A Kick In The Pants In My Mailbox

Do you ever put on your workout clothes and then not exercise?  Maybe you end up wearing them all day while doing everything but exercising?  Yeah, me too.  It’s amazing how much I can get done when I’m laced up and ready to go.  I’ve cleaned out the fridge, weeded gardens, plucked my eyebrows and vacuumed the entire house to postpone a work out.  And if you see me wearing my work out clothes in the grocery store?  You’d be correct —  I’m deep into avoidance.   I’ll admit, I’ve done this a fair amount of times — and yesterday was no different.

My gear was on and I was trying to decide between doing a dvd or going for a run.  Both would be tough at this point since I’ve been L A Z Y under my rock.  I couldn’t decide and so I checked my email, facebook and twitter accounts.  Still couldn’t decide so I cleaned the kitchen, watered plants, did the sudoku and got the mail.

And there it was.  A kick in the pants in my mailbox.

Personal mail in a handwritten envelope!   Like the crack rush I get when I have a new comment on my blog except NOTHING compares to snail mail.   The fact that someone bought a card and wrote in it with a real pen makes it so personal.  And touching.  It’s practically an extinct art form.

It was a card from a friend offering encouragement to just hang in there and keep running.  Telling me to take it one day at a time and to remember that “It’s better to run a slow 3 miles than stay on the sofa.”  This from a runner who can run half marathons meant a lot.  The timing was perfect.  I actually laughed out loud and thought how did she know?

I put the mail on the counter, stretched and ran out the door.

It was the fastest I’ve run in a month — and it felt great.

Two things I’ve taken away from this:

  • The old cliche JUST DO IT is true.  I’ve already made my decision to exercise regularly to keep my brain and body healthy.  Now I need to respect my decision and just friggin do it!
  • Kindness is priceless.  Unexpected, out of the blue kindness is even better.  I can’t wait to pay it forward.

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
~  Ralph Waldo Emerson

10 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp

When I read or hear news confirming the possibility of preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s I am renewed with hope!  The idea that my future can be influenced by the choices I make today is pretty powerful and it helps me stay the course of being an Alzheimer’s Warrior.

That’s why I love this recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune titled “10 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp.” It offers clear and simple ways to love your brain, with exercise being the top two.   GET MOVING is #1 and says, “If you do only one thing to keep your brain young, exercise.”  This is my motivation — nothing has given me a better reason to lace up and break a sweat.  PUMP IRON is #2 on the list.   I don’t pump iron.  Yet.

The bonus?   A healthy brain is just ONE of the benefits of following this list.

Go to “10 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp” to learn more.

What are you doing to keep YOUR brain healthy?

Run a 10K . . . CHECK!

The 10K almost took me out this morning, but I persevered and came down the stretch under my goal time with a 1:08:45 finish. I have never been more grateful for a finish line. Things were humming along pretty smoothly until I hit mile 5 and the thought of walking started creeping in on me. But I decided before I started, that stopping was NOT an option. So I hung on, and even managed to pick up my pace on the last mile when I saw how close I was getting to my 1:10 goal.

Here are some photos of our morning from my generous and beautiful friend Laurie Orr who graciously agreed to get up early on a Saturday morning to capture this event.  Thank you!

I was a little nervous and accidentally put my number on upside down.
The Leonardis Girls have arrived and have made their first appearance at the Apple Blossom 10K! WooHoo!
My awesome brother-in-law Tony, me, my amazing daughter Jordan, and my always supportive husband Vince.
I love this picture! Family is everything. I am mentally inserting my son Jake into this picture. He couldn't join us, but he was still with us.
Right before mile 3.
The last brutal push to the finish.
Done. Finished. Check.
HAPPY!!!

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival 10K
May 5th, 2012 Winchester, VA
Time:  1:08:45
Pace:  11:04

Dear 10K Course,

I’ll admit it.  You intimidated me after my practice run and I was a little nervous when I arrived at your gates this morning.  But I tried to keep calm by reminding myself that I was in charge, not you.  I had my run in my head, and I wasn’t going to falter.  Oh sure, I know things got a little shaky around mile 5 — but you never had the upper hand.  Because what you don’t know is the level of determination that resides in this 49 year old body — and I was determined that you would not win this one.  So thank you 10K Course, you did your best today, but you helped me learn that I can do anything I set my mind to.

Sincerely,

The One In Purple, Racing Alzheimer’s

PS.  My brain thanks you too!

On your mark, get set . . . . .

GO!  The Shenandoah Apple Blossom 10K is less than 24 hours away!  I know I’m going on about this.  Forgive me.  I can’t help myself.  It’s just that I’m obsessed with running right now, and to me, this little 10K may as well be the Boston Marathon.  I never thought I’d be able to run 3 miles let alone 6.2 miles.  Okay.  I’ll stop.  Please don’t roll your eyes.

Here are a couple 10K photos from a few years ago.

Jake and Uncle Tony 2006
The Leonardis Clan 2008

The girls are missing from these photos, but they’ll be in ’em tomorrow!

 

10K Preview – A Lesson In Humility

Soccer player down on field and in agony
This is exactly how I felt during my practice run.

I’ve been training for a 10K. I’m going into my 7th week of serious training which includes running 3 days a week and strength training on the off days. I’ve been gradually working up my distance and can run 5 miles fairly well even though it’s still pretty tough.

So I figure how much harder can one more mile be? I even started saying things like, “I’ll finish the 10K, it’s just a matter of what my time will be.” I started fantasizing about finishing under an hour or at least 65 minutes. No problem.

Well, I ran the actual 10K course in a practice run today — 2 weeks out — just to see what I’m up against.

I am up against a BEAST.

It’s hard. VERY HARD. It chewed me up and spit me out.

I stopped.
I felt like puking.
I didn’t finish.

It could have been the mostly up hill first mile or the many brutal hills that followed. Or it could have been that I ate almost nothing the day before and then had a big bowl of popcorn before bed. Maybe it was my previous days workout which included a lot of leg work — I did wake up a tad sore. Or maybe it was my over zealous first two miles that I ran waaay tooo fast.

Whatever the reason, (all of which WILL be addressed for the official run), I now bow to the course.

Dear 10K course,

I bow to you. I no longer have a time in mind for finishing. My new goal is to just FINISH. And, I will be ecstatic if I can finish you without stopping. I will take it easy and honor your many deceitful ascents knowing that if I barrel up them, I will die later. I will honor your distance — I swear you are longer than 6.2 miles. But know this, I will be prepared and I will be ready. I will be stronger and healthier when we meet again. I bow to you 10K course, but prepare to be trampled!

Sincerely,

The One In Purple, Racing Alzheimer’s

*Note — this post was written 2 weeks ago while my website was under construction.  The 10K is on May 5th, 2 days away from this posting!  Yeah, I’m ready.  BRING IT!!!

Also, check out the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival!  It features the longest parade east of the MississippiFour. Hours. Long.

Running from my past to my future: My First 5K!

Three months ago I couldn’t run a mile, and I recently ran my first 5K!

I ran it on the perfect day and in the perfect place: August 6th in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Why perfect? Because I haven’t lived in Minneapolis for about 25 years, but it’s where my heart calls home. And, August 6th is the day my high school boyfriend lost his life to a drunk driver 32 years ago. It was a long time ago, but this tragic event impacted my life in numerous ways and “my first love” has been in my heart ever since. As I tend to add emotional sentiment to things, this little 5K was a sort of “coming full circle” event for me. I found it very poetic and even cathartic.

Huffing and puffing for 3.1 miles, my playlist steeped in the classic rock that my boyfriend and I loved, Van Halen, Zepplin and Rush (to honor the 1979 concert we saw together), was a nod to where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. From broken, lost and running from pain. To whole, present and running towards life and health.

Running. From enemy to friend. Hello new friend!
Jake and I standing under the 5K Start banner
Early morning, pre-race. One of us will win it and the other will be happy to finish!

Urban Wildland Half Marathon & 5K
Aug. 6th, 2011 Mpls. MN
Time:  33:34
Pace:  10:48

5K (Half Ass) Training cont’d

exhausted male runner with his head in a large bucket of waterYou would think going from 2 miles to 3 miles would be easy enough. It’s not. It’s almost like starting over. It’s how I felt going from 0 to 1 mile. The wall is hit, my body is done. Even as I write this, I’m feeling a little embarrassed because I’m still talking about RUNNING ONLY 3 MILES!

Sheesh! How hard can it be?!

I used to think that everyone could run 3 miles, except me. Kind of like the way I think everyone knows their times tables through the twelves except me. I mean, I know them, but I need extra time with the middle 8’s and 9’s because I was probably daydreaming about Shaun Cassidy that week in 4th grade, and I’ve struggled with them ever since.  I’ve come to find out that not everyone can run 3 miles. Why? Because it friggin far! Don’t believe me? Set your odometer the next time you’re in the car. Find a landmark, and start counting.

Now imagine running that!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m cutting myself a break lately. The idea that I “should” be able to run 3 miles has changed to, “Holy shit this is hard! If I can do this, I can do just about anything!”

So yeah, I’m doing my half ass training and 2.5 miles feels like my first mile.
3.1 is in sight, the only question is will I finish ugly or strong?

5K (Half Ass) Training

HandshakeI agreed, on a handshake, to run a 5K; and I have less than 3 months to do it.

I know.  Three months is a long time to train to run 3.1 miles.  I get it.  But I am new to this running thing, and for someone who can barely run 1 mile, 3 miles may as well be across the country.   I am weak and out of shape and have almost no muscle tone to speak of.  Can you say FLABBY?  Oh sure, I  exercise here and there — take walks, ride my bike, lift groceries, lug laundry; the basics.  But to exercise to exhaustion?  No.  Not really.

I used to think that I didn’t sweat when I exercised.  The truth is, I never worked hard enough.  Oh sure, I’d break a sweat.  But it never got in my eyes and rolled down my body like the Mississippi River.

I can sweat!  And. I. Get. Soaked.    Who knew?

This running (and sweating) thing is new territory.  It’s exhilarating and satisfying and hard work.  I don’t have a training plan and am winging it instead.  Why?  Because I don’t like following rules.  And because I figured I could run every other day and gradually extend my distance until I hit 3.2.  Simple enough, right?

I’m up to two miles now.

I feel like an Olympian.

A soaking wet Olympian.