Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Just Call Me "Mean Mom"




Dear Daughter started high school last week, so she has now officially reached the age where she is firmly convinced that her parents are complete idiots.

This became never more evident than in a conversation she and I had the other night…but before I recap our…um..."discussion"…I need to backtrack.

Approximately six weeks ago, Daughter had major nasal surgery…a 2.5-hour operation in which not one, not two, but THREE separate procedures were performed on her nose. This was all because of not one, not two, but THREE separate nasal fractures over the years, resulting in her not only having a very crooked and uniquely shaped nose, but the inability to breathe. The operation was a huge success, and we spent the last few weeks resting and taking it easy, to allow the bones in her face to slowly heal. She is still a bit swollen, but the surgeon assures us that the swelling will reduce over the next few months, and she will end up with one beautiful schnoz.

In the meantime, she was not allowed to swim, nor run - nor even allowed to wear glasses on her nose, so as to not damage anything. We have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon in another three weeks, where, hopefully, we'll be all clear.

Anyway.

So…Sunday night, while eating dinner, Daughter calmly announces, "I'm going to be playing sand volleyball with my theater club on Friday night - can you pick me up?"

I look at her like she's just grown three heads and sprouted ten eyeballs.

"WHAT did you just say???!!" I manage to croak.

"I said, gah, that I'm playing sand volleyball Friday night - and can you give me a ride?" This all said with a bit of attitude and tone, because, obviously, her parents are not only OLD, but also apparently, DEAF.

I looked her dead in the eye and firmly replied, "Not on your life."

"You won't give me a ride???!!!! Why not??!"

"Oh, it's not about giving you a ride. It's about the fact that you are not ABOUT to play sand volleyball."

Well. This set her off. She couldn't understand - at all - why she would be denied this golden opportunity, so I rationally tried to explain it to her.

"Did you forget that you just had NOSE SURGERY six weeks ago??!!" I asked. "One spiked ball to the face - one accidental elbow to the face - and your entire operation is DONE. OVER. KAPUT. WASTED."

Even with this explanation, Daughter did not see the rationale of being denied a game of volleyball…so she argued. And argued. And argued some more…obviously believing that her parents are the most idiotic, stupidest parents that ever lived. At one point, I said, "Fine. You think this is just Mean Mom talking right now. Go ahead - call your doctor. Ask HIM if he thinks you should be playing volleyball less than six weeks out of surgery. When you're not even allowed to wear GLASSES at this point. See what HE says."

Grumbling to herself, Daughter finally relented and sulked off…while my ears burned with whatever names she was probably calling me under her breath.

Sigh.

Mean Mom. Stupid Mom. In her eyes, that's what I am…she doesn't see me as Smart Mom or Safe Mom…but I guess that's the price one pays for having a teenage daughter around the house.

Peace.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Royals 5k: A Review




When I was a little girl…I wanted to grow up and play professional baseball.

True.

Every summer night, I'd drift off to sleep in my bedroom, my bedside radio tuned to the Royals radio network, so I could listen to the play-by-play of my favorite team…. My dreams would entail me being the first woman to ever play professional ball, and I'd be the SUPERSTAH of the baseball world - with parades, parties and statues in my honor.

George Brett would take notice and perhaps even marry me.


Reality quickly crushed those dreams, as it often does, and instead of playing for the Royals, I spend my summer days and nights supporting them and cheering them on - whether it's attending a game at Kauffman Stadium, or watching them on television as they travel around the country.

Such was the case last Saturday, when they had their annual 5k Charity Run on a beautiful, surprisingly cool morning. Hubby and I laced up and headed to Kauffman Stadium, arriving along side almost 2,000 other participants, with the opportunity of running around the warning track of the stadium, all for a good cause.


Because I'm smack dab in the middle of training for an October half-marathon, my running schedule called for me to run 8 miles on Saturday…which presented a bit of a conundrum, as the 5k is "only" 3.1 miles. Somewhere - somehow - I needed to get an additional 5 miles in…so Hubby and I got a bit creative.


After parking the car, gearing up with our iPods & earbuds, as well as our energy gels, we headed down near the official Start Line, and then quickly got in a 2-mile warm-up before the race. We ran loops around the parking lot several times, which made for an albeit boring run - but it got us both warmed up and ready to go. Here's my Garmin, tracking me:



In hindsight, I may do this before EVERY 5k, as it really loosened things up for me and allowed me to be in "the zone" before the actual 5k ever began.



After finishing up our 2 miles, this left us with 10 minutes before the race, so we quickly made our way over to the corrals by the start line. With Hubby being fast, he hopped in towards the front of the racers, while I slowly made my way back to the "turtles" - otherwise known as the "slow runners." They're my people and I love them.


The gun sounded, and off we went. I really, really liked this course, for the most part…there were few hills, and it was easy to spread out from the other runners. I absolutely HATE courses that have "pinch points" - where they bunch up the runners in a tight spot, creating mass pandemonium and opportunities for injury. Gah.

I did my run/walk intervals and was feeling pretty strong; the only thing that slowed me down was the increasing heat along the course, with zero shade. Running in a parking lot - along asphalt - leaves little room for trees and shade. I got hot. Really hot. Check out the Garmin map of the course:



There was one water stop along the way - at about the halfway point - and I took a tiny swallow, and then showered myself with the rest of the water….That cool, refreshing shower was just what I needed to find my second wind for the last half of the run.


Towards the end of the race, they funneled us into a VERY steep tunnel (think 35-degree angle) that led down and inside to the warning track. It was pretty awesome to run around the field and "pretend" that I was actually a professional ballplayer - rather than a wanna-be runner plodding along on a charity run.

Here's Hubby as he runs around the track:



The track was surprisingly slippery…I had to really watch my step, so I didn't do a face plant on the field. That would have been rather embarrassing - and would have probably been caught on camera, knowing my luck.




Of course, upon exiting the field, we now had to run UP that very steep tunnel. Joy. Hills have been my nemesis lately, and after getting some awesome training advice from my running coach, Jessica, I was determined to RUN up that sucker and not have to walk it, like most everyone else around me at this point. Imagine my delight when I DID it! I made it to the top running - where I preceded to do a bit of the Rocky victory dance, complete with arms in the air.

My celebration was short-lived, though, as I had absolutely no oxygen for about a minute or two, and I still had half a mile or so of the race to complete. Sucking in whatever air I could find, I took a few steps…when something happened that was so funny, so coincidental, and yet so motivating, that it was one of those 'weird' moments that live forever.

As I said, I was pretty spent. That hill had taken it out of me. I figured I would just walk to the finish, and that would be good enough. And suddenly…on my iPod...came the song, "Royals" - by Lorde. True, it's not about the Kansas City Royals - but she has said in an interview that she was inspired to write the song after seeing George Brett in a photograph, wearing his Royals uniform. So - it's "our" song, so to speak.



Well.

Here I am, just coming out of Kauffman Stadium, where the Royals play…and I hear this song. How bizarre was THAT??!! How could I NOT start running again? Walking? Ha. Walking be damned. I was going to finish this race RUNNING at full speed, while I listened to the soulful strains of "Royals" in my ear, giving me the motivation and the "umph" that I needed to finish.



Woot! Woot!

I finished 21/62 in my age division for women. Not bad, huh?

Hubby finished 3rd in his age division. Gah. I hate him. He got a nice letter and some movie tickets for his prize:




Check out the medals, which were pretty awesome:




Normally, at this point in the race, you get to head to your car - or the after party - and celebrate. But not us. We had another 5k (or 3 miles) to run. WE WERE SO EXCITED.

Not.

Hubby decided to re-run the 5k course again, but I just decided to do loop after loop after loop in the parking lot. Check out my Garmin:



My pace was slower than a snail's, because at this point, the tendonitis in my left knee was ON FIRE and was SCREAMING at me with every step. It hurt - a lot - but I was determined to get that mileage in…so I sucked it up and hobbled till I got it done. Which may have been rather stupid, but us runners aren't known for our rocket science brains sometimes. We're more known for our stubbornness and refusal to admit when we're injured.

All-in-all, though, a very great day. Would I do the Royals 5k again?

Absolutely.

I thought the course was great; the organization was awesome; the bling was pretty good; and the chance to run on the field?

Priceless.

Peace.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rock the Crossroads Recap: Spontaneous Combusting




HOLY HADES, BATMAN!!!

Last night's 5k was basically just that…running through the fiery, blistering heat of a hot July evening….

They organizers advertised it as the "hottest" race in Kansas City, and they were NOT kidding! The 5th Annual Rock the Crossroads was a sweaty adventure through the downtown streets of the Crossroads arts and music district of downtown Kansas City.




Having reservations about running 3.1 miles on a hot, steamy July evening - I got totally sucked in by the bling:




That medal was WAY cool. I would walk across hot coals to get one. So - I signed up.


On Friday, Hubby went down to pick up our shirts and bibs, and I was impressed with those, as well, for the most part. The shirt itself is a very awesome tech shirt, but who was the brainiac who chose a BLACK shirt in July??!!




Yeah. That wasn't happening. Not to mention, it's TOTALLY uncool in the running world to wear your official shirt BEFORE you've earned it by completing the race.


Saturday was race day…I spent most of the day hydrating, as well as nursing Dear Daughter, who'd had nasal surgery a few days earlier. (She's recovering slowly - but doing better each day.) At 4:00 pm, Hubby and I headed to our nephew's 9th birthday party, where I skipped the baked beans (as a courtesy to my fellow runners later that evening), but hesitantly had a hamburger patty - worried about how this would settle on my stomach later. In the heat. EEP. Yeah. I'd pay for that later.


At 6:00 pm, we headed downtown, and sure enough - my stomach was feeling a bit queasy. I knew part of this was nerves, as I ALWAYS get this way before an official race - but I wondered how much was due to the hamburger. Maybe that wasn't so smart. You think?


This next photo is interesting. Have you EVER seen a totally empty Start Line/Finish Line thirty minutes before the gun?



Yeah, me, neither. This is because it was about 90 degrees outside - and even hotter in the sun. So, the 915 registered runners were standing in any shade we could find at this point. It was only about 5 minutes before the Official Start Time that we all reluctantly made our way over to the starting chute.




I was pretty far back in the chute, so I didn't officially cross the Starting Line until about a minute or so in…I started off strong, sticking pretty close to pace. At about 1.5 mile into the race, however, we were running up a hill…that seemed to go on forever. I ran…and I ran…and I ran…determined to conquer that damn hill no matter what it took.

That was stupid.

Powering up a mile-long hill…in 90+ degree heat…after eating a hamburger?

Just shoot me.

My legs starting cramping…my stomach started heaving a bit…and my head felt SO hot that I thought it was going to melt off my body. Seriously - I thought I was going to spontaneously combust, and I was SO. FREAKING HOT. that I thought about quitting. I seriously looked around to see if there was a medic near by. Ack.

With what few brain cells I had left that hadn't boiled away at this point, I decided that my ultimate goal was NOT to finish with a personal best time - but just to finish. Standing up. Even if that meant walking a bit.

So that's what I did. I walked. And would then run…a little. But walked some more.

Whew. Smartest decision I ever made.

By now, my Garmin was getting irritated with me, as it kept beeping in alarm: "BEHIND PACE!!!"

Yes. I know. If I ran at my usual pace, it would NOT have been pretty. So, I eventually just turned my Garmin off to shut it up. I didn't care about my pace at this point - I decided I would be happy with finishing in 40 minutes.

Run a bit. Walk a bit. Some times, the roads would be in the sun, and I felt like I was boiling from the inside out. Then we'd hit a cool, shady bit of road, and it was pure bliss. Oh, how we take shade for granted sometimes.

There were two water stops along the route, and I used both of them to dump a cup of water over my head - drenching myself in a refreshing shower of coolness and relief.

Before long, I turned the corner and saw the Finish Line up ahead - a welcome sight. Even better, I saw Hubby, waiting for me to cross. He'd already finished his run way earlier, doing it in 25.04. I hate him. Gah.



My official time was 38.38 - which was WAY better than what I was hoping for. Not my best time, but I blame the heat, and the fact that I had to walk so much.


Hubby finished in 25.05 - which garnered him 4th in his age division.




The good news: I didn't get sick. Although I certainly felt like it, at one point. I've learned the important thing in running is to listen to your BODY and not your ego. It's hard to do that sometimes, but it's definitely smart.


Would I do this race again? Probably. The course was pretty easy, other than that really long hill at the beginning. Most of it is downhill, which is wonderful.

I would skip the hamburger next time, though. Gah.



Peace.

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

My Fashion Faux Paux




There's nothing like running 7 miles on a Sunday morning and then realizing that your shorts are on inside out.

Yup.

I did that.

Not gonna' lie.


It's not my fault. Really. I TOTALLY blame Hubby for this fashion faux paux.

Because today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year - so far - with temperatures and humidity feeling like we're living on Mars, I decided that it would be necessary for my survival to get up at 6:00 am for my run this morning. My training plan called for an unheard-of seven miles - a new distance record for me. Gah. If I have to run seven miles, I'd prefer to do it before the heat soars to record highs, thank you very much.

So…the alarm goes off…and I nudge Hubby to wake up, as he's in this with me. He mumbles something that sounded like, "I think it's too windy. You shouldn't go." And he went back to sleep.

Normally, I'll look for ANY excuse to not have to run - especially seven miles - and I was sorely tempted to do just what Hubby suggested…but I knew in the long run (Ha - a pun! See what I did there??!!), I'd be glad I went…and I'd be doubly glad I went at 6:00 am.

So…I got out of bed, and got dressed in THE DARK, so I wouldn't wake up Hubby.

And that, dear readers, is how it happened…how my shorts mysteriously went on inside out…but I wouldn't discover this gem until much, much later…after I'd been running all through the neighborhoods.

I'm just sure my neighbors love me.


Anyway, I headed out the door…the skies were dark and cloudy, as we'd had a major storm roll through about 4:00 am this morning. There was still some lightning way off in the distance, but it was deliciously breezy, which helped negate the 78% humidity in the air.

Training is just that…practicing and learning so you can improve. I try to use these training runs as a means of figuring out what I'm doing right…and what I'm doing wrong…what works for me…what doesn't work for me…and how I can get better…all with the goal of that half-marathon in October.

This morning, I tried something new…I strapped on a Hydration Belt that Dear Daughter had given me for Mother's Day. I figured I would need some water during the course of seven miles, so today was a good day to test this out…see if I liked it…and see if it helped.



Well…as I began running, all I could hear was the water…sloshing back and forth. This is NOT A GOOD THING when your bladder is about the size of a pea…I've decided for future runs to not put so much water in each bottle, so I don't feel "the urge" for the entire distance.

My bladder will thank me for this later. Gah.


This morning's run was actually quite beautiful, if you discount the fact of my inside-out shorts and sloshing water…here are some photos I took along the way, to show you what it's like to run around my neighborhood:


I heard a HUGE crashing sound to my left while running through here…it sounded BIG, like a giant grizzly bear or something…but I'm sure it was just a deer. I hope. I don't run fast enough to outrun a giant grizzly bear.




Our spooky tree…this morning, I could see the lightning way, way off in the distance here…so cool…




I have to run through this cornfield, which I HATE. I always think of that movie, "Children of the Corn", which scared the BEJEEZUS out of me when I was younger…I always think some scary, zombie-like, murdering children are going to come walking out of the corn as I'm running by. So, I go all Kenyan-like and run super fast through here. Just in case.




This is a highway. I have to run about a half-mile on this, while cars and semi-trucks are whizzing by me at 65 mph. The speed limit is only 55 mph - but no one pays attention to that. Which is why this is a very popular spot for the local cops to set up a speed trap. At 6:30 am on a Sunday morning, though, it's pretty quiet. Very few cars. One truck. And no cops. Just a crazy Middle Aged Drama Queen running along with her shorts on, inside out.




Eventually, I turn off the highway, and I'm back on the country roads…this morning, I ran into Hubby here, coming along the opposite direction. I guess he decided to get out of bed after all. Not carrying any of his own water, he asked for a sip of mine that I was carrying, and that's when I realized - I was his pack mule. Gah. I shared, though, with the thought that the less water I was carrying, the less sloshing I would hear. And my bladder would be happy.




Eventually, I'm back running along beside the lake…it's beautiful, but I don't want to take too many photos here, as all my neighbors live along here, and they'd think it was pretty creepy, if I were to be taking pictures of their houses and such along the way. In shorts that were inside out.



Before I knew it, I was home…7 miles. I had DONE IT - WOOT!!! My longest distance yet, and my pace was pretty consistent:




The fact that I survived - especially the hazards that I faced, such as giant grizzly bears, murderous children of the corn, speeding semi-trucks, and sloshing water - pretty much offset the embarrassment of my shorts.

Peace.

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Oops…My Bad



July 4th…Independence Day…a day when people head to the lake, picnic, shoot off fireworks, and sit back and relax and enjoy the holiday. We decided to be a bit different this year…and little did I know that our choice almost resulted in my murder by my Hubby.

Let me back up.


This year, we signed up for a local 5k in our area, the Stars and Stripes. This is the 3rd year of the event, and it's growing by leaps and bounds…

The race had a start time of 7:30 am, and so Hubby and I were up and dressed and in the car by 6:30 am.

ON A HOLIDAY.

Gah.

This is when you KNOW you are crazy.

En route, we're drinking our go-go juice (which is Accelerade protein-powered sports drink for enquiring minds), and eating our protein bars (which are Kind Gluten-Free, with chocolate - YUM!), and making small talk, which is what we tend to do before running a race.

"What do you know about the course?" Hubby asks.

Shrugging, I reply, "Mmmm…I dunno'. I looked at the map - it looks pretty flat, for the most part. I mean, it's in a PARKING LOT, so how hilly can it be??"

Those words would come back to bite me.

Anyway.

Arriving at the event, I stick to my pre-race routine by going in search of the port-a-potties…and can't find them ANYWHERE. I looked here…I looked there…and was starting to break out in a pre-race sweat and panic attack. Hey - my bladder is now 52 years old and is pretty much the size of a pea…so a visit to the POP (short for port-a-potty) is not just a convenience - it is MANDATORY before a race. Especially after drinking 12 ounces of Accelerade.

Houston, we may have a problem.

About the time I was ready to give up and go find the nearest Starbucks, I spotted the POPS way, way off in the distance. Oh, thank you, Jesus, as I was now at my breaking point. They were so far removed from everything that apparently, none of the OTHER runners had spotted them either, as there was no line.

Did you hear that, other runners??!!

NO LINE. (Don't be jealous)

This is unheard of at races, as normally the line in front of the POPS are miles deep. Apparently, repeated running makes EVERY runner's bladder about the size of a pea…who knew??!!

After taking care of business, Hubby and I meandered back to the start of the race, along with about 1,000 other runners. About this time, the photographer came and asked for a photo. My gut reaction was to initially say, "Hell, no!" as I don't exactly look my best after rolling out of bed at 5:45 am…but then I remembered that I was looking pretty fashionable in my patriotic top, and had dark sunglasses on to hide the bags under my eyes, and was wearing a hat to hide my serious bed head, so we obliged:



It was soon time to begin the race. Kissing Hubby good-bye, and sending him off to join the other Kenyans at the front of the Starting Line, I made my way back to the Back of the Pack, where the Turtles like to hang out. Within minutes, the gun sounded - and we were OFF!

After carefully navigating my way through a very narrow opening chute, there was a sharp right turn…and the pavement was soaking wet, with runoff from the morning's sprinkler heads…and I had to slow down a bit so that I didn't do a Slip 'n Slide. Hubby told me later that he saw a runner or two slip and go down HARD on the pavement when they hit that water…NOT a good way to start off a race. Yikes.

The course seemed to be relatively flat…at first…but then I noticed that it was deceiving. There were indeed hills on this course. And the hills were very, very long….and drawn out…and went on FOREVER.

Up, up, up we went…and more and more runners were slowing down and eventually resorting to just walking…which is pretty normal with us Turtles (Kenyans would NEVER walk during a 5k). Fortunately, I have lots and lots of hills by my house, so I'm pretty used to elevation - although I don't consider myself a Hill Master. Yet. So I plodded along…albeit slowly…but I was moving.

Anyway.


About the time that I was cursing the Hill Gods, I had reached mile #2, where the course seemed to start going downhill. A bit. A tiny, tiny bit - but it was a godsend. A very enthusiastic volunteer stood along the sidelines, cheering us on with a very peppy, "You can DO IT!!!! IT'S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE, GUYS!!!!"

Oh, be still my heart. That was music to my ears.

However, I quickly realized that the very enthusiastic volunteer was also very seriously crazy, because it was NOT all "downhill from here." At about the 2.5 mile mark, it started going back up…and up…and up some more.

GOOD GOD, WILL THESE HILLS NEVER END??!!

And then another thought…oh crap. Hubby is going to KILL me, since I told him the course was flat.

Eep.

At this point, since I felt like I'd been climbing Mount Everest all morning, I told myself I would be very happy if I came in at 39 minutes…which is never going to win a medal, but since I've just really started running in the last three months, is a decent, respectable time for a Middle Aged Drama Queen Turtle. I could always blame the hills for my slower time, right?

At the 3-mile marker, there was a sharp left turn, which then led to the strait away to the finish line. As I turned the corner, I was slowing down quite a bit, and thought I would just do a slow and steady pace for the last few yards…and then I happened to look up and see the giant time clock ahead.

And it was at 37.35…and counting.

HOLY KENYAN, BATMAN!!!

If I gunned it - I could come in WAY UNDER 39 minutes!!!

Well.

I turned on my invisible jet propulsion thingies on my feet, and I gunned it with every thing that I had.

And I did it!!!!!!!


My chip time was 37.04. Woot woot!



Not bad for a Turtle. A Middle Aged Turtle, at that.


You can see the joy on my face as I cross the finish line:




As far as Hubby's race, gah. I hate him.

He came in 2nd overall in his age group:




Here he is crossing the finish line:




After the race, I posed proudly with my bling:




As Hubby and I were heading home, we were analyzing and dissecting the race, each eager to share with the other how we'd done, and what we'd struggled with, and how we could have improved. And then, sure enough, here it came. Hubby looks at me, eyes narrowing, and says accusingly,

"Hey! You told me the course was flat…WHAT THE HECK??!!!"

I shrugged, and casually said, "Mmmm…I dunno'. I just didn't want to freak you out beforehand."

Yup. We'll just leave it at that.

Peace.

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