Is THIS Bliss?!

Lorina's Blog

10k

Do Your Mediocre-est!

Do your best! Give 100%! Push, push, push! Nothing else will do. Hard work never hurt anyone. Ignore the pain. Sweat is fat cells crying. Bullshit. That crap doesn’t fly with me. Not when it comes to exercise, anyway. I’ll push. I’m not afraid of sweat and hard work. But I’m also not going to push so hard I hurt myself. Not again, anyway.

I guess you can tell by my “screw all the pep talk” attitude that I didn’t beat my PR in my 10k today. I knew after the first mile it wasn’t going to happen, so I took it easy. I ran when it felt good. I walked when that felt better. I finished in a perfectly respectable 57:40, but a far cry from the sub 53:00 I would have liked.

All smiles at the start of the race!

#481 in the magenta. All smiles at the start of the race!

I know I could have gone faster, but… not today. I had a headache. My left ovary hurt. It was humid and sweaty. And occasionally too windy. My music stopped playing at about the three mile mark and I couldn’t get my ridiculously gigantic smart phone back in or out of the arm band without slowing to a walk. Not that I hadn’t already slowed to a walk. A few times. All in all… I was grumpy and didn’t give a fuck. I didn’t want it bad enough.

And you know why? Because this “it” doesn’t matter to me. I like running. I don’t particularly like racing anymore. I thought a several month break from racing might spark things back up for me. It didn’t. My ideal run are the ones where I feel more like I’m playing than I’m working… the ones where I’m scampering up or down a steep incline on a wooded trail like a mountain goat, or lapping a cemetery thinking of zombies, where I’m not concerned about time or distance, where I’ll stop to take a break or a drink or a picture if the mood strikes me.

I saw the most awesome and enormous spider on a wall during the race today. Every instinct told me to stop and take it’s picture because it was so damn cool and huge. But I couldn’t, but cause I was racing.

About 1.2 miles in, where the course looped back to the start.

About 1.2 miles in, where the course looped back to the start.

I enjoy the first mile. Everyone’s still in a pack and there’s the excitement of passing people and jockeying for position. After that, it’s boring. The pack thins out so the nearest person is a hundred yards ahead… then it’s just you. Alone with your thoughts. And if I’m going to be running alone with my thoughts, I’d just as soon not have to pay an entry fee for it. Sometimes I wonder if I subliminally slow to a walk so someone will pass me, just so I can pass them again. Just to break the monotony.

Crossing the finish line, with the lovely scenic job johnnies in the background.

Crossing the finish line, with the lovely scenic job johnnies in the background.

Maybe I’m just a slacker. Maybe I’m a wuss. Maybe I don’t have the killer competitive drive. Maybe I have a childish, “If I can’t win, I don’t want to play” attitude. Maybe I’m just not that good of a runner. Or maybe I’m afraid of giving my all, and still falling short of my expectations. Hmmm… that’s a thought to explore later. But all in all… it doesn’t really matter. Getting out there and doing my mediocre-est is still getting out there and improving my cardiovascular health. It’s still burning about the same amount of calories as I would have if I scorched the race and finished faster. The job is still done.

Sexy and I know it.

Sexy and I know it.

And I for swag, I got this awesome thermal hat. That makes me look like a penis. In the dead of winter, I won’t care.

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My First 10k: Another Day, Another Award.

I was a horse crazy kid. I’d watch the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes and dream of riding my horse to victory in the Triple Crown. Well, as I grew to a “towering” 5’5, I was way too big to be a jockey, and my dreams were dashed. But now, I’m a Triple Crown champion, of a sorts.

Yesterday was the Wyoming Valley Striders “Summer” 10k, the third race in their Triple Crown series. The first race in the series was my very first race ever, the Winter’s End 4.5 Mile Run. Next was the Cherry Blossom 5 Mile Run. But this one… It was the race that almost wasn’t. Originally scheduled for July 23rd, during a major heat wave, but the race director was hospitalized with a medical emergency and the race was postponed. To be honest, I was a bit relieved. The thought of running 6.2 miles in 90° temps with 80% humidity didn’t appeal to me too much. You’ve seen how I sweat. Dehydration and heat stroke would have been a very real possibility.

It was rescheduled to August 28th. And as luck would have it, Hurricane Irene was in town that weekend. I’d already decided if the race wasn’t cancelled, I’d just show up to pick up my swag, and go home. Torrential downpours and 60 mph winds wasn’t any more appealing than heat stroke.

It was rescheduled, once again, to October 2nd. No worry about heat stroke or dehydration… the temps were in the 40’s with light rain. I wore gloves and a sweatshirt over my moisture wicking tee, and a baseball hat (which, conveniently enough, was the commemorative swag for the race) to keep the rain out of my eyes. And hide my frizz-prone hair. Seriously… in the rain, I look like the love child of Cosmo Kramer and Rosanne Rosanna Danna.

Teeth chattering before the race.

Teeth chattering before the race.

To be honest, I did it for the pants. If you ran all three races, you got a pair of track pants. Yet, despite the race being nearly three months late, they didn’t have the women’s pants in stock, and would mail them to us. Maybe that was because there weren’t many women running the race, so they didn’t want to end up with a big surplus.

My main goal was to finish in under an hour. I knew I could easily run a little faster than 6 mph, even if I had to walk a little. My “that would rock” goal would be to maintain a just over 9 minute mile pace, and finish around 55 minutes. My brother and niece couldn’t do the race, and my husband was visiting his parents in Baltimore, so I was on my own for this one.

My mp3 playlist rocked. Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Pantera, Agent Orange, Misfits, Rancid, the Ramones, Rammstein. Nothing like angry music to get the legs pumping. A lip reader would have a field day with me… I tend to mouth the words along with the music.

I settled at a comfortable pace behind two young girls, around 17 years old, with perfect, long, thick, straight ponytails swinging hypnotically behind them. Jealousy, I has it. Even when I was young, I didn’t have hair like that. But… I was easily keeping up with them. Around the two mile mark, I passed them, and set my sights on another woman, about 100 yards ahead of me. And passed her around the fourth mile. In the last mile, I pretty much played leap frog with a few runners. I’d pass them, they’d pass me, I’d pass them, they’d pass me. I was amazed I had any oomph left to sprint at all.

The finish line approached and I was gobsmacked. 53:12! Holy shit!

I quickly went back to my car to grab my thermos of Propel (I ran with a pocket of seedless grapes so I didn’t need to carry a drink) and change into dry clothes. So glad I brought extra! I was fine while I was running, but now that I was drenched inside and out, between rain and sweat, that the 45° temps were pretty darn chilly. Then I went back to check the results…

Woot woot!

Woot woot!

I won a medal for being second place in my age group! Granted, there were only two women IN my age group, but I’ve gotten better at telling the stupid little voice to shut up and be proud of my accomplishments. Instead of being all self-defeating and telling myself, “You only got an award because there weren’t any other runners,” I’m telling myself, “There weren’t any other runners because a 10k is a pretty damn major challenge, and a lot of them probably wussed out because of the weather, but you DID IT!!!”

Home, dry, and happy!

Home, dry, and happy!

At that first race, in March, I averaged a 10:21 minute mile. That’s 5.8 mph. Yesterday, I averaged an 8:35 pace, 7 mph. I shaved almost two minutes off every mile I run since then! In May, I ran at a 9:03 minute mile. So even over a longer distance, I was about thirty seconds faster. I’m proud. And amazed. And proud. Did I mention proud?

And now, having won two medals in my last two races, I have a new goal… I want a trophy. I want to be in the top three overall female runners in a race. It’ll take a lot of work, and it would have to be in smaller races with less competition. I’ll need to run at least a 7 minute mile. But if I’ve gotten this much faster already without really trying or training to run faster… who knows?!

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Why Exercise?

I really never intended this blog to be about fitness, weight loss, exercise, running, etc. It’s just something that’s in the forefront of my mind right now, but I promise, I will see something shiny, get distracted, and talk about something else.

I hear a lot of people say that you can lose weight without exercise, which is true, you can, or they don’t see the point in exercising if you’re going to eat more calories to replace the ones you’ve burned, so I started compiling a mental list of why I exercise.

I exercise because….

… my parents both died of heart and lung related problems, and I’ve never had good cardiovascular health. My dad was 79 and my mom was 73. I don’t want my life to be more than half over already. I used to have a rapid heart rate and would get winded easily. Not anymore!

… when I exercise, I can eat a lot more. Why exercise if you’re going to eat more to replace those calories? So you can eat more to replace those calories! I love food. I never feel deprived and eat pretty much whatever I want in the quantities I want. If all I have to do is bust a sweat to be able to eat pizza, drink mojitos and be the size I want to be, that’s a small price to pay!

… running works better than Xanax. And Lexapro. I’ve been able to go off my anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications. I do tend to feel a bit stabby if I don’t get my endorphins pumping, but there’s no prescription necessary to run a couple miles. And I don’t get withdrawal symptoms like brain zaps or a super-human sense of smell if I don’t run for a few days.

… it’s a fantastic sense of accomplishment. I originally just wanted to be able to run a 5k. Then run a 10k, which I’ll be doing on Sunday. Then I wanted to win a medal, and I did that, too. Now I want a trophy! And even if I don’t get a trophy, I’m still going to continue to improve… I’m going to get faster and be able to run further. Whether I win a race or not, I’m still winning!

… being thin with muscles looks way better than being thin without muscles. I’ve been skinny before. It kinda sucked. This is the first time I’ve been healthy, strong and fit. It kinda rocks.

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