Monday, January 30, 2012

Frozen like a Zucchini

The goal for 2012 is to complete 12 races - 12 in '12, if you will. I'm off to a great start, having finished two races in January (and with two on the schedule in February as well - including the BIG ONE).

January 29 was the Frozen Zucchini Snowshoe Adventure in Barrington. It actually became the Frozen Zucchini Snowshoe Run, because there wasn't enough snow. There was, however, enough snow to make it interesting and occasionally treacherous.

It was slow going, and I turned in probably my slowest race ever, but it was F.U.N. Our friend Barb (the Ironman woman) ran with us, and it was an incredible treat to have an athlete of her caliber alongside us. Very motivating!

This is me, approaching the finish line. Barb is to my left. Linda's foot is in the lower right-hand corner.

So like I said, it was a lot of fun. Slow going and a little dangerous (thank heaven for show cleats, even if they failed us), but a good time was had by all. AND ...

Where else can you get your photo taken with a guy in a zucchini suit? This is Barb, Meg, Linda and me, with Mr. Zucchini.

My official race results are: finished in 52:57.6, with an average 17:05 min/mile. I was 105 of 121 overall, and 21/31 women in my age group. All in all, not a bad outing. Still proud of not being the very last person across the line!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Polar Dash-ing Through the Snow

My first race of 2012 is in the books. It also happens to be my first-ever 10K. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ... Polar Dash!

After a snowstorm dumped six inches of the good stuff all over Chicagoland a week ago, Linda and I braved the elements and travelled into the city for a little fun in the ... snow. Saturday, January 21 was a snowy morning at the lakefront, and with a ton of snow already on the ground, it promised to be an interesting run.

We had a blast, I'm not gonna lie. It was different, to be sure, but enjoyable to be running on the lakefront ... while it snowed ... wearing a mask that made me look like a serial killer. I wish I were joking.

It was slow going. I suspected I'd be pokey, because I'm being uber-cautious right now. With the half marathon looming, I do not want to be injured. So I'm not terribly proud of my results - I finished the 10K (that's 6.2 miles, for those of you converting from metric) in 1:33:32, or at a pace of about 15:04 per mile. As it was, I finished 624 out of 669 total runners, and 403 out of 434 women. For a girl who previously ran a 16-minute mile, running a 15 in tough weather conditions is completely acceptable. I'm happy with it.

Naturally, post-race we found ourselves enjoying a little breakfast and proudly wearing our medals. It's funny, because a few years ago, if someone had told me I would choose to head out, in the middle of winter, to run in the snow, I would have laughed, out loud, at the ridiculousness of it. But here I am ... and it's a pretty cool feeling.

Next up: Race Report for the Frozen Zucchini Snowshoe Race that wasn't on snowshoes because there wasn't enough snow.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Wish

I've been told that I can be a little annoying; that my love of running and general fitness sometimes spills out of me when people really don't want any part of it. Like half of a newly minted couple who wants EVERYONE to find their special someone, I want EVERYONE to have what I have, in terms of health and wellness.

Well, sorry ... this is going to be one of those posts. Sue me.

If I had just one wish for everyone I love this year, it would be that you would treat yourself better. If you've already figured out the importance of taking care of your health, it could be as simple as being gentle with yourself when you slack off, or eat a full row of Oreos. But if you haven't figured it out ... if you're living in a way that's regularly destructive to your well-being ... my most sincere wish is that you'd stop.

If you smoke, quit. It's expensive, and it's poison.

If you're sedentary, get up off the couch and take a walk. It's free, and it's fun.

Do one thing differently. Say yes to something you're not sure you can do. Don't go on a diet, but instead change the way you eat. Cook for yourself. Eat whole foods (not necessarily purchased at Whole Foods). Clear out the clutter, in your mind and in your home. See yourself for who you are, acknowledge what you'd like to change, and then begin to take the steps to get there.

I offer this bit of annoyance and/or inspiration because it wasn't all that long ago when I began a new year wondering what the point was. Unhappy, unfit and a mess in almost every possible way, I just didn't understand what the promise of a new year could offer. I would turn the page on the calendar and see zero progress, and the downward spiral would continue.

Over the last few years, that has reversed. I now look back and see a lot of failures ... but only because I have put myself out there. You can't fail if you don't try.

So please, try. And when you fail, try again. Don't be stupid - you KNOW a fad diet is not the answer, and you KNOW you didn't grow that ass or that bad habit overnight, so don't expect to lose it overnight, either. But please, do something. Because next year at this time, I'd love to celebrate with you.