Bluebird Down

The pursuit of domestic bliss, one glorious debacle at a time.

What Came First, the Apple or the Burpee? June 17, 2013

I’m soaking my fruit in vinegar. Have you seen this on Pinterest? I’m giving it a try since I spent a third of my grocery bill on blueberries, cherries and peaches. I tried a cherry mid-soak to make sure it wasn’t going to turn out like some bastardized version of vodka soaked fruit. It wasn’t. The vinegar rinsed right off. (Which is weird, right?)

So I bought the cherries and bypassed the chocolate chip cookies because it’s time to get my eating on track. My meal plans have to transition to timely visits to the grocery then to actual meals made in the kitchen. Tricky how it all depends on the other.

And it’s time to get my eating on track because I’m spending a lot of my time in the gym… and something isn’t clicking. I can hold a plank like a beast. I can do a decent squat. I can savasana with the best. And, yet, my curves roll on.

Here’s the summer training schedule:
Monday: Train with Kristin (personal trainer), Yoga with Kate
Tuesday: HEAT (a functional fitness training class – lots of planks, burpees, jacking jacks, that sort of thing), Cycling
Wednesday: Train with Kristen, Yoga with Kelli, Couch to 10K with Running Club (Wednesday are going to be tough!)
Thursday: HEAT, Cycling
Friday: Couch to 10K
Saturday: Cycling, Yoga with Katherine
Sunday: Yoga with Kimber, Couch to 10K with Running Club

When I was little, Richard Simmons had a TV exercise show. I distinctly remember Richard saying, “It’s OK to eat a candy bar sometimes. You just have to work off an extra 200 calories that day.” (Apparently candy bars were only 200 calories in the 1970’s.) I’d say that was true when I was 20 years old. It’s not so true now. And I bet Richard Simmons knows it.

Kristin posted on Facebook today, “You can’t out train your fork.” Which means run as far as you want, lift as many weights as you want, but you aren’t going to get fit unless your eating gets right. Dang it.

 

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It’s a good thing I love to eat healthy as much as I love to eat chocolate chip cookies. Last night I had a genuine healthy meal victory: balsamic pork tenderloin and sauteed kale with tomato and avocado salad. You should try it. It was delicious.

Hey, and guess what, I’m running the Rock n Roll Half Marathon next April. So you’ll hear a lot about training this summer. You’ll hear a lot about food. And, in between, life will still go on, so you’ll probably hear a few stories about severed limb near-misses during the bathroom and back yard renovations. Hooray!

 

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Post 2 of 68
Days Until Half Marathon: 300

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Runners to the Starting Line! January 10, 2012

Filed under: 5K,Exercise Follies,Penguins,Road Trip — Teri @ 7:16 pm

That's right.

I’ve been out of commission for the past three days, but couch time is a good time to research and organize your race schedule for the coming year. I’m going to do a mix of 5Ks and 10Ks this year. If I can successfully get through this year, I *may* work my way up to a half marathon. I like the idea of doing the Rock ‘n Roll Half in a major city or the Flying Pirate Half in Nags Head. I have absolutely, positively no desire to do a full marathon. Running is not easy for me. I don’t have the willowy limbs of a natural runner. But that doesn’t mean I can’t put some effort into it and accomplish a few miles. I just don’t want to accomplish 26.2 miles at one time.

Preach it.

2012 Race Schedule
March 3 – Saint Patty’s Run Green 8K, Raleigh, NC
March 31 – USO of NC 4th Annual Run for the Troops 5K, Fayetteville, NC -or- Cooper River Bridge Run 10K in Charleston, SC
May 5 – 11th Annual Cinco de Mayo 10K, Fayetteville, NC
June 2 – 5th Annual Airborne & Special Operations Museum Foundation Run for the Legend 10K, Fayetteville, NC
TBD – Hot Chocolate 5K, Chicago or DC

Despite being born and raised in the muggy south, I hate hot, humid days. I will not be running outside during July and August. I’ll run with limited enthusiasm in September. Give me a freezing cold race in the depth of winter any day.

I’m going to cut down on travel time this year too. Traveling to a race in the pre-dawn hours was more stressful than I thought it would be. If I can’t stay overnight near the race, I’m skipping it.

Fall races that I’ll repeat:
Moonlight Madness 5K, Winston-Salem, NC
Women’s Only 5K, Greensboro, NC
Ardmore 5K, Winston-Salem, NC
Trick or Treat Trot 5K, Wilmington, NC
Reading Rocks! 5K, Fayetteville, NC
Monster Dash 5K, Raleigh, NC
Joint Special Operations 5K, Fayetteville, NC
Turkey Strut 5K, Winston-Salem, NC
Mistletoe Run 5K, Winston-Salem, NC
Ryan’s Reindeer Run 5K, Fayetteville, NC

We have the same running form.

I tried to find races that coincided with The Official 2012 Pens Stalking Tour. No dice. I hoped participating in an organized race would keep me from chasing the team bus. If you know of a race, let me know. I’ll pay your entry fee with my unused bail money.

Tampa, Florida for the weekend of January 14-16
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the weekend of February 17-18
Newark, New Jersey for St. Patrick’s Day weekend {Really? No beer runs have been organized?!}
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for Easter weekend

 

Second Verse Same As The First January 2, 2012

Filed under: 5K,Cooking,Exercise Follies,Food,Recipes,Training Log — Teri @ 7:01 pm

Ah, it’s a new year with new possibilities and new hopes and new resolutions. I’m a resolution maker. I’m so fond of making and breaking them that I even make them on my birthday and relatively minor life events, like going back to school after summer break. It’s the Six Million Dollar Man complex.

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.

It could happen — even by way of my oft-repeated, super generic Eat Less/Move More resolution. [When you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you learn to just make one master resolution.] I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not greeting this resolution with much enthusiasm and it’s because of one horrific realization I had today. I haven’t exercised with any consistency since Thanksgiving. That’s November 24, 2011 and that was almost SIX WEEKS AGO. Holy crikey. Sure, there was an occasional weekend run, but there is only so much lipstick we can put on that pig. And speaking of pigs, if I could have dipped bacon in chocolate and eaten it over Christmas break, I totally would have.

So here’s the deal: I’m doing a photo food journal, as suggested by Amanda at Run to the Finish. It’s a 30 Day Challenge. I like the idea of just snapping a photo with my iPhone and getting on with the eating. And you just can’t embellish the details when there is photographic evidence. That was a carrot! No, it was a Cheeto. {Is there actually a singular form for Cheetos?} Posting the food journal will keep me accountable. I was tweeting today’s photos, but that seemed like overkill to tweet every time I ate something. So I’ll do a daily summary blog. That means I’m blogging every day for January, whether you would like to know what I’m eating or not. I’ll try to come up with something clever to say on occasion.

 

Breakfast: Oatmeal that tasted way better than it looked.

 

Mid-morning Snack: 15 Almonds

 

Lunch: Dried Apricots, Carrots and a Peanut Butter Sandwich

 

Dinner: Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole

 

Observations: I got a little nutty with the nuts. There’s nothing wrong with nuts. I just need to space’em out. The most notable observation is that I was starving by 2:00 pm. Which reminds me, I ate six olives and six almonds pre-workout [not pictured]. Nutty with the nuts, I tell ya. I was lethargic today, but I think that had more to do with the gluttony of the past two weeks rather than what I did today. And I had freaky dreams last night that there is a secret passage way into my bedroom and people entered at their own will. Keep your Freudian analysis to yourself, please.

Oh yeah, and Move More, almost forgot the second half of the master resolution. The schedule is simple:

Monday/Wednesday/Friday – Morning workout to a DVD {probably freakin’ Jillian Michaels} and then an afternoon three mile walk/run combo [hopefully leaning heavier on the run].

Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday – Afternoon Bodypump class followed by cycling.

Sunday is a rest day.

I’d like to fit in yoga three times a week, but I’m not sure when. I know you are going to tell me Tuesday and Thursday morning, but I’m not willing to commit to 5 a.m. wake-up calls five days a week yet.

So here’s to being better, stronger, faster, my friends. May 2012 treat you well.

 

I Choose To Be Awesome. October 24, 2011

Filed under: 5K,Exercise Follies — Teri @ 10:26 pm

 

I’ve been slack on my race reports, so I thought I would do a mid-season rundown. I know y’all have me on your fantasy 5K teams and are dying to know how I’m doing. The operative word is “doing.” I’m there. I’m running. It’s not fast, nor pretty, but it’s happening. This morning someone asked me how I did at the 5K this weekend. Because I’m always self depreciating, I hesitated before I answered. The person didn’t wait. She’s said, “Did you finish?” What? Heck yeah, I finished, Sister. Sheesh. Actually, it came out more like, “Well, yeah.” She then patted me on my shoulder and told me that was all that mattered. I was stunned. She was judging me. She saw a short, pudgy girl that couldn’t possibly make it three point one miles. I was too deflated to be offended. I could actually hear the kinks is my armor creaking in my head. But at that moment, at that very moment, someone else walked up. “I saw you running this weekend!” You did? “You were about the finish the race and I said, ‘Look at her go!’ That was awesome.” So did I finish? Yeah. And reportedly it was awesome. I’ll take that moment with me to my next race and beyond.

 

Run Wild 5K at the NC Zoo
August 20, 2011
Cause: Not sure, really. Something for the zookeepers.
Would I run three miles for this shirt? Yes — though the color wasn’t great. Nice graphic though.
Would I run it again? Yes. It was a cool concept even if there were some logistical hiccups in the race plan. Would have been nice if the animals were out to cheer us on [from their enclosures, of course].

 

Holden Uganda Run for Water 5K
August 27, 2011
Cause: Building water wells in Africa
Would I run three miles for this shirt? Nope, not really. The shirt was thin and cheap. It’s in the Salvation Army pile.
Would I run it again? Technically, I didn’t run it in the first place. It was hurricaned out. But I probably won’t sign up again next year. The race route was in a gated community. If you didn’t live there, you had to take a shuttle into the race area. Really, people, open your fancy smanchy community for the charity 5K.

 

Tour de Lila
September 3, 2011
Cause: Fundraiser to buy educational equipment for a special needs child.
Would I ride 15 miles for this shirt? Nope. Race organizers, thin and cheap is not the way to get the word out about your organization.
Would I ride it again? Doubtful. It was billed as a family bike ride, but really only hardcore cyclists rode. And there I was with my 20 year old mountain bike. I felt like I was driving an Indy race in a 1960 VW bug.

 

Crimestoppers Run for Justice 5K
September 10, 2011
Cause: Humiliation and torment. [I kid.] Crimestoppers was the cause de jour.
Would I run three miles for this shirt? Eh, no. But they did hand out chocolate milk at the end — and anyone that knows me knows I love chocolate milk.
Would I run it again? Nope. Those people scared me. I originally signed up for the Moravian Festival 5K. They gave out chicken pie and sugar cookies at the finish line. I switched to the Crimestoppers race to run with my sister. She felt obligated to support the race because my brother-in-law is part of the judicial system. Next year I’m eating chicken pie at the finish line with the peace loving Moravians, dang it.

 

Moonlight Madness 5K
September 16, 2011
Cause: Local charities [See how I bluffed because I can’t remember?]
Would I run three miles for this shirt? Absolutely — the graphic glows in the dark!
Would I run it again? I would. It’s a night race to kick-off Rock the Block weekend in Winston. It was a good time. And I get a gold star because I ran for help when a racer fell and broke her arm. The pizza/beer distribution at the end was a mess, but I’m not above cutting in line to steal pizza. I am a hero, after all.

 

Double Header: Poplar Grove Plantation 5K Autumn Fun Run & Pink Shamrock 5K
September 24, 2011
Cause: Historic preservation and breast cancer research
Would I run three miles for this shirt? Yes, and here’s way: My cousin passed away a few days before these races. When I wrote that I couldn’t attend the races because I would be at a family funeral, both race directors mailed my packets to me. I appreciated their consideration.
Would I run it again? Absolutely. If for no other reason than I like to support nice people.

 

Women’s Only 5K
October 1, 2011
Cause: Breast Cancer Research
Would I run three miles for this shirt? Yes. It’s cute. It’s thick cotton. I love it!
Would I run it again? Definitely. The feel good race of the year. It was a great atmosphere. It was very pink. The lady that ran in front of me was apparently a cancer patient because all of the hospital race volunteers knew her name. She had a note pinned to her hat that said, “Suck it up, Mary. YOU CAN DO THIS.” After the brutality of the Crimestoppers race, it was nice to see wide scale encouragement. It’s amazing we didn’t all skip across the finish line holding hands.

 

Ardmore 5K
October 8, 2011
Cause: Second Harvest Food Bank
Would I run three miles for this shirt? Runner down. I didn’t run this race because I was sick with a nasty head cold. My sister picked up my packet, but I haven’t seen the shirt. I hear it’s long sleeve — exciting!
Would I run it again? I can see this being a yearly run to do with my sister.

 

Trick or Treat Trot 5K
October 15, 2011
Cause: Communities in Schools
Would I run three miles for this shirt? It’s hunter orange, but I’ll still say yes.
Would I run it again? Of course. I’ll take any opportunity for a trip to Wilmington. The race coordination was a bit unorganized, but they pulled it together for a fun race. My fastest finish ever.

 

Reading Rocks! 5K
October 22, 2011
Cause: Literacy programs
Would I run three miles for this shirt? I like it. It’s much better than the shirt they sold to the kids for the walk-a-thon.
Would I run it again? It would be silly not to run it again. The course is in my neighborhood. And I get credit for attending a school event without the bother of being there all day. Only drawback: A 7 a.m. start in the dark. Silver lining: Running under a crescent moon.

 

Because we’re only mid-way through the autumn race season, here’s the rest of the schedule:
October 29: Halloween Hustle 5K
October 30: Monster Dash 5K
November 5: Heels for Hope 5K
November 11: Joint Special Operations 5K
November 12: Run United 5K
November 19: Eve Carson Memorial 5K
November 24: Turkey Strut 5K
December 3: Mistletoe Run 5K
December 10: Twinkle Toes 5K
December 17: Ryan’s Reindeer Run 5K

 

And I’m off…

 

Race Report: Crimestoppers Run for Justice September 13, 2011

Fact.

I should have gotten a Purple Heart for this run. After calculating how long it would truly take to get to my sister’s house on Saturday morning, I realized I had to wake up at 4:30 am. Just the knowledge that I had to wake up at 4:30 kept me awake until 11:00 pm Friday night. My body works in mysterious way. I got up, jumped in my running clothes, downed a cold slice of pizza (what?!) and hit the road by 5:00 am. When I got to my sister’s exit, I called her to let her know I was close. “OK, cool,” she said. “Oh, and I read the starting time wrong, we don’t have to be there until 8:30 instead of 8:00.” She pretty much couldn’t have said anything that would have wounded my heart more in that moment. I grieved for the lost 30 minutes of sleep, but made my peace before I got to her door.

The great thing about being early is that you don’t have the panic of finding parking, finding the starting line, finding the port-a-potties before the race. You just wander. Calm and free. As we were walking up the sidewalk, my sister commented that there weren’t many runners. It was true. It looked as if the local running club showed up, maybe a few family members but that was it. Easily less than 100 people. I was feeling inadequate. These were serious runners. I am… not. Yet. I told my sister she didn’t have to wait for me. She’s been running for years. She would be fine with these people. An older woman heard my strategy and said she would linger back with me. She was wearing a knee brace. Behind us were a group of blind runners. That’s right, blind runners. Some had escorts, some ran independently. Talk about motivating. Those folks had no fear.

We were walking up the sidewalk as the Kid’s Fun Run finished up. A group of ladies were blocking the sidewalk. The first of the two kids racing ran past. I checked for the second kid. She was a few yards back and running near the center of the road. I stepped off the curb to slide past the ladies blocking the walk. In a fury, one of the ladies reached out and grabbed my upper arm. She jerked at me. I pulled my arm away as her nails dug in and scratched me. Seriously, what did she think I was going to do? Run out and trip the kid? I turned my head and shot her a look that stopped her group cold. “I was just going around you,” I said in a growl. Crimestoppers, I would like to report an assault.

All was well once the race started. Knee Brace Lady and I traded positions for the first mile or so. I walked up the hills, ran down them. (What?!) We made our way up 4th street, across Cherry, then down 5th. Halfway down 5th Street, I noticed I was being passed by very lean men moving very quickly. I seriously thought they were just random people running — because I’m clever like that. When we came around the corner and headed back up to 4th Street, I was feeling pretty good despite having walked more than I would have liked. A sign said three miles. Something seemed off, but I wasn’t going to fight it. I followed the Lean Guys. We were nearing the starting line. Suddenly a race official stuck out his arms and yelled at me, “This is for the finishers!” I think I looked stunned [because I was]. Two other race officials were nearby. “Go around this way to keep going, Honey,” one said. I stopped for a moment and said, “So what? I don’t look like I could finish in 20 minutes?” I gave them a “pssshh” and ran on. The old guys laughed. The Finish Line Nazi did not. [In case you are wondering, the fastest man finished in 16 minutes. The fastest woman finished in 19 minutes.]

My little bolt of defiance gave me a burst of energy. I wasn’t thrilled to do the loop again, but at least I was halfway through. The second loop was pretty quiet. I ran alone. I walked alone. My sister doubled back and met me on 5th Street as I was coming down. She ran part of the way with me, then cut through the park to wait for me at the finish line. When I was making my last turn, one of the ladies from the sidewalk group earlier cheered me on. “I like your headband,” she said. “Thanks, it’s from Active Bands,” I told her. Apparently that was more chatting from me than she approved of because she said, “Keep going, you aren’t finished.” I looked back to nod at her [and secretly roll my eyes] when I caught sight of the Knee Brace Lady. I waited for her. “I’ll run with you,” I told her. Sidewalk Lady yelled, “Run! You can beat her! She’s wearing a knee brace!” I’m not making that up. I repeated to the Knee Brace Lady, “We’ll cross together.” And we did. In 41:45.

Race History:
Crimestoppers Run for Justice 5K: 41:45 minutes
Tour de Lila
[15 miles]: 70 minutes
Run Wild at the Zoo 5K: 44:04 minutes

Currently Reading: Stuck on The Happiness Project. I don’t know why I can’t get through this book.

Training Log: Yesterday: Walk/Run, 2.6 miles, 36 minutes; Today: Spin, 16.6 miles, 45 minutes

 

Race Report: Tour de Lila September 6, 2011

Head cow said to the other cows, "Nobody move. That girl ain't right."

I was about eight miles into the ride when I realized a cow was staring at me. Actually, not just one cow, but a field of cows. They had stopped grazing and seemed to hold their breath as they watched me chug down mouthfuls of water. I suppose I was a sight. I was alone on a country road where forty-some-odd bikes had already ridden through. I was red faced, dry mouthed and was working on a hateful disposition. Moments earlier Z had been riding behind me. After too many “we need to catch up!” and “use your gears!” I told him to go ahead of me. Instead of drafting, he took off. Insert the hateful disposition right there. As I caught my breath, I noticed an old farmer was watching me from the barn. Deciding I was too pitiful to be a threat, he moved along with his Saturday morning chores. The cows, though, they were suspicious. Why was this chunky girl trying to ride a bike down their road? Why didn’t the skinny men in tight pants wait for her? Is that milk in that bottle?

The Tour de Lila was the first bike ride Z and I had participated in. We loaded our bikes and headed to my mom’s house the night before. She stuffed us with spaghetti and meatballs. She gave us the big bed so we would be rested. The ride was 15, 25 or 50 miles. I was told it was a family ride. In truth, the only “families” that showed up were professional riding teams from the local bike shops. They all headed out on the 50 mile ride on their $5,000 bikes. As I watched them roll out, I thought that they really did look like the guys from the Tour de France. Z and I were signed up for the 25 mile ride. We were riding our mountain bikes. My spin instructor, Justin, assured me that I could easily do 25 miles. As I stared into the deep brown eyes of a cow, I thought, “I’m a fool. There is no way I can do 25 miles. This isn’t freakin’ spin class. There is wind out here!” Z had doubled back, so I ended my water break. We were almost to the point where a decision had to be made — turn left and go 25 miles, stay straight and go 15. Up ahead [he left me again], Z signaled to turn left. I stayed straight. I figured if I was going to ride alone, I might as well blaze my own path. The local bike shop guy came by in his van to see how I was doing. Good, I said. Keep going, he said. The 50 milers passed me too. They cheered encouragement. I was doing a respectable job (meaning I hadn’t fallen off my bike), when the first hill came. And it came with a vengeance. It’s true, I don’t entirely understand how to use my gears. I thought I had the general concept, but in practice, I was failing miserably. I got off of my bike and walked for a moment. The bike guy in the van was back. “Are you OK?” Yes. “You sure?” Yes. “Bike OK?” Clearly he did not think I was OK and wanted me to stop being delusional. “I’m fine. That hill almost killed me.” He looked concerned. “I’m fine,” I said and got back on my bike and peddled off. There were three more major hills, but I didn’t get off of my bike. At one point I looked like I was barely moving, but I was on the seat with my bike in the upright position. Small victories, people.

The irony is that when I finished the ride, I felt good. Good and energetic. I finished 15 real road miles in an hour and 10 minutes. The bike shop riders were averaging about 22 miles in an hour. In spin class I can finish 25 miles in 50 minutes on a base ride. I probably could have done 25 miles for the Tour de Lila. I know now I could have done 25. Next time I’ll have a little faith in myself.

Currently Reading: The Happiness Project is still sitting on my bed stand and Sarah’s Key is in my bookbag waiting to be read. I really haven’t read anything since I went back to work on August 25th. According to Stephen King, if you don’t have time to read, you have no business writing.

Training Log: My training has been off the rails since the beginning of August. Next 5K is this coming Saturday. I absolutely get the NO EXCUSES, JUST DO IT! philosophy, but I also get that I have to show up at work and do household chores and finish my freelance articles and shower and sleep. I’ll figure it out, because I think two blogs saying “I did it, but it wasn’t pretty” is enough.

 

Race Report: Run Wild! 5K at the NC Zoo August 21, 2011

Filed under: 5K,Exercise Follies,Road Trip,Training Log — Teri @ 4:05 pm

I had to reassure him that my headband is faux giraffe print.

No one told me that the zoo has hills. I take that back. Patterson told me, but I didn’t believe her. We were sitting at the Ale House Friday after work when I reminded everyone, as I ate fried pickles and drank sweet tea, that I was running my first 5K race the next morning. There are a lot of hills at the zoo, Patterson said. No there isn’t, I countered. I have always lived within a few hours of the North Carolina Zoo and have been at least a handful of times, if not more. I didn’t remember any hills. Apparently I have early onset dementia.

Z and I rose at 5 o’clock, so we could hit the road to Asheboro by 5:30 a.m. I drive through Asheboro and past the zoo every time I go home to visit my family, so I knew it would be about an hour and a half of travel time. The race started at 7:30 a.m., so there would be time to pick up our race packets and stretch before the start of the race. I banked on there being even more time since I assumed no one other than us would be on the road in the predawn of Saturday morning. I totally miscalculated. It took two hours and we got there just in time to make it to the starting line. [I won’t talk about how we took a wrong turn and lost even more time because Z trusted the GPS over me. I also won’t mention how snarky he was when giving those misguided directions.]

I figured my frustration would propel me through the race. I don’t think Z wanted to be near me any more than I wanted to be near him, so he bolted through the crowd. The starting gate was a narrow walkway leading back to the African exhibits. The beginning of the race was incredibly congested with strollers and walkers and shufflers. The serious runners were mad because the congestion cut into their finishing times. I was just glad that everyone didn’t break out into a sprint. The zoo is a beautiful place for a run though. Unfortunately, It was too early for the animals to be strolling around their exhibits. I don’t think they had to be at work until 9.

I felt good starting out. I decided to keep pace with a girl wearing an orange bandana in her hair. I guessed she was about my size and my fitness level. By the end of the first mile, she left me. Clearly, we are not the same fitness level. I lowered my expectations and focused on a middle aged man and his son. The kid was probably five or six. The dad was a runner. He had that lean look about him. If nothing else, I could keep pace with the kid who was verbalizing the whines I was screaming in my head. Another hillllllll?! By the end of the second mile, they left me. Turns out that kid is pretty scrappy when promised a breakfast of ice cream. By then I was running down the hills and walking up them. I settled in beside a huge kid in his early 20s. You could tell he played the defensive line in high school football. He was probably 6’2″ and chunky. He huffed loudly as he pounded down the hills, gravity pulling him along. That’s OK. When I was keeping up with Orange Bandana, I could barely hear my iPod over the sound of my panting. We only had a 1/3 of a mile to go (Big Kid asked a route volunteer.) when I saw Z coming down the trail toward me. He had already crossed the finish line but came back to finish with me. He finished in 30 minutes and I finished in 44 minutes.

My goal when I concocted this goofy 5K plan was to run my entire first race without walking. Well, I didn’t meet that goal. I probably split the time between running and walking. I didn’t really keep up with it. I was more focused on avoiding runaway strollers on those freakin’ hills that weren’t supposed to be there. So new goal is this: By the October races, I should be running all the way. Then as I work my way through the November and December races, I just want each one to have a better finishing time than the last. I have a long way to go. To make it happen I need to follow my training schedule. I need to lay off the fried pickles. And maybe next time they should just release the lions to motivate the chubby runners in the back of the pack.