Tag Archives: racing

Racing Goal

In addition to wanting a faster 5K time, running another half marathon, and maybe someday an Ultra, I’d really like to take a racing photo that’s good enough to want to buy.

I wish they’d put up a sign 50 yards before the photographer saying “Smile” or “Try to not look like you are dying.” Or better yet “DO. NOT. BLINK for 50 yards.”

Admittedly, it would help my picture if I didn’t approach the race as though I was going to end up a hot sweaty mess. I looked in the porta-potty plastic mirror prior to the race. I looked exactly like someone who’d been partying till 1 am, slept in her running clothes so she wouldn’t have to deal with it at 6 am, and who was as greasy as if she’d already run 3 miles. All true except I hadn’t run 3 miles, yet. Really, what kind of picture can I expect with that kind of starting point?

This is how a high school friend, who knows how to do it right AND beat me by 8 seconds, looked at the finish line only with sunglasses.

20130508-101150.jpgI know! She looked awesome. I’m so jealous, plus, she beat me!

For further proof on how far I have to go, this is me dressed up for the Kentucky derby party the day before the race.


Have you ever had a racing photo so good you had to buy it?



Filed under personality flaws, racing

A Different Point Of View

My breath was coming out in short, loud huffs. I wanted to look at the runners next to me to see of they thought I was about to collapse but I was too busy focusing on not collapsing. My sister would later ask me how it went. My reply would be that the only thing I did right was show up. I didn’t train, wasn’t eating right, hadn’t gone to bed before midnight all week, de-hydrated, and still weighed 15 pounds more than my last racing weight.

With the huffs, the heavy knees, and questioning my choice of foot ware, it was time for a mantra…

Focus on what you can do.


Focus on what you can do.

(Cue the music)
What could I do?
What could I do?
I got all choked up and threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son
And I came away with a different point of view…

Yes, I started singing A Boy Named Sue, although, only in my head because singing out loud would have required precious and in short supply breathing.

I came away with a different point of view…

Instead of looking at how poorly I was doing I had to take a new view. Ok, I was in poor shape but I was running. As bad as it felt, it felt good.

Running. It gives me a different point of view, especially about myself. I think it’s true for so many that come into running a little later in life. They think they know themselves. Too lazy. Too fat. Too slow. Too old. I ran and found out that what I thought either wasn’t true or it didn’t matter. I could run.

2 – 5K races completed in 5 days. 30:50 and 29:51 (right in the middle of my age group)
11 days until the next one. Training goal- 5 runs. Time goal sub-29 minutes.

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Filed under exercise, Michigan, racing, running

I’m Not Registered For The Kalamazoo Races

A Latvian (Art Z?) once told me that Kalamazoo was the easiest place to move to and the hardest place to move away from. I replied, “Unless you grew up there.” However, as the mid-life crisis years fade away, I find the idea of moving back to Kalamazoo easier and easier. Kalamazoo is home even if I don’t live there.

Kalamazoo is also home to a collection of fantastic races, the Kalamazoo marathon, half marathon, and Borgess 5k. I’m very fond of this collection of races because it’s challenging but I’ve done well, 3rd place finish in the 5K and a PR’d in the half, and generally fell in love with running there. I love going home to this collection of races and I’ve been worsted whenever I’ve missed it.

The Kalamazoo / Borgess races are in 2.5 weeks however I am not registered yet.

I am literally staring at the registration page of the Borgess 5K website while periodically writing portions of this post. I should register for the Borgess 5K but I just can’t bring myself to log in. It’s not because I’m not ready to do it (I am completely ill prepared). It’s because I can’t bring myself to register for the 5K while I believe in my heart that I should be running the Kalamazoo Half Marathon.

A reality check here, I shouldn’t be running the half marathon on the grounds that I didn’t get provoked to run again until two days ago which is just three weeks afore the race. So, not only am I not prepared to run a half marathon, I’m not even ready to amble through a 5K.

I should totally be smart about this, right?

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Filed under racing, running

Why I Run and Ride

When I first got the notion to start running 11 years ago, immediately I started competing with myself.  Let’s be honest, at that point, I was the only competition that I could keep up with.  I wanted to overtake the previous distance.  I didn’t know about the couch to 5K program if it even existed back then, but it is very nearly the way I began running.  I ran from telephone pole to telephone pole.  Soon, I conquered one mile straight out then walked back home a mile.  I aspired to go farther and farther.   

Fast forward a  few years and two kids, I entered my first 5K race.  Entering the race was only a symptom of my amply developed passion.  At home, I was running four miles nearly every day, but not for training, just to run.  I knew I could run a 5K without grief.  I finished 3rd in my age group but my running remains more about me than it is about racing.  These days, I run 1-3 races a year.   I run about 600 miles a year.  (Completing nor more than 20 miles total in shoes in the last 1.5 years)

That’s right, my running is more about me than racing.  When I look deep inside and analyze why I run, I see a woman who revels in using her own power to go somewhere.  I take pride in using my two feet (legs, lungs, etc) and nothing else to travel distances people consider “out of their way” in a car.    I enjoy the sense of success as landmark after landmark approaches, is a breast, then is out of view.   It seems easier to appreciate mother earth when I spend so much time massaging her derma.  

Although, another day passed without a run (except the half hour playing tag with the Cub Scouts), I’m finding gratification in another activity, biking.  My corner of the earth may be a menial place to ride.  Our trails of any length are converted old railroad tracks.  There aren’t any hills or mountains.  The corn stalks outnumber the trees by 5 to 1.  Still, I find supplanting the bike for the car as I make my way through town delivers satisfaction akin to running.  I am the central source of power that moves this machine forward.  I am the reason that I get from point A to point B.  I reduce the damage caused from eating M&Ms. .. ahem, I mean, I reduce the damage I cause to the earth. 

I may not have a lot of gadgets like a Garmin.  I may have a broken down 21 speed bike.  I may wear cotton biking shorts from Walmart for all my sweat inducing activities.  I may go barefoot or in minimalist shoes.  Most importantly, I am my own energy source.

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Filed under Barefoot, cycling, running

Run For The Health Of It 2011

It’s not a very good idea to be standing in line for the port-a-potty when you hear the National Anthem play.  I was the good little Cub Scout Leader by being quite, respectful, with my hand over my heart, but I had a little trouble stopping the pee-pee dance.  The worst part was that there were still about 10 people in line in front of me.   Mrs. PG and I, we met in line, she’s pregnant with #2, had a decision to make.  Do we stay in line and start late or hope we become dehydrated before we pee our pants?   Yeah, I guess good competitors never die.  We totally went for dehydration and sprinted down to the starting… er… crowd.   I didn’t make it to a bathroom until about 3 hours after the race was done. 

Five minutes after the the gun went off, we began to move forward.  Mini-steps lead to shuffling lead to walking lead to a desperate attempt to start running.  I tried to stay with Mrs. PG at the starting line but I felt good and wanted to go faster.  I guess it’s hard to develop loyalties after only 10 minutes in the port-a-potty line. 

With all my tendonitis issues, I wanted to “sit” back and take in a delightful run through Kalamazoo.  The problem was that I was running faster than everyone around me.  I tried to slow down but I still kept weaving in and around people.  A pacer was near-by me.  I must not have been thinking very clearly because it took me a good 10 minutes to realize that I was near the 2:45 pacer.  Eeek!  From that point on I had my sights on the 2:00 pacer, yet, I would never find him/her. 

The best section was clearly the down hill in the second mile.  I must have easily passed 100 people.  The last time I did this race, I ran that mile in about 7 minutes.  I missed the 3 mile marker so I don’t know how fast I was running but I was fast.  It’s something I’ve learned by going minimalist.  I hated running down hills because my back would tense up so bad I’d have to stop and walk on a down hill.  How embarassing.  With minimalist, I let gravity take me down.  By landing on the forefront of my foot, I don’t get that back jarring impact I used to get.  It’s like running like a kid all over again.  I’m sprinting down the hill but I’m not using any more energy than when I’m going flat.  It was fun and for a few minutes I was really, really, really fast. 

The worst part is hard to choose but I guess the bridge was a little worse than the hills.  With so many of us running on the bridge, it was bouncing enough that I could not get my footing right.  I’d step down but the bridge wasn’t where I was expecting it to be.  You know the effect, but imagine being about 10 miles tired and trying to run as fast as you can still manage.  I think that bridge sucked a lot of energy out of me. 

I wish I had known the course better.  I do much better when I can mentally/visually check off a list of landmarks.  When I did the Chicago half years ago, I stopped to walk at mile 10, even though I knew there were 3 more miles, because the course did not turn the way I was expecting it to.  The last time I did the Kalamazoo half, I PR’d because I was able to see myself pass the list of landmarks in my head.  The course was different this year so I struggled, again, with keeping my head in the game the last few miles.

I’m very glad that during training, I had established that I wanted to finish strong.  That I was willing to sacrice my time to finish strong.  Fortunately, I’ve realized and cemented the “natural pace” belief in my head.  While this may not be a good theory in the end for getting a PR, it does help you kick  yourself in the butt when you want to walk.  Everytime I wanted to walk, I said to myself, “Your feet are going to hurt whether you walk or run. Your legs aren’t going to be any different. Your lungs are fine. So, pick up the pace.”  It wasn’t too long ago on the treadmil when I recalled that it IS actually easier to run faster than slower.  When I’m below my natural pace, I feel like lead and I want to stop.  When I push my pace up, I begin to feel lighter and better.  It’s the pace that I should be at insted of restricting my energies by trying to go ‘conservative’. 

As I came into the last mile, I was running next to Tatoo Sleeves.  She and I had been going back and forth for some time so I was using her as a pacer.  I asked myself if I was still strong enough to pull away in the last mile.  Since I wanted to finish strong, I pushed up to that natural pace and pulled away from Tatoo Sleeves.  Once I rounded the corner for the last 0.1 mile, I pushed the turbo speed.  I grunted a lot but I sprinted that last section and crossed over at 2:10:49.  It was not my best time, it was not my worst time, it may have been my strongest time.   

I saw Mrs. PG cross the finish line about 5 minutes behind me and ran into her on the shuttle bus with Kid #1 in tow.  It’s that strange feeling you have when you recognize someone on a plane that had been on the same parking shuttle bus as you an hour earlier.  I think we both did pretty good as neither one of us stopped for the port-a-potty.

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Filed under Michigan, running, Vibram Five Fingers


Funny how if my feet hurt, I ignore them and run anyway.  Really, the feet never hurt while running, just nearly crippling afterward.  Still, I ignore them time after time.   On the other hand, one little twinge from my ankle or knee and I am propped up with ice and anti-inflamitories before you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  Until this morning…

It sucks to go back to the treadmill after tasting the freedom of an early morning run in the spring where there is enough light to put the fears back in the closet with the snow boots.  Unfortunately, with the hubs out of town and the kids fast asleep in bed, I have the treadmill or I have nothing at all. 

I’ve been using the Egoscue method to relieve my recent foot and ankle and chronic hip pain.  On the plus side, much of the stiffness I’ve experienced over the last few years has eased up but I still have pain.  The pain is better but I haven’t been running as many miles either.   I can’t lay praise on one thing over the other.

Back to running this morning…At 2.25 miles this morning, I felt the strain in the tendons on the inside of my right ankle.  Previously, the pain was all the way around the ankle.  I ended my last couple of runs fearing this strain would end my running days.  Yet, this morning, I burned with desire to mark a notch at 4 miles.  Refusing to give up so soon, I brought out Ms. Stubborn to coach me through the run. 

A funny thing happened, not a ha ha thing, more like a huh? thing.  At some point within the next mile, the tendon loosened up.  Ms. Stubborn took stiffness to task for intervening with my morning runs.  I guess stiffness got tired of waiting for me to get off the treadmill and went looking for someone at the donut shop. 

I only have a week and a half before the half marathon.  I am still up in the air about running it.  I don’t think it is the smart thing to do. I don’t think I’d be able to finish it strong.   I’m not sure I have enough control over my competitive side to keep me reigned in.  But, maybe, I just need to say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

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Filed under Barefoot, Michigan, personality flaws, running

It’s Time To Race

Whilst surfing through the usual blogs yesterday, I came across on of my favorite words, FREE. It’s common in the blog world for writers…sorry, bloggers (wouldn’t want to offend anyone) to have regular to daily give-aways. If you came to this blog for freebies, sorry, I am not one of those types of bloggers. Who can be bothered? I have trouble just blogging everyday. I can’t fathom holding my own regular give-away. Kudos, to those devoted bloggers who do. Running Diva Mom is one of those fantastic freebie sights.

For a short period of time, I was intrigued with entering give-aways. I jumped through hoops and shouted website addresses from the top of the mountain. It wasn’t long before the pessimism (and laziness) took over. Sure, I’m tempted because who doesn’t love the Snog tees? Or a bike from Fatty that I’d have to regift out of guilt for how much it’s worth? (I donated anyway because Fatty is good at asking for things and getting them. He asked me to donate so I had to give it to him.)

So, you’re wondering, if Stephanie isn’t into freebie contests what has her so giddy about being FREE. How about a free race? But, it’s not just any ol’ free race. It’s a virtual free race! Jamie is hosting the virtual 10-10-10 10k Race.

My plan for the 10-10-10 10k is to run it on 10-8-10 on the treadmill in bare feet. This might be a significant challenge as 1. I am going out the night before to a biker bar for a surprise 40th birthday party for my work BFF. 2. I’ll have to run it before going to work requiring a 5:15 am wake up call. 3. I haven’t run more than 5k in quite a while. Now, any of those things alone would be a challenge to overcome, add them together and we’ve got one doozy of a Friday race.

But, hey, I say, why the heck not? How about you?

Day ?? -1 passed on the fun size snickers, did portions of the last chance workout that I could actually get to play on my cheep DVD player, upped the fluids. I’m on a roll!!!

Toesies enjoying a sliver of sun in the office.

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Filed under Barefoot, running, Weight loss