Thursday, December 27, 2012


Merry Christmas!!!!
I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend with their loved ones.
I read a lot of status updates on FB of those who felt 'blessed' this Christmas. Is it bad that I was feeling spoiled?

Chad surprised me this year with a Kindle Paperwhite (I wanted a Kindle just for reading--access to other things is too distracting for me!). And a beautiful bracelet made out of a bike chain and has a bike charm. Chad said there is also a "handlebar" charm on there, I won't tell him that its just the clasp.
My mom got me a necklace with an axe charm (for LJ100) as well as a few other beads and charms I can add or remove as I like. I'm going to start collecting charms for some of the events I participate in each year. Lastly, my dad made me the tiled trivet everything is sitting on! It matches our cabinets and goes great in our kitchen.

Here's a summary of our Christmas Day in a video made by my dad (who makes great videos):

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Refresher Run

Anyone that has done a training program knows there are all kinds of running workouts: The long run, The Progressive run, A Hilly Run, FARTLEKS, Yasso 800's, the Recovery Run, and on and on. Thus is the contents of my weekly running regime. However, this season I have the privilege of participating in a twice-weekly run that has been dubbed the Refresher Run.

Me at Bigfoot Snow Show race in Traverse City.

Running is a pain.

At an early age my daughter asked to go running with me. My response was Lace up, let's go!

About a half block from home, Sage was smacked in the face with the reality of what running truly is: your body in distress. Feet pounding pavement, rapidly beating heart, gasping for breath, side stitches. We've all experienced the suffering that is running. Children do not have a filter and Sage made it clear that she was uncomfortable. Neither of us enjoyed our night and neither of us did much running. And this happened every. single. time. The complaining would start and we'd turn around, both of us frustrated and often defeated.

The Refresher Run

Sage and I running a 1-Mile Fun Run in 2010 
This fall Sage asked to go running with me again. As always, I agreed. I had little hope for a positive outcome, but we forged ahead. We strapped on headlamps and set out. Sage planned the route, an ambitious 1.5 mile loop.

My anxiety kicked up as Sage set the pace. Phrases of encouragement, more for my own reassurance than anything, poured out "This is your run. Go your pace, we can walk when you want to. It's just nice spending time together!" 

Sage jogged, chirping and buzzing about every detail of her day. Each block a new, happy story recalled. It was surprisingly pleasant.

And then it happened. Sage complained about her legs being tired—the start of what I knew was going to be a very bad ending to this run.

I downplayed the impending doom. After I offered to walk a little bit I said "Sometimes when you start running, your legs aren't used to it and it can be uncomfortable—especially after sitting all day in school. It's nice to go out for a run to refresh your legs. Before you know it, it feels kind of nice to be out and moving." 

Sage runs with her dad too! (Sage at 3 years)
Sage thought about it and kept jogging. For the first time she ran the entire 1.5 mile loop without a walking break and without a melt down.

Two days later she wanted to run again. And then we did the same thing the following week. And the week after that. Each run a pleasant time of sharing stories and bonding.

Last week Sage asked me when our next Refresher Run would be. Refresher Run? Mom, you know, to refresh our legs? Our Refresher Run!

It took me a while to recall that conversation from weeks earlier. Sage is right in calling it the Refresher Run. Running together is a time of resetting our mother/daughter relationship. It's spending time outdoors and breathing in fresh air. It's one of the things I look most forward to each week, and I know she does too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Medicine Ball and the Softball

Tomorrow I am looking forward to going to a strength training/aerobic class called Fierce. My friend Michelle has been telling me about it for a long, long time. A few weeks ago I finally gave in and attended and have gone every week since.

I arrived at 5:30 AM for some kind of group exercise class that I really had no idea what it was about other than its name. Michelle bailed on me that week (she was too busy vacationing at the Happiest Place on Earth) and I felt a bit like a lost and confused puppy wandering around the SLAC.

Eventually I figured out where I was supposed to be when I happened upon a group of women attached to the TRX gizmo looking like a tangled mess of marionettes. The class that morning was sparse, consisting of just myself, 3 other women, and the class instructor.

Now, I consider myself to be pretty darn strong. My thighs are the diameter of prized ham hocks. I do regular strength training. I can even do real pushups. And I'm tough. I have done a 100 mile mountain bike race afterall. I was not afraid of the TRX and all its menacing straps nor the other class attendees, in fact, I was prepared to be completely unimpressed.

The following 60 minutes I ate my words and then puked them back up. We moved from the TRX machine to the Pilates ball where we had to do Plank in 30 different flavors: plank jacks, plank with sliders on our feet, plank with sliders on our hands, plank with weighted balls arching this way and that, mountain climbers . . . Just to make it more fun, there were jumps and leaps and squats and running up and down the stairs. It was a new level torture I did not know existed.

I have heard the term "shred" used before. This is the first time I experienced it first hand. The next few days my core burned. I was rendered handicapped, I had to roll out of bed because my abdominal muscles had been so completely destroyed I couldn't even sit up. Three days later I still couldn't run.  It was entirely too painful.

Obviously, I had to go back to Fierce for more.

The next week I show up and the instructor has set up stations for everyone with the equipment we'll need for the workout; bosu ball, resistance bands, sliders, and a good size medicine ball. The instructor looks at me and recognizes me from the week before. In her bustling around she picks up a little ball, maybe the size of softball and exchanges it for my medicine ball. In front of the entire class.

Everyone had a big, heavy medicine ball for the days workout except for me and my tiny little 3 pound bean bag. It was like the dunce cap of fitness classes. I felt like I was back in my Junior year of high school in AP History when our teacher wrote everyone's test grades on the board and I always had the lowest one . . .

I told Chad about it later that night. It was embarrassing  He attempted to be comforting when he commented "yeah, but you were the only woman." Unfortunately, that made me feel worse as there were only women in the class! Even Michelle got a big giant medicine ball (I already knew she was stronger--she has big guns and all--but it still burned!).

Tomorrow morning I will be working with a little underweight bean bag, but I am making progress. My goal is to eventually graduate to a full size medicine ball this summer.

5/3 River Bank Run 25k, 5/11/13
Lumberjack 100, 6/15/13

Training Schedule week of Dec. 10:

Monday 12/03 Bike: 50 min Intervals in the indoor trainer
Tuesday 12/04 Run: 1 mi wu, 3 mi tempo, 1 mi cd
Wednesday 12/05 Bike: 50 min intervals on the indoor trainer
Thursday 12/06 TRX Strength Training / Run: 4 miles
Friday 12/07 90 minute computrainer ride
Saturday 12/08 Run: 6.5 miles
Sunday 12/09 REST

Running Mileage Total: 15.5 miles
Total Time on Bike: 1:40:00 (hmm, I should try and squeeze in an extra hour somewhere)
Total Approx Training Time: 6:15:00

wu = Warm Up
cd = Cool Down

Self-Evaluation, Week of 12/03:

Monday 12/03 Bike: 50 min Intervals in the indoor trainer Overslept . . .
Tuesday 12/04 Run: 1 mi wu, 3 mi tempo, 1 mi cd 5 miles--no temp, just easy running.
Wednesday 12/05 Bike: 50 min intervals on the indoor trainer Umm, I think I got in 30 minutes.
Thursday 12/06 TRX Strength Training / Run: 4 miles Finally--Did one workout right this week!
Friday 12/07 Bike: 90 min Computrainer Ride Went shopping in Glen Arbor. Shopping counts as exercise, right?
Saturday 12/08 Run: 6.5 miles Spent the day in the car to go see the US Women's Soccer team defeat China at the Ford Field! USA! USA! USA@
Sunday 12/09 REST Make-up 6.5 mile run around Bear Lake.