Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Middle Name Ain't Grace

My name is Jenn and I am a klutz.

No surprise there, not to me and certainly not to those who know me well (or who have ever had to walk somewhere with me.)

I was reminded of just how big of a klutz I am today while running in the office gym.

First though, a short history of my finer yet klutzier moments:

  • Senior year of high school. Two weeks before prom. Candlelight bowl. Date with new guy who I had been crushing on for some time. (Is that a term, crushing on? or am I old? Whatever). Hard to explain without actually standing up and showing you, so pretend I am. Anyway, in a Candlelight bowl you bowl while doing things like holding hands with your partner, hopping on one foot, etc. During the fateful turn, I was on my hands and knees facing the crowd while my date was sitting on my back, facing the bowling lane. Why I did this I still don't know but as his arm came back with the bowling ball I turned my head and SMACK! my forehead made contact with the ball. Yeah, ouch. I was stunned for a minute and thought I was ok until I saw my date's eyes start to bug out. Apparently that was when the golf ball-sized bump started forming on my forehead. I still insisted I was ok. My date realized I wasn't when I started to pass out. Emergency room, they had to call my parents because I wasn't yet 18, ugh it's still humiliating. A couple days later I was in Sister Rose's office at my all-girls' Catholic school with the golf-sized bump and a black eye trying to convince her that my boyfriend didn't punch me. (See the Catholic Church is capable of investigating some things . . . don't get me started.) Makeup erased the incident from prom pictures and the guy, never called me again. Nice. Apologies to friends who already know that story, although some of you don't seem to tire of it . . .
  • First date with my husband. College. Walking to dinner from the dorm. Wearing flats with stirrup pants (in my defense, they were in fashion then). Tripped over an imaginary rock and fell flat on my face. No bump but extreme humiliation as I really, really, really liked this guy. Luckily, he called again. :)
  • Right before an important work meeting in New York. I trip and fall in front of a Starbucks on Broadway in Manhattan, fall in some yucky stuff, rip my pants and pretty much panic as I am not meeting-presentable. For all of the gory details, you can read the post on my old blog here.

So today. I'm on the treadmill at work, walking fast, warming up. There's a guy running pretty fast two treadmills down from me. I am scrolling through my playlists, trying to find something motivating while I try to multitask and unscrew the water bottle cap. I was walking too fast to multitask, lose my balance for a split second and I zigzag my foot slightly. As I recover I accidentally flick my water bottle cap (hard too!) and it hits the other runner on his earlobe then falls on his treadmill. He either stepped on it or moved to avoid it, I'm not sure, but he came thisclose to taking a spill.


Of course I apologized profusely and gave a sheepish look but not sure how much he heard with his headphones on. He gave me a rather disgusted look (can I blame him?) and ran for another 15 minutes before leaving. Sing it with me . . .Awkward!

Oh how I hope he's not in the gym tomorrow.

By the way, that bowling ball bump. Every couple of years it reappears on my forehead for a few days. Yep, even though it happened over twenty years ago. Come to think of it, I'm about due for a visit . . .

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Long Overdue Race Report: Shamrock Shuffle

I've been busy (not lazy, busy. Really. Ok, a little lazy.) so I'm late in posting my report from my first race of 2010: Chicago's Shamrock Shuffle, an 8k. I've noticed that Suzanne has posted twice in the last week and I haven't posted once so I'd better get moving. Continuing with my lazy (or let's call it efficient) theme, I'm going to give a recap by random bullets:

  • Took the Friday afternoon off before the Race to go to the Expo. I love, love, love me an Expo. I know a lot of people think it's a pain to pick up the packet at the Expo but I love it. Maybe I feel more like a true runner, I don't know. The race shirts, the vendors, the yogurt samples, I love it all.
  • The weather forecast was not good so I was a little nervous the days leading up to the race. Chicago weather gods like to do that . . .heavenly Spring weather in the beginning of the week, cold, blustery, raining weather predicted in time for the race.
  • Day of the race was cold, but not nearly as bad as predicted. Mike, my sister-in-law Nancie and friends Marina and Jon were all doing the race so I was really looking forward to it. A bonus, Mike and I met our longtime blog friend Jared for the first time in "real life."
  • I broke a cardinal rule by dressing for the start and not dressing for the run. I was enjoying chatting with our friends as we waited for the start and wasn't really cold at all. One mile into it I was cursing myself for dressing too warm.
  • The Shuffle is huge, I think 30,000 plus runners so on the plus side you have a lot of excitement and energy; on the down side you have to wait 30 minutes to cross the start (at least if you are a back-of-the-pack runner like me.)
  • Going into the race, I wasn't worried about the mileage (5 miles) as I have been running fairly consistently. I was worried about the fact that this was going to be my first time running outside since October. I know, I know. What was I thinking? Problem was that between the weather and working in runs around work and the kids etc it was either too dark or too cold to run outside. So I paid for it. Ouch.
  • Hills, hills, hills! Ok Suzanne would laugh as she prepares to run in San Francisco of all places. So maybe they were more like small inclines. When you live and run in flat Chicago though, any incline is a hill and there were quite a few more than we are used to on this course due to construction/course change.
  • Bottom line: Fun race, painfully slow time (but expected). And, my sister-in-law beat Mike in her first organized race. That should make the next family get-together interesting :)

This week's running schedule: 4, 2, 4.5, 7 (I'm going to do the 7 miler on Easter morning as an excuse to eat more at Easter brunch :) )

Short post I know, but I'm distracted now because I just learned via text that Suzanne does not watch Lost anymore. What?! When did this happen? When we worked together we had two fish in my office named Sayid and Locke. How soon she forgets. Sigh.

A Heartbreaking Basketball Loss

Attended the Stanford vs. Xavier final of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Sacramento Regional last night and the game came down to the very last second. I felt just awful for Xavier as they deserved to win but unfortunately couldn’t pull it off. One of their players missed two wide open lay-ups – wide open like all by herself under the basket wide open – that left the game tied. Stanford got the ball back with 4.0 seconds left and the guard drove the entire length of the court to make a lay-up with time expiring as the ball left her hand. Unbelievable! Everyone was stunned in the stadium but my heart ached for Xavier – and I’m a Stanford fan – and especially for the girl who missed the two shots. She was a senior and that’s a tragic way to end your season and career.

That had nothing to do my marathon training but had to share the story. OK, back to my training…..

It’s officially 17 weeks until the marathon! Last week I was good and ran 5 xs, the most since I’ve started training. It’s feeling good but I still wonder how I’m going to be able to increase my mileage to my long runs for the next 17 weeks? We will see.

I also found a half marathon at the end of May that will coincide nicely with my training program. That week I’m supposed to run 14 miles, so it’s perfect that it works out.

This is my last week of running whatever I want before the 16 week training program starts. I’m going to just enjoy this last week of running without a certain mile/time to go after. And next week the “official” training begins.

SF Marathon Here I Come,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wicked, 18 weeks and NCAA Basketball

Took the girls, along with my sister-in-law Vero, to see Wicked this weekend! It was my second time seeing it but it was the first time to see a musical for the girls. They really enjoyed it and they were so well behaved, which made me proud.

This week marks 18 weeks until the marathon! I’m working up to my 16th week running of 3-4-4-5 miles, according to training schedule. Each week I’ll post what my training mileage is supposed to be and how I’m doing.

This week, the plan is running 2-3-2-4. I’m off to a good start as I was able to run 2.5 during lunch! And the good news is that I felt good while running and it was relatively easy.

On Saturday, I’m very excited to go watch the NCAA Women’s basketball West Regionals. We’re center court, 10th row, so we’ll have great seats and hopefully get to see some good games. Go Stanford Cardinals!

My little one was sick all last week and now I’m battling it as well. I’m just hoping I can fight it off! Wish me luck and happy running!

Hey Jenn - how was the Shamrock Shuffle this past weekend? Can't wait to read the recap.

SF Marathon Here I Come,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Goals, Favorite Things and Music

Thanks to all our friends, family and blog friends that are supporting us in our marathon quest this year. All your comments and encouragement definitely added to my enthusiasm and excitement.

Next week, it will be 18 weeks before the marathon. I am following the 16 week training course outlined in “The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer” book that Jenn recommended. I’ve run all my life but never more than 5 miles at a time.

The last few months I’ve been getting my “running legs” back under me. I have to say that the last few times I’ve gone out for run I’ve been feeling better and better. Getting that runners high when you feel like you can run forever.

My two goals for this marathon are: (1) to complete the SF marathon and (2) run the entire marathon. I’m not running for a certain time, I just want to finish and run the whole thing. In talking to my dad – who ran 3 marathons – his best time was 3:15:40! Way to go Dad…let’s just say that he will be retaining the family marathon record.

And to build off of Jenn’s more recent blog, here are a few of my favorite things that I’ve found helpful in running and preparation:

1. Saucony running shoes – ProGrid Ride 2 - These shoes are so comfortable!
2. Balega running socks
3. Ipod Nike + sensor

I am like Jenn and need music to get me through. On my last run here are the songs that got me going (note: you will learn that I like ALL sorts of music): “In Da Club” (50 Cent), “What is this Feeling” and “Defying Gravity” (both from Wicked the musical).

What are your favorite running songs? Do you have a go to song when you really need to get going? Please share and any suggestions for me to listen to are appreciated as well. Happy running!

SF Marathon Here I Come,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

It's training season and with apologies to Julie Andrews, here are a few of my favorite running-related things:

I bought this on a whim at an Expo last year (maybe for the Chicago Half?) and it worked great. Kept my phone, shot blocks, IDs and cash in one place and wasn't bulky or bouncy when I ran.

Ace Ice Packs
My knees and plantar fasciitis-prone feet love these. Very portable, great to store in my bag and use immediately after races. The link is to an online store but I usually buy them for $1 in the travel section at Target.

Balega Running Socks
Running for three years and only one blister (11 miler in the teeming rain) thanks to these socks. Not cheap, but worth it in my opinion. Unfortunately, my dogs like these socks too . . .I've caught them more than once playing tug of war with these socks.

Yes, I'm one of those runners. I wear headphones when I run - - on the treadmill, outside and during races, yes during races. I need to zone out in order to get through the higher miles and blasting my iPod in my ears helps. My playlist changes quite a bit . . .usually I need some angry men a la Metallica or Queensryche screaming at me. Current favorites are Foo Fighters/Wheels, Jimmy Eat World/Let It Happen and anything by Paramore. A must for every time I run: Dream Theater's "Surrounded."

Runners, what are your favorite things?

(Apologies for the quirky piano instruction video, but only link that would work for me)


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Fourth First Marathon

This wasn't the plan.

When I dropped off the Chicago Marathon course at the halfway point due to a nasty muscle pull and knee pain last year, I told my husband in between tears that I was taking 2010 off from marathon training. I was going to keep running, but get in shape the right way and only focus on half marathons, with the plan to come back fitter and stronger for 2011.

My friend Suzanne confided in me that she was training for a 2010 marathon. Our friend Maurissa said she was going to run Chicago in 2010. Nope I said, not me. Taking the year off. I'm going to be sensible about it. Good luck guys, I'll be cheering for you, I said.

February 1, Chicago Marathon sign up day, came and went. I did not stay up until midnight to register like I did in previous years.

Then, running a nice easy run on the treadmill at work one day, the endorphins must have had an effect on me because I thought, ya know, it would be kind of cool to train this year. Completing the Marathon by my 40th birthday was always the goal and I turn 40 four days before this year's Chicago race. Plus, 10/10/10 has a nice ring to it. (Apparently I'm a numerologist now.) I can do this I thought.

I signed up with the promise to myself that I would only tell my husband and Suzanne. After all, I'm already a chronic marathon first-timer. I didn't want to embarrass myself by shouting from the rooftops that I was attempting this again - - for the fourth, yes fourth time. (Brief history lesson: In 2007 I made it to mile 16 before the race was called due to extreme heat. In 2008, I never made it to the starting line due to injury. In 2009, I made it to the starting line, but in pain from a muscle pull. Pulled myself off the course at 13.1 miles due to injury.)

Keep it to yourself I thought. Don't broadcast it.

What did I do? I posted my plans on Facebook and talked Suzanne into a joint running blog.

Suzanne - - one of my best friends despite the miles between us, my former co-worker, my partner in crime, my athletic, I-went-to-college-on-a-basketball-scholarship, excels-at-every-sport-she-attempts friend Suzanne. (Yes, we're very different.)

So here I am. In training. Blogging. Again.

Maybe with Suzanne as my virtual training partner I won't train like an asshole this time around. :)


Suzanne's First Blog Entry 3/10/10

Wow – my first entry for my first blog! I’m very excited to do a joint blog with my good friend Jenn that will chronicle our marathon journey while working full-time and being a mom of two and wife (we can’t forget our husbands!).

For me running a marathon has been something I’ve secretly wanted to do for a long time. This year I finally decided that I’m going to do it and my plan is to train and successfully run the 2010 San Francisco Marathon on Sunday, July 25th! At the same time, Jenn will be training for the 2010 Chicago Marathon in October.

My Dad ran three marathons and a variety of other running races and triathlons when I was a kid, and it’s something I always admired him for as I know it takes a lot of dedication, training, focus and determination.

I want to run this marathon for myself, and to also show my two little girls that they too can accomplish anything they set their minds to – no matter how busy or hectic their lives are! Please remind me of this when I’m questioning my sanity and trying to remember why I’m doing this marathon!

My training schedule is set and updated in my organizer. Side note: you will learn that Jenn and I are extremely anal about to do lists, organizers and calendars/schedules. If I ever lost my organizer my life would be over.

It’s about 19 weeks until the SF Marathon and I’m terrified, yet excited at the same time. Looking forward to the challenge and going to take it week by week. My brother Gabe and his wife Claire are also training for the SF Marathon so I’m excited for them as well…go team!

Hope you enjoy our journey and we promise to keep you updated regularly as we go along. Here’s to Jenn and Suzanne’s excellent marathon adventure!

SF Marathon Here I Come,