Monday, October 31, 2011

These Shoes Are Made for Running





I finally got a pair of decent running shoes, thanks to the mud bath my prior shoes endured during the Warrior Dash. Turns out I overpronate, so I bought shoes with reasonable support. I went with the Asics GT 2160 (pictured on the right) and immediately took them out for a test 5k. I really put them to the test by running on a paved trail, though I still wore the knee brace on my right knee. That was yesterday. Today, I am pleased to say that my knees feel great. The better quality shoes seem to make a difference for me. I wish they could also magically improve my ability to get into a comfortable rhythm when I begin to run each time. I took two weeks off running owing to illness in my family that swept through all of us to varying degrees. So, it took me a bit longer to adjust to the run yesterday. Usually, I am fine after 5 minutes, but it took a mile before I didn't feel miserable. For some reason, my eyes were watery, I found it hard to swallow, and breathing was uncomfortable. Once my body adjusted to the trauma of running, I was fine *grin.* Now that I've spent much more money on shoes than I normally would, I suppose cognitive dissonance will ensure that I continue to run! Now I need to decide which 5K race to enter next. Goals always help me stay motivated.


( I decided to keep the photo of the shoe large to reflect the size of my overly large feet. It doesn't help that you are suppose to buy running shoes a half size larger than you normally do. For the first time in my life, I am wearing a size 10! And I'm not even tall.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Worth

Do you think every human being has intrinsic worth? If so, why? If not, what do you think determines value? And do you believe every human being has equal worth? Does belief or disbelief in God necessarily determine the answer to this question?

In a group counseling class I teach, one student played the Katy Perry song, "Firework" and illustrated how she would use it to generate discussion about self worth in a group with teens. Here are the lyrics:

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag,
drifting through the wind
wanting to start again?

Do you ever feel,
feel so paper thin
like a house of cards,
one blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
6 feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there's still a chance for you
'Cause there's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

'Cause baby you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe, awe, awe

You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it's time, you'll know

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

'Cause baby you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, Oh, Oh"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It's always been inside of you, you, you
And now it's time to let it through-ough-ough

'Cause baby you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, Oh, Oh"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, Oh, Oh"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

Does this song have the ring of truth about it? Or does it give kids false hope and set up grandiose expectations, building their self esteem on nothing but empty promises? And if a self-doubting teen who had been dealt a pretty harsh hand in life asked you why she should believe anything this song had to say, what would you tell her? And how does this relate to what you believe gives you value?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Survived the Warrior Dash



My husband and I survived our first Warrior Dash this past Saturday! We attended it with two of his friends from work. It was a perfect day for racing: 72 degrees and sunny. After spending the night at my mom's home, we drove an hour north to the race site. There were people everywhere. Everyone I encountered was friendly, encouraging, and relaxed. Mostly people just seemed intent on making fun memories with friends. A large portion of people were in costume, which made the atmosphere festive and lighthearted. As we jogged, we heard others along the path talking or joking with each other. As a hat tip to my friends in the blogosphere who inspired me to start jogging and attend the Warrior Dash, I wore a Yoda tee shirt, given that you all know me as DoOrDoNot. My husband wore a tee shirt with Darth Vader so that we could have a Star Wars theme between the two of us.







The pace of my 5K was quite slow! I wasn't intent on setting a personal best time. The four of us decided to stay with each other and complete the obstacles together for the experience of it. My husband and I walked most of it as he had injuries as well as an asthma flare up. The terrain was quite hilly, so even if I had jogged, I wouldn't have run the same pace as my last 5K. Had their been no obstacles, it would have proven to be a relaxing trek through the woods on lovely fall day.








However, there were 12 obstacles that we encountered once we had completed a mile of the course. Mostly, they weren't difficult and proved to be what made the run such a fun adventure. One of the men in our group wished there had been even more. We took water proof cameras with us, and snapped photos all along the way. It was more a sight seeing adventure than an actual race for us!

As long as heights weren't involved, I was A-OK. I enjoyed the over/unders and took DagoodS' advice and rolled when I encountered the nets we were to crawl across. It was quicker, especially because the people in front of me weighed down the nets, allowing me to roll on an incline. Although I don't enjoy sliding down fire poles, it wasn't difficult to complete that particular obstacle. I maintained my balance walking along planks which were set at angles.





The barricades and netting that were suppose to keep us firmly on the ground doing a belly crawl, allowed me enough room that I should have just stooped and run but I started out crawling on hands and knees then sped up to use my hands and feet. I'm sure I looked graceful :) I actually enjoyed running across the staggered steps set up on poles but I was concerned about losing my balance, so instead of just leaping from one to the other without pause, I regained my balance briefly before leaping to the next step. They wobbled and I didn't trust myself to land in the middle of each step where they were stable. I though I might be nervous about jumping the flames, but by the time I got to them, they seemed fairly tame compared to the other obstacles. They were higher than I expected, but I remained unsinged!

My least favorite activities involved heights. I'm not a fan of those. The cargo net wall was not difficult at all for me, thankfully. And the wall with narrow toe holds which we climbed with a rope wasn't terribly difficult. However, I panicked at the top of one obstacle which was a wall with a sheer surface that was placed at an angle, requiring that we walk up the "hill" at a 45 degree angle while holding on with a rope. I had difficulty figuring out how to get over the top to the other side. My husband kindly held my first foot as I threw it over to give me support and help me feel more confident about releasing my hold on the rope. Another wall also sent me into a bit of a panic at the top. After easily climbing steps to the top, I had to straddle an over sized ledge and swing my legs over till they reached a stair that was several feet down. Again my husband helped hold the first leg I brought over as I had trouble reaching the first stair. Then I had to hold on and let myself side down the sheer, angled wall the rest of the way down. I was worried about splinters, but none found me.










(I was still smiling because I hadn't yet tried to climb over any walls. )



The mud pit, which was the final obstacle, had one set of barbed wire about 18 inches off the surface. I think it was shallow enough to walk over the wire instead of slogging through the mud. However, the crowd at the pit was quite insistent that everyone get thoroughly soaked, so I acquiesced and sunk into the mud up to my chest and went through. My husband was more dramatic and rolled into the mud lengthwise.




After the race, we subjected ourselves to the (literally) breathtakingly cold water sprayed by firefighters from their hoses to get somewhat cleaned off. After changing into dry clothes, we ate the turkey legs and chicken sandwiches. We all had quite an appetite after our adventure. I would have enjoyed spending more time than we did just listening to the music and people watching. It was entertaining and challenging enough without being too difficult. I highly recommend the Warrior Dash. It's definitely an event to be enjoyed with friends.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Weekend of Firsts


This weekend I experienced two firsts: purchasing a puppy and racing in my first
5K. Perhaps it was not the best weekend to buy a puppy. Last night, we listened to whining and barking a good bit as we are crating her til she is house trained. At the 5K today, my oldest wanted to leave a few times to go check on his new pet. Though I'm really a cat person, even I am really enjoying our latest addition. She's a beagle/terrier mix, so she's small enough that I am comfortable with her. She's affectionate, smart, and reasonably interested in obeying. She's already trained us to hang out more in our kitchen area as we're not letting her in any other room of the house til we know she's fully house trained. I have learned that raising puppies and running in 5K races have a couple of things in common: they require lots of energy and determination. You may feel like giving in or giving up, but it's worth it to hang in there.

I have a really positive first 5K experience. I attended a race that also had a 1 mile fun run as well as activities for the children and a cookout. The boys enjoyed the moon bounce, slide, cotton candy, and ice cream. My husband and I joined our boys in the fun run following my race. My oldest enjoyed racing, though he walked most of it. He surged ahead at the end and beat my youngest by about 20 seconds. This is probably why my youngest said the race was too long and "dumb." And he's my athletic son who usually loves races.

I was amused that I was actually a bit nervous before the race. It's not as if I was trying to win anything. I suppose any competitive event where I am being observed by others is bound to create a little anxiety. At the beginning of the race, I wished I wasn't running alone, but I soon set my pace and maintained my usual rhythm, which helped calm my nerves. It was obvious that I was pushing myself a bit harder, as my thigh muscles nearly felt numb by the end of the race. There were two women who kept at about my pace, so I used them as motivation to push myself a bit. I thought it would be a small victory to pass them both, but I only managed to pass one. Ultimately, I ran the race in 34:35. I finished 11 out of 26 for my age group (the nearly over-the-hill category). I won't win any gold medals, but I am pleased to have actually completed a 5K! Especially considering that earlier this summer, I could barely jog a mile without slowing to a walk and laboring to catch my breath. Next on my lists of firsts: The Warrior Dash.