Monday, December 31, 2007

I feel na na na na na na.

Okay, a little James Brown for y'all, but it is the truth. My body is not repaying me for what I did to it on Saturday. After our first group run, I couldn't even lift my leg to get from the parking lot to the sidewalk. Literally. I had to keep walking until I found the handicapped part that was flush with the ground. Now, however, I feel great. I would like to credit most of this to my supplements I'm taking... a B-50 complex, (energy and vascular health) and a fish oil (natural joint lubricator) from my local Costco. I've seen an amazing difference since taking them. And yes, I was paid for that endorsement...jk.

Saturday was hard. Most of the way, actually, was a really good hard. I felt strong, and even though my heart felt like it was about to explode, I was loving it. The really hard part, as we all know, was that damn State Street hill. And of course, good ole' Doug was taking pictures while I was desperately trying to get my fat butt to the finish line.

It's all good though. I might of even had a portion of runner's high because I was inclined to encourage Tara, talk while running, and I didn't even use my iPod the last 30 minutes. Something weird is happening to me. I really like it though- in the past I was so used to doing things on my own and relying on my own strength to get me through things. It is so nice to rely on you guys... I love that we all have different strengths!

Okay, enough of all the sap. I'm going to dominate at Sugarhouse on Saturday. After all, that's my old stomping grounds.

Happy New Year and new butt!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hills are your friends

Girls, I think that was one of the hardest runs I've done in a long time. The first 36 minutes were brutal. I remember when I was running before, one of the leaders of our running group would say, "Hills are your friends." What? No, no, no! I would get so mad as we would be running up these hills and then to have someone running, passing beside me saying, "Hills are your friends." "Keep it up!" No thanks! I hate hills! Hate the way I pant going up them and can hardly hear the music from my ipod over my breathing & heart pounding. Hate them! Hate them! But, now, I do have to agree with the annoying woman from my running group. It's true. In the long run (which we are really going for the long run), hills will be our friends. They are such good training. It would almost be like running double mileage with all the hills we ran up yesterday. Even though we ran more the first time, no one can argue that we didn't' work more this time.

Also, another thing I think about when running up hills besides they are my friends, is that most of the time, I will get to run all the way back down them. And, running down hill, to me, is a complete BLAST! It was so much fun to run back down the hill we ran up. It is rewarding for me to know, "Hey, I just ran all the way up this." It is an accomplishment! I get the runner's high when I run down hill. You run faster and it is a whole heck of a lot easier. I loved it! So, no matter how bad it was running up, it's a reward to run back down.

Jen, you're so funny about calling me a road-runner. Absolutely, not true. You are the little speedster who keeps us going all along the runs and reminds us that it is time to start running again if we have been walking. But, I do love ending runs. There is something that motivates me knowing, I will be done in less than 1 minute, or done after I run up a hill, and I just think I want to get done with this as soon as I possibly can so I can rest. I like the feeling knowing I pushed my body to do more than I thought it could, or knowing I had nothing left to give. Which, yesterday, I was totally spent after I ran, which to me was good. But, I am definitely not the cartoon road-runner.

Kera, wow! You really changed over to the dark side yesterday! Ha,ha! Miss cheerleader! Maybe we need to give you a new title besides the realist! I hope the pain you feel will start to ease. I cannot run in pain. I'm a total wimp when it comes to pain. I won't run if I have a cramp or something hurts on my body. The fact that you keep pushing through it, is really impressive to me. I hope that the more you run, the more your body will get used to it and you won't have to deal with the pain.

Tara, I'm glad you could join us for the first time! It was really a hard run and I know the more you get acclimated to running outside, the easier it will be for you. I don't think it will take that long. Just a couple more times and you should be adjusted. Keep it up!

Kimmie, I am so glad you have been running! Yeah! I can't wait for you to join us next Saturday! It will so fun to complete this with you.

Alright, run #2 down. Many more to come!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Think Happy Thoughts

You know those stories you hear from your parents about how they had to run uphill, through the snow and ice, in the cold, and how that should make you appreciate your very un-hard, downhill, warm existance? Well, we now have one of those stories to tell our wee ones. The location of this hellish tale? Memory Grove and City Creek Canyon.

That was the location of our second group run, picked by yours truly. Two of our now-very-un-trusty meteorologists at work had told me to expect fresh snowfall for our morning run, so we all dressed accordingly with an extra layer. But, said snow never fell, and in fact the sun appeared, making it warmer than expected.
We met at the Capitol downtown, and walked down to the entrance of the trail. That's where we met one of my photographers at work, who was so kind to meet us and spend his Saturday morning off running along and snapping pictures of us. Thanks Doug!

We started with a brief walking warm-up, and then we were off-- all enthusiastic and unsuspecting of the hell awaiting us on the road ahead. But it didn't take long for reality to set in-- the trail was uphill, and snowy. Did I mention it was uphill? About two minutes into the run, Kera said "Kristi gets to pick the trails from now on-- thanks Jen!" I have to agree. My calf muscles were screaming out in anger at my making them run up the road. But, we all kept on plugging.

It was picture day at Memory Grove. Groups of families in matching sweaters were posing, and smiled as we passed. I wonder if they were thinking "look at that sorry bunch! Man, I bet they wish they were us right now!" And, part of me did. They all looked very happy, and not in pain.

The further we got on the trail, the more we crossed other runners who apparently like torture. And to add to my frustration, none of them looked winded-- they weren't even cracking a sweat! How is that possible?!?!?! We just told each other to think happy thoughts. My mind immediately went to my future hot self in my designer jeans-- you know, just the motivation I needed to make it through the pain and suffering.

We had to take a two minute walking break about 25 minutes into our 60. We were starting to run again, when we looked back and saw Tara lagging behind...... and then something miraculous happened. It's as though rainbows popped out of the sunny and rainless sky and suddenly a voice not that of Kristi or myself started to yell "Go Tara! You can do it!" To our astonishment, it was KERA! We turned and looked at her in bewilderment and she said "What's happened to me?" I don't know, but I'll tell you what, I like it!

As we reached the halfway point and started our desent, I paused my ipod momentarily and heard a little voice next to me singing "Don't Stop Believing" by journey. It was Kristi, dancing, running, and singing her way down the canyon. This is why I love this girl. She can be in pain, freezing, and exhausted, and still saying "Girls, don't stop believing! Don't you love Journey?" I love YOU, Kris.

As we reached the park again, the group of smiling matching-sweater models all started cheering and clapping, saying "Good Job! Way to Go! You made it!" We in turn started to yell "Thanks! Whooo-hoooo!" It was like an early marathon finish line! Those sweet souls gave me just the extra push I needed.

Just when we thought we were done with our 60 minutes of hell, Kristi, in true Kristi fashion, decided that was the time to really push it one last time, and run, yes, run up state street to the Capitol. Uh, have you ever driven up that hill? My little car has a hard time with it, so you can imagine what my thighs were thinking. I don't know how, but it's like Kristi turns into that cartoon road-runner at the end of our run, and speeds right on past me. I, on the other hand, feel like the jumbo puff marshmellow man at the end of our run; moving in seemingly slow motion through water despite my mind telling my muscles to kick it into high gear. Sadly, I have no high gear left. But, run uphill yet again we did, and practially collapsed on the asphault in front of our cars.

Tara did such a great job on her first group run! She's been running indoors on a treadmill, so this was a challenge, but she was awesome and we're so glad she's feeling better and can join us!

We ended our Saturday group run at Einstein's Bagels, where much chatting and eating took place. I love these girls, and I am so happy we're on this journey together. Go us!

And for my favorite tune for today, I'm dedicating "Don't Stop Believing" to dear Kristi, who I wish you could all hear and see singing, running, and dancing in the cold.

We dropped our distance a little, but we are giving ourselves a pass because it was, in case you didn't catch my complaining the first ten times, uphill. Another run down, many more to go.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dashing through the snow......

I didn't have a one horse open sleigh, but I dashed through the snow on Christmas morning regardless. And I got plenty of "Are you crazy? It's freezing and it's CHRISTMAS!" looks from strangers passing by. Now that is dedication to the cause-- that cause being the promise of hotness in new designer jeans, of course.

I woke up to the sun shining, the fresh snow sparkling, and a sense of anticipation and excitement-- much like a child Christmas morning. And did Santa ever come to my house, bearing adorable running attire straight from the Elves at Nike. Thanks hunny! I'll be the best-dressed runner in my group. I also ripped off wrapping paper on quite a few presents I had already used, including my running shoes. My husband insisted on re-wrapping them so I would have plenty to open on Christmas, since many of my presents were gear for training. So, I practiced my best "I am so surprised by this gift I already knew about and have been using for a week!!!!!" face and Jon was pleased. But, there was a surprise in there-- a new pink fleece with a white "Swoosh" just my size. Santa loves me:)

After the present opening extravaganza, I laced up my shoes and hit the roads-- the roads that had not yet been plowed-- and tried my best to run in the tire tracks. I was a-slippin-and-a-slidin' all over the place! My Christmas tunes were blaring as I ran down to the pond in my neighborhood-- so beautiful! It was frozen over and glistening, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky! But about 5 minutes into my 40, something started to put a damper on my holiday spirit. A pesky pain in my left foot-- right on my arch. It was KILLING by minute 20, but I kept on going and finished all 40. I don't know if it was the arch inserts in my shoes the running people told me were a must, or if it was muscles I didn't know I had trying desperately to keep me from slipping banana peel style and falling flat on my not-yet-toned booty, but something hurt..... a lot..... and continued to hurt all night while I worked in the middle of nowhere covering an avalanche on Christmas Day (you read correctly, another holiday spent working for me). I'm heading up to the running shoe place after I get off today to ask them why it hurts. Let's hope they know the answer because I am supposed to run again tonight!

What else would I run to on Christmas day than Christmas music? My fav was "All That I Want" by The Weepies.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The First Time!

This morning was our first group run. And can I say we are freaking awesome?!?! Kristi picked a beautiful location: The Porter Rockwell Trail in Draper.

We met at 10:15... okay, maybe it was more like 10:30 for me... and started out with a 5 minute walk, and then it was off for a 50 minute run. The valley is blanketed with a beautiful layer of fresh snow and the sun was shining, making the air crisp and the snow glitter. It was breathtaking!

As if running isn't hazardous enough, there were ice patches coating parts of the trail. Kristi and I tried talking the first few minutes, but before long we joined Kera and retreated to our tunes. Poor Kristi who forgot her ipod! I don't know how she made it through the whole hour in near silence!

The first few minutes are always the hardest for me, but after my body gets over the intial anger over my making it move in sub-zero terrain, it's like I slip into a state of meditation. It's just me and my thoughts.

Today my train of thoughts went kind of like this: I couldn't get over how beautiful a day it was! I felt so lucky to be there with two of my dearest friends working toward a lifelong goal. The snow looked like icing on the side of South Mountain and a hot air balloon was hovering nearby. I noticed about halfway through the run that I could no longer feel my cheeks, as in both sets, because they were frozen. I couldn't feel any jiggle, so I figured they had just floated off during my run. Off to a better place-- up up and away with the hot air balloon floating overhead. Or maybe they were snatched up by the red-tailed hawk that was watching us intently as we jogged by. Have you ever seen one of these birds? Seriously as big as I am. But I digress...

As we neared the end of our run, Kristi suggested we sprint the last 3rd of the mile. How this sounded like a good idea to her after running almost an hour, I do not understand, but I took the challenge, but Kera did not. In fact, she decided that was a good time for her to start walking. We were not about to let her get away with that and created her own finish line complete with spirit fingers and two cheerleaders screaming "Keep running! You can do it-- you're almost there!" to which she replied "Is this the Special Olympics?" I love you Kera.

When Kristi, our ever trusty pacesetter checked Mr. Garmen (the super-powered watch that tells pace, distance, time, calories, and the future), we had completed 5.2 Miles in 56.31 Minutes. Can you say awesome? We are off to a great start! Way to go girls!

And the song that kept me going today? "Just For Now" by Imogen Heap. Maybe it's the time of year, but I just loved the mood it set as we dashed through the snow the Saturday before Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm tired...

So nomorechubs here- a.k.a Kera. A little about myself- I'm a 23 yr. old mother of one and wife to my wonderful husband McSean. We live here in Salt Lake, but I am originally from NW Indiana, just outside of Chicago.

I'll be honest. I've always been tall and thin, with great abs. After making a baby though, things have changed. My butt has gone from tight and perky, to wide and lumpy. My once ripped stomach is now stretch marks and flab. It's pretty sad. My once cute self has been reduced to double chins and relief society arms.

Luckily though, Jen Stag came to me with the proposal to run. It's something I've always wanted to do, but I definitely didn't think I would be doing it any time soon. However, I accepted, bought some running pants, (which, by the way, took 12 hours to find ones that fit,) and showed up on the group run today. I'm a secretly competitive person, and I hated the thought of feeling so out of shape. We started, and I felt pretty good.

Two seconds later, I wanted to die. That's basically how it was the rest of the way. I'm so grateful for Kristy and Jen, because I would have never been able to run as long as I did without their support. Jen seemed like she ate rainbows for breakfast...but that's why I love her. And I really do. Thank you so much for putting this together. I owe it to myself and to you to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. I'm excited to meet new girls...Kristie, I feel like I've known you forever.

As for my jeans- and this is very important. I would just like ones that look hot. I want them to be nice and long, and it would make my day, if I could get into a size 27. That would be amazing.

Thanks again to everyone, including my husband for all of your support. I am looking forward to this challenge!!!


The Journey Has Begun

I think our first run was definitely a success!! Yeah to us! We we're really lucky to have a clear day and a trail that had just a bit of black ice. Jen, you will be our little energizer bunny pushing us along the trail. Thanks for your loads of positive energy! Kera, you did a wonderful job! Thanks for your sense of humor. You are a lot of fun to be with and I look forward to getting to know you better. Tara, we missed you and hope you're feeling better. We have a long road ahead of us. There will be lots of ups and downs, reward and pain, funny moments and sore muscles, but I am excited to be on this journey with all of you...Happy runnings!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Beginning...

Here we go. The start to many months and many miles of training. So, why you ask would we want to run hundreds of miles and put our bodies through what will inevitably be a slow and torturous death? No, it's not because we're like those creepy people who actually like pain. For me at least, this is something I have always wanted to accomplish.

I know what you're thinking, a lot of people say that. A marathon is commonly on the list of things people want "to do before they die." Well, I admit, it's on my list too. Hopefully I will live on after this race to check off more list items. That is yet to be seen.

But apparently I am not the only one with one of these must-accomplish-before-I-croak-lists. My best friend, Kristi, has one too. And a marathon was right at the top. Kris and I have talked about running a marathon together since college. We would drive through the rain, snow and traffic from Draper to BYU and talk about all of our life-long-goals. These are memories I cherish, and it wasn't until we both moved back to Utah after stints in AZ (Kristi) and Iowa (Jen) this year that we decided it was time. Time to finally strap on our running shoes and go for it.

And, we've been able to convince other poor souls that running a marathon should be on their list for this year too. We met for lunch Wednesday and made our game plan. I'm making it sound really scary, and it is, but I am filled with excitement and enthusiasm. So far I'm right on track with our new running schedule: 2 days down, A LOT to go. But I'm taking it one day at a time.

Tomorrow is our first group run and I am so excited! Can't wait to see what location Kristi picks.