Saturday, February 24, 2007

Resolution 15 miler

I just returned home from the Resolution run series, 15 miler. In my last post I said I had a goal of completing the race in 2 hours. I know this was an ambitious goal, but I did complete the race in 2:09. So I was close, and I am very happy with the time.

It was 38 degrees and raining when I arrived at the school where the race begins. I decided to wear my waterproof jacket, gloves, ear muff thingy, and my hat. I started out the race running with Rick, who found out that I had a goal in mind, although he did not know what the goal time was. I told him that he would not like it. I teased him a bit and told him that it was really a dream goal and that I would run as hard as felt good. We ended up only running together for about 2 1/2 miles. At this point Rick told me to go on ahead. I did.

I few minutes later, I caught up with another Y runner who lives a bit further north. She runs with the group on occasion. We ran together for quite some time, chatting about running and triathlons. She told me her goal for the race was to not go over a 10 minute pace, which would mean finishing in 2:30 or less. I decided this was a good goal too. We were at least 5 or 6 miles in by then and well under that goal.

Just ahead of us was Monica, another Y runner. Her boyfriend Mike, was our crew for the day. He took lots of pictures. I'll post some when Monica sends them out. I shed my ear muff thing, gloves and a water bottle throughout the race. It was nice to be able give them to him, rather that stuff things in pockets and carry an empty bottle. Thanks Mike! We high fived Monica at the turn around point, 7.5 miles and soon caught up to her. We ran altogether for probably two miles.

Somewhere between the 9 and 10 mile marker, at an aid station, I did not stop and pulled ahead of the two ladies, never to have them rejoin me. As I passed the 11 mile marker, I was feeling pretty good and decided to see if I could pick it up. I knew there was a hill coming up somewhere, like at mile 13 or so, but I thought I could just slow up a bit when I got there. I was happy with my time so far and just decided to push for the next person in front of me. When I got to that hill, it was easy. The last time I ran that hill I thought I was going to die! It was a piece of cake!

The next person was at least 1/4 mile ahead of me, but I caught her and a few others by the 13 mile marker. I continued to pass people. I even caught up to a woman that I work with in the last mile. She told me she had hit the wall. So, I tried to get to the next two people ahead of me also. I got really close, but in the last loop around the track back at the high school they realized I was coming and picked it up too. They finished a couple of steps ahead of me.

I placed 3rd in the 30-34 age group. 2nd place finished in 1:59 and 1st place in 1:52. So, they were well ahead of me. I am still in first place for the series, with the 20 miles still to go.

It was a really good run, and I think I fueled well. I used e-caps, one before the race, and then 1 per hour. I took a gel before the race, had a few sharkies during the race, and another gel just after the turnaround. I drank about 30 ounces of Gatorade along the way too.

The 20 miler is the 24th of March I believe. Who knows whats in store until then. I'll try to get in lots of miles, maybe a 20 miler in a couple of weeks ( hear that Michelle? I know you wanted a 20 miler in early March! Maybe the 2nd weekend?)

Anyway, I hope that all your running is going well. That's all for now, I gotta go get ready for a playoff basketball game. It's do or die for our boys tonight!

Grace and peace to you.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Back on Track

Running? What happened to running? Last week was a blur. It came so fast.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3.5 boring miles on the indoor Y track without an Ipod. It was all I could handle.
Wednesday: Valentine's day early dinner out with the kids, too stuffed to run.
Thursday: Felt kinda sick and my son had basketball practice.
Friday: My parents came into town.
Saturday: 10 miles
Sunday: rest after what I assume is "throwing my back out" on Saturday. I bent over to pick up my bag after the 10 mile run and I could barely move. It was fine to sit for a while, but getting up was a killer. Then I had to sit on bleachers for my son's double header basketball games!

I am determined to make it a better week. I have a 15 mile race on Saturday. I'd like to finish in 2 hours. I plan to run with another Y runner, Rick. He doesn't want to go that fast, but he will. He might whine the whole time, but he'll do it! So, Monday was a great start. On holiday, I met Michelle, Rick, Jamal, Wendy, GeorgeK, and Steve for a run at 8am. George and Steve were too fast, and Wendy and Rick were going to go slow, so Jamal, Michelle and I were off. Now Jamal is the fastest of everyone, but he had already run earlier in the morning and we were his cool down. We ran for just over an hour. It was fun to run with Jamal. He's a cool guy.

Today, I ran 5.5 miles at the Y on the indoor track. I remembered the Ipod. And I purchased a pitch counter to keep track of laps. 33 laps=5.5miles. It's horrible if you don't have music. I have a friend who ran with an Ipod for 20 miles on the track. I think that's crazy even with the Ipod. The track and the rest of the Y were packed. It's the first class session that all the new "Resolution" members could get into so it was busy. I stick to the very outside lane and run on the white line. I had to go around all the people watching gymnastics... better put a complaint in about that. They stand in the middle of the run lane, some of them have small children with them whom you have to really watch for. It can be dangerous.

I plan to go to the Y tomorrow either to run or for an hour spin class. Then Thursday I'll do an easy 3 and call it good with rest on Friday. That's the plan.

Grace and peace to you.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

New Beginnings

Out with the old and in with the new. As first semester came to a close, I looked forward to 90 new students and a fresh start to 2nd semester. Got my new room cleaned and organized after moving all my stuff last Friday and was ready to go. A 50k last Saturday to clear my head and I felt great Monday. The week seemed to fly by. My new classes are off to a fantastic start(lets keep our fingers crossed that this continues). I feel like I've set the tone for my expectations and that my students are up for the challenge.

I did have one wrench this week. Friday morning, during my plan as I started to catch up on the mornings emails, I opened one that said one of my former students, a girl who I do not have in class this year, but who comes to talk with me at least three times a day, did not go home the night before and that if I see her, I should not let her leave. So I dropped everything and headed to find her counselor, who had sent the email. When I arrived in the office, I found the student with a friend of hers. This student and I have kind of a mentor-like relationship. I make sure I stay within my boundaries, but understand that she looks to me as a positive female mother type. She has lots of home issues. I have reverted somewhat to my church youth director days of counseling kids. Although I do not bring up church or religion in our conversations. I try to be a positive influence and guide her in a positive direction. She tells me she wishes I were her mother. I tell her she still would not like me "telling" her what to do. Now I just offer counsel and advice and try to show her all perspectives, leaving the decisions up to her. That would be different if I were her mother. :) Anyway, I spent a good hour talking with her before I had to get to my last class. We had an assembly and she met me afterwards for another half hour before I had to pick up my kids. This girl is and has been in my prayers for a while. I am hoping for good news tomorrow at school. I did let her know she could call me this weekend if things got too bad. She hasn't called yet.

Recovery this week was interesting. I never really felt sore after the Pigtail's Run 50K. I knew my hamstrings were tight, but no pain. So, I took Sunday off to eat and watch the Superbowl. Monday I opted for an hour spin class at the Y. I felt good, but my calves were feeling it by the end of the class. Tuesday came and I was tired all over so I rested. Wednesday I was feeling good again and a bit ambitious. It is fairly hilly around my house and I opted for my hill run instead of a flat run through a local park. As I said, I was feeling ambitious. I decided I'd run about 8.5 miles of hills. I stared off and immediately felt tired. I thought I just needed to warm up. But as I said, this run is hilly. the run starts out with about a quarter mile flat, then down a big hill before a half mile or so uphill. by the time I got to the top of that hill, a mile into my 8 mile run, I was already contemplating where to shave the run. The next section, about a mile is plain flats. I decided the flats were more tiring than the hills. I slowed way down. by the time I got to where I could continue or go up a huge hill, I opted to shave that section off. Goodbye two miles--one huge up hill, out and back and a steep downhill. I still had plenty of hills to go. I picked the pace back up and continued leaving those two miles behind. I plugged along, glad I brought Gatorade along. I was thinking, "how could I feel so good, but be SOOO tired." By the time I got up the last hills and to the park near my house I had already decided to shave off the last mile loop around the elementary and high schools and just head home for 5.5 miles. So my ambitious goal of 8.5 miles died and I was happy just to finish 5.5. I was exhausted, pooped, dead. I decided to take Thursday and Friday off to rest. Saturday I felt great again and found myself in a group of runners at the Y who were off to run HILLS. Michelle's famous Wednesday hill run in fact. Plus from the Y and back for 7.5 miles. We were over a mile into the run before I actually found out that this was where we were heading. IT was fine with me, I've done this run several times with Michelle (and walk breaks). I mentioned this to Eric and his response was, "I saw you on that last loop of the 50k, you don't need any walk breaks!" Ahhhh, this is true. I don't need walk breaks. But they are so enjoyable sometimes, especially once you've gotten to the top of a fairly large hill! I looked forward to the challenge. I was feeling fine until the top of the last of the really big hills. I was very thirsty and wishing I'd brought a water bottle with me and my hamstrings were beginning to feel tight. I was running with Eric, Elaine (home form Iraq), Rick, Deb, and the other Michelle. Eric was very kind and kept looping back to those of us who are not as fast as he. Though Deb just took off! Elaine was going fast too, but would stop to rest and let everyone else catch up. Rick stayed back with the other Michelle and I was in the middle most of the time. I slowed way down for the last couple of miles. My tiredness caught up with me. We finished the 7.53 hilly miles in 1:16.

Sunday's run was an easy 3.5 on the trails through the local park with my son on his bike. I felt good the whole time and about sprinted on occasion while pushing my son up the small hills. We had a great time.

All in all it was a good work week, great home week, weird, but good run week. I forgot to mention it was my Paul and my 10th anniversary on the 8th. We went to Salty's on Redondo Beach last night. I had Steak and King crab. It was awesome! Our waitress thought it was funny that I had to cut my husband's steak for him. As he still has little use of his right arm 8 weeks after shoulder surgery and is still in the sling. We had a fantastic night out. We are looking forward to 10 plus, plus, plus more years together! My husband and I are closet Dead Heads so I said I couldn't even say of our marriage, "What a Long Strange Trip it's Been." More like, "Truckin.'" He thought that was pretty funny. It was a great night. Too fast though. Should've gotten the babysitter for longer!

Grace and Peace to you.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

6 Weird Things

Thank you Bob for asking me to share my weirdness. I've been thinking about it for the past few days and asking my family and others to help me figure out what is weird about me.

Maybe it's weird that I can't think of things that are weird. I realize that I do have quarky, even weird things about me, but to me they are not weird. My husband thinks it's weird, to quote him, "freaky" that I started this blog. He also thinks that all long distance runners are weird, having lived with some extremely weird members of the cross country team in college. I can vouch for their weirdness. They were very.... unique.

So, here is my attempt at bearing my weirdness to you. Tomorrow, I may have to add more as I will no doubtedly think of many weird things all night long as this is bound to keep me up tonight (maybe that's weird).

1. Some people think it is weird that I tend to make sound effects when I stretch sore muscles. Even when I move sometimes I make ooohh, ahhhh, oooo, sounds. Usually this happens after a run or race, or knee surgery, that leaves me particularly sore. I use a tiger tail roller or a foam roller regularly to get the kinks out and aid in recovery. Sound effects just go with it. Helps everything with a little added sound. It doesn't really matter who's around when this happens.

2. Because there have been so many ironing posts during this tag, I too felt compelled to share my own personal weirdness on the topic. It might be weird that I only iron once or twice per year. Ironing usually occurs right before school starts, over Labor day weekend and during another vacation from school. So far this year, I've ironed once. Yes, this means some clothes only get worn once or twice per year. Others can go a couple wearings between washings and get a bit more wear. This also applies to my husband's and children's clothes. Needless to say, I try to buy wrinkle free and remove clothes from the dryer as soon as they are done. Actually, I'm not sure if this is weird or just lazy.

3. I think it is kinda weird that I enjoy reading young adult novels and watching teen/preteen shows on Disney. I think it comes from all my years of teaching 7th grade.

4. I keep all handwritten letters and most cards with handwritten messages. This comes from my weirdness as a history geek. Maybe my correspondence will one day be someone's primary source document--or my children's packing material after I'm gone and they have to sort through all my stuff.

5. I'm a photography buff and have just about every photo I've taken since I was in the 4th grade. I'm obsessive about labeling the back of each photo with who's who, the date, place and age of the people in the photo. Who knows what I'll remember when I'm 80. This hording, drives my husband crazy as I have rubbermaid tubs full of photos in the garage.

6. This one is only because the Birkenstocks with socks thing just ISN'T weird and I had a hard time thinking of anything else.
There have been times, random times, no one but me knows when times, that I'll break out in song, jump up and click my heels, dance, even breakdance at the pure joy of whatever. Few have been witness to this, but if you just keep watching......

So, that's my weirdness. It's all I could come up with. Now, if there was a list, 6 weird things about your spouse, or better yet, 6 weird things about the people you run with... now that would be funny!

Grace and peace to you.


Saturday, February 3, 2007

50k Fun!

Michelle, Melissa and Me, Jenny coming to the end of loop one on the way to our first 50K!
Pigtail's Run, Lake Youngs, Kent, Washington

The "Dirty Girl Gaiter" gang!
Well, I made I through my first 50k at Pigtail's Run. It was a lot of fun and I feel great. I headed to Starbucks to begin my morning and met a couple of other Y Run Club runners there who were also heading up to Pigtail's Run. We got our coffee and headed over to the Y to meet up with everyone else and to carpool. We were excited and ready to go! Once at the park, we stayed inside the car for a bit to stay warm, then put shoes on and gathered supplies for the bag drop area. The weather was perfect. Cold at the start but once we were off and running everything warmed up. The course is

gravel path, maybe a service road. It is rolling hills with flats in between. It is mostly forested and at times runs alongside semi-rural roads. When I signed up for this race, I had the notion that I'd only run two loops for 19+ miles. Then I really felt ready to do more and signed up to run three loops for 28+ miles. Then today Michelle was saying that if she decided to run three loops then she was going to do the extra out and back for the 50K. So I decided that it was only 2.2 more miles and that I could do that too. Seems like nothing after 28 miles. I started off running with Michelle and Melissa for the first two loops. We had a great time running, laughing and telling stories. The first loop we had to get acquainted with the course. None of us had run the entire loop before. Michelle had run part of it a couple of years ago so everything was new. I like that part of the adventure. Just before the end of our first loop, Amy and the other Michelle, who had only run one loop, came back to meet us and to take pictures of us. It was fun to see them. As we finished our first loop, I ran and made a pit stop, grabbed my second water bottle, and a PB and J sandwich. I don't have a problem eating and running at the same time so I headed out, sandwich in hand. We finished the first loop in 2 hours. Loop two was equally as good as the first. I have to add in a quote here from Michelle. At the beginning of the loops, withing the first half mile, you have to run past a particularly stinky swamp area. There was a man about 50 yards in front of us, when Michelle said, "Does that guy in front of us have gas?" I almost fell over laughing. Michelle always does this to me, something to make me laugh and not be able to stop. I was glad we weren't further into the run, I can get the uncontrollable laughs after about 17 miles or so. Anyway, I was feeling very well and looking forward to running the rest of the course. We anticipated being looped on this lap, which only 10 or so people did. That surprised us. Around 4 miles into the second loop I made a pit stop in the woods and headed back out. The rest of the loop was fairly uneventful as I can recall anyway. At the aid station this time I again made a pit stop. I also had to loosen my shoelaces. They were too tight and the tops of my feet were hurting. Loop two was completed in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I only had a half a PB and J this time and again left with it in my hand. I ran this loop by myself. I told Michelle and Melissa that I would do this during the second loop. I love to run with Michelle, but I wanted to run at my pace for this loop. After two loops of walk breaks at regular intervals, I felt strong and ready to run. I thought that I would take walk breaks on loop three also, at least on the hills, or as I felt I needed them. But as I went on, I felt great and ran the whole loop, plus the out and back without walking. It was great. I missed the conversation, but thoroughly enjoyed the solitude. I caught up with a woman we had played leap frog with on the first loop and several more people towards the end. I even sang worship songs out loud as I ran probably miles 5 and 6 of the loop. It was raining and I noticed that my ponytail made swishing sounds on the back of my jacket. I was really enjoying myself. As i ran down a fairly long downhill portion along a road that was fairly rock, my legs for the first time felt wobbly and I slowed down a bit to avoid falling. I noticed someone ahead of me at the bottom and thought maybe I could reach them within a mile. once the trail evened out my legs felt strong again and I picked my pace back up. I have to be careful on the downhills. They are harder for me. I need to take care of my knee that I had surgery on. I'd almost rather run uphill. I knew now that there was probably 3ish miles back to the start, and then the out and back section for 2.2 miles. I also knew that there were two more hills before the out and back and a doozy of a steep hill that we had run down three times already and now would have to run down and up once more on the out and back. Along this section I did pass that man from the hill and two others as well. I was so thankful when I reached the spot where you could see the parking lot and I knew there was only a little over two miles left. When I came into the aid station area, people cheered and clapped. Eric and Steve yelled and I waved. I just wanted to get there and get out because I wanted to finish! When I left the aid station to begin the third loop, I glanced at my watch. 4:15. I set a goal to finish the third loop in 2 hours. I finished the third loop in 1:54. Now I wanted to be done in 6:15 total! So I took off without talking to anyone. I knew they'd wonder why, wanting to know how far behind me Michelle and Melissa would be, but there was to be no talking! I passed the men I had passed earlier on my way back out and managed to gallop my way down the really steep hill without falling, dreading the challenge of going back up. That 1.1 mile out seemed like it took forever. Once I hit the 50K turn around I noticed a bit of a twinge in my left hamstring, letting me know I'd run 29 plus miles. It wasn't painful so I just kept going. As I past the other men again, I said" almost done, just the last little bit." they laughed. As I approached the big, steep hill, two mountain bikers came up from behind. They passed me earlier in the loop. I jokingly asked the second rider who was going the same speed as I was running, if he would pull me up the hill. He said that they "were going to go the easy way on the road" and he left the trail for the road running alongside. The other guy said he was going to ask me to push him up. I laughed and said that I was going to run to the top no matter what. I did. I don't think I was going too fast, but I made it. I pumped my arms and took deep breaths. I wanted to grab the fence and pull myself along but before I knew it I was at the top. I thought I would pass out for a second, but then I hit the nice easy downhill to the finish. Eric greeted me and the end. I stopped my watch. 6:15. I finished the last loop and the out and back in two hours. I felt great! I was happy. Now I could tell the guys that I didn't really know how far behind me Michelle and Melissa were because I didn't run the last loop with them. I changed and went to get some hot soup and sit by the propane heater. Michell and Melissa came in to finish their third loop about 40ish minutes later. Eric and Steve went on the out and back with them and they finished overall about 25 minutes later. Their overall time was 7:08. They did fantastic! Way to go! It was a great experience. I'll definitely do it again. My knees are achy, but that is always true. I did experience something else that is new. Blisters under my callouses on the balls of my feet, both feet. They don't really hurt though. I'm glad about that.

I learned that it is good to go out slow and to finish strong. I pushed myself on the third loop and it felt really good. I like to feel like I gave it everything I had. I did that on that last loop. I am tired now, but still feel like I could run tomorrow. We'll see how those stairs feel in the morning.

Grace and peace to you.

Melissa, Michelle, and Me, Jenny (I look wierd in this photo, I resized it wrong or something)

Thursday, February 1, 2007


The end of the semester is here. I thought it would never get here. With extra days added to the semester to make up for our snow days, it seemed to drag on and that too much had to get crammed in. But I survived. And most of my students did as well. I worked so hard trying to get failing or almost failing students to pass. Some took me up on the offer, others did not. Grace is not always accepted, I'll do my best to keep offering. One student in particular comes to mind. She had given up on passing just before Winter break. She didn't do many assignments and acted as if the whole world was against her. I've tried to talk with her a couple different times this week about a two week credit recovery option to make up assignments and tests needed to gain credit. She didn't really seem interested. Today though, as she turned in her final, I asked her one last time. She bit and accepted the offer. I wanted her to know that I hadn't given up. This is grace I am probably not supposed to offer. She has a 46%. I told her that if she could complete her missing work and pass the two tests I'd pass her, not give a letter grade, but a P. Another student wanted the same option, but I couldn't offer it. He just had too many missing assignments and the tests on top of it with only a 40%. The girl on the other hand has a fighting chance. She could reasonably reach 60% with what she needs to accomplish, I really believe the boy could not. It was a difficult choice. One I really do not like about teaching. Who passes, who fails, who gets the last chance at redemption.
So, I pick up my son who had been testing for the districts highly capable program at a different school, go to the Y and RAN. I tried to run hard, to let these end of semester woes go. I wanted to be tired. I had a hard time sleeping last night because of all the stress, and I want to sleep tonight. I made it for 30 minutes, then had to find the bikes and bike hard. I forgot the i pod and I just can't handle the indoor track for much longer than a half hour without it.
I had another awesome run this week that I really didn't want to do, but my husband pushed me out the door. I was having a hard time Tuesday with all the students who needed to make up tests and just weren't coming in to do it and to top it off I needed to buy gas and pick up a movie and I left my purse at school. Paul volunteered to go get gas for me, pick up the movie and get our son, so that I could go for a run and let go of the stress. It turned out to be one of those really great runs, where you feel you could go on forever. I left the house at about 4:45pm, it was just about 50 degrees , warm for lately, so I wore shorts. I headed out on my hill run near my house. It was crystal clear, the sun was beginning to set and the sky was a magnificent shade of pink and Orange, fading to blue. Mt. Rainier was covered in pink alpine glow and a spectacular sight. I wanted to go and go and go. Paul and the kids passed me as I was headed on my last leg before home. It was now getting fairly dark. I hated to go in but it was cold now. I had to go back to reality. That's what I wanted to feel today as I ran. Same weather, but I has my son so I had to stay inside at the Y. Not quite the same effect, but it felt good to go hard. I get to rest tomorrow somewhat. There will be no students at school. I have to turn in my grades, move classrooms and get ready for new classes of students and 2nd semester. I am looking forward to the Pigtails run on Saturday to again, let it all out and hopefully feel strong enough to meet a new challenge...the ultra marathon.
So, do i feel the end of the semester ended positively? For the most part. I had more failures than I would prefer, but I do feel that I put in a valiant effort to help those kids. Next time, I'll need to make some changes. I know. As I run, I'll pray, I'll reflect, I'll be renewed and ready to begin again, Monday.

Grace and peace to you.