Monday, January 16, 2012

Screw the 99%, I Want To Be Part Of The 1%

Now before you get all worried that I am going to get all political on y'all, I am actually referring to the fact that less than 1% of the US population has completed a marathon.  In fact it is more like  0.10% according to most of the information I have been able to find.  I actually ran across this information last night while talking to the husband and my Mother In Law about different types of races/events.

I actually thought that number would be a lot higher.  I am not entirely sure why I thought it is such a common thing.  Maybe it is because every city I have lived in has some sort of marathon event at least once a year.  In fact my current home of Seattle hosts two each year.  It just seems to me that if the opportunity is there that people would just do it.  Silly nieve me.  I have some how turned a blind eye to the growing number of couch potatoes in our country.  But then again, I watch the Biggest Loser and each season the contestants run (or attempt to run) a marathon.  This would make it seem like it is accessible to anyone.  I honestly didn't realize that I was trying to break into an exclusive club.  This is a big deal!  I have never considered myself to be one of the "Cool Kids" who gets first in line at clubs or be on fancy guest lists.  I have been lucky a few times and have done some pretty cool stuff-but that is always because I knew the "Cool Kid" who was on the list or knew they right person to talk to to get entrance.  This fact makes this goal seem even a little more unreal to me.

I will be honest though, right now, today, this does not seem like a huge goal.  Sure, if I look too far into the training plan I may start to hyperventilate when I look at the mileage, but I am certain that if I stick to my training plan I will be able to do the miles no problem.  I mean so far Hal has set me up perfect.  After this weekend's long run I felt like I could run the whole 26.2 that day.  I have been going steady and conservative.  I run, I stretch, I roll.  I cross train when I am suppose to. I have even cut back on my wine consumption for heaven's sake.  Aside from any major issues I will cross the finish line on April 22 and in fact I really feel like training for distance is for me.  I know that plenty of runners will never do more than a 10k and plenty will go no further than a Half (13.1) but why not?  The answer may be simple "that is just crazy, I have no interest in ever running that long or that far" as my husband told me last night.

We shall see what the future holds for me, but I feel like I have found my niche.  I am really just enjoying the experience of the training.  Plus, it would seem like a waste to do all that training and then let all that endurance go.  Hmmmm, things to think about for the future.

I was also surprised to find out the average age of a marathoner.  The median age of a marathon finisher is 37 years old.  The average finish time is 4:42:10.  (you can find more fun facts here)  So I am a little older than avg, but not by much.  Finish time...well, I have no idea what to expect.  That is part of the fun!  Instant PR this time around.  Next time the work really starts.  Look there, I am already thinking there will be a next time.  That is an oddly comforting thought.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Can Team In Training Read Your Mind??

I received one of those flyers letting me know all of the upcoming events in my area.  Nothing shocking or provocative about that.  They have sent myself and I am sure every other runner/athlete a piece of mail several times a year for many years.
This week was weird though.  When I opened it up I had a flashback to 1999.  It was really kind of strange to be honest.  It was suddenly like I was back living in Green Bay on Webster Ave in the little apartment that was part of an old victorian style house, that was always too hot because it was still heated with radiator heat and the thermostat was in the hallway by the door that lead outside.  I actually remembered the first time I received a TNT brochure!  I even remember where I was standing in that little apartment, right next to the big bay window that overlooked the traffic signal.  It was such a vivid flashback, it took me a minute to kind of get myself back to 2012!  I know you are thinking some strange thoughts about me right now, but bare with me.

At that point I was still oh so young and still was trying to get into my groove.  I had within the last 6mo moved from Newport Beach, CA back to my parents house in WI and shortly thereafter into this lovely little apartment in GB.  I was working kind of weird shifts at the hospital, I was still bar tending, and I also had a retail job at Eddie Bauer.  Some days I worked all three jobs in the same day!  Those were some busy times.

I remember looking at this piece of mail addressed to me, Sarah Blom and thinking really?  Who thinks I can do this?  (Because I was convinced that there was someone actually addressing it to me personally.  Oh to be young a nieve again!)  I read it at least 17 times and actually considered how cool it would be to go to Hawaii to do whichever event they were selling at that moment.  You see this was before I even attempted to take a step quicker than a quick saunter.  That  little piece of junk mail convinced me that I could have an athletic goal.  How strange is that??  I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I quickly got my rear in gear and started training or anything like that, but I will tell you that the idea that I "could" be an athlete entered my head.  It would actually be a few more years before I even attempted my first run.  Sure I think I started taking some really long walks, but nothing that equaled anything.

To have all of that come flashing back at me was very intense.  I am in such a different spot in life now.  The fact that I get it now, NO they don't want me, Sarah specifically, but rather my fundraising abilities. I am actually working toward one of the goals they are always pitching, but for me not their fundraiser.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, I am just happy that I am taking on the challenge of the event rather than the fundraising as well.

This also brings me to my current lack of focus.  It is driving me MAD!!  Mad I tell you!  
I have focus.  That is a word that I would most definitely use to describe myself.  When I am presented with a task, I work until it is done.  I am a perfect worker bee and also a perfect blood hound.  Once I get my nose on something, I don't let it go until it is done or I know the answer.  Oh how it can drive my husband nuts!  Just this weekend I spent what was most likely several hours looking at the Louis Vuitton website comparing it to photos just so I could figure out a specific purse!  REALLY SARAH, you have nothing better to do?? (This is me yelling at me because I get how ridiculous I can be)  
I assisted in Cardiac surgery for God's sake by choice!  You have to have focus to stare into a 4" x 6" hole in someone's chest for 12 hours at a time.  Oddly I enjoyed it.  I hope this properly explains my focus.
So now that I recently have found myself unable to even finish sentences to my husband, I am about ready to yell STOP to the world so I can catch my breath!

It feels like I am being torn into a million little pieces and I am not sure how to make all the pieces work together again.  Maybe I am trying to do too much?  I don't think so, but maybe it would be a good idea to try and reevaluate all that is going on.  I see other people doing all sorts of things at the same time and they don't seem to be on the brink of insanity.  Maybe this is because they don't feel the need to focus on every single little detail concerning every single bit of their life.  Emails, texts, supper, snacks, pre-school conversations, my sister's wedding invitations I am making, the package that was delivered to our house that is not ours, making and maintaining friendships, trying to figure out what the weather will be like in SLO on April 22 and how I can figure out what outfit I should wear for my first 26.2...these are all things that I am presently trying to focus on all at the same time, plus many others MANY MANY others.  It is not the amount of things on my plate, none of them are particularly overwhelming.  It is the amount of focus I want to put into all of them.  It's just not going to happen and it is driving me NUTS!!

I think I will throw my hands up in the air and give least for a little bit and go for a run.  Easy three today should be just enough to get my head back to on straight.  AH HA!  It is clear to me now...I have not run in two days (because HAl told me not to) and the indoor bike trainer is even more mind numbing than treadmill running!!!  Here's to a run and hopefully a cleared head...Cheers!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Welcome To The World Of Dating

I have recently become acutely aware of the fact that I am back in the dating scene. I thought this would all be over the day I told Mike I was not interested in dating other people, which in case you were wondering was on our second date.
Years have passed and I have now learned I am no better at the dating scene now than I was before. Sure, I never had a problem saying yes to a date. Free food! Who passes that up? I had no problem with blind dates, dates offered after sitting next to someone in a bar for a few hours, I always thought "what could hurt meeting this person in public?" and NO I never let a date pick me up or know where I lived until we were an "item".

I always felt the same way though, a little cautious not to reveal too much too quick, a little nervous, a little jittery, wondering if this will be a total waste of time (many times it was), all in all a general anxious feeling would come over me.

Fast forward to be married with children in a new land. My support system is at zero. So time to buck up sister and put yourself out there.

While I was in the throws of PPD I tried to do this  but really, I could barely brush my teeth! How could I form lasting relationships with other women?

Fast forward a little further, we are again back to the re-TREAT. I was surrounded by women for an entire weekend that really were open to meeting me! Life changing is again putting it lightly! I flexed my social skills and found out I still have a little "charm" left in me from those dating days. I put forward my best skills and have cultivated some priceless friendships. Friendships I can see sticking because of the many things we have in common as well as the things that we can bring to each other.

Now this is great and all, it was kind if like shooting fish in a barrel. You won't have to try long before you hit your target. So how would I fair in the real world? Again like dating the opposite sex it is little hit or miss. I'm down with that. I'm not for everyone and I get that.

What is more amazing to me is the fact that I am just as oblivious to the fact that I am being "hit on" as I was to a guy hitting on me. I was horrible with subtle hints unless I wanted to see it. The same has become clear to me now! Perfect example: today I took my bike in to the bike shop to get it tuned up. The poor thing has been sitting unloved for a few years now! Amazingly, I went into Kirkland Bicycle and was pleasantly surprised that two women were working and in fact one if them was the mechanic that was going to fix my ride up!! I was giddy! I have always struggled with feeling like an athletic poser and trying to talk to men in "their" world helped nothing.

So after her quick diagnosis that my bike was yes dirty but overall in good shape, we got to talking. She said it would be done by tonight most likely. I said "great but no rush. I won't be able to ride until Sunday". She then asked if I had a ride in mind. The conversation went on with me explaining that I was training for a full marathon and was planning on using the bike inside on my trainer as my cross training and then hopefully this spring or summer I could get back on the road.
Idiot!!  After I walked out, I replayed the conversation in my head (which I am ALWAYS prone to do, maybe that is why I remember everything anyone has ever said to is a sickness I tell you!!) and I realized she was hitting on me...not in the "hey baby" kind of way, but she was subtly asking if I wanted to meet up for a ride-or maybe at least she could set me in the right direction, which is still a friendly gesture.  Now I am hoping that she is there again when I pick up the bike so I can maybe cultivate another friendship.

This is one thing I have learned, I have always been good with having one or two close friends, but not as good at having acquaintances.  This is actually a goal I have set for myself.  I have given myself permission to have friends that I don't give my heart and soul to.  It is ok if some friends are just there for a quick run or a bike ride, or scrap-booking, or some other thing that I don't even know yet.  Although I know me and I know that given time I would gladly lay down my life for even those acquaintances.

So I will plod along "dating" new friends as they come.  I am getting the hang of it...but I am still not perfect by any stretch!

On a different note:  I had a GREAT run today!  I got to enjoy the sunshine and balmy temps here in WA in January. Amazing in that fact alone, but I also was on par to PR a 5k and I wasn't even racing!  Alas, the hill I have to climb back up to my house killed me though.  It was very close and in fact just shy of beating my hubs time the other day.  My first mile was even under 8:00!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Aaaaaand This Is Why I Hate My Husband.....

So my last post was explaining how awesome my husband is...this post will do the opposite.

I challenged my dear hubs to "Streak", run at least one mile per day for as long as you can.  He started on Saturday and has since done at least 1mi and has even run more.  Last night he officially has beaten my most recent 5k time...and he has done nothing athletic since the day we met!!!!!  JERK!!!!

Well let's back up.  He at one point was, for lack of a better explanation, a world class athlete.  He competed at State Level wrestling and was second place at least once, maybe twice (I kind of forget the specifics...I am really listening honey, promise) and won his weight class his senior year.  If I am not mistaken he was also either undefeated that year or only had one loss. I may be a little foggy here, but I know he had less than a half dozen losses in his entire career! He then went on to receive a full scholarship to Cal Poly San Puis Obispo.  He also without any training did a several hundred mile peddle bike ride with his dad.  Literally... thought it would be fun, so jumped on the bike (that he just bought) and went!  Even when we first met he was a gym rat with his buddies.  I could go into detail about his awesome abs, chest, arms *sigh* but I will leave that alone.
Then we met.  At the same time he started a new job that had him traveling more days in a week than not.  Then we got married, promptly had a baby, he renovated a majority of our first home from studs back up, then we had another baby, then he dealt with a wife with PPD...let's just say he has not seen the inside of a gym in over 5yrs!!!  Of course he gets out at least once or twice a year to ski and he has wind surfed a few times, but nothing consistant.

So after less than one week of running...the jerk runs faster than I do!  THE NERVE!!  PLUS he HATES running!!  To him it is a punishment, not something to be enjoyed.  That is how he attacked his first few 1mi runs.  Fast as possible who cares about pace.

Of course, if you look at me...I am clearly the winner of this battle.  I may not be faster right now, BUT he did not gain 50lbs, lose 40 of it, and then promptly gain it all back, then lose 40lbs of it again,  all within a 24mo period!  The whole time producing a brand new human out of just a few cells!
Did I also mention that he is 5 years younger than me?!?!  Yes FIVE!!  Five years ago, I could run a faster 5k too.

So of course this is where I tell you, I really don't hate my husband, in fact I LOVE him!  Not just because he is roped into this kid thing with me, but also because he supports my activities even before he tries to fit his activities back into his life.  He has even asked me when the next 5k race will be that we could maybe run together.  Of course that kind of puts a kink in our childcare situation, I don't care!  I had seen other couples running races together and I was always a little jealous.  Nothing bonds you more than a little sweat!
We even talked about running for enjoyment last night.  We came up with the 5k most likely being the max he would ever be interested in....maybe a 10k, but that might be pushing it.

So there...I have converted and inspired at least one non-runner!  My evil plan is slowly get all my loved ones to enjoy all of my hobbies.  Watch out sisters you are next :o)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I Would Like To Take This Opportunity To Thank My Spouse

Last night as the year was turning to a new beginning, Mike and I were sitting on the couch enjoying a fire in the fireplace along with a glass (or more) of wine.  For us this is our "Date Night".  Sure we go out and do things but honestly we feel like we connect more when it is just the two of us in a candle lit room as opposed to "Check out what that woman has on" or "Do you think that is his real hair?" that we find ourselves talking about when we are out in public.

As we were going over the deep things in life, it came up that Mike is proud of me.  More specifically proud of my running.  He told me the story of how he felt when he and the babies saw me come around the corner at the 12k's of Christmas.  He told me he suddenly was very aware of what I was doing.  There I was chugging along after all those miles with a smile on my face...just doing it!  He was so proud and happy that I have given the children the gift of a Mother Runner, but more importantly giving myself the gift of running.

You see over the last two+ years, I have lost myself.  It dawned on me yesterday that I had turned into "Ryan and Elise's mom"  Not that that is a bad thing, and it certainly is true in it's description of me.  The downside is I had lost the "Sarah" of Sarah.  Every online "handle" I had was a variation of mom.  "Mommy Mertel", "Ryan&Elise's Mom", "R&E'sMom"...these are all some examples of the names I use.
It made me acutely aware of wanting to be more me again.  So I promptly changed my blog handle to simply "Sarah"...who would have thought right??
This also plays into the conversation Mike and I were having with our wine.  I told him that when I grew into my adult self, what I found was I was happiest when I figured out that athletics made me feel good and proud of myself.  It boosted my self esteem, it made me have much clearer thoughts, it all around was a good thing in my life.   I would have described myself as a runner, a cyclist, a swimmer, a hiker, a camper, a golfer, an avid reader, and a wannabe gourmet chef.  None of those describers say anything about my job or place in life, what my political viewpoint is, or what kind of a consumer I am.  That makes me feel good.

Along the way motherhood has become my profession and along with it motherhood has become what I use to describe myself.  This is dangerous in my opinion.  I have always been fearful for those who are defined by their work as opposed to who they are.  It is like they don't know sad.
Well here I am in that group!

I guess what my New Year's Resolution really is, is to define Sarah as Sarah this year.  I told Mike that 2012 is my year and he couldn't be happier!  I can't tell you how amazing it is to have a life partner who really gets me and truly wants me to live a full and happy life not only for myself, but for the greater good of our family.

So here it is, these are the words that describe me now;
I am a runner and a soon to be Marathoner (OMG that makes my heart flutter)
I am an amazing, giving Wife who truly loves my husband to his core.
I am a Mom to two amazing, spirited, high energy, incredibly intelligent children who literally make life worth living every single day to it's fullest.

These are in a specific order.  Me first, my husband next because without him I would not be a mom, and then my kids.  Not that they are any less important, but I think it's good that the world doesn't always revolve around them...who am I kidding, the world DOES revolve around them :o)

If you feel so inclined, I would LOVE to hear the words you use to describe yourself
Peace and Love