Who am I?

Who am I?
A runner....or Herky the Hawk?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grand Blue Mile Run

Everyone who has been around me the last couple weeks knows how excited I've been for this race. I ran it last year and was incredibly nervous, but ended up kicking tail. Last year, I had signed up for the Competitive Division, but then dropped out when I was logging 10-11 minute miles and it was recommended to have a sub- 9 minute mile pace. I ran in the Recreational Division, which was a lot of fun, and I ended up getting a time of 8:10 (that's 8 minutes, 10 seconds for you, Mom). I was extremely proud of myself and instantly became excited for the 2nd Annual Grand Blue Mile Run. I had planned on signing up for the Competitive division this year, but decided not to when my co-workers who I had convinced to sign up with me signed up for Recreational.

I was ready to blow away last year's time because I've been training much longer than last time. My goal was to get under 8 minutes.

The race ended up not going as smoothly as I'd hoped. It was windier than I remembered, and there were twice as many people registered this year than last year, which meant a lot more weaving in and out. I even had 2 instances where I almost ran into/tripped over a kid. Despite the announcer reminding the participants 37 times to line up with runners in the front, joggers in the middle, and walkers in the back....there were still walkers in the front that the runners and joggers had to dodge. Sorry to sound pretentious, but it was annoying and dangerous.


I was a little too ambitious and started out too strong, and by the time I was 3/4 done, the following thoughts went through my mind:
  • "It's windy out here, that kind of sucks"
  • "Am I even half-way yet?"
  • "Kid!"
  • "I have to pee"
  • "I'm tired"
  • "This isn't as much fun as I remember"
  • "Kid! Dammit, get out of my way!"
  • "I have to pee"
  • "How am I ever going to run a half marathon?"
  • "I really have to pee"
  • "Why don't I see the finish line, dammit?"
I ended up finishing in 8:30, which was rather disappointing, but a friend of mine pointed out to me that one of the elite runners commented that he thought the head wind cost him about 20 seconds, and he figured the heavy traffic added some time as well. So thanks, Jim, for making me feel a little better about the run. And I'm looking forward to it next year.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another fallen hero...

On Saturday, April 23rd, another Iowan soldier was killed fighting for our country, the third one in 13 days. Learning of a soldier's death always weighs on my heart, this one weighs much heavier. Staff Sgt. James Justice was the husband of my close friend Amanda, and daddy of Abby and Sydney's friend, Caydence.

I can't shake the memory of receiving AJ's (Amanda) call. I almost didn't answer because I was in the middle of a card game, but I did because she doesn't call just to chat. We work next to each other 40 hours a week, there's no need to. My cheerful "Hey, what's up?" was greeted with a cracked and quiet "Hi". I knew something was wrong...but the news that she was about to share hadn't even crossed my mind. James hadn't been in Afghanistan very long, a little over a month. This was his fourth tour,  he knew what he was doing. He knew better than to put himself in harm's danger. He was James Justice, always a party, but could easily turn bad-ass serious when necessary. It's not that bad over there...aren't they just playing with the children? These were all thoughts that immediately went through my mind, the last one I'm particularly ashamed of.

My thoughts of denial were reflected in my response: "No AJ, he can't be. Are you sure he's not just missing? Are they sure it's him?" And I didn't believe it until the press conference Sunday night.

It was him.

I've always appreciated the men and women who are fighting for my freedom and security so I can go to work and take my daughters to the park without worrying about our safety, but losing James and seeing the swollen red eyes and tear-streaked faces of his family on Sunday was a painful reminder of how expensive the cost for my freedom and safety is. It's sad how de-sensitized to the war we have become. When it started, 9 long years ago, we were vocal with our patriotism and pride in our troops...but over the years, we have gotten caught up with our own lives and routines and forgotten that there are still men and women fighting a war, not only fighting for us, but fighting for the innocent civilians in these countries. And living among us are the families who have graciously sacrificed their time with their loved ones so we can spend time with ours. James' sacrifice woke me up to the fact that there are men and women who die for our country every day. Every day, families receive the same news that Amanda and James' parents received on Saturday. Every day, there is a fallen hero that goes unnoticed.

Staff Sgt. James Justice was a husband, a father, a son, an uncle, and a best friend. He loved to remind AJ how lucky she was to have him...and he was right, we were all lucky to have met him and shared in his laughter. My favorite memory is the last time I saw James. He was making a trip out to Wal-Mart and he was wearing his sweatpants that were pulled up to the tops of his combat boots. I teased him about his outfit before he left, and when he returned from the store, he jokingly told his wife of all the underage girls that were hitting on him because of his sexy outfit. AJ rolled her eyes at her husband, unsuccessfully holding back a smile. My older daughter, Abby, remembers him as "a good dinner-maker, and funny". We all have our own memories of James that will now be our last.

James, I'm sorry I never had a chance to thank you for the sacrifice you made for me and the ones I love. However, it is a sacrifice that will never be forgotten.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

At least I'm running...

My mileage is low, but at least I'm running, right? Right?

[Those damn crickets again]

Okay, so I'm making every excuse in the book, I know. The truth is that as the scheduled run approaches, my motivation wanes. My body tires, I get hungry, and Ifind "other" things I "need" to get done. It's frustrating because I used to love to run. I used to look forward to it from the moment I woke up until I was done, and then I would start looking forward to the next run. I used to watch the clock in anticipation for it to be time to go to the gym, and now I watch it with dread.

What's wrong with me?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Slow Start

So I'm off to a slow start. I'll contribute it to the weather (sucking by the way), this damn headache, or even my period....but I know the truth, it's all me. I'm still struggling to get that motivation back. I ran two 3 mile stretches last week and made decent times. On Monday, my time was 32:09 (9:39 pace) and the wind was brutal. The wind was better on Wednesday and I ran it in 31:00 (9:19 pace). I've decided to focus on the Grand Blue Mile Run that is next Tuesday, so I'm going to shorten my runs. Off I go to run a mile!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Welcome to my blog!


A couple months ago, my co-worker, we'll call him "Al", and I were talking about running because we noticed each other on the treadmills over our lunch break. We established that he runs a lot faster and farther than me, and he challenged me to sign up for a half marathon. Because I have a really hard time turning down a challenge, and have "running a marathon" on my bucket list, I decided to accept his challenge. For those of you who don't know, a half marathon is 13.1 miles. I can currently run 3 miles...and yes, I'm at my peak.  I have decided on the Des Moines Half Marathon, which is on October 16th, 2011, so that gives me a little over 6 months to train. I'll be honest,, I'm not quite ready to commit to the race, so I have yet to sign up. Being at 3 miles right now, 10 more miles seems.....brutal. And because I first started talking about doing this a couple months ago, and my mileage hasn't picked up, I decided to start this blog to help hold myself accountable...because who wants to disappoint their mom or anyone else who will actually take the time to follow this? Not me.

So....here I go. I'm turning 30 on April 30th, and I have 6 months to train for a half marathon. But I can't run today, or tomorrow.....yeah....motivation is definitely needed!