hot Springs after I get done on Saturday. And probably a pedicure for my tired out feet. Yeah!

Speaking of my ipod, I thought I’d share my playlist that I’m usually listening to when I’m out. I have it on shuffle so it doesn’t get predictable. Needs some beefing up, so fresh music ideas are welcome.

What’s your favorite workout song? Clean the house song? Mad at the world song?