Saturday, June 27, 2009

Marathon Training: Week 1 recap

Chicago Marathon, here I come. I think I found an in to this year's already sold out Chicago Marathon. Super excited, as this was my first 26.2 ever. Plus, it'll be fun to have JP's family there to cheer me on.

I've been pre-training for two months and was thinking I would aim for the Detroit race, so I was ready to start with Week 1 of training this week. I haven't exactly picked a training plan, but loosely following the Runner's World plan. Never tried it before, so we'll see. I think I'll have to tweak it a little bit, but overall it looks like a good plan. The only thing that makes me nervous is that it calls for two rest days. I think I'll change that to a cross-train day and a true day of rest.

Sweet 5 miler. Had a lot on my mind, so flew through it. I know I need to start thinking about race pace and adjusting for my runs, but it just felt so good I figured I should just go with it and see what I do. I was just under 9 min/miles.

Carido and a tough weight session at night. Arms and abs were sore for a few days!

Easy 4 miler. Nothing spectacular, but it was nice to be out in the fresh air. Forgot my Nike iPod sensor, so no stats.

Super hot in the morning, so ended up doing my 6 miler on the treadmill. Ugh. Hate the treadmill, but it was better than running while there was a heat advisory until 10 pm! I can never run as fast on the treadmill and set the pace for 9:40 min/miles.

Barely gutted out my easy 4 miler. Started too late in the morning and definitely paid for it. I ended up walking the last bit, which I NEVER do. But, I figured it was that or pass out. :)

REST. My knees were thankfull for this day to come.

Glorious 7 miler. My first long run of the training plan. Started out around 6:45 am and it was 70 degrees. PERFECT. Did a few miles on the nearby high school track to help my knees out a little bit and the time just flew by. Ended up averaging 9:20 min/miles. By the time I got home, it was getting warm -- about 77 degrees. Glad to be inside, showered, refuled and rehydrated by 8:30 a.m.!

Just a nice easy run tomorrow and I'll have successfully completed Week 1. I need to get in more weight lifting session in, which I've been doing fairly well up until this week. And, I would like to throw in some yoga to stretch myself out a little bit.

Gotta get ready for the rest of the day. It's a big one... JP's dad is coming into town to meet my parents. Super excited!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reflections of an Unemployed Runner -- There's a little Carrie Bradshaw in all of us

Opening Scene: Carrie Bradshaw is in her NYC apartment, walking around in an outfit I could never pull off and would never think to put together, looking fabulous. She's deep in thought with the newest curve ball life threw her way. Then, in a moment of clarity, she sits down to her trusty Mac and begins to write something like:

"... I began to wonder, what does one wear to the unemployment office? Do clothes really define us? ..."

Silly, but oddly profound.

I totally had this moment. (Could you just picture that line being typed out across the screen?)

My severance pay ended during the second month off and I learned the ins and outs of receiving unemployment pay. Humbling? Yes.

Before you can officially qualify to receive unemployment pay, you have to go into a Michigan Works office to prove that your resume is in their job bank and that you are actively searching for a job. The morning I went in, I was triple checking to make sure I had checked all the "to-do" boxes when a startling thought crossed my mind: What do I wear? I've figured out business dress, casual chic, shabby chic, black tie, afternoon tea... but at no time have I been taught what is appropriate to collect unemployment pay. Hmmmm....

After deciding on jeans, a black short-sleeved sweater and conservative heels (probably a bit much, but my jeans were tailored for heels), I headed in to complete my paperwork.

It was an interesting experience. There was a mix of people -- different education levels, different lines of work and, yes, different styles of dress (everything from suits, to jeans, to sweat pants). I couldn't help but think to myself what Carrie Bradshaw would say. I'm sure it would be something to the effect of, "Excuse me. I don't belong here. I wear Milano's."

But, the fact is, we were all there for the same reason. I began to wonder if everyone there had the same great support system I have, if they have something positive to put their energy towards and if they had enough of a cushion to survive. I pray they do.

When I got home, I promptly changed into my running clothes and headed out. This run was a different kind of reflection. It wasn't a chance to fine tune my game plan, it was a time for thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for and make it a point to tell those in my life a little bit more.

Reaffirmed life lesson: Clothes don't define us, in other words, it's not about the material items. The important things are the people in our lives that love us unconditionally. The friends that are there during the rough times, as well as the fun times.

And, in true SATC fashion, by the closing scene Carrie would have figured it out, as she's surrounded by her true friends. Although, they're probably all wearing the latest Milano's.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reflections of an Unemployed Runner -- Independent Woman

I am a strong, independent woman. Sometimes, admittedly, to a fault. I've always been that way, and I've always been proud of this trait. One thing I have learned over the years (with some pretty painful lessons) is that it's okay to ask for help. Unemployment has been the hardest lesson yet.

At the end of May, I moved out of my apartment. It didn't make sense to not have a steady income and pay for an apartment. Packing up my apartment was the usual pain -- I hate packing! But, this time it was a little different. My mind was running... more than I realized. Not only did I have time to think on my morning runs, but I had all day by myself, packing, to think, too. A few days before the big move, JP came home to me in the middle of boxes and mentally exhausted. Through stress and pure exhaustion, I had a little break down.

I was afraid I was losing my independence. Sure, there was the usual (or what I assume is normal) nervous feelings of getting married. Moving in together, changing my name and merging our lives together more than they are now . But, in this situation I had to move out of my own apartment early because I had to move. I'm more dependent on my family and JP because I have to be. This society is so focused on who we are by what we do, and right now I'm at a loss when someone asks, "So, what do you do?"

JP talked me off the ledge (yet another reason why I love him) and reassured me that I'm still a strong, independent woman and that's why he fell in love with me. But, our relationship is changing and we will both need to adjust. (Then, he took me out to our favorite sushi place. Yet another reason why I love him!)

After my little breakdown, I enjoyed my morning runs even more. It really gave me time to think things through and figure out what my game plan was going to be. Running is definitely my outlet and this time it taught me that I can still be independent as I figure out what to do in the next chapter of my life.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Reflections of an Unemployed Runner -- Part I

Exactly two months ago, I became like many others you hear about on the nightly news. I lost my job. Due to the economic downturn, and more specifically, due to the state of the automotive business, my position came to an end. I've been Blogger MIA for the last eight weeks and part of it was because I honesty needed to disengage a little bit (although I'm addicted to Facebook and Twitter). After being connected 24/7 for a long time, it was time to take a little break.

Today on my run, I realized I missed it and thought today would be a great day to come back. I've missed my blogger friends and look forward to catching up on your adventures!

The greatest advantage I had about being laid off, is that I knew it was coming. There was a definite end date that knew about for three months. This allowed me the opportunity to go through the cycle of emotions:
1) Denial -- I kept thinking, "This won't really happen. Something will turn around and they'll need me."
2) Scared to death -- I couldn't sleep for a few weeks because I kept worrying about what I was going to do.
3) Pissed off -- They need me, damn it!
4) Accepting -- This is happening. It's not personal, it's business. I'm going to be okay and I'm better off than a lot of people. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about where I am going to live and how I'm going to eat. It takes time to go through these phases, and I was able to work through them and prepare for my next adventure.

Since I was able to do all of that before April 15, I was in pretty good shape and had a plan. I was going to take the first two weeks and do whatever I wanted. Even if that was absolutely nothing. I got up late, stayed in my pj's until mid-afternoon, went running and enjoyed happy hours and dinners out with friends I hadn't seen in a while. My mom and I started wedding dress shopping and it was perfect timing. Not too many people are in bridal salons on random Tuesday mornings. Life was great!

The next couple of weeks I tried to get into a schedule. This mostly consisted of running in the morning, running errands in the afternoon and having dinner ready when JP got home in the evening. Sound boring and a little sad? Yeah, it was. Since I was home alone all day, I would stretch out the errands so I had something to do each day so I would at least get dressed and be out among real people.

When I graduated from college, I had a job already lined up so I started almost immediately. I went right from job one to my next job, where I stayed for nearly six years. So, I wasn't used to some real time off. Although I enjoyed myself, this new "adventure" of mine was a little tough. Running really helped me through it. It allowed me to put my energy into something positive, and just allowed me time to just think about things (or not think about things, depending on my mood).

It's kinda like a great shirt I once saw, "Running is cheaper than therapy." :)