May 30, 2012

a base race

There is a 5K this weekend near my hometown and my parents' ministry is sponsoring it, meaning I'm obligated to run. Originally I had planned on running it with my mom at a nice, easy pace. Now I'm thinking of racing it. 

I use the term racing loosely because:
  1. I'm nowhere near race shape. 
  2. I have no intention of winning/placing in my age group/running a PR. 

My only achievement will likely be vomiting at the finish line for the first time after a race. 

This race will merely give me an idea of where I'm at fitness-wise and will provide a baseline for summer training paces.
Does anyone want to trek down with me? I need someone to hold back my hair at the finish line. Plus, it's for a good cause.

May 29, 2012

double doubles

I've run twice a day the last two days, not on purpose, really, but it's making me feel like a serious runner again. 

I was a terribly behaved runner last week though, just running three short runs. Instead of logging quality miles this weekend, I used it to drink beer and wine, eat tacos and pizza and my mom's amazing rhubarb cake with extra whipped cream. So after seven weeks of maintaining a relatively consistent running schedule and being cognizant of what I'm eating, I haven't dropped one of the pounds I packed on during my break with running. 

With today's processed, packaged food, it's so incredibly easy to consume a thousand calories within minutes. Do you know how long it takes to burn that? A lot longer than minutes. So my solution? Less sugar, fewer carbs, less eating out and, as much as it pains me to say it, less wine. As I wrote to Ann earlier today, wine turns me into a hunger terrorist. I will binge eat turkey after two glasses of wine. No lie.

But back to running. Yesterday morning started with a run/walk with my mom, who powers through a very hilly three miles in the Minnesota river valley almost daily: 3.2 miles in 39:07. Then, when I got home, a sweaty 5 miles around a crowded Calhoun. Despite the dodging, I made it back to my apartment in 39:28.

This morning I pulled myself out of bed to run before work. I ran to meet someone who stood me up (coughShawncough), and the gusty wind dominated any drive I had to push myself. So I took a random way home and found myself trotting through a desolate Uptown at 6:30, enjoying every step. 6.8 miles in 54:50.

After a dreadful day spent glued to my desk,  I knew I needed to run again. I shot Shawn a text, giving him the opportunity to make up for his morning misstep. Thankfully, he was willing to wait until I got home from work to complete his nightly run. I felt much more awake and cranked out the fastest miles I've run in 8 months: 5.37 miles in 41:10. 

And tomorrow? A rest day. 

I think. 

May 25, 2012

not a sandra bullock movie

I gave two weeks notice at my job today. 

There are many, many things influencing my decision to leave (like having gypsy blood) but in short, everything that's happened in the last few months has brought me to this tipping point.

I'm not leaving TCM for another desk job or even a traditional job, for that matter. (No, I'm not becoming a professional runner.)

I will, however, be predominately working for myself. And I'm terrified in the holycrapholycrapholycrap kind of way when you know you're taking a big leap. And I'm excited. At the risk of sounding trite, I know I'm being called to do something bigger than what I have been doing. To him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine...

Want the full scoop? Let's go for a run. Or froyo. 

PS- If you just glossed over the picture at the beginning of this post, go back and read it. Twice. 

May 22, 2012

all of the exceptions

On the surface, I am kind. Minnesota Nice. I smile at strangers, hold open doors, say please and thank you, make a conscious attempt to put myself in others shoes and try to let my life reflect what God has given me. 

Except I fail all the time.

I am rude to my family. I am impatient with my coworkers. I speak when I should remain silent (and vice versa). I'm stubborn and selfish. I take a longer way home to avoid a stop light where I know a homeless man is asking for money. Even after India, I still hate being uncomfortable and within a few short months of being home, I've found myself settled in my old life.

Except I haven't.

The steadiness of my job, the familiarity of friends, the ease of a Sunday morning service now leaves me with a quiet nagging of Is that it?

Except I already know the answer.

Of course not.

The question becomes What am I going to do about it? 

Here is something I think about nearly every day: Right across the highway from my apartment is a cheap motel that the police have been called to dozens of times in the last year. It's a place for prostitutes and drug dealers. A woman was murdered there. In St. Louis Park. A stone's throw from my apartment and two blocks from a Jewish synagogue. And I wonder if Jesus were here, right now, which of those two places would He be?

Today, this: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor 12:9

May 20, 2012

behind the scenes

Last week was race week at work as we executed the Medtronic TC 1 Mile on Thursday night. It's incredible what goes into planning a one-mile race, not to mention event day execution. Here's a high-level look at what happened race day:

The day begins with truck load-in. Anybody who is willing and able helps out. Signs, water, kitty litter (to throw on peoples' barf at the finish- no lie), clocks... everything goes in.

hooray, interns!

After the manual labor portion is complete, I head back to my office to check our social media accounts, which includes checking to see what our athletes are tweeting about, hoping to find some fodder for the media luncheon that afternoon. Because I'm going to be out of the office for the rest of the day, I plan out some tweets and updates that I'll do from my phone later, since I likely won't see a computer until after the luncheon. 

The media luncheon (a press conference with food) is scheduled to begin at noon. There's more manual labor involved as we set up a backdrop and signs, move around tables and lay out media guides. I change out of jeans into a dress in the hotel bathroom. Shortly before we're supposed to start, we find out that two of our athletes that were supposed to sit on the panels are running late. Stalling ensues. 

I also get a call about a major technical glitch with registration, meaning I have to hop online to update some information on our website. This means I won't be able to sit in on the Q & A portion of the luncheon and I send an intern in to live-tweet instead. 

Everything else goes smoothly and soon the media luncheon is over, everyone well-fed and happy. All the elite athletes stay for a technical meeting where we review the course, rules, etc. with all of them. We also give them their race numbers and t-shirts. 

After a quick lunch, set up begins, including the photo booth that my volunteer committee will be managing. It involved a few test shots trying to get the angle and lighting right. 

this is my what's the most awkward thing I can do right now? pose

Throughout everything, I'm still tweeting pictures and responding to people. Soon runners start to trickle in and I see a lot of companies that I had been tweeting with earlier and meet them in real life (many people were part of the Corporate Team Challenge and wore t-shirts identifying their team, making them easy to find). My favorite was probably Ginger Hop's. 

their shirts say, if it were easy, they'd call it your mom.

 I also see friends, and jump in this photo with Carrisa, Brady, Ann and Kat.

Once the race begins, waves go off approximately every ten minutes. I take pictures and tweet from the start line. Right before the final citizen wave goes off, my committee and I tear down the photo booth and load it into the truck. Just as we're about to book it to the finish line, the race director pulls me aside and says we might need to go find more water. On it. 

I literally run to the finish line (in jeans and a backpack) and check the water situation. With only the elite waves left to go, we should be okay on water, but just in case we head to a corner store and buy out their entire stock of gallon jugs of water, plus cups. We don't end up using it but better to be safe than sorry. 

The elites finish (lots of tweeting during this time) and then I facilitate interviews and confirm information for the media. After the awards ceremony, I head to a hotel lobby with WiFi and wait while our press release is written. We experience some technical difficulties with the computer and decide to send it out the next morning. By this time, it's like 9:30 and I'm getting hangry

We head to the official site of the post-race party and I get a reuben and a couple beers. Celebrating ensues and I don't leave there until after midnight, then stay up 'til 2 chatting. 

The next morning I'm up at 5:40 to catch a live-hit on KARE 11 that our executive director is doing. I send out a tweet or two about it. The elite hospitality suite opens at 7 a.m so rather than go back to bed, I chat with a few athletes that are there looking for coffee and pack up to head to the office. 

After getting into the office, I send out our press release, upload pictures our photographer sent us to Facebook, review all comments on our accounts and respond as needed. I also update our website, write our Weekly Rundown post for the TCM blog, and write and send a post-race email to all participants. By this time (3 p.m.), I can hardly see straight and I head home to nap.

After a short nap, I head to my grandparents' to wish my Grandpa a happy birthday. I wear running clothes there so I can squeeze in a quick run before heading home for the night. 

And that, my friends, is a day (two, actually) in the life of a Communications Specialist.

May 18, 2012

May 14, 2012

and suddenly i was a runner again

This week marked my fifth week of regular running. I won't call it training yet because I'm not following planned workouts or trying to hit certain paces. I'm just getting out there.

Something clicked this week, though. I've been running before work to fit everything in, meaning really early mornings- and I am not a morning person. Or at least I wasn't. This week I found myself waking up before my alarm and being excited to run. I didn't want to hit snooze, I didn't want to fall back asleep, I wanted to be out on the road to see the sunrise. 

My body is starting to respond, too. My balance is improving, my core is getting stronger and I'm feeling the familiar fatigue that comes when you ask your body to extend beyond its normal limits. I love it.

Here's a peek at last week: 

Mon: the accidental progression run, 4.5 miles, 7:59 pace
Tue: 7.4 miles, 8:17 pace (with Shawn)
Thu: 4.8 miles, 7:54 pace
Fri: 5.15 miles, 8:03 pace
Sat: 8.6 miles, 8:05 pace (then another 3.2 miles with my mom at a 12:14 pace)

This is a busy week at work, meaning earlier mornings and later nights, requiring some diligent planning on my part to maintain any semblance of a running schedule. We have two events to execute, starting with the Medtronic TC 1 Mile on Thursday. (We filled last Friday so you can't run any more but you sure can volunteer.) Then on Saturday, we'll work to instill a love of running in about 1,000 kids with the TC Kids Cross Country Fun Run. Grab your kids, younger siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews or neighbors and join us!

May 11, 2012

a quote that kept me moving


I must have repeated this phrase to myself a dozen times on my run this morning. It's true in running and true in trials. All we can do is keep moving forward.

May 10, 2012

the darndest things

Since my Grandma's fall, subsequent hospital and rehab stay, I've been spending a lot of time with my grandparents. My Grandma moved back home last week and it's been a pretty rough transition.

To recap, she has dementia and virtually no- and I mean no- short-term memory (though some days are slightly better than others). Meanwhile, her long-term memory remains thoroughly intact. She can recall the most minor details of vacations, what she cooked for holiday dinners, and pet's names that were dead and buried before I was born.  

Given her current state, you never really know which direction the conversation will turn or what she'll say next. I say this next sentence with the utmost respect and love for her but she's like a two year old with an adult vocabulary, a quality that  embarrasses my Grandpa to no end but one that I find infinitely endearing. Some of her recent gems:

If you ask my Grandma how she's doing, nine times out of ten her answer will be Oh, I'm just partying like a rock star. I'm pretty sure she learned this phrase from one of us when it was trendy to say and she's never forgotten it.

I saw her on May Day and could hardly believe my ears when she said this rhyme: Hooray, hooray, the first of May. Outdoor screwing begins today! Yes, you read that right. My mouth dropped open and my Grandpa tried not to smile as he feigned shock. He told me that earlier in the day two friends had come to visit and my Grandma had said the first line. He said he sat praying that she wouldn't finish it.

I went over to make them dinner earlier this week and my Grandpa made me a gimlet (you can read more about our history of gimlets here).  As we sat in the kitchen, she would point to my Grandpa's drink and tell me It's how we lost the farm, you know. Also a favorite phrase when alcohol is present: Let's get drunk and be somebody.

When we sat down for dinner later that night, I expected the traditional "Come Lord Jesus" prayer and was quite surprised to hear my Grandma say this: Komm, Herr Jesu; sei du unser Gast; und segne, was du uns bescheret hast. That's the prayer I was expecting, just in German.

To close, just in case you thought my Grandpa wasn't an embarrassment threat, I offer Exhibit A. That's a beaver fur jacket he's wearing. Yep, beaver fur. My step-mom was going to tell it on Ebay for a neighbor and my Grandpa insisted on wearing it around the house one night. We're classy people. 

 true story

May 7, 2012

the accidental progression run

When I go out for a run these days, I am intentional about not going out too fast. I'll glance down at Garm a time or two to make sure it's not creeping under 8:30. I always want my first mile to be the slowest. 

Tonight was no different. I had errands to run and was time crunched so I parked near Lake Calhoun. I got started later than I had planned so I scrapped my long run plans in favor of one lap around the lake. No agenda, I just wanted to run.

After a few minutes, I glanced down at Garm and he told me I was set to run an 8:23 mile. Not too bad. When I heard him beep the mile split, I didn't look. In fact, I didn't look at all until he beeped the fourth time, 7:57 for the mile. I was just coming to a hill to get back up to my car and told myself that I at least needed to make it to 4.5 miles and that this last half mile couldn't be any slower, even with a hill to climb.

As I was running up that hill, I thought about how Joel would say "Up. Up!" when he was being laid down for a procedure and how he would cry until we sat him up. And so I told myself up, up and made my legs burn getting up that hill. 

And I didn't stop once I got to the top. I wanted to outrun the stress of the present, the worry for the future and the pain of the past. And I made my lungs burn until I saw 4.5 on Garm.

I walked until my breathing and heartbeat weren't the only things I could hear, stretched my tight calves, got into my car and put on this song. (I dare you to try to listen to it only once.)


May 3, 2012

the p word

I found this video earlier this week, made by Oiselle, a company that evidently makes the world's best women's running apparel. I've never heard of them before but after watching some of their vlogs, they may make the world's funniest (and truest) running videos. See for yourself.

If you don't have nearly eight minutes to waste, here's a high-level recap:

the 5 faces of marathon pain 

I left my mind in the porta-potty and forgot my race pace Pain
Solution: Get back on pace.

But I don't want to be in any more pain Pain
Solution: Love your pain. Weirdo.

My toe hurts. My heel hurts. My knee hurts. My left earlobe hurts... Pain 
Solution: There's no crying in marathoning.

The Fear of Quitting Pain
Solution: Use this pain, you won't quit.

Equipment Failure Pain

Some of my favorite one-liners:
You have so much adrenaline going through your blood you could be used as a human EpiPen. 

You're a runner. You get off on this stuff. It's too late to decide that you want to collect stamps or knit sweaters or knit stamps.  

Look at Ops. She did a marathon in 1994 and she's still milking it.  

You won't quit. Unless your leg falls off.  But even then I bet you would throw it over your shoulder and you would peg-leg hop it in that last 400 meters.  

If you want to check out some more of their videos, head over to the Oiselle blog.

Smile, it's almost Friday!