Monday, December 27, 2010

A Good Running Partner

Yesterday was the start of our recovery week before week 1 of our official training.  In a recovery week, we continue to run, but rest every other day, and there are no long run increases.  Our longest run this week is 6 miles and that is what we did yesterday.

It is ironic that my last post was about my frustrations of Christian's seemingly lack of motivation to run, because yesterday I took a ride in that same boat.  It wasn't that I wasn't motivated necessarily, I was just tired.  My body did not want to run. It's not that I can't run six miles, I can and do frequently, my body just didn't want to move.  I would have been more than happy to just walk or even sit on the couch and do nothing.  In my mind, I knew I had to do this because it is quite possible for this same feeling to come over me during the marathon and I need to teach my body to push through these feelings.

About a mile and a half in to our run, I stopped running.  I took about 20 seconds, to stop walk and collect myself.  I whined and complained that I didn't want to run.  I was tired...can't we just walk??? Christian's initial reaction was No and that now I know how he felt last week.  Yeah....touche.  Then he started to empathize with me:  At least it's on our recovery week; at least its only six miles we're running, imagine if it were ten. 

I whined some more:  It's not that I can't run six miles, I just don't feel like it today.  This is when I learned what a great running partner I have. Christian started motivating me.  "Come on, Mom, you can do it.  We're half way done.  Just over this hill is a valley and then two small hills and turn right.  OK...it's flat and smooth then two quick turns.  Just around this corner and then we are almost on the home stretch.  This is it....we're almost home." 

It was an amazing turn of events in which I see the complete irony from our runs last week.  We finished with a great time and I realized that I am so glad we are doing this together.  I may not have finished if I was training alone but Christian found it in himself to help me when I was struggling. 

Yesterday, I learned what makes a good running partner.  A good running partner motivates.  A good running partner encourages.  A good running partner makes you laugh.  A good running partner pulls you along with their words of encouragement and direction so you can finish the task you began as a small step to the final goal.  My son is a good running partner.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ARRRRGGGHHH!!!

Today we ran ten miles.  Christian has known we were running 10 miles this week for quite some time.  He has had a difficult running week and hasn't been very motivated to run. It happens.  I know, I've been there too, but sometimes you just have to do it. The quicker you do it, the quicker it gets done.  Why does a 16 year old not get this??  I'm sorry that you don't feel like doing it, but sometimes in life you just have to.  That's the way it is. 

So today, for an hour and a half, I heard whining.  First, we joked and laughed and I tried to make it fun.  Still whining.  Then I just got annoyed.  All I could think was:  "Just get over it.  This is what you signed up for.  I am sorry you are tired but tomorrow you get to rest, so use that (or whatever you need) as your motivation and just do it so we can get done."  That didn't work either.  After running half way, I decided maybe I needed to change MY attitude and be more encouraging.  I mean we are running partners and if you are struggling with motivation, isn't that what your running partner is for: to help you get through these difficult moments.  So, I empathized with him.  I understand how it feels, and I do, I really do.  Sometimes you just aren't in the mood, but you have to do things anyway when you have made a commitment and just make the best out of it.

Then, the negotiations came.  "Mom, can I just run 6 miles...can I just...can I just..."  My answer was, "No."  Today is 10 miles and we are doing 10.  Does that make me a mean mom?  If so, Oh well, I guess, we'll just call this a life lesson on perseverance. 

The whining continued and I decided that I would have rather pulled every hair out of my body (and I mean EVERY hair) than have run with my son today.  I love Christian very much but....ARGGHH!  Just run already!

Tell me, what is it inside of us that gives us the self motivation to just do something we don't feel like doing and how do we teach that to someone else?  Maybe I will figure this out in the next four months....

So we have 2 1/2 miles left and we are actually going strong.  Christian has come to realize that we are almost done and picks up his pace.  He is now ahead of me and with two miles left I feel like I just hit the wall.  My energy is down and I am struggling to keep up with him. But I push through and am thankful he is there to "pull me along" to the finish.  I didn't whine but definitely having my running partner helped me to complete the task.  

Finally, the finish - HURRAY! Now rest and hope for better attitudes from both of us going forward.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tips for Drivers, Spectators, Pet Owners and House Dwellers

So as the Michigan Winter is upon us, we have begun to do quite a bit of running in the snow and ice and cold.  As a side note I read an article about cold weather running from an email newsletter I receive.  Although they had some good tips, I decided that their version of cold weather running was not running in Michigan. 

With that being said, running in the snow and ice does present some challenges.  For example, the roads are covered with snow and ice.  It is slippery going for both drivers and runners.  Christian and I get as far off the road as possible when we see vehicles in the winter.  The problem is that sometimes that doesn't seem far enough for some drivers. Believe me, we are trying to get out of your way, so we don't slip and fall under your wheels and we know the road is slippery since we are running on it, but at the same time, we don't really want to jump into a foot snow pile, so please, slow down and give us some space too.  If there aren't any cars coming in the other direction, you don't really have to go 50 miles an hour a foot away from us to let us know you are bigger and stronger and can take us down.  We know already - just cut us some slack and share the road.  If it is night time, and you see us running (because it gets dark by 5pm) please, please, please don't turn your bright lights on if we are running towards you.  Your brights blind us and we can't see anything.  And by that I mean - we can't see anything.  Please turn your brights off, slow down and get over. We really do appreciate it, even if you don't see our thank you wave in the dark.  Now, if you are coming up behind us in the dark, by all means turn on the brights - it helps us to see too!

Now sometimes we run in town during the day. Christian has been running with some friends after school on some days, so then, I run during work.  In these instances we often run in town which means running on sidewalks.  If you have a sidewalk and it snows, please shovel it.  Unshoveled sidewalks are like running through sand.  It seems that this is a win win for everyone.  You get exercise for shoveling your sidewalk, your sidewalk is clean and looks nice, we get a nice smooth running surface, AND...we don't fall and break our necks, legs, arms, etc. See - win, win.

So, if you also live in a house and have a pet - mainly a dog- please keep your dog, tied up or penned up if it is outside.   We hear him barking at us and as Christian reminds me, he's just cheering us on - and we appreciate that.  However, dogs who are allowed to run free and subsequently choose to run willy nilly after us in the road...barking...don't seem to be quite as friendly as you may think.  We're really not out there to come get your stuff, so please keep your dog tied up.  And as I am speaking to all dog owners on our routes this is specifically directed to the folks on "C" Ave whose dog thinks it is OK to run at us barking...you know who you are.

While we are out running and we see other runners, walkers, or bikers we will say hello. We will wave, and we will smile, so look for a friendly greeting.  We figure, if you're as crazy as us out there in the middle of winter, we need to stick together, so we hope you are friendly back. Oh, and don't pay attention to anything Christian might shout out, because it is probably a falsehood poking fun and me - just FYI.

Now, if you are driving and you choose to show your support with a honk - great!  Two short honks is preferred.  If your honking to scare us, it always works on me, but never on Christian but it does throw off my breathing and rhythm, so I would prefer if you don't.  For you warmer weather honkers, if you are honking because you like what you see and it is directed at me - Thanks but no, Thanks, I'm happily married.  If you're a young lady and your honking at Christian because you like what you see - well - OK - he might like that.  So, just so we know what your honking intentions are, let's say - two honks for hello and three honks for Christian.

This week we have a 10 mile run, and then next week is a recovery week, which means no long runs planned.  I think 6 miles is our longest run next week.  January 1st begins our official training and the miles go up from there.  We are feeling good, no injuries, and we are still getting along.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Running with my son - training for our first marathon

So I decided to run my first marathon, something I said I would never do.  But Kalamazoo, Michigan has decided to hold a marathon in May 2011 and how can I not run it when it is right here.  Check it out at www.kalamazoomarathon.com.  When I announced to my family my decision to run, I invited my 16 year old son, Christian, to join me.  He turned me down but then weeks later said he would run with me.  How cool is that?!  What mom wouldn't want to do the one thing she loves with her child and the cool thing is the marathon falls on Mother's Day 2011.  Running with my son on Mother's day - the best gift ever! 

OK, so why this blog?  Well - what an adventure and learning experience, both as new marathon runners but as running partners.  We have both run shorter races in the past, 5k's mostly,  but this is definitely a new adventure as we learn about the race and about running together. 

We are still working on our mileage build up and our official training begins January 2011.  Today we are set to run 9 miles and it is snowy outside and temperatures are expected to drop throughout the day. 

This is my first blog, so I it will take a bit for me to get used to and I will give you more background information and progress in the weeks to come. 

Feel free to post any tips or questions and Stay tuned....