Saturday, December 5, 2015

Thanksgiving Day Run 2015 and more!!

The last few weeks have been busy.  But then I always say that.  :-)

The holidays are usually a tough stretch for teachers.  Students that have rough home lives are often not looking forward to the time off.  They might not be getting the meals that they would be getting at school and often aren't going to be getting the family time or presents in the way that a lot of us take for granted.  When kids are stressed they often act out without realizing why they are angry.  So teachers spend a lot of time working at keeping things in control and helping students that are struggling figure out better ways to deal with how they are feeling.  (And also, try to figure out ways to support the student and the families in real, tangible ways.)  I think this has contributed to being even more tire than I have been lately.  Which is really the pits because my normal level of tired is not good on a regular basis.  So this past week has been really short on exercising and long on tiredness.

But the week of Thanksgiving was great.  I had five days off and Joe had all five days off with me.  We did some type of activity every day that week, running, hiking and swimming and then both days of the weekend we did a bunch of stuff around the house.  I enjoyed every minute of it!  I'm very blessed to have a wonderful husband and family, a nice home to live in, a great job and food on the table.  With the job I have and the low income school district that I work in makes it very obvious that I have many, many things to be thankful for in my life.
Bald Hill hike with my two favorite guys!  
I have always gone the other way on this part of the trail so this was the first time I saw this sign.  lol
It's a good day to be alive :-)
Mary's Peak with some snow on the top.
Love this view of the Coastal Mountain Range.
The leaves are all off the trees.  Makes for a golden path. 
Two years ago I found out that I was pre-diabetic and that it wasn't a matter of if I would have diabetes it was a matter of when.  I ran the local Thanksgiving Day run and did really well for me and got a PR with an average pace of just under 12 minute miles.  I was so excited to get a pace with an eleven on the front on a hilly course.  Then I started taking the medication that was supposed to keep the A1C number down (a number that indicates the amount of glucose in your blood over the last few months, lower is better.)
Thanksgiving Day run 2013-Notice I'm hiding behind my daughter?  So you can't see how big I am.  lol
This got me all out of whack for quite awhile, both physically and mentally.  It took me about a year to get over my mental pity party.  But I have a lot of great people in my life that kept pushing me forward in spite of myself.  I may not have been moving fast and I may have often been dragged a bit but I kept moving.

This past year has been about working on the mental part of being healthy.  I have really tried to be thoughtful about how I'm doing and what I'm doing.  How does it work for me?  Am I really having fun?  Is this what I want to do?  Am I okay with what I'm doing or do I want more?  All good questions and sometimes the answers change depending on the day and how I'm feeling.  I've learned that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Life is a journey with lots of ups and downs and I am getting better about not getting stuck in the down parts.

One year ago I didn't do the run on Thanksgiving because I hadn't run in a couple of months.  I knew I wouldn't do well and I would just beat myself up over it.  I did a 2.5 mile walk instead with my friend Dwayne and we took the dog too.  I remember it was raining the whole time but we had a good time.  I made the right decision that day to do what I knew I would enjoy and wouldn't make me frustrated later.

This year I decided to run the 3.75 mile run again on Thanksgiving Day.  I wasn't expecting to set any records but I was pretty sure I would have a solid run for me.  I had asked the kids if they wanted to do the run too.  Meighan and Taylor decided to do it too.  Taylor met us at our house and rode with us to the race.  The day was clear and cold.  Really cold!  Brrrrrr!!  Taylor kept looking at me and saying, "Who's idea was this?"  I would just smile and say, "Mine!" lol  Meighan had a bit of a headache so we switched her run to the walk.  I was proud of her for getting up and coming with us even though she wasn't feeling great.

Oldest & Youngest Kiddos.  

Always fun hanging out with my family!
I didn't hide behind anyone for this picture. :-)
Love my husband and appreciate his support as I keep plugging away at getting healthier.
The race started at 8:00 a.m. and was a lovely 28 degrees outside.  Did I mention Brrrrrr?  Breathing the cold air was a bit difficult.  I have a buff that I usually wear over my mouth during cold weather but I can't find it and can't remember what I did with it.  I must have put it somewhere safe last spring so I wouldn't lose it.  Now I may never find it.  Actually, I will probably find it after I buy a new one. :-)

The route for this race goes over rolling hills.  Not huge hills but quite a few of them and you have to plug along for a bit for several of them.  I worked at trying to keep my pace really steady.  While I did slow down going uphill I tried to not slow down much and then I tried to pick up the speed when I was going downhill in order to balance it out.  I also worked on my breathing and my posture while I was running.

The race is an out and back.  I enjoy races like this because I get to see a lot of people that are already heading back.  I got several high fives and saw lots of people that I know.  Everyone was smiling and having fun.  My son passed me and I got a big high five from him, it was my favorite part of the race.

I got to the turn around and headed back and was still feeling good.  I was maintaining a pretty steady pace which was good.  I like it when I don't slow down as I go.  I also realized that I was not at the very back of the pack like I usually am.  Usually when I start heading back there aren't very many people who are working their way to the turn around.  This year there was quiet a few of them.  That gave me a little boost.  The other thing that was different from past years was that I was passing people and not just one or two people.  During the entire race I passed people then whole time.  At the beginning of the race a lot of people took off really fast and passed me.  I passed many of those people around the Mile 1 marker.  This was about halfway up the first hill and lots of those speedy starters were walking.  Then I think I started going by people that were just slowing down as they progressed through the race.

One of the last people that I passed was a couple that was walking up the last hill.  I had seen them ahead of me for quite awhile.  I often will see someone walking or running slower and make my goal to keep a pace that is steady enough and just quick enough to pass them.  I usually only do this when I'm feeling good and having a good race.  This couple was having a great time, talking and laughing.  The man was wearing bright orange Oregon State University leggings and bright orange Oregon State University shorts.  (Go Beavers!!) I loved it!  He was very visible...and memorable.  :-)  I hadn't gotten too far past them when I could hear them start to run.  They started to catch up with me when we had less than 3/4 of a mile to go.  I got stubborn at that point.  Even though I was getting tired I suddenly decided I didn't want them to pass me after I had worked so hard to get past them.  A lot of people can do the walk/run method at races and beat me because when they are running they are so much faster than me.  The man had a loud voice and so it was easy for me to tell when they were getting closer.  Darn it, they kept getting closer so then I would have to get a little faster.  I kept thinking they would slow down but they didn't.  I would hear them getting closer and I would have to speed up a little more.  I was sure glad we didn't have far to go to be at the finish line!!  I managed to stay just in front of them all the way to the finish line.  They have no idea how much they helped me rock the last mile of the race!  Most of that last 3/4 mile I was running a very low 11 minute mile or a high 10 minute mile!  Awesome!!

I finished with a PR!  I couldn't believe it!  Last year I wasn't sure I would ever get my running mojo back.  This year I felt like I can keep getting better and maybe actually make some of the goals I have in the future.

Here is how I have done on this run over the years since I started running:

2010 - 47:49 Average Pace 12'55" placed 267 out of 284 and 18 out of 19 in my age group.
2012 - 52:18 Average Pace 14'08" placed 305 out of 318 and 19 out of 19 in my age group.
2013 - 44:02 Average Pace 11'54" placed 233 out of 281 and 9 out of 13 in my age group.
2014 - I did the 2.5 walk instead.  :-)  But at least I did something!
2015 - 43:05 Average pace 11'39" placed 139 out of 192 and 8 out of 9 in my age group.  (I am in a new age group! lol)

There were a lot fewer people for this race this year but I think Oregonians are much more willing to run in the rain than they are in the really, really cold.  :-)  I know that it wasn't a huge PR but I felt great and it was fun to feel good and strong.  I like pushing during the run and then pushing it even more at the end.  That felt good too.  
That's moving right along for me!  
This week I had swim practice with Bri.  She is working on my stamina and so I had to do a lot of swimming and very little stopping.  I wasn't going fast but I didn't get to stop.  It was tough but I managed it...barely.  :-)  

The rest of the week was a bust in the area of exercise.  I was SO tired that all I wanted to do every night when I got home was as little as possible.  

Yesterday I was really frustrated with myself.  I started going down the "I can't do this" road.  When I do that it quickly can turn into self-doubt and self-criticism.  It usually goes something like this.
  • Why do I think I can do these these things?
  • I only worked out one time this week, pathetic!  
  • If I am so tired and I'm not training for anything major (officially yet) how can I possibly make it work for an Olympic triathlon, let alone something bigger? 
  • Ridiculous, I should just not even try, it would be less embarrassing.  
  • I can't run a marathon, or a 50k or a 50 miler.  Woo hoo, I PR'd a 3.75 mile run (insert sarcastic tone here).  That's not even impressive.  My friends do impressive things.  I just do little things and I don't even do them well.  
  • I will never, ever be able to keep up with my husband or my friends.  
You get the idea.  First I get down on myself and then I begin comparing.  Neither are good and neither are acceptable anymore.  If I start getting in a funk I start thinking about all I have accomplished the last five years and remember how far I have come.  Sometimes I even have to repeat the mantra "I will not compare myself with others" over and over again.  lol  I does help!

Today Joe and I did the Shellburg Falls Trail Run.  It is a 5.2 mile run near Lyons, Oregon.  Beautiful trails and scenery and a lot of hills.  Here is the information that was on the Run Wild Adventures website:
That was a lot of hills for me!  But I decided to do it just like I do when I'm in the Mac Forest.  Run where I can, walk when I need to, enjoy the day and have fun.  It worked out pretty well.  That last little bit to the very top was hard but I kept trudging along.
Getting ready to have some fun!
View from the top of some of the falls. 

I get to run and play in a beautiful part of the world!!

I was figuring I would finish at around 1:40 or later.  I thought if I was having a really good day maybe I could do 1:30.  It must have been a really good day. :-)

I came in 203 out of 210 people running.  Not great but hey, I wasn't last.  lol   Joe came and ran the last mile with me which was fun.  That was mostly downhill too which was nice.

My Nike+ said that I had gone a bit farther and had the pace a little faster.  But either way I am very happy with how I did today.  I pushed myself and it felt good.  I'm learning I don't have to be perfect. I just have to try and do a little better than yesterday.  Some days it works pretty well, other days it's a struggle.

We had several friends that were participating in a 50 mile trail run today.  We were cheering them on from afar.  They truly amaze me!  I can't even imagine running that far in one day!  Spencer posted this this morning on Facebook:

Good advice whether you are running a 5k or a 100 miler!!  It was nice to have this in my own head this morning as I did my trail run while my friends were already well into their 50 miler.

Spencer and Betsy have created a business that is about learning how to make changes in your life in order to be a healthier, happier you.  If you want to check it out here is the link to their website:  They have both overcome difficult things and have a genuine insight to how to embrace changing your lifestyle.  If you want to be inspired by two people who are willing to share very personal stories then this is the website to go to!

Congratulations to Spencer, Betsy and Wade.  Way to kick ass!!

Congratulations to myself, my hubby, Chad and Trevor.  We did some ass kicking of our own today at Shellburg Falls!  :-)

This about sums it up!

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