Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two Left Feet

I arrived home Sunday to tons of mail.  I was not only excited to go through to see more Christmas cards, but I was also expecting a package.  I had ordered a new running skirt and a pair of compression socks from  I have found that skirts are not only more flattering, but also more comfortable to run in.  Running skirts would be considered a luxury from, as the newest, latest, greatest ones cost about $58.  I had never allowed myself to indulge.  When we drew names for Christmas, that went on my wish list.  I got a running skirt from and a shirt from from my brother-in-law who had drawn my name.  I was so excited Christmas morning.  This will be my official first half-marathon outfit.  I digress...

I am pretty thrifty; therefore, I had purchased a clearance running skirt and the compression socks on the day that had free shipping.  On Sunday night, my legs were TIRED from the nine miles on the dreadmill.  I wanted to put on my compression socks and see how they helped.  I opened the package, admired the skirt for a moment, then opened the socks. Upon closer inspection, I noticed both socks had L on the bottom.  I'm not too sure how important it is that you have a L and a R, but it is obviously important enough that they designate.  I was bummed!  It kinda struck me as funny though for some strange reason.  Back to the "not an athletic bone in my body", I thought, is this a sign that I have two left feet?

Procrastination is my middle name, but I called as soon as they opened Monday morning.  I was lucky enough to talk to one of the twins who started the business.  She was so helpful and said that I did not need to send the other pair back, that she would send me another pair out that day.  Then she said, "I'll just send you two right socks and that way you will have two pair".  I was thrilled.  I offered to return the others, but she was so accomodating and I was content with their excellent customer service. 

Fast forward to this afternoon, and yes, my socks arrived!  Pretty quick from California.  I was headed out the door for a four mile run, so I put the package to the side.  I opened them immediately when I returned and guess what?  A complete pair was enclosed, a L and a R.  I debated what to do because I thought this might mess up their inventory or something and I certainly didn't need three lefts and one right.  I called and spoke to Clara this time.  I once again offered to send them back whatever they wanted, but she insisted on sending me out two right socks.  Well, short story long (because I'm good at that), by next week, I should be the proud owner of three complete pairs of compression socks. 

Two obvious conclusions from this experience: is the bomb!!!  Excellent customer service...  And conclusion number 2, perhaps, compression socks aren't really worth $32 a pair. (Prior to ordering these, I went to our local running store, their compression socks ranged from $40-$70 dollars a pair-WOW)  We shall see.  I have them on now and they feel good and bad at the same time.  My legs are so tired after 21 miles in the past 4 days.  9 Sunday, 5 Tuesday, 3 Wednesday, and 4 today.  I think the socks are doing the trick though of keeping my blood circulating and pumping.

Below is a picture from Christmas morning, where I was ecstatic to try on my wished for half-marathon outfit.  Now, I will be able to add the compression socks.  My shirt from says "13.1 miles, cause I am only HALF crazy!"

I have been so, so very exhausted lately.  My dear husband, Scott, is probably right.  I should be taking some kind of vitamin. Looking forward to a few rest days before 10 miles on Sunday (in my new socks).  It's suppose to rain the next few days, so we will likely be lazy and watch lots of football.  Roll Tide!

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Things I now know for certain

Training is going well and it's only two weeks until my first half-marathon.  In keeping with my training, I ran 6 miles on Thursday.  We went over to the local high school in Tuscaloosa and figured out a good 1 mile loop.  I enjoyed having our oldest son run the first two miles with me.  Scott, who had miniscus surgery about a month ago, was able to walk a full mile.  He worked with our youngest son and my nephew on running sprints and just getting active after lots of time on their Nintendo DS. 

We were scheduled to head back home to Pace the morning after Christmas.  I was set to run 9 miles and it was a non-negotiable as I am so close to the official run.  Due to the beautiful snow that much of Alabama saw on Christmas day, there was a little uncertainty as to the condition of the roads.  It was still snowing in Tuscaloosa and the wind was blowing like crazy.  There were actually white caps on the lake behind the house. 

Since Blake was sleeping in after so much activity and late nights with his cousins, I made the decision to face the DREADMILL. It would prove to be a LONG 9 miles due to several factors:

*70 degree temperatures, I have learned that the best temperatures to run in for me are between 40-55 degrees.  I had to jump off the treadmill to open the windows and let the 30 degree air flow in.
*Fueling-I am not experienced yet at knowing how to refuel my body during long runs.  I know that I will have to use something to keep my electrolytes up during my half-marathon.  From everything I have read and people I have spoken to, GU brand gels are the way to go.  I can tell you this for certain, this girl will NEVER try a GU Strawberry Banana gel again.  I just couldn't make it go down.  I tried three tiny tastes, but it was so overpowering and just felt "icky" in my mouth.  Due to this breakdown in fueling, I drank extra water and also a Propel.  Now, I do like like Propel in Strawberry Kiwi or Peach flavor.  Only problem, this does not provide all of the necessary ingredients I need to keep going strong.  (Not that I know what those are, but I know that I have got to find a better solution).  I will be trying some CLIF Shot Bloks on my 10 mile run next weekend.
*The DREADMILL is not my friend.  My in-laws actually have a Nordic Track treadmill, which is much nicer than our old one that we have at home.  While I can manage just fine for a shorter run of 3 or so miles, there was a new realization that hit me around mile 4.  I suppose I have a fear of flying off the back of the treadmill.  I figured out that I run right on the front of the treadmill, which makes me take a zillion extra strides.  It wore me down quickly and I tried to adjust, but wound up having to adjust my pace.  I usually run a 10 minute mile, but finished the 9 miles at a pace of 11 minutes. 

I much prefer the open road and my Garmin watch, which has to be so much more accurate than the treadmill.  I'm not disappointed though because the most important thing is that I completed the run.  Although I was tired, I could have kept going.  I feel confident that I am going to finish the half-marathon.  I just wish I had a little more training time to work out the kinks of refueling.  The half-marathon in Mobile will be much smaller than the one I will run in February in New Orleans.  The NOLA run is projected to have 15,000 runners.  I need this one in January to figure out what it is that I will need to adjust.

Really, that's what every run is about, learning what you can do better or differently the next time to have more success.  From the girl who could run for probably less than two minutes at a time this time last year, I'm ready to take on the 2 plus hours in 13 days! 

Scott is working on setting up our new laptop computer that Santa brought us for Christmas, so I will soon load my Garmin software and be able to post more accurate information. 

Until next time,


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Leah's Little Luxury!?!

Running a luxury?  I was trying to think of a clever name for my first attempt at a blog and this came to me.  Not many people would consider running a luxury, but strangely, over the course of the past year, it has become just that to me.  The definitions kinda make me giggle.

I decided to do a blog mostly as a diary for myself to look back as my journey continues.  Through running, I found the following blog:  Mindy is a fellow runner that lives within an hour from me and we are able to share our love of running.  Her blog keeps me motivated.  If my blog can serve as any motivation to anyone else, then I have accomplished even more than I set out to do.

2010 was the year I took up running.  Anyone that knows me well was shocked!  I have been accused of not having an athletic bone in my body.  In late 2009, Scott and I were looking for a way to become more active.  We don't have a terrific gym in our town, so we thought we might do a little jogging.  In the past, when I would hear of people running, I would jokingly say, "I can't run to the end of my driveway."  Now, you must know, that I had turned 40 in late 2009 and while age does not bother me a bit, my body reacted almost immediately.  Just completing yet another move with my husband's job, naturally, I had also packed on some extra pounds.  I had been walking regularly in the fall, but to no avail.  My next thought was that I am going to have to do something that will shock my body.  Running, yes, that's it, running.  Another detail I noticed is that "runners" typically look healthy and strong. 

Some of the people that influenced me to start running were Diane Holtam, Leslie Hover, Amy Price and Erin Wingate.  Diane Holtam was my son's third grade teacher in Montgomery.  After moving to Eufaula, we were back in Montgomery one day when we ran into Mrs. Holtam in Books-A-Million.  We were thrilled to see her as she is on our list of all-time best teachers in the universe.  She looked totally different though!  She had taken up running, lost weight, and looked healthy and strong.  Mrs. Holtam was diagnosed with a very aggressive breast cancer in early 2010.  She has been so strong and courageous through the treaments and continued to run.  She has run several half-marathons and a full marathon. Praise God that she is now cancer free and lives as an inspiration to so many. 

Leslie Hover was a Creative Memories customer of mine when I lived in Mobile.  Once I caught on to the FB revolution, I "found" Leslie, only about 100 pounds lighter.  When I started catching up with her again, I discovered she had lost her weight the good old-fashioned way, through diet and exercise.  She was officially a "runner".

Amy Price and Erin Wingate were parents of two of my precious first graders in 2008-2009.  Amy had been running for a while and she encouraged Erin to start running as well.  I admired them for their tenacity.  Shortly after I started running, I found out that Erin had run her first half-marathon.  I had just come in from struggling through a few short miles, but Amy's celebratory Facebook post to congratulate Erin inspired me even more.  I was so proud of them and committed to myself that surely I could complete at least a 5K.

Now, you must know that my husband was my best encourager along my journey.  He pushed me to keep going even when I thought I couldn't.  Before we knew it, we had built up to running a 5K in our neighborhood every weekend.  We signed up for our first official 5K in April 2010.  It would be a small 5K to support our local Pace High School Band program.  As luck would have it, it stormed so bad all through the night.  I was already nervous and not sleeping well.  When the alarm went off, we certainly could have gone right back to sleep.  I think Scott was shocked when I decided that I was going no matter what.  It was misty, humid, and overall yucky weather conditions, but we finished and I felt PROUD!  We decided to commit to running a 5K once a month.  The journey begins...

Pace High 5K

April 24, 2010
My first official 5K
Pace High School
Time: 32:52

Stargazer 5K

May 15, 2010
Stargazer 5K
Orange Beach, AL
We were able to meet Biggest Loser Season 5 winner, Ali Vincent.
We also got to chat with Biggest Loser contestant (and more importantly, Alabama Football player), Roger Schultz.
The boys ran the one mile fun run.

Hot Trot 5K

June 12, 2010
Hot Trot 5K
Lulu's in Gulf Shores
I almost fainted at the end of this one.  I was so happy Scott was there to help me get to water, keep walking, and cool down.

Firecracker 5K

Blake helped hand out water at one of the aid stations.  He loved helping!  This was our first run in Pensacola.  It was a huge crowd compared to what I was used to.  I think there were a little over 1,000 people.  It was a struggle to get started in the crowd, but a great course once I got settled into a pace.  We ran downtown Pensacola, by the bayfront and right in front of Scott's office at the Gulf Power building.

This was the first time that I had the opportunity to meet Mindy.  I had been following her blog since I happened upon it while looking for results from the Stargazer 5K. 

July 3, 2010
Firecracker 5K
Pensacola, FL

Seafood Festival 5K

September 25, 2010
Seafood Festival 5K
New PR's for us!
Leah: 31:57
Scott: 30:12

Tuscaloosa TNT 10K

October 2, 2010
Our first 10K
Tuscaloosa, AL
My time: 65:53
Scott's time: 60:52
I placed second in my age group.  It was a small race, but I was so thrilled that we had accomplished our next goal.  We had arrived to Tuscaloosa after midnight and got up at 5:30 to go run this race.  The temperature was around 50 when we started.  It was such a welcome change from the heat and humidity we had been running in all summer.  There were lots of hills though.  I would say that after I finished this race, I was officially hooked!!

Senior Bowl 10K

November 6, 2010
Senior Bowl 10K
Mobile, AL
Time: 63:33
Above: Me with my blogging motivator, Mindy, and running friend Paige.
Above Right: Me with my friend Dana, who I taught school with in Mobile.  She was able to snap my finishing picture you see below.
Right: One of my inspirations, Leslie Hover.  She was a Creative Memories customer of mine when we lived in Mobile.

One important note about this run, it was in the high 30's when we started. I had my outfit all planned out with navy blue running shorts and no jacket, but had to make changes at the last minute due to temperatures.  Oh well, I realize it is much more important that I finished in a new PR time.  Fashion, I'll do better next time!

Red Nose Run 5K

December 4, 2010
Red Nose Run 5K
Pace, FL
New PR: 30:45
My Garmin measured 3.2-oh well, it was still fun!