Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jello, weights, and the rude truth

I recently joined a weights class.  I've had gym memberships before, but was notorious for fizzling out after a few weeks.  Plus, even with the mandatory orientation, I never quite knew what I was doing.  But then I heard Dr. Oz mention the rude truth that at my age, I'm burning about 200 calories per day LESS than I use to, and for no good reason other than apparently I'm losing muscle, which adds additional validation to the statement that Life Is Not Fair.  So, says the good doctor, I need to build up that dwindling muscle, particularly CORE muscles, whatever those are.

Concerning upper body strength, on scale of 1 - 10, I've probably hovered around Minus Two.  The most pushups I remember doing in one set was 30 and that was using the "girl" method, meaning on my knees rather than my toes.  On my toes I can barely do two, if that.  Each spring I unveil my upper arms and assess the damage.  Remember school-teacher-arms?  The arms that jiggled whenever she wrote on the chalkboard.  I have NEVER taught school, but I have the arms.  It's not pretty.

My strategy now is to pay lots of money and take an actual class.  It's cheaper than a personal trainer and hopefully will get me over there.  I had the option of a women's weights class, or a senior bone-building class.  I qualified for either, but opted for the first.  I was concerned that I'd be the oldest one; however, I seem to be right in the middle age-wise.  It makes me wonder who's building their bones in the senior class.

Our feather-weight, whisper-thin instructor Patty, pops around the room, chatting, spotting us on the bench, tweaking our stance, posture, grip, etc, and reminding us to breathe.   This week was my first experience on the bench lifting a barbell.  I did 45 lbs, and later proudly told my son about it.

"The empty bar?" he said.

"Well yeah, but it was HEAVY!"  At least he didn't pat me on the head.

My most dreaded machine involves sitting and lifting weights up and down with my legs.  It's humbling to admit that so far I've kept the weight at ZERO and cringe and wince as I struggle to lift what can't REALLY be zero pounds.  No wonder I'm not a strong biker!  No wonder my thighs look like jello when I run.  Today Patty had me do 6 reps at 25 lbs, and then 15 more at "zero".  Just one set, thankfully.

So I'm committing to the long haul.  Running and weights.  And bicycling.  Till I die.  Or until I acquire actual dementia and forget.  Or until I just don't care anymore.  Thanks to Dr. Oz.  Thanks to my dwindling muscles.  Thanks to aging and all that unfairness in life.  By the time I hit 60, maybe I'll have added some actual weights to that bar, and to that dreaded leg-lifting machine.  And maybe the jello will go away.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Slumping (not to be confused with schlepping)

After several months of firing out blog posts every few days, I've fallen into a slump.  No ideas.  No inspiration because I'm not excited about running right now...... and although I refuse to panic, it IS a concern.  This is a first for me, at least since I proclaimed myself to be a runner.  I hope that if I remain positive I'll be able to successfully weather through it and recapture the LOVE.  Then it will become a useful resource for future slumps.  So I'm perusing potential remedies such as:

New songs on the playlist.  ANY change to the "same old" is good.  I've added a couple of new ones, "Billie Jean" by MJ, and "Rolling in the Deep" by Adelle, but sometimes I just want to revamp the whole list.  However, coming up with close to 50 new songs is not going to happen, even though, no doubt, iTunes would appreciate the revenue.

New running clothes.  Although I am a complete sucker for a new outfit, particularly when found on a clearance rack -- I don't need anything.  Being a die-hard shopper, <actual need> seldom motivates my purchases; however, sometimes I just can't ignore the lack of it.  I just bought some jazzy new socks in assorted festive colors which I really DID (sort of) need, but they're not pulling me out the door.  I already have more shorts than I can wear in a week and too many t-shirts as they are often parceled out at running events.  I'm also well stocked in sunglasses - extra dark and gradual-tint, three hats that are more helpful during the rainy season which this isn't, and my shoes have another three good months left in them.  Sometimes I wander through running stores in search of a new and intriguing gadget promising to invigorate my whole running routine, but so far .... nothing.  Sigh.

Sign up for another event.  Really??  I'm IN CHARGE of one in a few weeks and am team captain in the one after that.  Shouldn't that be enough?  Sheesh.

Run with fun people.  I ADORE my running friends BUT I usually can't keep up with them and I've found THAT can be counter-productive.

Expore a new route.  My town is small.  I've covered it like a two-year-old scribbles on paper - over and over, around and around.  I know every sidewalk and intersection like my own closet.  I could get in my car and drive to the next small town, but ... well, I'll think about that.

Appeal for help from my facebook group.  Did that today.  Encouragement and advice poured in. FRP trotted out Beyonce, meaning her Single Lady video.  Motivating maybe... but no amount of hill work nor intervals will ever give me hips like that.  THAT ship has sailed.

This morning I scrounged up some umph and ran up Zimri.  Every time I face that hill it's a battle.  If I don't walk, I win.  If I walk, it wins.  Last time I lost, but this time I won.  That felt good.  That helped.  Maybe, just maybe, the answer to this slump is all too simple.  Maybe the remedy is just to run.  Maybe.

Trek Pictures!!

For the full story, go here.  (These pictures feature me and mine, a small portion of the hundreds of photos taken.)

Last night was the Big Reveal and we got to see the talents of Lindsay (aka Beloved Daughter, FRP, and Trek photographer) on the big screen.  Her slide show, which just became available to all, was top notch and here is a small taste:  (Any blurriness is due to my down-loading/computer ineptness, and/or gremlins.)
Our "Family" 
(Clockwise from upper left:)  Tabasco, Ma, Pa, Lambo, Winchester, Peach Pie, Tannerite, Carrot Cake, Poptart, Mini Muffin, and Rocky Road.

A couple of old geezers, aka Pa Haupt and Pa Brady
Pa & me

My little spray bottle was a hit.
Good bye Melly Bean.

I said I'd never do it again.  ..........  I've since changed my mind.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My drug-free "high"

I've never ventured into the world of illegal drugs.  But as I understand it, people use them to get "high", which supposedly is some kind of euphoric feeling.  Then as the high fades, such people seek larger doses, or stronger drugs to repeat that feeling and then the drug becomes necessary to simply forestall a mental and/or physical hell.  This is called addiction, a common tool of Satan to strip away our freedoms.  (Wow, THAT was a depressing lead into a post!)

BUT I want to talk about another addiction.  Another type of high.  Another kind of euphoria.  It's called The Finish Line.   And happily, other than maybe some Advil, no drugs are needed.  All that's required is to cross it.

The Finish Line is WHY people run marathons.  It's why they pay perfectly good money, that could have gone towards a spectacular new pair of shoes, to wedge fear and dread into their lives for the next four to six months.  It's why they force themselves into a training regimen that WILL inevitably fall short somewhere around mile 20.   (It's also why they put up with black toenails right before sandal season ... )

For some, The Finish Line High, needs increasingly larger doses to maintain.  Doses like:  another marathon, or --- qualifying for the Boston, or --- completely bizarre things like ultra marathons and  Ironmans.  As much as I admire those people, thankfully, I appear to NOT be one of them so far.  I crossed my Finish Line and the high was euphoric, but I hope I never feel the need to repeat or up the dosage.  

My new and improved plan is to be Queen of Moderation.  To maintain good sense and balance.  To run approximately 20 miles per week (or however much I want), some workouts with weights -- my new age-fighting endeavor, and bicycling with friends and/or Husband Dear.

There will be more Finish Lines in my future, for there is one at the end of every 5K, 10K, relay, etc.   So my own personal addiction will be fed adequately.   And I hope always to remember that euphoric high whenever I think about a certain Finish Line near the beach in Newport, when my spirit changed forever.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Story Time

  Remember this photo from this post?
Lindsay, featured artist extraordinaire, takes the task of van-decoration in the HTC Relay very seriously.
Her finely detailed and thought-provoking drawings tell the epic STORY of Team GoLDS ......

Once upon a time .....  

... a group of seven silly people got into a van VERY EARLY in the morning and drove to Mt. Hood to run in the Hood to Coast Relay.  Brenda was the first silly runner to start down the mountain.  
See Brenda run.
The other silly runners in Van 1 each took their turn,
and brought their half of the team into the friendly town of Sandy, OR, where Van 2, filled with seven more silly people (the other half of the team), awaited.  The driver of Van 1 ....
... got them safely where they needed to be.  He then filled in as an alternate silly runner when teammate Jon injured his knee.  Ouch!  Poor Jon.  :-(

Meanwhile, where were the silly runners of Van 2 during those first early morning hours?   Asleep in their beds.  Shhhhh!  Sleep tight, Van 2 runners!
After 197 miles, Amy finished their VERY long run to the beach.  See Amy run!  See Amy happy to stop running!
Afterwards, all the silly people of Team GoLDS drove home and lived ran Happily Ever After.

End of story.

Thank you again, Chery:
For being there with your camera.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

HTC 2010 .... "Life is a hiiighway. I'm gonna RUUUN it ... all night long."

Part 2 of this post.  (Thanks Chery.  I stole some of your pictures.)

<-- (Jeff's aversion to all things sweaty, including old girlfriends and wrist wraps ..... you had to have been there .... )

It only took one experience with the Hood to Coast Relay to be completely hooked.  It rocketed up to the top of my list of MOST Fun Things Ever!  So needless to say, we set our sights on 2010.  Husband and I naively volunteered to co-captain a team.  Previous teammates were invited and new ones were recruited to fill the gaps, including Daughter .... also known in this blog as FRP.  A couple of newbie-runners (spouses of teammates) decided to give it a go, signed on, and instantly began stressing.  (My mantra was, If I can do this at my age, after one year of running, ANYONE can.  No excuses.  Buck up.)    ;-)

It's fun to watch the newbies fret and worry, because we were all there once.  And I was the worst of them.

"Aren't you scared to run alone in the dark?" they ask.

"Nah, you're never really alone.  Not with all the axe-murderers and drunk drivers out there.  It's a regular party!"

"But when do we sleep?"

"Sleep?  You can do that when you get home.  Or just shove the pop cans and food wrappers aside and stretch out on the floor of the van.  Here, take my Reeboks for a pillow.  No problem."

"I dunno if I can run that long."

"You can walk some if you have to - just not until the van passes.  But you didn't hear that from me."

"And what about showers?"

"Showers??  Hahahahahahaha!"

Our team, named GoLDS, consisted of me, Bryce, Lindsay, Chery, Jon, Jeff, and our driver Steve in Van 1.  And Brent, Amy, Kimberly, John, Mark, and Ben, with driver Bill in Van 2.
Each team has a specific start time in order to spread out the congestion of over 2000 vans on the road, which is assigned just a few weeks prior to the event.  To my dismay, we were put in the FIRST wave of runners, 6:30 a.m.  That meant our trip to Timberline Lodge began at 3:30 a.m.!  It was still dark and COLD when we pulled into the parking lot.  I was the first runner and had to dress up like a Christmas tree with all the required reflectors, blinkers, headlight, bib number, etc. even though by then, daylight had arrived.
 The infamous First Leg of the HTC is 5 miles of steep downhill.  It's a knee-killer.  But it turned out to be my favorite.  A new wave of runners started every 15 minutes, and being in the first one, I was hailed by a lot of arriving vans as I ran down the road.  "There's a runner!!  It's started!!!"  HONK!  Wave!  Cheer!!!  SO exciting!  But the best cheering happens when your own van passes you as it drives ahead to wait at the next exchange.  Some people need drugs or alcohol for a high.  They should try this.

Bryce hands the wrist-wrap "baton" to Chery.
From Jeff to Jon, literally father to son.  Due to a knee injury, driver Steve took over for Jon for his last two legs. 
Lindsay brings it in to Brent and Van 2 takes over.  Sad to say, I don't have photos of Van 2. 


Here comes Amy, our final runner, approximately 31.45 hours from our start on Mt. Hood.  The team waits on the sand to cross the finish line together.  
How could anyone not LOVE this group??
This was the year we saw lives changed.  My favorite quote came from Amy, just after she finished her last leg: "I didn't know what I could do.  Now I know."
In less than two months, I will run in my 3rd HTC with team Van Hailin', and the excitement/stress is building.  You'll see some familiar faces in the photos and some new ones.  The addiction continues to spread.  It's this time of year when we all think- Why did I agree to this??  What was I thinking??  But afterwards, we can't wipe the silly grins off our faces nor can we WAIT until next time!  Each year I say will be my last.  We'll see.  

Care to place a bet?