Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Running Happy! :-)

My focus with training this time around has been centered on my favorite part of running, the part that gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling inside and makes me truly happy: RUNNING! My core training has been minimal; I have just been doing sets of crunches after my workouts. I have yet to pop in my Pilates DVD, and my 8 pound weights are in a corner in my bedroom collecting an exorbitant amount of dust. I know I’m leaving out important components that will make me a more efficient, toned runner, but I just haven’t been able to get myself motivated enough to add those things into my training. I am taking more time to do what has not been much of my weekly routine in training past; relaxing! I actually have a set of TV shows that I watch, including Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Shark Tank. And, I must admit, I have also found entertainment in pathetic displays of human interaction in shows like The Bachelor.  I am going to try to keep this routine of added relaxation going and focus on simply running happy. If any aspect of my routine does otherwise, it is going to get cut out. I love running and want to keep it that way! 

The extreme cold temperatures have been anything but cumbersome when it comes to my training, as I have been knocking out my workouts, one by one, on the treadmill! Call me an optimist or perhaps I am just a true lover of all that is running, but I am having so much fun on the treadmill! Here is a  recap of Week 3:

Monday and Wednesday are my speed days. Monday, I completed Fartlek ladders. I LOVE this workout! It is a very dynamic challenge that keeps me on my toes, and is great for teaching my body how to withstand different race paces for different durations.  I began with a 15:00 easy warm-up jog, then climbed up the “ladder” with 1:00@6:17min/mi, 2:00@6:28min/mi, 3:00@6:31min/mi, 4:00@6:51min/mi with 2:00 recovery jogs between each, and then repeated it all as I went back down. I finished with a 20:00 cool down jog, covering a total of about 7 miles. 

Wednesday, I ran my first tempo run of the season. Tempos are my hardest workouts, and are especially challenging on the treadmill when my body has no choice but to keep up with the quick moving mat moving underneath my feet. As one would expect, this intense workout is essential physical and mental training to ensure I am ready to put out race pace for 26.2 miles without giving up! I began with a 1.5 mile warm up, ran 3 miles at a 6:50min/mi and progressively sped up to a 6:30min/mi, and then cooled down for 1.5 miles.  I get so nervous for my tempo workouts and was THRILLED that it went smoother than I expected. As a result, when I hit 4.5 miles on the treadmill and was ready to start the cool down on my workout, I LITERALLY started dancing on the treadmill! I am sure I looked like an idiot, and that is totally okay with me! :-)

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday are my easy days. My focus is to go EASY BREEZY on the easy days, and HARD HARD HARD HARD HARD HARD**insert music: Ke$ha, We Are Who We Are** on the hard days. Tuesday, I cross-trained with 30 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes on the bike. Thursday, I was EXHAUSTED and ran a VERY easy 5 miles. Fridays are my completely off days. Again, I was EXHAUSTED on this day as well. I hit the couch as soon as I got home from work, carbo-loaded, and stayed up long enough to catch Shark Tank.  I probably could have fallen asleep by 8pm! I had battled with a bit of insomnia all week and it had definitely caught up with me. I have learned that sleep loss is cumulative.  I usually do not feel the effects of it right away, but it always ends up catching up with me.

By Saturday, I was recharged and ready to take on a good long run! Unfortunately, when I woke up, the roads had a different plan for me. They were blustery, cold, and unplowed. I wasn’t able to head to the gym until after 1pm (I am a big baby when it comes to driving on messy roads). But, there was no stopping me from crushing out my 15 mile long run! I ran for 15 miles under 2 hours. My average pace was about 7:50-7:55ishmin/mi. I ran the last mile pretty hard, trying out my needed 7:15min/mi pace for a 3:10 marathon finish. It felt pretty uncomfortable and I started laughing to myself thinking about the possibility of running a marathon that fast. As I started dismissing my goals, Don’t Stop Believing came on my Ipod…NO JOKE!!! I REALLY started to laugh and kept pushing until I hit the 15 mile mark on the good ol’ treadmill. 7:15min/mi feels unrealistic right now, but I’m going to keep trying. The pace feels foreign and is definitely fast for me, but it’s the exact challenge I need. If it were easy, it probably wouldn’t be the right goal for me. I have to keep reminding myself that I am going to get there, EVENTUALLY!

I finished off the week with 4 easy miles on Sunday, bringing my week 3 mileage total to 37. I am just under 110 miles for the past 3 weeks. I will likely be racing sooner than I expected, and am planning on running the Chili Bowl 5k in Tremont on Saturday, February 15. I have a wedding shower on Saturday, February 22, so it is looking the SnowBall 5k is out. :-( Although it doesn’t work for me, I highly recommend it to all looking for a flat-fast course. I am so bummed I can’t run it this year, but am really exciting to try out a new race! I don’t know much about racing in Tremont, but am hoping for a good course!

Week 3 was a great reminder for me of the importance of keeping running HAPPY. It is a hobby, not a job. Hobbies are important and it is REALLY important that they are kept JUST that. They are an escape from the things you have to do and should be a release, not a burden.  From my encounters with runners over the years, we are all really dedicated to what we do and many us are perfectionists. But, sometimes I think we need to remind ourselves of why we are dedicated to it and relax a bit on the perfectionism. If we are not running happy, we might as well not be running at all! I love sharing my experiences through my blog, and will try to keep it going throughout this spring. I am by no means a connoisseur and am not sure I am the perfect role model for all runners out there. I don’t have perfect grammar and I’m not sure most of what I say makes sense. But these are my experiences, in my words, so take them as you will!

So my message for all, runners and non-runners alike, is this: think about what makes you happy and embrace it with all of your heart! If you are not sure, take some time to figure out what that is. Try a few things. Make some mistakes. Hate a few things along the way. Learn from it and let it go if need be. It will ultimately lead you to finding your interest. There are plenty of things in my life that drag me down when I think about them too much, but having running as a hobby helps ease some of the ruffles in the road of my life. There is so much to be learned from the pursuit of passions. You may not see the effects right away, but I promise it is worth it if you give it a shot. I am not happy all of the time, but I can say with certainty that my life is much better lived when I am doing what I love!

Week 4 is underway! I have a 60 minute progression run waiting for me this afternoon on the treadmill and I can’t wait to dance through this one! Some days are smoother than others, but all and all the most important thing about my training so far is that I am running happy! :-)

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Critics

People often criticize my dedication and success in running. Putting it out there through Facebook posts, Tweets, my blog, my old 26.2 bumper sticker, running on the roads in all weather conditions, taking up the treadmills at the gyms for long periods of time, and so on, it’s only natural that people are going to have something to say when it comes to what I love to do. Here are some of my favorite critiques from the critics over the years:

“Wow, you must spend a lot more time out there than me if you run that fast.”

“Oh, well it makes sense that you can do that because you don’t have kids. Wait ‘til you have kids!”

“You should really be spending more time at bars than running. You probably haven’t met the right guy because you dedicate so much of your time to running.”

“I feel like you’re always so busy with running and you never make time for me.”  

“I eat whatever I want whenever I want. Life is too short to be so picky about your diet. “Real” girls just eat what they want.”

“Runners are so selfish.”

“Oh, you ran a race? So, why don’t you go post about it all over Facebook?” **one of my favorite passive aggressive critiques**

“You’re running another marathon??? Didn’t you already run one this year? Isn’t that bad for you?”

“Why aren’t you drinking tonight? Oh, you don’t want to be hung over for your run tomorrow? GOOD FOR YOU!” **another one of my fav. passive aggressive critiques 

“You know you are destroying your joints with all of that running! My aunt’s friend’s cousin’s brother’s grandpa just had knee surgery for the fourth time because of all of the running he did.”

****the female up-down eye scan as I am wearing tennis shoes with jeans or flip-flops with dress pants or a skirt****

“I can’t believe you write all of that stuff in your blog! Aren’t you embarrassed?”

“So, are you seeing anyone? Oh no? So, it’s just you and your running shoes!...?”

“I mean, I know I have issues. But, I see you on the treadmill and I’ve seen you running outside. You’ve got REAL problems.”

“You know, you’re missing out on life by running so much…?”

The list can go on, but I think you get the gist. It is cracking me up reflecting on some of these comments! I have found the best way to deal with the critics is to consider the source, which on most occasions leads me to just letting what they say go, and to maintain confidence in myself and what I choose to do! I used to get fired up, and would go on and on trying to defend myself and my dedication. I would get so so SO angry by the things some of these critics would say.  But, truth be told, my anger came because of my own interpretation of the things others what say, regardless of what the critics intent was. Further truth be told, I was angry on the surface, but deep down I was just really really REALLY hurt on the inside.  I would take each critique inward, would reflect on what others would say, and consequently would feel guilty about the time I dedicated to running. I would even feel a bit nauseous about some of my accomplishments, asking myself if it was all really worth it. I know that is ridiculous, but it can be hard to block out the things that people say and it can be easy to interpret critiques, especially ignorant ones, in a negative way. Considering there are other goals I have for my life besides running that I would still like to achieve, the criticism hit "soft spots" with me. This made it hard to stay positive and focused at times.

Fortunately, I have had time to step away from running and reflect on the question, “Has it all been really worth it?” Now, I have a REALLY definitive answer that I have full confidence in that I would shout from a mountain top if I could (but all I have is this blog page) and here it is: every single accomplishment and every millisecond I spent running was 110% worth it!!! Running has not taken away from my ability to achieve my other goals; it will just make me that much more prepared for all of the challenges and new goals to come my way when the time is right to accomplish them!

Being a successful marathon runner and teacher, two of my greatest passions outside of my family, are both very VERY physical and require an enormous amount of energy and focus. This inevitably makes other areas of my life suffer. But, overtime I have come to realize that the trade-off is necessary. I am a human being, after all! I cannot expect to be perfect in all aspects of my life. The good that comes out of my dedication to running and teaching has been powerful beyond words, and I do not need to defend it to anybody! What I have learned is that those who really matter understand me for whom I am and respect me for what I do. I am grateful to have people who are okay with going to Bravo for Happy Hour on Friday nights and who don’t get mad at me for being overly anal about eating early. I am grateful to have people who laugh at my “crazy” diet (even my three year old nephew Tommy is starting to jump in) and the mileage I run in a week. No one in my family offers me food without sarcastically saying, “well, it’s not whole wheat but…” or greets me without asking, “so, did you run here?” It makes me smile and warms my heart, because all of the teasing is out of love. Those are the critics who matter the most. The rest of the critics are just saying words, whether it’s out of jealousy, misunderstanding, or just their opinion, and at the core does not matter one bit. Plus, the trade-off I am experiencing now is temporary. As I get older, things in my life will change, and my priorities will change, too.

What I have learned most from all the critics is the one who is most significant: ME! What REALLY matters is how you feel about YOU. As my dear student and Wigs For Kids inspiration Annie said, “If you love yourself, the hate of others becomes insignificant.” The funny thing is the people who really “hate” you or strongly dislike you are probably people who do not really know you at all! So, with that being said, forget the haters. You really have to love yourself and be confident in the decisions that you make. Someone is always going to be disappointed by what you do, so it is pointless to try to live your life trying not to disappoint people. You have to listen to your heart, do what you feel is right, and have faith that the people who love you will support you no matter what!

All right, all right. Enough about the lovers and the haters!  Week 2 of my Glass City Marathon training went pretty well despite some GI issues. I had a stomach bug that lead to the “runs” (sorry for the overshare) but I powered through to complete each workout despite the pain! I did speed work on Monday (6X3:00@6:30-6:25ish pace) and Wednesday (pace booster for 30 minutes @7:10-6:55ish pace). I recovered with cross training on Tuesday and 5 easy (…ehhhhh with major belly pain and had to take a potty break midway through…) on Thursday. I finished it off with a pretty solid 13 miler on the treadmill on Saturday despite residual belly pain that crept up on me at mile 8. I totaled just under 37 miles this week. The belly pain definitely made for some mental struggle and it was definitely a tough week, but I got through it! I am just happy I managed to check each workout off the list!

On to week 3! 14 weeks to go!!! Love it or hate it, I CANNOT wait for the Glass City Marathon the spring!!! WOO WEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! :-D

Sunday, January 12, 2014

You Can't Hurry Love

The first week of my marathon training is on the verge of completion (as soon as I finish this cup of coffee)! This week has been anything but the ordinary and seems like it was a life time wrapped into 7 days, but the irregularity could do nothing to trump my mission of commencing training for my 12th marathon! Beginnings are tough and can be messy, but as the Supremes said, you can't hurry love. The marathon just further emphasizes this idea, as you can't hurry a P.R. either! This may seem like an odd comparison, but believe it or not, finding love and achieving a P.R. have a great deal in common!

After two wonderful weeks off to recharge my batteries from an incredibly busy school year, I received a call Sunday night that my vacation was going to be extended. It was a warm, rainy day and I could not fathom the possibility of a snow day, but the incoming Polar Vortex had plans of her own. Monday and Tuesday of this week were record setting cold days, and consequently schools across Northeast Ohio were closed. That being said, it had me off of my usual routine which made starting my marathon training a potential challenge. But despite the icy roads and painfully frigid temperatures, I made the trek to the gym to begin my first fartlek workout and have since pounced through my first week of training! In total I completed two speed workouts, 8X2:00 @6:20-6:00min/mi and a Pace Booster run (25:00 @ 7:00-6:55min/mi), with cross-training and an easy run in between, finished off with a treadmill 13 mile long run bringing my mileage total to a little over 35 miles this week. The week ended back with the rainy, warmth it started out with, and planning underway for the Wigs For Kids Zoo Day 5k run/walk on July 26, 2014. Save the date! It is looking like my family vacation will be falling in the way of the race this year, but I strongly encourage everyone to consider running for this awesome organization. Here is why:

Beginning marathon training can be very daunting. Living in a society where we our inundated with instant information and anything and everything we want can be given to us with the simple click of a mouse, we have grown pretty impatient. We want things fast, easy, and in a perfect package. If you happen to watch the show “The Bachelor,” this is a great example of the problem within our society as people apply the same impatience to finding love. So desperate to get married, within five minutes of meeting the incredibly attractive (okay, let's be honest...super sexy) Juan Pablo, women are throwing themselves at him in hopes of getting a rose that leads to a ring. I understand he’s a hottie, but slow down, ladies! Everyone wants to be in love, but forcing it is not going to make it happen. This rush to the end goal highlighted on this popular reality show, although extreme, is indicative of people’s behavior in everyday life. We want what we want and right away. Although it could be argued that society conditions us to be instant gratifiers, I think we need to hold ourselves responsible here. When we force square pegs into round holes, I think we take steps backwards in the plan God has sent out for us. Most good things don’t come easy and will require some work. We need to find it in ourselves to be patient, have faith in our goals, and to have no fear in the journey!

Success in the marathon is no exception and will in NO way happen instantaneously. There are 15 weeks left of dedicated training to get me where I want to go. Lots of things can happen along the way:  plans might come up to interfere with my training, I might slip on an acorn and twist my ankle, I might get the stomach flu, 7-8 hours of sleep a night might be difficult to find time for, I might get creeped on while running on the roads, muscle soreness might happen, I might lose too much weight, I might gain too much weight, etc. Taking the first few steps in the initial weeks of training can be really, really hard when looking at the uncertainty in the long road ahead. What keeps me going is the idea of getting it right at the end of the road; it seems to outweigh all of the “what ifs” that may come my way throughout my marathon training journey. So much can go wrong, but I keep going anyway.  If I expected a 3:10 marathon finish without the challenging journey to get me there, my goal would never be reached. It is intimidating, and I can understand why instant gratifiers would find difficulty taking on this type of training. Perseverance through the marathon has taught me how to persevere through the beginnings of so many obstacles in my life, and for this lesson I am eternally grateful!

This is why I think everyone should run at least one marathon in his or her life! By taking on the challenge of marathon training, perhaps people could learn to slow down, have faith and confidence in themselves, and most importantly love the journey. Imagine how much happier people would be (and the potential decline there may be in the divorce rate? ha!). Through the lessons of the marathon, we can change the world. Runners are happy people for a reason. Even if you are not ready to run it, spectate a marathon and you will see what I mean. I am fully convinced that the key to world peace is through running!

The Supremes weren't the only ones on to it. Phil Collins concurs, you can’t hurry love! Stop expecting everything to come quickly and easily, and don’t fear the long road ahead. Keep sight of your goals, follow your heart, and believe in yourself. You will get what your heart desires…eventually! 

On to Week 2. 15 weeks to go. BRING IT, TOLEDO!!! :-D

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pictorial View of MP's 2013

Pictorial View of MP's 2013

Starting out the New Year at the CLE Aquarium with JP!

Ridiculous amounts of fun at Becca's work party at the Marriott...

...carried over to more fun on W.6th on a beautiful, snowy February night!

President Day's Weekend visiting JP in Marietta!
When the joy of  Wimmer was introduced to our lives!  Team #WIMMING!
We may have taken 71-S instead of 77-S on our way down...buttttt we made it down there for a good time eventually!

Sunday night coloring QT with Tommy!

St. Patty's Day in CLE with Ricky V...

...and our crew! Bringing out  the Irish in everyone!

Spring Break love from my nephews!

Lining up to the start at the Just a Short Run 1/2 Marathon in Pittsburgh at the end of super intimidating GAME FACE!
Got my sis to run it, too! She killed those hills (although I'm pretty sure she wanted to kill me)!!! HA!

Easter with Tommy, in his finest, which was right before...

Luke was born in April!!!

The Pavicic boys and me :-)

Picked up some extra cash for Wigs for Kids when I won the Black Squirrel 5k in Kent!

We took our talents to DC for the Nike Women's Half Marathon at the end of April!

That's me upfront in the pink! KP is right behind me.

Finishers! Still in awe that I ran side-by-side with Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit-Samuelson!

Posing with our Tiffany necklaces aka our finisher medals!
All sparkles!!!

The only restaurant in Marietta for JP's graduation dinner...DaaaaaaaVincis!

Candid shot. So happy for our baby brother!

Another Bachelor in our family! Haaaaa :-D

Time for the big Wigs For Kids hair donation!

Chopped it all off with my inspiration, Annie, by my side!
Stressful, toasty morning before the Cleveland Marathon!
Trying to keep it cool...
...and despite a VERY tough day with HOT temps, we did it! Sisterly love moment post-marathon. :-)
Awesome kiddos that came to support me the day after Prom! These guys are  the truest of gems!

Sister 26.2 pride! Could not have done any of this without her. So beyond blessed to have such an amazing best friend!

Marathon #11: Raised over $3,000 and donated over 12" of hair to Wigs For Kids. I'd say this 26.2 was a success!

Marathon celebratory beer...

....and shots!

Short hair...because I care! :-D

Celebrating the commencement of summer with my beautiful friend, Becca...

and the rest of the beauties! All dressed up, making the most of a rainy CLE night!
Not just family, but bestest friends celebrating our cousin's wedding. :-D

June with the Pavicic boys!

Beach time with the Modic boys!
Cedar Point fun! Tommy being his usual silly self!
Tommy taking me on my first rollercoaster in over 10 years...The Woodstock Rollercoaster! He was an expert!

Amy got married!

Celebrating the bachelorette days of my cousin-in-law, Jess!!!

Such an awesomely fun summer night!

Representing Wigs For Kids at the Senior Games in July!

Sharing our stories!

Spreading the word of the goodness of Wigs For Kids!
Could do nothing without the constant support and love from this amazing Mommy! :-)

Wrapped up the weekend meeting some pretty cool dudes...

Browns legend, Bernie Kosar!
And Cavs legend, Austin Carr!
A raining but great day for the Wigs For Kids 5k at the Zoo! First 5k for  the beautiful Hilston ladies, Conni and her daughter!

Tommy and me dancing the night away! No one will ever be able to top my wedding date for...

Jess and...
Ryan's big day! The truest of "sole"mates :-D

Groovin' with Hope and my sis-in-law, Ashley...

...and of course, my favorite person in the WORLD, Paul Pavicic, JR. :-) 

Ohio City summer lunch! Quite the interesting occasion! Love all of the laughs (and random weirdness) with my best sister-friends!

Due to my medical hiatus, this was the first year I haven't run the River Run in YEARS. But no worries, they put me on the flyer! I guess CLE can't have a race without MP in it! :-)
Ending the summer rockin' out on the river with Becca to some ACDC coverband. HA!
Alexander's first birthday!

He LOVES it when we sing "Happy Birthday."
Tommy and Benj...more birthday boys!
Luke sandwich!
As long as Aunt MP wears 'em,  Tommy rocks the Mickey Mouse ears!!

Teasing Tommy on his birthday!

I look pretty good with a 'stache...I do admit!
He looked AWESOME in the mustache, sunglasses, and watch I got him for his b-day! 3 going on 40!

The start to Year 7 of my career!

Browns' first home game!

Rockin' the arm warmers. Always sporting my running gear, one way or the other!

About to witness the Browns do what they do best---> lose, again,...and we don't care! :-D

Beautiful day in CLE. Lake Erie was glistening!

Love our matter what!

Finished up September as AkRun Marathon cheerleaders!

Proud of Jeness for accomplishing a tough feat!

Loved jumping in to help my friends finish!

I'm a GodMommy! Luke's Baptism!

GodMommy and GodDaddy with the Pavicics :-)

Anddddd thennnnnn the inevitable happened.  I turned 31. WHOA that's old!

Gorgeous October night in Ohio City to celebrate my oldness!

More celebrating! Becca turned 32. WOO! Libra ladies enjoying some birthday QT!

And then Jess turned 30! Bye-bye 20s!!!

Then, came the rainy Halloweenie!

Little Tigger stayed all cozy inside.

Despite his love for candy, Tommy, aka Spiderman, had enough of the rain and was ready to go home!

On a bitter cold, snowy November morning, JP ran his first 5 miler! The Turkey Trot downtown was a great way to start the day before...

...too much eating with the family!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving weekend outing with my beautiful friend Amy...
and the beautiful, newly engaged Jeness...

and we can't forget the one and only bombshell-- Becca!

GirlTime on Christmas!

Tommy looking shnazee! Santa treated him well for being such a good boy!
Bear on the look-out for some honey!

Taking a break from the Christmas madness!
That's right, Luke! Spit certainly Happens! Wise beyond his 9 months!
The ultimate Christmas gift from my bro-in-law: a hoodie representin' the CLE Metroparks, my favorite place in the world!

Ending the Holidays with some Brotherly Christmas love!!!
To finish off the great year, we celebrated New Years Eve at the Great Gatsby Gala at the Aloft downtown!
Don't know what I'd do without my baby sister!

Tons of fun saying good bye to an incredible year and HELLO to another!