Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pre-Race Jitters

The Monument Avenue 10K race, which I am running on Saturday, is my very first 'real' race. Oh, sure, about 13 years ago, I completed the Charlottesville Women's 4-Miler after doing the training program. I don't remember my time, but I do remember I didn't stick with running after that.

There will be 42,000 people running this race, all cramming themselves into the Downtown/VCU area on Saturday morning. I am more stressed about the logistics than anything else. parking is going to be a small nightmare, which it always is downtown, and we aren't going to bring the kids (except maybe Kira, if she can haul herself out of bed in time), because they won't have anything to do for an hour or so while I run. But I haven't figured out what we ARE going to do with the kids yet, and I'm not sure how Travis is going to get me anywhere near the start of the race, and how I am going to find him after the race. I'm worried that he won't be able to find parking and will have too far to walk on his recently surgically-dealt-with knee to meet me at the finish. Basically, running the race itself is stressing me out a lot less than the logistical effort of getting there and leaving there.


But I went and picked up my packet this afternoon. I got my nifty white official t-shirt, and a bunch of other things, stickers, a water bottle, keychains, and brochures for all kinds of other races and events coming up in 2012. I got a blue cowbell from Anthem, which Noah loves, and I wish I had gotten one for each of the kids, because when does life ever NOT need more cowbell? But then I remembered this is my family I am talking about and more cowbell is probably not necessary. I spoke to a woman from the local running club, who encouraged me to join their beginner group runs, and I talked to a gentleman who assured me I COULD do a half-marathon, seeing as how I was already going to be doing half that distance on Saturday.

I'm thinking about a half marathon.

It's been a long time since I reached for a very large, very challenging personal goals, and a half marathon just might be the thing. I crave doing something physically demanding.

I'm thinking about it.

But first, I think I am going to tackle the six miles I have in front of me on Saturday.

Friday, March 16, 2012


I don't really love running. Not the act of slapping one foot down after the other, getting out of breath, feeling my lower legs decide to turn into rocks. Nope, I don't love it.

I love what it does for me.

I love that I burned 568 calories in 37 minutes this morning. I love the little head games I play with myself to get through my route (currently 3 miles). I love that not only are my legs getting stronger, but apparently so are my arms and abdominal muscles. I love the extra energy I have in the day of a run, and the feeling of being completely, contentedly tired at the tail end of a running day. I love mild muscle soreness, because it lets me know I did something physical. I love beating back my mental demons. I love thinking -- even for a little while -- that I am an athlete.

I haven't gotten to the point yet where I can truly release the physical effort and spend some time in my head, but I can tell that might be coming. A former dancer's power to dissociate is still powerful, and I find myself using it often. "Just to the black mailbox. Nah, go farther than that. To the end of the road."

Two weeks from today I will start the Monument Avenue 10K race, a HUGE and very popular race in Richmond. It's 6.2 miles I have never done before, but by this time on Saturday 3/31, I will have done it. My goal is to finish in under 95 minutes, which shouldn't be too difficult, but I am entertaining other thoughts now, like running 75% of it (4.65 miles) in total. I'm signed up in a walk/jog start wave, mostly because I was sure I could do that, and because my girlfriends who I was planning to do the race with were planning to walk it, but my training has really taken off and gone well. Now I'm planning way more running.

I have a 5 mile run planned for this Sunday, then two more running days of 3 to 3.5 miles each, and then one last long run of close to six miles before I start tapering down the week of the race to a couple of 2 mile runs. I'm really looking forward to it, I'm really excited.

I can't wait to see what I can do.

PS. I am so VERY proud of my training partner, Kim, who is running the Instant Classic Half Marathon trail race tomorrow! GO KIM!!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wren Rides

I said it last summer, when I took Wren to a local big horse show, that I was probably cultivating another horse lover in the family.I was right. Wren is completely horse crazy. We considered a number of different types of activities for her, but she loves horses, and she wants to ride. And so, she will.

This is Wren and her instructor, Kathy, leading the pony, Keepsake, back to the barn for her riding lesson. Keepsake is the perfect pony to learn on, a venerable 25 year old veteran of horse show, lessons, and hundreds of bouncy kids.
First, grooming and getting the mud off. It IS spring in Virginia, after all. There's LOTS of mud.

And you have to brush the horse's tail, too.

And you definitely cannot forget your helmet!

And then, Wren gets right up on that pony and she rides!! Never before has walking around in circles been so exciting and filled with so much possibility! Wren was so thrilled! I was, too. I love horses and riding, and I so much want to see her do this. She'll be going back.

My beautiful Wren!
Hunter's Ridge Equestrian Center
Powhatan, VA