Positive Peer Pressure….

Sometimes, a running buddy can motivate you to run way more miles than you set out to do.  I love when 2 loops in the cemetary turns into 4!  Two bowls of Breyers Vanilla ice cream also inspires me to run more.  I am sure that we all have different motivators.  Do you know yours?

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I teach, therefore, I drink…and run.

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All independently of course.  Although, this morning while I was running the Clifford’s 5k race for abused animals, I thought that if I licked my sweaty arm that I could enjoy the previous night’s glass of cabernet again.   Pshaw…did I say, “glass”?  I meant bottle… A group of my teacher friends and I get together on Fridays at the beautiful Owl’s Eye Vineyard.  Above is a picture of the aftermath. I used to drink the night before a race and brag that it helped me run faster…sadly, it doesn’t work that way anymore.  I think I am going to stay in tonight and chill.  My body is requesting some reprieve.  Tomorrow, I may swim a little…
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My Dreadmill Assault…

Rainy days are inevitable.  Therefore, running indoors on a treadmill might be part of your training at some point.  Whenever I am forced to battle the dreadmill, I mix it up by doing a “5,4,3,2,1” workout, a friend shared with me. 

My starting speed is very important in the plan of attack!  I start out running the first 5 minutes at a comfortable and moderate pace, usually around 5 or 5.5 mph).   Then, I bump up the speed 1/2 or 1 mph and continue running for 4 minutes.  Next, I bump up another 1/2 or 1 mph for the next 3 minutes.  And again, for the next 2 minutes.  Finally, I increase to a full sprint for my final 1 minute. 

After this interval, I slow my speed down to my original pace and start building again.  Each round is a total of 15 minutes of running.  Try this 3 times and you have conquered a NICE 45 minute run and your treadmill battle!!!  Spice up the clash even more by adjusting your incline! 

For those or you just joining the running world, you can start your first 5 minutes with a brisk walk and build from there.  This workout helps me so much because it makes me pay attention to something other than my boredom!

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In search of the Silver or Ruby Red Slippers…

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Asics and Saucony and Mizunos, oh my!  Asics and Saucony and Mizunos, oh my!

I took a trip to OZ yesterday and tried on “forty-leven” pairs of shoes at a local store.  Tapped my heels together three times and left the store like a “twista” with a pair of Asics off the clearance table.  There’s no place like home, I thought.  Just let me out of here.  I wasn’t even sure if I liked the shoes or not.  I think I just bought them because I ran the poor sales clerk, who had only been working there for the past three days, to death.  Yes, this tin lady does have a heart.

Basically, I have trained in about every brand of shoe and can honestly say that I have no clue which shoe I like the best.  In fact, I am embarassed that I didn’t even know the brand of my latest running shoe until I just looked in my workout bag:  Asics Gel Kayana 16.  They have done their job.  My knees and ankles are still intact.  I am not complaining.  But, I really want to find a shoe that makes me want to buy it over and over again.  I want to feel like I am rolling up on Michelin tires.  I want each stride to feel like I am floating in a big ole Lexus running about 70mph down the highway.  I want each step to feel like I am falling into the plushest down comforter on the planet…

It’s almost 4:30!!!  Time to go follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road!

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Practice your UPSWING…

For the last month, I have been experiencing a surge in my desire to run.   “Tessa done got her groove back”, thank goodness…(for the moment, at least…)  My latest running funk lasted about 4 to 6 months.  I would force myself to run on a Saturday morning once every two or three weeks.  All my girlfriends were still running like clockwork.  Getting up as early as 5am in the cold.  My eyes mght have been open at 4:30am, but I had absolutely NO desire to get up to run.  I am not sure what caused my slump.  But, obviously I am crawling out of it for the time being.  Eventually, I know the pendulum will swing again at some point.  So, while I am up high on my perch, I feel like I need to take advantage of my running boom as much as possible.  Although, 5am runs still don’t entice me, I pack two workout bags in advance for afternoon runs.  Why two bags?  Because Imageof all people, I know myself all too well.  In the past, I would be all jacked up and run Monday.  Then,  get busy on Tuesday morning and forget to pack a bag or not have time to prepare.  So, my well intended run would not come to fruition.  NOW, my packed bags have warm and cool running clothes plus yoga pants if I get a hankering.  “SNAP!” my students would say.  Well, maybe they would have said that last year.  “SNAP” has kind of run it’s course, hasn’t it?

What causes the UPSWING, swell, or rush?  I wish I knew.  What will help foster it?  I wish I knew that, too.  But, if you are in an upswing, savor it, feed it.  If not, then look forward to it’s return…Yes, it’s coming soon.

Get your feet lined up, get a good grip, take a gentle backswing, and follow through by running a little every once in awhile!  And your upswing will be magnificent!

Look forward to seeing all the superheroes tomorrow!!!

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Running and Yoga?

The answer is yes!

I took my first yoga class in Asheville years ago.  I have to be honest, I wasn’t crazy about it.  I was expecting serenity and relaxation.  But what I got, was a drill instructor.  During the class, I remember actually jumping from fear when he would shout out instructions.  Luckily, I decided to try yoga again recently when a dear friend of mine was instructing.  It was such a totally different experience.  My favorite part was the “corpse” pose at the end.  I still wasn’t on the yoga wagon yet, but I knew I enjoyed it.  My mind was stilled temporarily and my freakin’ tight hamstrings got some much needed stretching!  I was incited to go to more classes each week.  Now, I make at least one class per week and  three if I am lucky!!!  I feel like yoga just sort of crept up and found it’s way inside my body and soul.  It’s not a “wagon” to jump on or jump off.  I love it and look forward to it so much.  I don’t know all of the yoga history, yoga poses, or yoga words.  But I don’t think I have to know all of that stuff right now.  I learn a little bit as I go.  I even bought a yoga handbook so when my teacher says something and I don’t know what the heck she is talking about, I can go home and look it up!

My perfect afternoon is  a 3-4 mile run at 4:30.  Yoga at 5:30.  Then 1/2 price pizza and a $2 draft (or two) with my hubby and son across the street at our neighborhood pub at 7.

Give yoga a shot.   Namastae!

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Boston Marathon…on my bucket list..

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Thinking about all those runners in Boston today with 85 degree temp. The least I can do is go out and run 4 or 5 miles!

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Stick around for the real action..

Have you ever hung around after your race is finished and the awards and prizes have been given out?  If not, you may want to consider it next time. The post race ultimate fighting trophy matches are where the real action takes place!  My trophy got her bootay kicked at Bubba’s 5k.

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Meet Betty, the fat lady…

The first time I met Betty, I did not like her. Actually, when I introduced them to Betty, most of my friends did not like her either. Depending on our mood, some of us would give her the silent treatment or call her ugly names like “fat lady.” Sometimes we would yell or curse at her. Some of us would just downright refuse to go near her. So you would think that our relationship with Betty would only go downhill. Ironically, the opposite occurred, despite how she made us feel.

Now, the last thing I want to do is give you a negative impression of Betty. You may fall in love if you ever meet her. But I would like to share with you how I have learned to live with Betty through the years. In fact, she has become an inspiration to me.

These days, I run a lot. However, growing up in my town, running never entered my mind unless it involved escaping the wrath of my brother. I attempted to run in the early nineties to impress my new husband.  I tried to run a few 5K races with him. Confusion describes my finishes back then. Big or small, young or old, it didn’t matter. All those runners trotted past me whispering words of encouragement. Once, a pregnant lady pushing a baby stroller flew past me going up a hill. This lady had to be at least seven or eight months pregnant!

During the fall, my friend and co-worker, Jerri, and I decided over drinks that we wanted to run a marathon. We assumed the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February would be perfectly flat. I knew that Jerrianne had been running for years but she had never done a race. She was my “healthy” friend who wore really cool Keen shoes. She was always running, cycling, hiking, doing yoga, or walking the dogs.

So, let me explain the seriousness of this. In that discombobulated moment, I was convinced that I could complete a 26.2-mile footrace without sleep breaks. At the time, my husband’s suggestion to start training the following day seemed perfectly feasible. So Jerri and I decided to meet at her regular running route in the cemetery. The next morning I was not thanking my husband for his bright idea. To put it mildly, we will just say I was worried.

We arrived bright and early and Jerrianne was already there. The gates were locked. For a split second I rejoiced that our running appointment might be cancelled. Jerri seemed unfazed as she led us through the shrubs past the gate. Inside the graveyard, we had a decision to make. Go right and meet Betty on the way back, or go left and see the Gold Hill. “Who the heck is Betty?” I wondered.

Jerri explained that one loop, which was basically the perimeter of the cemetery, was approximately 1.4 miles. She liked doing one loop and then turning around and doing the loop backwards. We decided to go right so, I guess this meant that I would meet Betty on the way back to our starting point. Off we shuffled, chatting all the while. Down, down, down the hill we ran. My grin was large. Jerri said that she called the hill, “Gold Hill”.  I realized why when I saw all of the headstones to my left. She reminded me that we would be travelling up on our second loop. My grin disappeared.

Fortunately, I had yet to feel that my running shoes were too small. I looked to the right and saw the gravesite of my grandparents. I really miss my grandmother. I guess this was about when my breaths started shortening and my jammed toes starting talking to me. I made it up to the top of the hill and turned right on a gravel road called Laurel. I said hey to a friend, Stacy, who died way too soon. Even though many years have passed, his headstone looked newer than so many others nearby.

My heart sank as I made the turn onto Ford Street. I realized that we were about to embark on a very long uphill journey.  I immediately quit talking. Up, up, up we ran. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other. As Stephen and Jerrianne laughed and had a full-blown conversation, my frustration and the hill’s slope were increasing. “You guys go on,” I said. “I will catch up!  Don’t wait on me!”  My pace slowed to a snail’s.

As they ran up the hill ahead of me, I wondered who the heck Betty was and how in the heck can they run so fast up this gigantic hill?  Up, up, up, I staggered, determined not to walk.

Everything by now was a blur. The pain and lack of oxygen were comforted only by the fact that I was in a cemetery. Up, up, up we ran. Right foot, left foot… Eventually, my staggering trot turned into a survival shuffle, then to a walk, and finally to a dead stop.

After what seemed an eternity, I was finally nearing Jerri and Stephen. They stood admiring a tombstone at the very top of the hill. I was almost in tears. Tears of joy since they were standing still and not running! Finally, I made it.

As my heart pounded, I read the inscription on a headstone.  I read that her name was Betty and that she had come to this town as the “Simple Fat Lady in the Fair.  She left this Earth as our friend.”

So, I finally met Betty. I could not believe what I was reading. How awesome it was for our community to care enough for this 46-year-old stranger who died in 1954. She wasn’t from our town and had no family here. Betty was from Rochester, N.Y.   Later, I learned that Betty went from a 104 lb dancer to 600 pound carnival act. Her weight gain was caused when she was stricken with pneumonia and a treatment affected her thyroid.  She eventually died from a heart attack in her sleep.

Jerri, Betty and I trained for four solid months. Eventually, this “fat lady” became a driving force in my daily runs and a major part of my inspiration to complete a marathon. We ran our race in February and finished gracefully. Jerri and I shared our favorite stories and talked about Betty as we ran mile after mile. It was a very memorable event in my life. Since then, I have shared the tradition of introducing the “Betty” hill to several people who wanted to run with me or train for a special race.

Betty may have left this earth as our friend, however, she still lives on in spirit to help train and encourage many people to push themselves more than they ever thought they could. I encourage everyone to come out and meet our friend, Betty. She will always be waiting at the top of the hill for you.

Simple Fat Lady from the Fair

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You’re not in Kansas, Toto…

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The Toto Story:

I saw Toto on the side of a highway coming home from work one day.   She had her paws on the white line, just sitting and watching the cars drive by.  I made an illegal u-turn and came back around and pulled off the road.  I walked slowly up then down to my knees I reached out my hand.  Her tail started wagging so hard that her whole body got in rhythm.  I put her in my car on my lap and she didn’t move the whole way home.  The ride was approximately 25-30 minutes, so I had time to figure out how I was going to introduce Toto to my husband.  We already had several dogs, (we also claimed 2 dogs that don’t belong to us), so I wasn’t sure how my husband was going to respond to our new addition.  When Toto and I arrived home, I let her out and our big dogs immediately came over to check her out.  My husband was busy in his huge 3 bay shop doing who knows what!  Toto seeked refuge under my car since the other dogs couldn’t fit.  I walked in the house and waited.  About 30 minutes later, Stephen came in and excitedly told me about this cute little dog who just happened to come up on our property and how she was getting along so well with the other dogs…  I didn’t say a word for about 3 weeks.  I let him fall in love before I broke the news of how Toto found us.

 

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Running with someone faster than you…

So, I mentioned in an earlier post to not fret the hills.  Well, now, I am giving similar advice when you have that date with “the faster girl”.  First of all, that run is going to be good for BOTH of you.  Yes, you may be pushed a little harder than usual, and that first mile may suck a little more. But, you are getting more conditioned mentally and physically by it.  You also need to realize that she is getting a recovery run that she probably needs.  Running with your “old faithful” partner is awesome. I enjoy these runs most of all. But never be intimidated by running with someone faster.   The more often you do it, the faster you will become.   And those recovery runs may turn out to be “speed work” for that faster girl.   😉

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2 Chocolate doves and a vintage leather jacket on Ebay…

So, today is my last day of Spring Break 2012. I have had a wonderful break, working out, running, and blogging when I feel like it.  Not devastated by the fact, but adjusting, I found love and fun with friends this afternoon.   I got the opportunity to run with Mitchell and Tom…and felt GOOD, finally!  I got to spend some time helping a friend put her first “vintage” item for sale on ebay.  Then I stumbled upon a veterinarian pepperoni tea party…My lemon(landscaping river rock), for my tea, was little cumbersome.  The slide was quick and I swear I didn’t step in the poop.  Anyway, the two dove chocolates that I knew I would eat on the way home revealed, “Laugh whenever possible.” and “Give yourself a relaxation break.”  …

Which is what I was doing before I ever unwrapped those chocolates!

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It’s not always a walk with God…

Sometimes it’s a RUN!  I missed my turn to Snake Island two times this Easter morning because of my conversation with God!

When running don’t fret a hill.  Strategically attack it.  Sometimes I will cut it into thirds. 1st third, I may look down in front of me and bare down a bit. 2nd third, I may ease off or walk. Last third, i may sprint or do the survival shuffle.  Mixing it up seems to help while you are trying to conquer a hill.

Happy Easter!

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Losing can mean winning…

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Although, our team lost the Big Bad Bunny Urban Scavenger Hunt Race, more important things were won by the experience.  I got familiar with the streets of Asheville, I saw the Easter bunny take a bad trip (video coming soon), but most of all, I won by making a cool memory with my hubby and teenage son. We earned 2 points by getting all of our feet off the ground in this picture!

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A different type of carb loading….

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I don’t recommend this type of carb loading before every race…
Asheville, NC is a beautiful town. We are looking forward to the Big Bad Bunny Urban race!

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Pre-race day at Lake Lure

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Prettiest lake I have ever seen.

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Signed Stephen, Ben and me up for this…excited!

The Big Bad Bunny Urban Scavenger Hunt « Race For Awesomeness
http://www.raceforawesomeness.com/?p=57

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Howdy and Welcome Friends!

Finished the “About” page and I can’t keep my eyes open!  I hope my first blogging experience isn’t any indication of this site’s future!   Ran this morning at 5:30 so I am struggling.  Looking forward to alertness and my next post.   My friend called me a bad word when she took this picture of me!

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