The year is starting off pretty cool. I’ve done some things I’ve been too nervous to try, including my very first spin class and running outside… in winter! Might not sound like much, but it was. And it was awesome.

The spin class was fantastic. I knew 2 weeks ahead of time that I was going in, so I had 2 weeks to prep. (And panic!) I did the best cardio I could without a gym membership. I dusted off some old workout videos, ran the steps of my basement and perused Pinterest to find those “you can have a swimsuit model’s ass if you do these 5 things every morning” workouts. Must have paid off a little, because when class time hit, I did pretty damn good. I required one quick dismount to work out a calf cramp, but as soon as it passed, back in the saddle I went. It was a tough class, but so much fun, and had me angry with myself that I had waited so long to try it.

It was about an hour after class ended when I got the feeling back… down there. I suffered from a mild case of spinner’s bottom. Pretty sure you won’t find that listed on WebMD, but it exists and you’ll quickly discover it after 45 minutes of hard peddling. (Well, 60 minutes when you count in the 15 minutes of warm up prior to class starting.) The “injury” made for some good comedy and two days later, I was back to good. It’s all just part of the experience.

Next up was running outside during the winter. In the past, I’ve been a Spring to Fall jogger. I would shut it down when the Mercury dropped and pick it up again on April 16th, when I’m no longer a single parent. That is, until this year. Inspired by my spin success, I bought a cute little winter runner’s hat with a hole out the back for my pony tail and out I went.

Now, I do have my limitations. I had originally set a 25 degree temp cut off. Below that and my Raynerd’s kicks in and the pain in my fingers and toes is too much to bare. But I’ve broken that rule once already and laced up on a 24 degree day. (I can be quite the rebel.) Next limitation was running on the road. No chance at that, since I’m afraid to get hit by a car. (Ok, you gotta give me that one as a pretty valid limit!) But wait, I already broke that rule, too. When sidewalks don’t get shoveled, you run the road. But suuuurely I would never run when it’s dark outside! Oh, yeah. Until the day I did it. (I’ve quickly learned that my “limitations” were just excuses for not moving.)

It’s a pretty bad ass feeling out on the road, sometimes with a little snow or slush under foot, jamming to your tunes and, since it’s winter, often times in the dark. While I’m running, I think of everything. Including questioning myself as to why the hell I’m out there! I’m not a natural runner. Can’t stress that enough that it does not come naturally to me. It’s a down right pain in the spinner’s ass. I sweat. A lot. It’s hard to breathe. My legs get tired. I’m slooooow. I could go on. But it’s my time to challenge myself and become better. Such a love-hate relationship.

I’m at week 5, day 3 in my couch to 10k program. I’m trying to trust myself that I can get through it and run *gulp* six miles. Some days are harder than others, but so far, I’m enjoying the ride.


95 Degrees

MONDAY, JULY 26, 2010

95 degrees. That was the temperature at the starting time of my second race. This one was in Lakewood and it was a full-fledged 5K. 3.2 miles. And my world, was it HOT!

I’m talking hot! Hot, like, you sweat standing. Just standing. There were huge beads of sweat rolling down my back and I hadn’t even moved yet. It was hot.

It was me and about 140 other insane souls who decided to do this run. I knew I was in trouble. With a crowd that small, there’s no where to hide, and when you come in near last, there’s no hiding that, either. (And yes, I came in very near last.)

I made a “friend” right off the bat. This woman… for no reason… out of the blue… decided she’s going to hold my hand and braid my hair as we run. Oh, and towel me off apparently, too. That is how close she ran next to me. I’ve read that people will latch on to you during races some time to pace. I get that. It’s cool. But I’m not kidding when I say we bumped shoulders on multiple occasions. At one point, she really did offer me her towel to soak the beads of 95 degree sweat that were pooring down my head. First of all: GROSS! And second of all: GROSS!

The first mile was awesome. My split was 10 minutes and some change. Wooohooo! (Except for pacer lady, who was still shoulder to shoulder next to me.)

At a mile and half, I started seeing the leaders double back. I’d later come to realize just how freakin’ far I was behind them! I had FOREVER to go until I got to turn around and they were basically on the home stretch. This is when I really start to dwell on the embarrassment factor of me being in this race. But I forged on.

I… err… WE approach mile 2. I’m still cruising! My split was 20 minutes and some change. Holy cow, I’m running 10 minute miles! I was so very pleased. And then I hit mile 2.2’ish….

I’m not sure what happened at 2.2’ish, but it felt like 20.2’ish. The heat was really starting to get to me. (For some history, when I was 9, I used to sit in an air conditioned car in between innings of my softball games. That’s how well I’ve been able to manage heat in the past.) I started getting the chills. Yes, the chills. In 95 degrees. I started running through the warning signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke and decided to take it down a short notch and walk for a few driveways. Coming in 135th out of 140 instead of 134th was NOT that big of a risk for me at this point.

I walked for 6 driveways, then started running again. Then came more chills… 3 driveways of walking…. running… chills… walking. When I got to the point where I could see the finish line, I sucked it up and ran the whole time. Chills be damned! At this point, I just needed to be done with this day and get in my air conditioned car. (Ahhh, how times have changed?!)

I finished in 34 mins, 20 secs. Not that great, but considering the heat and the lady I was carrying with me, I found it to be a huge success. My goal for my next race is 30 minutes, but I’d be pleased with 32 or less.

A Shot in the Side


I ran my first race! It was a 2-miler in downtown Cleveland that was sponsored by The Winking Lizard. The event was called “A Shot in the Dark”. Here’s a recap of events.

Mike went with me and we arrived about an hour early. This was ideal, since it allowed us to take our time parking, walk to the Lizard and got Mike the perfect spot at the air conditioned bar.

The next hour took about a year. Or so it felt. I was nervous as all get out and anxious to get going. Finally, about 15 minutes to post, I went out and took a brisk warm up walk. Then I headed to the start.

It was very exciting! I had my number pinned to my shirt. I had my race tracker timer thingy attached to my shoe. I was crowded in to a group of people who were all like me. Ready to go!

It was about 86 degrees at the 5pm start time and being that it was downtown, there was no
shade on the course. So, yes, it was HOT! But I was still feeling really good, even though Mr. Heat and I don’t get along so well.

The bell finally wrang and we were off! I started out fantastic. I felt really good. Ran to the beat of my music, as I always do. One mile in, my legs are great, my conditioning is good… holy cow, I might actually hit my 20 minutes or less goal! Or so I thought…

One and a half miles in, I feel a pain in my side. And out of nowhere, it completely takes me out. The cramp was so intense that I couldn’t stand up straight and breathing was very difficult. That was my worst fear for the race… a cramp… and it happened. Boooo!

So I had to walk about the last half mile. I ended up finishing in 24 minutes, which was 4 minutes past my goal time. But these things happen. I finished! But there’s more work to do and more races in my future.

I’ll be trying to redeem myself this weekend at a 5K (3 miles) in Lakewood. If nothing else, I get 2 free beers for running in it. Woohoo! Let’s see how it goes!