I did the Earlywine 5K for the 3rd time today. I went in feeling uncertain since I hadn’t run this week. I’ve trained off and on, mostly on the treadmill and spent very little time outdoors. I’ve gone to yoga class more and while it makes me feel good and it can be a cardio workout it isn’t the same. So I went into this with some trepidation and figured if I finished I’d call it good.

I did come prepared. I wore two pairs of socks and brought my little cooler with some Crystal Light and protein bars. And since my bladder is old and does not like being jostled around I also wore a sanitary pad. Gross but necessary, getting old is icky. I brought my phone, earbuds and sunglasses. I also looked around for my sister Layah, who said she might, maybe come do the race with me. She and her boyfriend did it with me 2 years ago and all three of us were wheezing at the end.

I started out slow, walking when everybody else took off jogging and passed me by. I fought the temptation to run, remembering my last race and how it did me in. So I warmed up, let everybody pass me by and just grooved to my race playlist. After the first song I started jogging, my jog is more like a trot. Think of a pig and how they move. A funny thing happened, some of those early runners had already run out of steam and were walking now. We were about a quarter of a mile in at this point. I kept my attention on the street ahead and listened to the playlist, it was the same one I had at the last raec because I was too lazy to make a new one. I began to pass people but told myself not to feel smug. The first time I did this race I had to walk it and I struggled, I’ve been the slowest and know what it’s like to be the end of the line, to get passed by babies in strollers. But not this year.

I jogged awhile with no problem then the wind changed everything. We had been running at an angle, not into the wind but next to it then when I turned the curve the wind was blowing in my face. The wind had helped me propel myself downhill and I had to stop myself from going faster than I am used to, so I wouldn’t crash. But the wind wasn’t going to let me or any of us off easy, it changed direction again and most of the race I had wind blowing into my face. Since I was a weenie and spent most of my time inside on a treadmill in a climate controlled gym I wasn’t used to this. I know better.

Oklahoma wind has been mentioned in song and story. Simply put Oklahoma wind is a mother. It’s not easy to describe, you have to experience it. Sometimes it feels good, light and gentle but don’t be deceived, it can change on you in a second, in direction and intensity. It can be any season, any time of day and at its worse it can destroy buildings, move semi trucks and even kill. About 2 weeks ago I went to the lake to walk and since the sun was shining, the temp was warm and I had the time I went. And I ended up walking into the equivalent of a wind tunnel, walking into and against the wind when it was about 20 mph. The next day my thighs and butt were sore. Ironically I should have done this more often.

The wind slowed me down and took some of my time off. I wasn’t able to jog the whole race, I had to settle for walking for some of it, when the wind was stronger than my breath. I was a little bummed but knew I wasn’t really prepared so it was also partly my fault as well. The wind seemed to slow down most people, there were a lot more walking than running.

I did finish the race and my time was good, for me. I was not the fastest (not by a long shot) but like I told myself earlier, long as I finish it’s good. I was 58 out of a field of 91 women, I was 7th in my age division and my guntime was 40:37. I felt good about this.

A few minutes ago I looked at the photos a company took, they take pics of every person along the way and you can buy a copy if you choose. i looked at mine and cringed. I looked like an enormous pink and black sausage. Since the bypass I’ve lost about 70 pounds. I gained about 10 over the holidays but managed to lose it and I’m back to my fighting weight. I’ve been exercising, mostly going to yoga but jogging/walking at the lake and I’ve spent time at the gym. I watch my calories carefully and try to make good food choices in terms of nutrition. My blood sugar is in the normal range and I am healthy, according to my last check-up. So why did seeing myself make me feel so awful? I know I am not petite, I’ll never be tiny, little or skinny. I’m not built that way. I inherited the bone structure of my dad’s side, they are stocky, sturdy people and some of them are obese. My mother was small, she was fine-boned and delicate looking. So was her mother and her mother, they were small boned and naturally thin, similar to Asian women or the indian women in Louise Erdrich’s books. I got my dad’s side instead. I looked and felt like a sumo wrestler next to my petite mother. So I have issues with that, even now. I’m less likely to have osteoporosis like they did, so I got that going for me. I’m not curvy, I have a flat indian butt on bottom and not much on top. My build is athletic, more muscular and i will never be like my mother, my body won’t allow it. Yet knowing all this I was surprised I still looked fat, at least to my critical eyes. I deleted the email and decided I did not want a copy of any of the pictures. It took a little charge off my buzz. But I know I did a good race, despite the wind and my poor training. I finished and I felt good after. Just try to forget those lousy pictures.




wow (and bonus book review)

I took my first Friday yoga class in a long time last week. I would say it’s because I’m motivated by energy and determination but it was really about cake and the reason for cake.

My teacher mentioned the Friday class happy hours they have, drinks of some sort are provided after class but this week they were celebrating someone’s birthday. Facebook had a post about it and I did a double take when I saw it was for this woman’s 60th birthday. She was spending her birthday in yoga class and wanted to share it with as many people as possible. I have to say I also spent my birthday this year in yoga class, did not tell anyone because they would want to know how old I am so I let it be. This lady did not care and revels in the fact she’s entering her 6th decade. I hope I can do that too, not just the reveling part but still do downward dog and inversions when I’m 60.

She is an amazing woman and at first glance you couldn’t tell she was 60 and the mother of a grown daughter, who was also there stretching and groaning with her mom. They liked each other, something that is incredible to me since mother-daughter relations are often awkward or outright unpleasant for many of us. But they were sitting together drinking champagne and eating tiramisu , even posing for a picture smiling and sitting on each other’s laps.

I’d never met her and got up the nerve to say I came because I wanted to meet the person who wanted to have her birthday party at yoga class. I admit I also wanted to get a look at her, to see there was someone older than me in these classes. Most of the people are younger, in their 20s and 30’s and I am an old broad.  They have greater strength and can do poses I can’t, which can be somewhat discouraging but I do what I can. I admit I sometimes feel better when I see them struggle to hold a pose I can do or move from pose to pose when I’m already there. I may be old but it doesn’t mean I’m mature.

She was friendly, told us her plans and i envied her a little. She’s got her crap together. I asked how long she’s been doing yoga and she said 5 years. She didn’t want to be an old lady with a walker. I told her about Jerry’s pacemaker surgery and how people I know who are my age and even younger have those kinds of health problems. She plans to be strong, healthy and enjoy life as long as possible. Then she got a refill on her champagne.

The cake was good, a chocolate tiramisu. There were healthy snacks– veggies, hummus, whole grain crackers and fruit– as well.  I had a sip of champagne and remembered I didn’t like alcohol and went for more hummus and grapes.

The yoga studio is moving and this was my last class in the old building. It’s a cool old Craftsman house with creaky floors, noisy pipes and erratic air conditioning but with beautiful details like crown molding. Today is the last class there and tomorrow we’ll be in the new place. It’s bigger inside, will accommodate up to 40 people (supposedly) and have plenty of parking. There’s restaurants nearby, including a taco place next door so people are encouraged to go hang out after classes. I usually put on my shoes and head out but after this Friday I might linger and hang around in case someone suggests having a taco or smoothie.

I also finished reading Mile Markers The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristin Armstrong.  It was recommended on a booklist and there’s lots of nice blurbs on back by prominent runners. I was expecting stories or first person accounts of why different women ran, their reasons and motivations. It’s a series of columns written by Armstrong, each one is about 2 pages long and they are like devotionals, short thought provoking pieces. She recycles the same central ideas and themes, about how she runs and the little epiphanies that come out during training. It’s not a bad book, it is motivational and chatty, she writes about her family and friends and her travels. But her motivations are different from mine. She enjoys running with her group of friends, making it a social activity. I prefer to run (or walk) alone because I am a curmudgeon and introvert who prefers solitude and this is one activity I can do alone, without a team or group.  She does most of her runs at the unholy hour of 5am, which I cannot do. I have to be at work at the unholy hour of 6am and I’m not a happy morning person. I prefer to do my run/jog/walk/whatever in the late afternoon and evening when I am finally awake and use it to clear my head from work or whatever has occupied me earlier. She’s a mom and there’s a fair bit of being a mom in there, which is fine for the mom demographic but other women might not relate and get bored or tired of hearing about her kids. She mentions faith, but not in an overly religious way but that could put off some readers as well (though I did like the fact she’s Catholic) but she does like wine. Which could put off some of the religious readers. She’s also the ex-wife of Lance Armstrong (I didn’t make the obvious connection til the end when she says something about him finishing the Giro d’Italia)  She doesn’t trash him or say much about him, which is decent of her and keeps the focus on running, where it belongs. Overall it’s a good book for short little bursts of motivation.  It’s a happy feel-good chick-lit kind of book and would be a good gift for someone who’s starting out. It didn’t give me the kind of motivation I was seeking but I give it a conditional recommendation based on who is the recipient.

the race playlist

I did my first 5K of the year yesterday. I had trained, mostly on the treadmill and increased my speed so I felt confident I could do this. Yet I was nervous, it has been over a year since my last race, I’ve been a slug most of the year and this was a course and race I’ve never done. I made a race playlist to help me along, most were new songs (new to me anyway) and a couple of old favorites. My thanks goes to freegal and Metro and Pioneer library systems for letting me try new songs and download them for free.

Sky is the Limit  DJ Antoine {I love this song, there’s a break that makes me push forward and had me bouncing on the balls of my feet}

Can’t Hold Us   Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton

Adrenaline     Ricky Martin featuring Jennifer Lopez {With a title like this you can’t go wrong}

Bandz     Mill Jones Band

Indrodu Thadaigal    Chennai City Gangster soundtrack

Hit That Perfect Beat   Bronski Beat {An old favorite, it goes on every race playlist, it’s tradition}

Talking Dreams    Echosmith

Dare You   Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma {Lyrics include “I dare you to run, I dare you to try,” also has a great break}

Snow   Mill Jones Band

I Belong to You   Tiësto featuring CazziOpeia

Do You Wanna Funk With Me   Sylvester {Another old fave, I love the laser sounds}

Break My Fall  Tiësto featuring BT

I take my playlists seriously, I want music with a heavy beat, fast and consistent. No dubstep. I want stuff that motivates and encourages me, lyrics that are positive as much as possible. Lyrics in other languages can be a bonus, I may not speak or understand the words but I can appreciate the voices and rhythm and I’m not distracted by analyzing the lyrics . I want music I genuinely like and that makes this a hard job sometimes. There are more songs that I like and would have included but these were the top 12 and I’ll probably make other lists for the Earlywine and Memorial races too.

Jerry made me a mix CD of some of his favorite songs to listen to when he walks Olive. I appreciated it and told him I’d give it a try. But his tastes and mine are not the same. He picked a lot of teeny-bopper pop Top 40 stuff like Katy Perry and one song that gives me a twitch, “Selfie.” I know it’s parody but still I can’t run/jog to it, I’d be fighting against the music instead of letting it help me get over those hills or tough moments when it seems everybody and their dog has passed me and I want to say the heck with this and quit. The playlist is very important.

I put this on shuffle and let it go. I’m not concentrating on which song is next or thinking about how far along the list I am, I just try to be in the moment. It’s something I’m trying to do in everyday life, not just during a race.