Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I was running so fast I blew a fuse

So, my dear Karoline, you must always check your shoes. My running shoes are due to be replaced, but not for a few more weeks. I hate buying new running shoes. Anyway - Kudos to you for getting the word out about Polio Plus the the Italian Rotary club. (as you see, I am now getting the word out to all three of our followers about Polio Plus...eh hem.) I have to dust off my french and send off something to my club in Liege. It is addicting to feel like there is more than just selfish reasons for running a marathon. (are there selfish reasons? Maybe just crazy reasons, but I don't care.) So, Rotary International has been calling me all day and I just haven't been able tear myself away from the lessons that I am teaching my students (Missouri Compromise, Fugitive Slave Laws, .....riveting material, really) to take their phone calls. When the game of phone tag is up, I will find out how we need to go about collecting funds for the cause.

So - now to my post title. I was running this afternoon on the treadmill - not something that I LOVE to do, but I will do it if the weather requires. So, Chrissy (my number one training partner who IS NOT A CANINE) and I were on dueling treadmills. I decided to push the speed a bit and WHAM blew the fuse in the training room. In the meantime, the force of a blown fuse on a treadmill and its inhabitant (namely ME) forces one to nearly topple head over heels over the front control panel. Message? don't go over 8mph on the treadmill. LESSON LEARNED.

The road to Paris may sometimes be paved with worn out sneakers and broken treadmills.

Tomorrow, I will run outside and stick to free weights in the training room

What a Pain!

I went for my 5-miler yesterday (and realized today that I only had to go 3, doh!) after work and almost immediately had a pain in my butt: this made me think of Laura. No, no, not because she’s a pain in the butt (although you can disagree with me here...) but because I had just given that amazing piece of advice about checking your shoes when you feel pain. I plugged on anyway (it didn’t hurt that bad, just enough for me to whine to you about it) and momentarily forgot about it while trying to make myself look big and scary by flailing my arms when cars came toward me so I wouldn’t get run over (I suggest, as an alternative, wearing light colors or something reflective.). The run went fine. I felt kind of fast (I wasn’t). Then this morning I got up early and took my number one training partner, Luna, for a 5-miler (that turned out to be 3. Go figure. I guess this means I’m back on schedule...). We went nice and slow, giving her time to sniff around when she needed to (that’s a euphemism). Then I got home and (finally) checked my shoes. And you know what? It’s time for a new pair (see photo of worn-down shoes and Luna agreeing with me)...

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Love Paris in the Springtime!

Ok, Laura, we have 27 weeks to go (did I count right?). You're using Uncle Hal's Spring Training program (No fall training program?! Ha ha. We can joke about this stuff, right?) and you're on week 3 (can you post the link or is this in the book?). Build on your long runs exactly like he says and you won't get any nasty injuries. If you start to feel any pain at all, check the bottoms of your shoes and get new ones if they're wearing down—it’s cheaper than going to a physical therapist (that’s what my physical therapist friend says). I am also following Uncle Hal's plan, but I'm going for the Advanced I 18-week schedule, which incorporates more mileage and speed work. Since we’re starting early, I can also repeat weeks to bring me up to the BIG DAY.

Here's what I've got cookin' for this week:
Today: 3 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: hill work (3 times)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 10 miles (Did I mention that this is WEEK ONE of this program? Dayum!)

The tough part about training this week is that I'm working in Milan from Wednesday-Friday. That means waking up really early on Wednesday and driving there (5 hours) among other excellent reasons to feel sorry for me. Bah! Luckily I'm staying with friends who run, though: Francesca and Giuseppe (Francesca ran her first half marathon in Trieste in May with Giuseppe, my husband Cristian, and me), so at least I’ll have some company.
Did I tell you I’m reading about Warren Buffett (if I can train for a marathon, can’t I also train to be the richest person in the world?) He says treat your company as if you were the owner. Don’t waste money if you don’t have to, act like it’s coming out of your own pocket. So that’s why I say I’m staying with friends instead of in a hotel, but really, I’m doing it for selfish reasons: my mental health (they’re fun to hang out with and they like good wine) and to stay with the program. The more people who know what you’re up to, the more responsible you have to be for your actions. Let’s hope week one works.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Laura, and anyone else thinking about joining us in Paris (may you come in droves)... there is some kind of medical permission slip you have to provide to be able to do this thing. In Italy in order to do even a half marathon you have to go to a special sports doctor, get hooked up to machines, climb up stairs, breath into tubes, etc. You may be able to give a self-certification document saying that you accept responsibility if you keel over (you won’t, Laura, but I will catch you if you do). I’ll check the form, but wanted to give you a heads up anyway...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

This is so much fun

I never thought that training for a marathon would be so much fun. I actually have people saying that they want to go with us. There are even a few who are toying with the idea of running with us - the more the merrier, right? So I looked up prices for tickets, room rates, traveling logistics, etc... I decided to put all of that off because it isn't nearly as fun as blogging and running. (It costs an awful lot more money, too.)

So as I went about my daily activities today, my car found it's way to Border's bookstore. I was drawn to a book: Hal Higdon's Marathon -The Ultimate Training Guide (advice, plans, and programs for your 1st marathon.) Karoline recommended Hal to me (in my mind, I call him HOT HAL - he's much older than you would expect. Kind of reminds me of my grandfather who died 17 years ago. He was the kind of man that had the energy of a 4 year old.) So, in addition to a running log, I purchased this book and am already reading it. So far, the loud message that I am choosing to listen to is "run the first marathon to have a good time rather than to run a fast time." WE CAN DO THAT - right Kari?

My goal this week was to stick to the plan, run every mile that I was supposed to, and focus on Paris in the spring. I felt great for all four runs this week. I even had a great strength workout in the weight room. It is funny how my mind is already picturing the Eiffel Tower.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just Say YES

Rotary taught us a valuable lesson during the orientation sessions before leaving for our year abroad: say YES to everything. No one did this better than Laura, which is why we’re in so many pictures together from that period--you could convince her to do ANYTHING! (see photo) So it was no surprise that when I decided I wanted to run my first marathon and I wanted to do it in Paris, Laura would agree to do it, too.

“What a great excuse for a reunion!” I said. “Can you imagine running down the middle of the Champs-Elysée with no cars?!” “When’s your Spring Break again?”

I was expecting a simple yes and a trip to Paris. I had no idea what she would be getting me into, however. A blog? A fund-raiser for charity?!

But I learned my lesson, too: “ Yes.”

We are going to train like crazy. We are going to raise money to give to Rotary’s main cause. We are going to run a marathon.

My hope is that through this gesture we can communicate a little something of our appreciation for what Rotary gave us and helped us become over the last eighteen years.

Let the training begin.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

First week on my road....

So, like I said before, my training partner lives in Italy (kinda cool.) Needless to say, Kari and I have been in near constant e-mail contact. Partially trying to psyche eachother up for the long training and partially to remind eathother that yes, this was our idea. In all honesty, I was over the moon about the idea of running a half-marathon in Paris. The idea of running roughly 14 miles was obtainable. When it was revealed that there wouldn't be a half marathon offered at the same time as the full marathon - - yikes. So just plan the trip around the scheduled half-marathon. My school vacation is at the perfect time for the regular marathon. I can't take the time off from school otherwise.

OK, so the conversation went something like "Laura, let's put our heads together and come up with a solution" To which I responded "How about if we run the 5k breakfast run and enjoy Europe together for a week or two?" OR "Let's sign up for the marathon and only run HALF of it." To which Kari said "OR, we could sign up for the marathon and run the whole thing....train train train." No need to tell anyone how scared the idea of a full marathon made me feel. TWENTY-SIX MILES (and change.) Now that my mind is wrapped around the idea, I am excited about the challenge.

I have slowly begun to share this idea with my friends, family, and students. It becomes more and more real with each person that I tell.

So, tomorrow I will welcome a rest day, although I must say that I'm tempted to run another short distance. Every mile I run is one step closer to April 6th -

Keep reading and I'll keep running.

How did we decide to do this?

In order to kick off this blog the right way, one needs to be sitting next to a big old bottle of Belgian beer (or at least imagine that you are.) SO, we need to rewind to about June 1990 when many of those reading this blog were just preparing for an experience of a lifetime. Kari and I had set the pendulum in motion for a year as Rotary Exchange Students in Belgium. Now, the two of us consider ourselves to be the very luckiest of exchange students, as WE were placed in and around the very friendly city of Liege, Belgium. I don't remember the first time that I met Kari Steckley, but my photos show that we were travelling the same circles very early, perhaps September or early October. Our year went fast, and our experiences were turned into memories - great memories. Both of us returned to the states at the end of the summer of 1991 and basically lost touch with eachother.

A few short months ago, Kari and I reconnected on Facebook, as so many of us have. Now, many of the facebook naysayers say to me "why do you feel the need to live in the past and relive those stories agai and again?" Very quickly, Kari and I moved away from reliving the past to discussing the present and even speculating on the future. I went on to explain to her that the past two years, for me, have been one of drastic transformation. I decided to take control my growing waistline and started losing weight and excercising. Now, my total weight loss is closing in on 80lbs. As Kari and I began sharing our stories about our decisions to live healthier lives and our shared enjoyment of running, our focus shifted to running a marathon together. It just so happens that the Paris marathon falls during my spring break, making it a perfect opportunity to accomplish two goals. (1) reconnect with former exchange student friends who are in Europe and (2) realize a goal that I have had for several months now - participate and hopefully finish a marathon.

So, we have decided that it SHALL be done.....and I say that with only a small amount of discomfort and apprehension. It scares the shit out of me that I have begun the training schedule for an April marathon. I can't believe that I will be training through western New York winters....BUT, the fact that I am not doing this alone makes it exciting. HOWEVER, it should be noted that my marathon partner currently lives in Italy, a small inconvenience.
Which brings us to this blog....we hope you stick with us as we blog our road to Paris. (and we learn how to use this blog stuff)