Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. - 1 Cor 9:24-27

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chase the Pumpkin 10K

A local Knights of Columbus group organized a race to raise money for diabetes.  A friend of mine asked if I was interested in going with her to run the 10K.  The race was less than two hours away from home and the fee was less than $20.  I was in.

I've been working on my running form; changing it from a heel strike to a forefoot strike.  Changing my running form has slowed me down.  I've also have been focusing on increasing my cadence, steps per minute.

My goals for this race was to run the entire race using a forefoot strike.  I haven't been able to do much speedwork or tempo work with my new form yet, so I knew that my time wasn't going to be close to a PR.
Before our 10K
The temperature was 35 degrees.  There wasn't too much wind which was a nice change from earlier in the week.  The course was an out and back.

Mile 1:  9:50  Avg Cadence 82.1
A 12 year old ran along side me and jabbered away about how she tries to find a running buddy in the race.  I said that she was welcome to run with me until her half way point, since she was running the 5K and I the 10K.

Mile 2:  10:07  Avg Cadence 81.4

Mile 3:  10:36  Avg Cadence 80.8

Mile 4:  10:34  Avg Cadence 80.4

Mile 5:  10:43  Avg Cadence 81.0

Mile 6:  11:20  Avg Cadence 78.4
There wasn't any runners ahead of me.  I came to a corner and I didn't know if I was to go straight or turn.  I turned.  Bad move, I had taken a wrong turn on the course.  When I realized my mistake, I had two options.  Go back to where I had turned or cut through the field to get back onto the course.  Not sure what was proper race etiquette but I elected to run through the field.  Upon coming out of the field, a volunteer asked me if I had taken a wrong turn and pointed me into the right direction.  Looking at my data, my detour cost me more than 1:17.

With the course being an out and back, you can see where I took the wrong turn.
To the finish:  0.35 miles (0.15 miles longer than the race)  10:06 pace with an average cadence of 81.5
My friend had finished ten minutes before me.  She was very kind to run with me into the finish.

This was the flattest course that I've raced.  Gunner didn't register any elevation change.

6.35 mi
10:30 pace
80.7 avg cadence

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blow me off the Bike Path

This morning, I stepped outside to 30 mph winds with gusts from 50-60 mph.  In store for me was a 4.5 mile tempo run.  The temperature was 42 degrees and falling.

My training plan calls for a 5 mile tempo run, but the bike path ends at 2.25 miles from my house.  Since I've been addicted to out-and-backs lately, I can not seem to change the route.  That will change soon as I'm sure the city will not plow the snow that will pile up on the bike path.

With my headlamp on low, I warmed up as Gunner (my Garmin) was getting reacquainted with the satellites.  With running early in the morning, a headlamp is necessary to see and to be seen.  I set my headlamp on low until I get further out onto the bike path, then I turn it up to high.  It also has a red blinking light on the back.

On the way out, I ran into the wind.  The strong gusts made it seem like I was to be carried away.  I laughingly told myself that that wouldn't be the case last November, when I was 40 pounds heavier.

When I reached the turn around point, the wind was at my back and pushed me home.  One of the reasons why I do like the out-and-backs is that the return trip seems shorter.  I've found that I need to play mental games to keep me running.  During my half marathons, I focus on getting to the next aid station.

Later today, I discovered that the winds that I experienced were the same conditions that shipwrecked the Edmund Fitzgerald, one of the most mysterious and controversial shipwreck tales on the Great Lakes.  She's second to the Titantic.  There's even a song about it, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", which is played on the radio stations around here.

"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"
by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.

Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling.

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
T'was the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind

When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it's been good to know ya.

The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her.

They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the ruins of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early

Friday, October 15, 2010

Art Class

On Fridays, our days are shorter.  I've scheduled them that way to allow for extra activities like gym class and library time. 

Today, we painted in watercolor.  Lots of Hair was taking her nap.

Table full of paintings

Lil' Chef's work:
 The hand of God is in the bottom right hand corner.  Can you spot the stars and the earth?

"The Garden"
 The Garden of Eden.  Gates are in the garden.  Adam and Eve are hiding in the bushes.  
God is like the wind.  Can you spot the serpent?

"Noah's Ark"

Mr. T's work:
"Bilbo Baggins"

"Sea Serpent"


Squeaker's Work:
"Boy and Girl at an Apple Tree"

"Mom and Baby Fish under the Sea"


Trouble's Work:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Harbor Springs Half Marathon

On Friday, hubby was able to work from home so that I could get an early start on the five hour drive.  The kids were a dear and woke up early to get our school day completed before I left.  I had work graded and workboxes packed for Monday before I ventured off on my little mini-retreat. 

At 4:30 pm, I met up with my mom, my little sister, and my little sister's friend.  On our way to pick up our race packets, they humored me by letting me stop at a yarn shop to pick up some fingering merino wool for a running hat that I've been wanted to make.  My head is just too big for 'normal' hats.

We choose to stay at the same beautiful hotel / resort when we ran the Charelvoix Half Marathon in June.  After that race, we had some awesome ice cream at the cutest mom and pop shop.  I could eat ice cream year around.  Therefore when we made a pact of not eating any ice cream until this race, it was a struggle for me.  I slipped up once, July 29th ... after a rough day at home.  After picking up our race packets, my sister made dinner for us in the suite.

Early the next morning, we woke up to a beautiful fall day.  The temperature was warmer than normal for the time of year.  It would be 54 degrees at the start of the race.  Perfect ... well, for me ... the others were not comfortable, too cold.
Little Sis
Little Sis's friend - her first half

One of the race photographer's took our picture before the race ... waiting for it to be posted.

I started off well.  At mile 7, I was on target for a PR.  I was pushing myself.  This course had many rolling hills compared to my last half marathon.  
The course was beautiful.  The trees were in full color.  Most of the course was along Lake Michigan.  One of the stretches of the course was through "The Tunnel of Trees".

With this being the 'first' annual race, there were a few bumps...

The aid stations were few and spaced very far apart.  This was a huge mental struggle for me.  I kept telling myself that I can make it until the next aid station, but that aid station didn't appear ... just another hill.

At mile nine, my overall pace was 10:58  just shy of my PR pace of (10:57).  Gunner was telling me that I'm falling behind.  I kept pushing myself ... telling myself how wonderful I'm doing especially with the hills  ... reminding myself that it's a downhill finish.

Then from mile 10-12 was a constant uphill battle.  By the end of mile 12, I had fallen behind Gunner by over 2 minutes.  There wasn't enough race left to make up that time.  I kicked it in as much as I could that last 1.1 miles.  I was disappointed but proud that I was out there running.  This was my third half marathon this year.  I began running last November ... so not even a full year of running yet.

Traffic was everywhere on this course.  Here, I'm dodging people getting out of their car!
Check out all the colors of the trees!

My running tank says, "There's no I in team, but there is in Ice Cream"  =)
Official finish time:
The Girls in our matching outfits. 

 Congratulations to my mom and my little sister for both placing 3rd in their respected age groups!

For lunch, we had take out from Buffalo Wild Wings.  Mom and my little Sis watched the U of M vs. MSU game while my little Sis's friend and I watched a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory.

After Mass, Mom and I stopped for ice cream.
Enjoying carmel praline pecan ice cream.  Yum!

The resort had given each of us a coupon for $20 of slots at the local casino.  They talked me into going.  Once there, we signed up for their rewards card to receive the $20 slot credit.  We were also given a coin for the free pull machine.  My little Sis and her friend were given an extra coin because it was their birthday month.  Everyone put in their coins and pulled.  Nothing.  I was there to be a good sport.  I prayed to God that whatever I win with this free money that half would go to the church.  I prayed more for the strength to be disciplined not to use any of my own money.  I pulled the lever ... Five dollars!  So onto the slots we went.  My mom and my little sister split off.  We stayed and played the penny slots.  We figured that would be the longest way to be entertained.  Well, I won at every slot machine I sat down at.  In the end, my total winnings were $41.48 ... $20 for me and the rest goes to church.  I spent the rest of the evening watching the others play blackjack.  At one point, they were complaining to the dealer about the cards and needing to win some money back.  He said that the best way not to lose your money is not to gamble.  I had a hard time not bursting out in laughter!

My first ten miles were ran to celebrate a fellow blogger's birthday:

10 miles
1:50:17  (11:01 pace)

Happy Birthday Neil Z!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Running and Praying

Since I started running outside, I can't seem to get back onto a treadmill.  Being outside in God's country brings God to mind.

Many times it happens.  I'll be in prayer while on a run and someone will come to mind.  So, I'll pray for that individual asking for God's will to be done and for their acceptance of His will.

This morning was no exception.  What was different was that I was listening to my i-pod.  I usually don't run with music, but on long runs I will.  When I started my nine mile run this morning, the sun was starting to shine even though the clouds were still spitting out a bit of snow and rain.  Yes, snow and rain ... the temperature was 32 degrees when I left the house.

A few miles into my run, the following song came on:

Tubthumping by Chumbawamba

 I get knocked down, but I get up again.  You're never going to keep me down.  I get knocked down, but I get up again.  You're never going to keep me down .... 

My thoughts turned to a good friend of mine who had a rough day yesterday.  I thanked God for being able to help her out in the small capacity that I did.  I thanked God for bringing her example into my life.  I asked God to give her strength in dealing with others who are not grateful for her friendship.

I continued on my run praying for the mothers that I know who are expecting.

Then the following song started to play:

Up! by Shania Twain      (*disclaimer:  I'm not a big country fan, but this song spoke to me)

It’s ’bout as bad as it could be
Seems everybody’s buggin’ me
Like nothing wants to go my way--
Yeah, it just ain’t been my day
Nothin’s comin’ easily

Even my skin is acting weird
I wish that I could grow a beard
Then I could cover up my spots
Not play connect the dots
I just wanna disappear

Can only go up from here
Where the clouds gonna clear
There’s no way but up from here

My friend came back into my thoughts and prayers.   Have I told her how much I appreciate her listening to me when I talk about babies and natural family planning?  Have I told her how much I appreciate that she understands where I stand on these things?  Have I told her that I'm grateful to call her my friend?

A herd of deer crossed the road in front of me.  Looking down at Gunner, I was seven miles into my run.  Funny, I was a bit sad that I was just two miles from home.

Then this song played:

Blessed by Martina McBride     (*disclaimer:  Hmmm, another country song)

I get kissed by the sun
Each morning
Put my feet on a hardwood floor
I get to hear my children laughing
Down the hall through the
Bedroom door
Sometimes I sit on my
Front porch swing
Just soaking up the day
I think to myself, I think to myself
This world is a beautiful place

I have been blessed
And I feel like I’ve found my way
I thank God for all I’ve been given

At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones
That love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed...

 I have been blessed.  God blessed me with a husband who has brought be much joy and much sorrow.  God has blessed me with five healthy children.  God has blessed me with friends who have helped me out of the darkest pits.  God has blessed me with an outlet (running) which helps to keep me sane.  I am so blessed that Jesus died for my sins.  It is so much more than I deserve.