Friday, January 30, 2009

windy wyndtree loop afternoon romp

it was cool and blustery out. i even went back to get mia another blanket. the run went well enough except for brief moments of disinterest and running into the wind. the baby was snug as a bug in a rug. its important to remember kids don't heat up once the run starts so the wind can be chilling to them; bundle them up. i really appreciate the ironman stroller convenience. it gives mia and i structured play and quiet time together. it also gets us out in the cool air to appreciate all the sites. without it i wouldn't have been able to train as often and with minimal disturbance to everyone elses schedule. the 2 keys to running with a roller: 1) get a good running stroller can't be overemphasized enough. you don't want to spend your time fighting with the equipment and 2) learn to ignore it just run as naturally as possible when managing the stroller. taking the baby on new adventures with the gps will also be exciting for each of us. children who grow up with active parents as role models have a greater chance of getting active themselves and learning stress reducing skills. they learn about persistence and determination to achieve long term goals and establish short term objectives.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

wyndtree loop morning playtime

I decided to break up the morning routine with an easy run with Mia. Resistance training old school. I committed to an easy conversational pace which might increase my motivation. I was pleasantly surprised at how much i enjoyed the more relaxed pace. patience was a virtue i had a little bit of this morning. It was nice to switch it around a little and the weather couldn't have been much better for both of us. The clouds and breezy weather gave a nice break from the humidity. too many opportunities for running and training slip away because i wait for break in my schedule or motivation later in the day. multitasking is key to working out at this juncture. i also realised that workouts that are consistent and have time set aside for them get done without much overall resistance. right now i'm in a bit of a lull with my workouts which is terrible timing if i plan on doing the fort desoto tri in April. i really need to get bike and water time in. building workouts, like prayer, into my day rounds out the day in increases my productivity overall.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

does cross training have its roots in gardening? maybe

i was planning on running or biking today but i had a bit of burn out. i decided to garden instead. i moved pots, pruned roses and fruit trees, picked weeds, watered and hosed the patio and made a master plan to tackle the yard so as to be a good steward of my blessings; gaining the most rewards for my effort. needless to say that gardening is a very challenging work out. the results are immediate and the onset muscle soreness a reality. i spent my off time reading up on the tri-training basics and grilling dinner. i never thought i would enjoy cooking so much but the grill is the next best thing to eating out. there are surprises everywhere. ok, work well; train hard.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

constantinople istanbul constantinople

first, i'd like to give a shout out to the trinity girls!!! an especially loud "whooo!" to jenny who had a great finish. Carin, i can't wait to train with you are a great athlete. Now for that had some highlights like when i heard the familiar sound of our feet pouncing like pumas as we ran. also, i was glad that i had a superfluidity (high octane 'flow') moment and i just went forging ahead without reservation or thought. I started to think about it right about the time i realized i was almost twice as far from the end as i thought at the onset of this breakthru. i stuck it out and was passed by jenny during the last 100 yards or so. she helped me be a stronger and faster runner today. i have really come to look forward with great expectation for my sunday run with the girls. i thoroughly enjoy the time finding it very rewarding. if i had given up running before i figured it out (a little) then i never would have had this heightened experience. family and friends look at me with wonder sometimes as if i am performing some fantastic feat but really its just about putting one foot in front of the other consistently and repeatedly, often.

after the run i was off to church and then my brother in laws for a boat ride there were nine children there!!!

to the members of Holy Trinity parish know that this is a time of pruning and growth. it is these moments which are sometimes unsettling serve as reminders that The Great I Am abides and we are but his humble slaves.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

day three or is it four

this evening i took mia out in her ironman stroller. i set out to have a good time but felt a little nauseated. i think it may some anxiety about tomorrow's long run which i intellectually know will be just fine. i really look forward to the long runs with the girls but it has been about a month so anticipatory anxiety definitely kicks in. she enjoyed the run but me not so much. i am beginning to rethink my run everyday approach it is possible that i need time off every few days so Monday is an off day for sure. i hope it's not freezing in the morning it's always harder to head out in the cold. at least the beemer has heated seats. until my next time i remain in His service.

woof woof (photographer theophani)

woof woof is what Mia calls xena in fact i think it was her first word. today i continued on my quest to run everyday and yes i took the mutt with me. it was dark by the time i went (it's usually just getting really dark upon my return) so i was glad to have her. since our run together yesterday xena follows me, as she used to, all around the house. upon seeing me gathering my running apparell her energy level increases. As soon as the socks and sneakers go on she's sits with ancitipation. once downstairs i get her collar by the front door to prevent charging through my home and we are off. i wanted this to be an easier run requiring less attention to getting it done and more to do with enjoying the time. of course watching the time increase is a great motivator for me to move faster and hone in on my new and improved landing form. i cruise at 9.04 pace and really enjoyed it. my competitive side relishes how relaxing that pace is. the pragmatic me is assessing what each target zone feels like. i like to run intuitively perceived rate of exertion. truly at this point the only external measure i have is the watch. i am getting a new garmin deciding between the 201 and the 301 (with heart monitor feature). is more better???(sometimes) i do appreciate how the garim tracks the course and i can just lose myself in the adventure and just go. an appropriate metaphor might compare the gps with running on the treadmill and finally getting outside. speaking of--my treadmill needs a dusting and i'm grateful to have it in those insanely hot summer months. anyway this run was very nice but quite dark and it made my foot landing a little more measured. Xena had one issue with a cat early in the run but it only ate up a few seconds. if i took her regularly it wouldn't have happened just ask Cesar Milan. off to my nephews baptism see you all tomorrow morning God willing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

back to basics with xena (zena pasco spelling)

day two of my plan to run everyday even for a quick out and back. i took xena with me. so i am also continuing to intergrate running into the rest of my life. the dog benefits from the excersize and it definately strengthens our bond. as a child i had always wanted a canine buddy. the species as a whole relaxes me and i appreciate its unique quality. she is just happy to be out there with me. she is one of if not the best running partner especialy for trail work. she is off lead then and able to take off but she never does she runs about ten feet in front always checking back looking for direction. it is the work she enjoys. as soon as she sees the chain collar she gets all excited about her run. that collar=run-work time; our time. she hasn't run in a while but she did well. we finished in just under three miles and she started to pace at about 1 mile. i was trying to find my rhythm during much of the run. since sunday there as been some stressful matters being addressed at our local parish and it played itself out in my run both yesterday and today. there was considerable tension in my shoulders and arms. my dream weaver brain tried to stay focused and explore the events of this week. i can't begin to explain here and now the twilight zone week but eventually when it's all worked out i'll catch up and my tension will subside. amazingly through it all i have renewed strength and vitality. caution should be heeded keep your eyes on Christ. when i think about how i let myself be duped i realize it's because i took my focus off Him and made it about a cult of personality. I misconstrued manipulation and staging for Charisma. a 'consensus' doesn't preclude coersion. so i run it off, run through it, and beyond. i have shelved the whole matter until i have clear directives.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

running an errand

well i finally was able to get another run in. it's been difficult to get some time since the marathon the family had the flu and now the baby has an ear infection. although i love this running weather its too cold for Mia. i ran a errand literally. i have mentioned before that i think part of the charm of running is not artificially annexing it to my life but incorporating it into my transportation. the cold weather was refreshing, exhilarating, different. my new year resolution (it's not too late is it?) is to run everyday. if i commit to only 15 min and then return i can get a minimum of three miles or i can do just the home loop. it adds up. fasoli (bean), fasoli, fasoli. one bean at a time makes the meal. running is like prayer and often prayer for me. it's not something attached in some manufactured way to life or living but must be intertwined into the very fabric of experience/living. and like running even a short or small prayer rule adds to the quality of our life and the meaning we get from it. sometimes we can make things intentionally difficult or overwhelmingly challenging to unconsciously sabotage the goal and undermine the effort.

when the weather is so user friendly i can't seem to get myself geared up for the treadmill. i'm hoping to join the ymca so that i can begin cross training and get in a community of athletes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

life in numbers

8.31 mile/min, 6pm and high 40's. sometimes life seems like it can be reduced to the numbers. tonight was the first run since the marathon. it was just me and my ipod. the night air was cool and my legs rested. i had a descent warm up and then i opened up my lungs and legs. i have been working on my stride attempting to land more with my mid foot and less in the heel. i seem to be getting used to the shift of my center of gravity. the more i wear my brooks ghost the more i like them. they are lightweight and allow my feet to move in a more natural position. tomorrow i am on my own for the long sunday run as all the girls are either running later and shorter distances or are going to the clearwater 1/2 marathon. it is a great course but not feasible considering the rest of my family is recovering from the flu. it's runs like tonights that keep me running. to be free and moving is playful and liberating, to continue a basic rule helps my commitment in all areas of my life.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a day at marathon 4:02.12

Clock Time 4:03:25
Chip Time 4:02:12
Overall Place 2217 / 14940
Gender Place 531 / 7139
Division Place 87 / 1050
5 Mile 43:56
10 Mile 1:27:21
Half Split 1:54:53
20 Mile 2:58:00

after reviewing the blogs from fellow competitors and training partners i am amazed with how much they recall each mile marker each park. for me actually even as i was participating it was surreal. it began with an early night. Mia and i turned in by eight and yes i slept wonderfully while my husband took our two teenage children to Disney Quest. they were so quiet coming back that both Mia and I remained sound asleep. At 3 am my watch, brook stone alarm clock and phone chimed. i woke straight away as is my custom not to lay about. I made my coffee, dressed, used the facilities like a well trained cat, and made the last minute check list check. I kissed my husband Elias letting him know he was now in charge as i was heading out and that I'd hopefully see him at the course at some point. our digital camera lost its charge and i lost the charger so no photos. i headed out of the french quarter to the bus and took the front seat. the start was visible from the exit of the hotel but in true Disney style crowd control, i arrived at the festivities almost 30 min later. it took me a little bit to get situated and finished my frappachino. i was careful not to fill up on liquids that my body would not be able to absorb in a short time. i then broke a basic rule i ate a cliff bar that i have never had before. thank the good Lord, who gave me an iron stomach to compensate for poor judgement. I made my way to the porta potties as seems to be the standard for all. off one line on to the next until i loaded into the corral. it was chilly but i checked my long sleeve top knowing i would warm up during the race and throwing it to the side was not going to happen. loaded into corral B. i couldn't find Jenny or Kathryn. I was not worried about this as i had not planned to head out too fast. i generally need to warm up and then pick it up later. i wore a pacing bracelet for Boston qualifying splits just to see and play it by ear. the national anthem, fireworks and then gun and i went off listening to bocelli. when i arrived at the first mile i was surprised with my 9.11 time much faster then i would have thought. so much for pace the first half or so and then open up. by the second mile i was at 8.47 i remained at this pace between 8.40 and 8.45 for at least 18 miles. I was reviewing everything i learned about the limitations come from within and are not set in stone boundaries. i was enjoying this revelation but dismissing a more important one patience. as is painfully obvious now i started to tire a bit and dropped to 8.50 and 9 min miles. still i was amazed i wasn't feeling taxed, forging ahead and refueling with gels and power aid i followed the white line. i contemplated all that i was running for all that i enjoyed and disliked about running. interestingly i enjoy training very much but not the actual races. i also don't like people shouting at me. i'm thinking and focusing and all the cow bells they should be banned. around mile twenty i realized that Boston was slipping and that i could still have a sub four time. at mile 22-24 my only goal get this damn thing done respectfully. mustering all the determination i could telling myself all the things that could shake the lead out it mile twenty five my legs were seizing they would not run and i clocked 11.45 at mile 26 i got it together but still i could only get 10.15. it was not pain it was not anything but an inability to put one foot in front of the other. there was a great divide between my brain and my legs. i managed to run to the finish line depleted of hope and definitely disappointed that i had made my rookie mistake. if i had held off the first five miles and eased into a swift (for me) steady pace i would have finished strong (the last 6 miles) and definitely broke the four hour mark and with more focused training pack my bags to Boston. lessons learned. i never heard from Kathryn but did see jenny briefly at magic kingdom the day after. Elias got me a massage at five in the evening and i called it a rather early night. thanks to my family who take this wild ride with me. i was sorry that i never saw them at the course and missed them at the finish. it was great to see them at the reunion area excited about the race and their signs about the will power of the Greek people and my two favorites "support Ecumenical Patriarchate" and "protest Turkish human rights violations". i hope the disposable camera Elias bought worked for those photos.

Friday, January 9, 2009

walking the walk

first i'd like to thank jenny and mark for their good thoughts and encouragement. now this entry might get a little preachy so be prepared. if character is determined and shaped by behavior or actions. actions are the result of choices and decisions. it's imperative to review the type of choices we make. choices reflect value systems and world views. 'faith without works is dead'. my volition should be to take up the cross deciding who my master is. a slave to sin and slothfulness or a slave to the cross. once decided the course is laid before us 'thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path' i am compelled to follow it. in effect there is a mandate established because as no man can serve two masters. additionally not making a true commitment leaves only luke warm vomit. running has taught me in very practical terms many of these concepts and reinforced the traits required to 'run the good race and strive for the crown of glory'. it is when i recreate the flow that transcendental place in the rest of my life that running has taught me something. the lessons are reinforced and built upon every time i lace up. they continue on the mornings when church seems too far away and yet we are all packed into the car to go. it is with during the emotional marathons that life throw my way. running was there helping me during some of the greatest trials in my life having taught me the ideals and tools necessary to get through. during my youth during the tribulations of childhood and adolescence i had faith undeniable faith but no road map no practical measurable identifiable way to manage my life. i read biblical principles and church traditions but couldn't translate it to my everyday living. there was a split between my lessons and my living. it was kind of akin to reading about buoyancy and actually knowing how to relax and float. my runs have put a strict prayer rule into my life and even though there are times when i just wonder away there are many more times even during those same runs that i look deep inside deeper to where my creator my God and and Savior commune with me. the rhythmic breathing and beating of my heart during a run may be humbly compared with that of someone who practices the Jesus prayer consistently. there is no magic to a religious spiritual life only sweat equity. when it comes to running on the road or on the path to salvation the buck stops with me. it is about my effort, my choice, my ability. i enjoy running in a pack and being part of the church but in the end running is an individual sport and we all come to the chalice as an individual. sometimes i'm feeling existential in a Kierkegaard sort of way obsessed with what it concretely means to be a christen and leave the theoretical theology to the theologians reminded of my own intellectual limitations. sometimes it gets lonely because the journey in life is a solitary one. running reminds me of this reality keeping me from becoming lost in the distraction of this life. i have a choice feel isolated, distracted or i can engage the process running is how i manage it. pushing the envelope in distance is my way of staying on top of it. speed is less so. speed running engages me so much in the determination of the run and self doubt that it seems to defeat my purpose for the run to begin with.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

lists lists and more lists

today i spent considerable time in a panic unable to find my time-chip. i frantically cleaned out my closet, the karate room and my dresser drawer. i kept saying like pooh bear 'think think' where could i have put it. i would not leave it just laying around i'm sure i put it somewhere for safe keeping. later what seemed like much later, when my husband came home he asked a few well directed questions (which at the time seemed patronizing) and he quickly found the chip. Got to love him. this was the final run before event day. i ran the home loop alone. i gave new sneakers a test run but will stay with my ghost model. there was a cool breeze as the sun began to set. it was a difficult run an 8.07 pace for just under three. i knew i was moving and i knew my lungs were busting. i almost started bargaining a reduced pace for the marathon. obviously i'm not running the 8.07 more like 9.00 race day but i was already conceding that i didn't want to suffer through the run. it will all come down to how i feel Sunday. i don't want to suffer through it that has become clear. i'm not in this to place or for a medal. i do it because i have all these private causes that i run for. mostly i run just for the enjoyment and the secondary gains from doing so. my passion for running is the fun of it and the sense of accomplishment i derive from it. it's about clarifying my goals and gains. i don't just want bragging rights; i run for those who can't and mostly for my soul. it's my time of reflection of personal assessment; of connection with causes i find dear to me and my church. some people run in memory of others i run for God, for the church, it's my offering. it's not really about the stopwatch or the time. rationalizing perhaps i don't know yet... well see. this was not the blog i thought i would be sharing but it must be close to the inner truth because i don't feel like blogging again. even though i am the only follower of this blasted forum it is undeniably making me feel somewhat exposed. showing my fluffy underbelly not exactly my strong suite.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

what is failure after all? not taking chances

i was reviewing some of my posts. yes i do that from time to time (after all someone has to read them). i had a breakthrough. i have been overly concerned with failing and feelings of failure. my fear lead to rationalizations about not undercutting the effort by setting time related goals: 3.50 (for boston) or under four hours to feel accomplished or successful. i kept repeating during the training runs and on the blog this cautionary note about running all that way and feeling badly. it was this mantra this limitation set on my ability because i didn't want to fail. so my thought was not to worry about time and enjoy the run. but where is the challenge in this kind of thinking. barring a major catastrophe i know i can finish the run i know i can complete it in under 4.15 without too much strain so what is all the hoopla about? BAM i realized that by not giving 100% not really putting myself out there, that i conceded the race already. there will be discomfort and even pain but if i go all in and really work and really try then i can't lose because in the end i will know i ran my best race for that day. how horrible would it be to know that i missed breaking the four hour mark by a minute or two because i was too conservative a euphemism for fearful or anxious. i have been bidding bargaining against myself. there is no failure in trying only in failing to try. so for today for right now i say bring it on!!! i have to have the mental fortitude the toughness to deal with the difficulty the challenges and move ahead more quickly then will be comfortable to find the courage to see what i have what i can take. my only strength as a runner is that i am too dense to accept that i am slow and awkward and an unlikely success. i run despite the fact that i am somewhat under-trained, undisciplined and lack the genetic code for efficiency. i have always made a huge difference by not giving up by my tenacity and determination to prove that it can be done. so my goal to do it to breakthrough the psychological barriers that i set for myself. the clock will be one indication of how well i did objectively but what matters is knowing that i came to beat the odds the very ones i placed against myself. i challenge everyone to do the same. hard work beats talent when talent quits working hard.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

talk about a play date

today's run may prove to be the most interesting. theophani's friend sara came home from school to hang out and i took all the kids for a five mile run. talk about a play date. we ran from the house to the studio got a drink and headed home. i ordered pizza and picked it up after the run. i think it was a real smash and sara can't wait to come back. growing up i never had a play/hang-out time like that. i may have just crossed the threshold to the coolest mom ever. or i'm in tradgic shape. i know the two characteristics are not mutually exclusive ideas. on a more important note happy named day to all the theophani's and people who celebrate the epiphany today.

check, double check and re-check

the holidays sent me into a time warp. until yesterday i wasn't sure of the day. good thing i don't drink. after spending the weekend at Disney with the family i am making the final plans for race day in my head. i have several new purchases which all have been run-tested. depending on the whether it will determine my color scheme. i would like to pick up a new pair of sneakers but that will be determined by time and then a chance to break them in. the last week and a half or so has been spent on mental preparation and making a full recovery. i have been diligently reviewing the biblical principles of fortitude, stamina, endurance, commitment and focus to get over the proverbial finish line. each day i deliberate and debate how hard i want to work during this run. is time a real issue for me or is the pleasantry of it more. i will work hard for sure but how hard do i have the courage to work. how much discomfort and uncertainty about my prospects of a certain time am i willing to contend with and push through. if i run the marathon at a conversational pace then i will shave over 15 min off my last one of 4.32. if i push after a warm up i can break four hours. will that be enough or will i finish feeling like i should have tried for the gold--Boston. i won't really know until I'm out there. am i willing to work hard and risk 'failure' and by failure i mean making concessions and compromises during the event or will i just run my ass off. it may be an awakening of where i am now and what i have yet to learn and to do to achieve greater things. maybe it all comes down to drive and being driven to test and push harder then before. i am looking ahead at the iron horse and running the marathon at gasparilla. one thing i do know for sure i have really enjoyed the training for this race. i have had the company of good women each with their own strengths and set of skills i have learned from each of them and i hope that we continue to support one another in future racing goals. Sunday morning runs really set the week for me they keep my mileage manageable and keep me connected. running is a solitary sport i realize and i enjoy that piece but having the camaraderie of fellow competitors certainly fills the gaps of isolation that sometimes creeps in. p.s. i know where all the question marks and proper punctuation and capitalization are but this is not a writing expo so i have put my red pencil to the side to allow for a more free expression. besides all my questions are really statements rhetorical is you will.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year New Running Style

today i am beginning a more integrated approach to running. it is the most natural and fluid form of activity whereas cycling is the most efficient means of transport (another activity i am delving into). i am incorporating running into the errands and events of my day instead of simply penciling in time to get away to do it. this new year day theophani met up with some friends at syms park. i left her off and headed out for a run. i ran to pam's restaurant had an iced tea met with family and ran back to get her. it was so natural and freeing to just hit the road. it was an easy six. it wasn't work it was travel an adventure not exercise (which i loath). i have been reading dean karnzes book it is very light reading and very inspiring. for me the iron horse is almost a done deal. something about having the word ultra in from of marathoner suits me. finding God on the run means finding time to listen to my heart-song to contemplate what is really important and to understand the relation property of belief put into action. spiritual and emotional pain are signs that there is growing happening, pruning, and stressing faith putting the body and mind through the grind of a run is cathartic it provides the strength the inner strength to look inside to find God and to relate with the Almighty.