Workout 11/100

Knees buckling on the way to my car. Can I drive? Yes, you've got this. I notice the morning marine layer on the mountain as I drive home, the sky turning soft pink from grey. The song from my latest playlist envelopes me, and I'm smiling inside, but too tired to sing along. I drive along, on autopilot, like a passenger staying awake to be nice.  

Now home, I swing my legs out of the drivers seat the way my body was trained after the injury. I skip the kitchen, as making lunches will have to wait. I make it to the bedroom, and lay down on top of the covers, sweaty clothes, gym shoes, and all. My eyes close, I sigh, breathe. Just give me 10 minutes...

 

11/100

Running With Gratitude

Or, How to Organize Your Own Turkey Trot

Our Turkey Trot, the Mahalo 5k

Over the years, the boys and I have run a few Turkey Trots together... up at the crack of dawn, well over $100 later and sporting ill-fitting, ugly t-shirts we launch ourselves into a crowded sea of strangers for a 3.1 mile run for the homeless/hungry/you-name-the-cause. And we love it. But this year, it just seemed a bit excessive. We can't justify the expense regardless how worthy the cause, and the logistics also seemed less desirable when I factored in Thanksgiving prep and party time.

So we went rogue.

To replace the traditional "Thank You" run, we came up with the Mahalo 5k, a 3.1 mile run loosely organized for our friends and family. It was aptly named by one of my twins, as mahalo means "thank you" in Hawaiian. More than that, it's a sacred word that conveys the essence of gratitude, respect, and esteem. The island spirit has definitely influenced our family-- Kauai is like kin to us and long ago we adopted "mahalo" as our simple mealtime blessing.

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1. The Concept: Invite friends and family of all ages to join us for a 5k run/walk. The course would begin and end at our house, and avoid major intersections. Everyone brings their own water to drink, as well as canned goods for the San Diego Food Bank.

2.The Identity: Because I treat every event I host as an opportunity to play with my graphic design hackery, I had to create an identity for the race. Even if we didn't get t-shirts, I wanted to convey the cheerful spirit of our race, our community and our geography. On request though, I gave the local shirt shop our design and invited participants to print shirts on their own.

3. The Course(s): Since a number of my friends rock the road with their kids in tow I created an alternate Stroller Course that sticks to the sidewalks. For the rest of us, I mapped a mixed terrain course with a tough climb near the end. I printed a copy of each course and slipped them into plastic sleeves for day-of viewing.

3. The Invites: I really dislike Evite and think that emails with PDFs don't get opened as quickly, so I caved in and used Facebook events and invited only a smallish number of close friends. I wanted to keep it manageable, and it worked like a charm.

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4. The Logistics: The race was free, and we just asked that everyone bring donations for the food bank. An RSVP was requested, but I didn't turn down any last minute joiners. We identified key points along the route that may need signage to keep everyone on track and the night before the race I took the boys on a stealth mission with headlamps, flashlights, tape, signage, a bucket of a chalk and a deadblow hammer. We graffitied the sidewalks with arrows and messages like ""Let's Do This" or "I'm thankful for__________" and "Don't Give Up!". That morning we did a quick tour of the course to make sure the signs were still up and visible. My man had the role of race official and gave us the offical countdown to start, followed by some race recon via mountain bike.

BONUS?  Local runners got to see our handiwork and maybe, just maybe, felt an extra spring in their step that morning.

5. The Refreshments: At the last minute I decided to offer some post race fare, so that morning I cut up a bag of oranges into wedges and bananas into halves, and brewed a couple pots of coffee into thermos carafes. We had one big water jug on hand, and our friends ended up bringing bagels, lox, cream cheese and donuts. There was much debate on Facebook as to whether this would defeat the purpose of the run, but I didn't hear anyone complaining...

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6. The Impact: We took a baby step into social activism. I was able to rope my kids into the organizing and planning of the event, and in the process they learned about community, connection, event logistics, and hunger relief. 10 familes with 20 kids and two canines gathered to run/walk 3.1 miles for a healthy, fun start to Thanksgiving weekend. On the run we actually took our own cue and shared a few things we were grateful for--humor, chocolate, stargazing, a sense of smell, ocean views, friends and each other. We gathered bags of groceries for the local food bank and cheered each other on during what turned out to be a scorching, hot day in San Diego. After the race, the boys and I dropped off the donations and discussed all the good things that came from our little 5k.

BIG MAHALO.

Let's Do This! Running to Race, Racing to Run

32170426_PeFmt7fb_c AS MUCH AS IT PAINS ME to expose my personal/physical goals, I know that making such public statements enhances their probability of success. I came close to calling this "A Quarterly Commitment to Mark Miles + Drop Pounds" but just couldn't do it. Yuck. Yawn. Bleh.

What I want to know is...how do you prioritize exercise? We're all BUSY. Working Moms? MotherRunners? What INSPIRES you? What MOVES you? Also...What are your biggest challenges in fitness? in food?

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Since training for a marathon (which I did to the letter, solo) I've kind of lost my discipline.  Mainly because I can "cheat". While the 26.2 had me scared serious, now I could run a 15k without much training. I'm getting lazy. But in 2013 I'm stepping it up (without the 26.2 sacrifices--friends, family, toenails). This year I'm committed to a program of four half marathons with a healthy sampling of 5, 10 and 15ks. I signed up for the La Jolla Half Marathon, April 28, #2 in the Triple Crown Series (Carlsbad Half Marathon, La Jolla Half Marathon, America's Finest City(AFC)). I've already completed Carlsbad, in August it's AFC, and in November it's Silver Strand.

I'm inspired by other athletes, and I like to be a role model for my kids. I'm at my best when I get up early to run, and I feel like a total badass when I swing a kettlebell and do box rock jumps in my backyard. I use Runkeeper to track my workouts, and honestly I love seeing the numbers add up. On the flip side, I'm using LoseIt! to track food. Yes, I like data. Numbers. Stats. And while I'm strong and athletic-ish, I can only imagine the impact when I focus on BOTH goals at the same time. Yes! Let's DO this!

Apple of My Eye

On genetics and sportsmanship...

I swear there is a genetic trait for competitiveness. I've not been able to confirm this, and only if my twins had been separated at birth and raised by monkeys would I actually be able to prove this on my own. So, I'm going on instinct. Hear me out.

Case in Point

APPLE:

Beck competes with his twin brother Max (and 100+ other 3d grade boys) at their first cross country track meet. M places 7th, B places 10th. B cries his little eyeballs out after making it through the chute. Why? Not because his brother beat him, but because he placed LAST in the top 10. Really? Yes, really. It took about an hour to convince him that it was indeed a stellar performance and yes, there is always room for improvement. Next year he can strive to do better.  Where did such high expectations come from? We were just thrilled that he finished.

TREE:

Running has been a sporadic exercise outlet in my adult life, and I've run an array of races over the past 20 years. That said, I've probably never run the same one twice, and I couldn't tell you what time I finished a 10k in at age 25. NOW, I seem to be obsessed by my data, stats and figures, totally nerding out on the details of my workouts. Last weekend I ran a half marathon for the second year in a row. And I had a GOAL. I wanted to beat my time from last year (2:09). I ran my ass off, and tracked it via Runkeeper on my iPhone. The whole time I was averaging a 9:30ish pace, so upon reading the results that I came in at 2:07 (instead of 2:06) I had a FIT. Like a tantrum fit. My dad and hubs were like, "it's only a 1% difference! what's the big deal?" and then--uh oh, "what is your problem? you're acting like Beck".

Unfortunately, my little apple does not fall far from this tree. As much as we try to model an ideal set of behaviors, and communicate realistic expectations we simply cannot expect our children to do as we say and not as we do. I recognize that these patterns lie deep within us, carried from one generation to the next. Can they be changed? As gentle as we treated Beck that day, expressing our great love and support, perhaps I need to do the same for myself. Oh, and for the record...I read the results wrong. I DID finish in 2:06.

True Colors

I discovered The Color Run over a year ago, cruising the web for exciting events to fill my run card in 2011-2012. Low and behold, shortly thereafter a San Diego date was announced. Woohoo!!! If you know me at all, you know that I'm basically obsessed with COLOR. It's bursting out of the artwork on my walls, the patterns on my pillows, the curtains on my windows, and the clothes that I wear. LOVE it. SOoooo...what better running experience than to get with your girls and be sprayed, doused, sprinkled and dusted with a fine powdery rainbow? None. SOLD!

I sported a bright pink streak in my hair and one of the retro sweatbands (pictured on my gal pal above), along with a white longsleeve T, black shorts and tiedyed socks to prove my cool factor. Without the timing chips there were plenty of booty shakes and a host of high fives. I have to say, while my idyllic route fantasy of a lush green meadow and a rusty dirt trail did not materialize in the industrial grey parking lot of Qualcomm stadium, being color bombed in this urban setting sort of worked. I played a rockin' soundtrack in my head of Beastie Boys, Beyonce,. and Cyndi Lauper, so if there was an area for improvement it would be MUSIC. We needed it. It CALLED for it! Maybe next time. Until then, I'll be saving my whitest whites for next year's baptism of color.

Running Club

Image I missed this morning's run due to the Mister being on travel and the twins having a soccer game. I like these to be the rare exceptions to what I hope becomes a long tradition. Last year I was running at this time by myself, training for my first marathon. While I stuck to the schedule and completed my goal last January, I'm not nearly as motivated on my own now. This spring I was invited to join some other moms on a Saturday morning run, and I gladly accepted. Anything to make me accountable! I look forward to it now, and rarely find an excuse not to meet up for these weekly runs which end in a sweaty koffeeklatch at Starbucks.

There are no 26.2s in my near future, but I'm keeping on task by calendaring in a handful of half marathons over the course of the year. And this time, I'm running with friends. What motivates you?