I’d Like to Thank the Academy

You guys… I’ve been working towards this one for a long time. And it finally happened.

RunKeeper_New_Record

I broke the 10-minute mark for average pace while running.

I KNOW, I KNOW. Hold your applause, I couldn’t have done this alone. So many people and things to thank for this achievement.

  • Cheese. And chips, margaritas, English muffins. Pretty much all Mexican food. Y’all are really good motivation to burn some calories.
  • My running partner Audrey, who also drags her ass out of bed at an ungodly hour so we can run.
  • Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Kanye West for writing some really good running music.
  • Byron, who sometimes literally pushes me up hills (even while I yell at him for doing so).
  • RunKeeper for tracking all the things.
  • Pumpkin waffles. Because after this run I came home and celebrated with a pumpkin waffle.

Now that I’ve met this goal, of course, it’s time to make some new ones. And oh, don’t worry — my brain has already had them lined up for quite some time:

  • Be able to run a 10-minute mile consistently. Because, let’s be honest — I have NO IDEA how I did that. Fluke of nature, I will totally accept you.
  • And related to that — sign up for another 5K, run it in under 30 minutes.
  • Run 4 miles without stopping. This one’s gonna be hard.

But ya know, in the meantime, I’m going to celebrate this one achievement. It’s important to take a step back and recognize hard work when it pays off — and damn, if it doesn’t feel good.

5K Foam Fest

Buffalo Writes - Foam Fest 5K Finish Line

YOU GUYS I DID IT! I ran the Foam Fest 5K and I DIDN’T DIE! Totally achieved my goal (I’d even go so far as to say I surpassed it). Score!

Buffalo Writes - Foam Fest 5K
The starting line. Not sure what I was trying to achieve with this pose. It basically just looks like I’m trying to punch Val in the jaw.

It’s funny — day before the race? Morning of? NOT nervous at all. In fact I was almost excited. Good friends were around, we’d be running it together (it’d all be over soon) — it’d be great!

And then we arrived at the race. Got checked in. Waited around for our start time. And I started getting SUPER nervous. Byron’s sister had finished a few hours before us, and she started giving us tips — which were super helpful! I ended up remembering and using most of them during the race. But at the time? As she was telling us? HELLO, ANXIOUS LAURA!

Of course, as SOON as we crossed the starting line — I was fine. The waiting around was just killing me. True of all life’s events, I guess: waiting is the worst.

Oh, and mud. Mud filled with GRAVEL is also the worst (my scrapped-up elbows agree).

Buffalo Writes - Foam Fest 5K
Audrey and I crawling through mud, under electric wires (which DID shock — Byron can attest to this).
Buffalo Writes - Foam Fest 5K
So much mud on us that our clothes were LITERALLY being pulled down our bodies.

The actual running part was quite a bit harder than I expected. In my head, the obstacles would provide a nice break from the running — let me catch my breath. In reality? The obstacles got me so psyched up, that by the time I got past each one, I was a bit worn out from the adrenaline let-down. I still ran MOST of the time…. with a few walking breaks cut in. As Audrey continually reminded me, no one does these types of races with the goal of getting their best 5K time.

I gotta say — I killed it on the lily pad obstacle. I thought that would be a hard one, but I was like a frickin’ frog across those things. Wide-leg stance, you guys. That’s your best bet.

Buffalo Writes - Foam Fest 5K
Going up and over the cargo nets.

The hardest by far? The 8 foot wall you had to climb over. I wasn’t really psyched out about that one until we got to it… and then it was THERE. And it was TALL. And I had to go OVER it. And once you get to the top of the wall you have to figure out how to get your limbs over it without dying. SO FUN. I wanted to skip it, but Audrey gave me crap about it — so, over it was. Fortunately Byron was a very good encourager and helped talk both me and Val through it.

Buffalo Writes - Foam Fest 5K
WE DID IT!

So would I do it again? I… think so? I’m honestly not sure. I definitely want to sign up for another 5K run — we finished this one in about 48 minutes, which was to expected with all those obstacles. I’d like to do a run for time, see if I can’t get myself under 30 minutes.

But for now: we set a goal, and we killed it. We tried a new thing. All in all, a good day.

Buffalo Writes - Foam Fest 5K Finish Line
Muddy. Foamy. Happy.

(All photos courtesy of the lovely Audrey and the lovely Tori, who are both crazy enough to bring their cameras to a mud-filled race.)

T-Minus 5 Days

So the Foam Fest is on Saturday. THIS Saturday. A 5K run with all sorts of crazy obstacles thrown in “for fun.” About a month ago, I started training for this thing and decided that my goal was “not to die.”

Good news! I totally think I’m going to make my goal. Go me!

I’m happy to say that this whole running thing has been going… surprisingly well. It’s become part of the routine. About 3 times per week, I wake up at 4:55am (OMG I KNOW) and meet Audrey at the park at 5:20am. I’ve never been a morning person, and this is admittedly rough. BUT. Running in the morning puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day, AND means my evenings are free for writing. The only downside is that I’m typically exhausted by 9:00pm. But I try to remind myself that there are only so many hours in the day, and if this is what it takes to get shit done… well, this is what it takes then.

Can I tell you how much I love RunKeeper? It is the one and only app that I have ever paid money for (there’s a free version, but I wanted the elite one because STATS AND GRAPHS, people!). It has been SUCH a great motivator for me. I find myself thinking, “Damn it, I need to go for a run today so I can log the miles on RunKeeper.” I mean, whatever works, right?

(Also? It’s a HUGE motivator when people in your life are on the Fitness Train, too. Byron killed it in a 5K race on Saturday — which of course just makes me want to keep running and do better.)

Did I mention stats and graphs?

RunKeeper graph - Buffalo Writes

BOOYAH! Not gonna lie, I feel pretty damn proud looking at this. Yeah, I’m still pretty slow, but I AM getting faster. THE GRAPH TELLS ME SO. And, plus? I feel better, stronger. Isn’t that the goal of this whole thing?

So yes — I am feeling good about my goal of living through the Foam Fest. I’m a little weary of the obstacles, but at least the running part won’t kill me. And after Foam Fest? We need a new goal. I want to reach 10-minute miles. Which right now seems SO SO fast to me — but I totally think I can hit it. I’m feeling good about this, guys. The runner’s high is going strong.

Run, Laura, Run

The battle against laziness doesn’t only affect writing. It slithers into the rest of my life, too.

Example A: I have slept an OBSCENE amount the past 2 weekends. Like, 10 hours a night AND multi-hour naps during the day. My to-do list cries out for justice.

Example B: Physical activity. I was a pretty active kid, but post-college it all sort of drifted away. Then a couple years ago Byron did the Couch to 5K challenge and I thought, “Well, shit, I guess I’d better do this, too…” (Can’t you just FEEL my enthusiasm.)

And you know? At first it was lame, but it got better. Or rather, I got better. I completed the program, ran my first 5K race and finished in 30:30. Not too shabby! Maybe this running thing wasn’t terrible after all.

And then I did my second 5K. And it SUCKED. There were HILLS. Oh god, the hills. I don’t even know my time in that one, but needless to say it was bad. My third 5K I trained and trained and set a personal goal to finish in under 30 minutes. It seemed reasonable — I’d been working hard, the weather was going to be fine, and I knew the course was flat flat flat. I COULD DO IT.

My time for that race was somewhere around the 32 minute mark. Which, yadda yadda, pep talk, IT WAS HORRIBLE AND DEMORALIZING. In the words of Homer Simpson:

That was over a year ago. Instead of training harder, I said, “screw it.” I fell off the running bandwagon, and though I’ve gone for the occasional half-hearted run, I haven’t gotten back into the swing of things. And, of course, the strength I built up? Gone. THANKS, BODY.

And then Audrey, my friend and running partner (who, it should be noted, is an ACTUAL runner who very kindly puts up with my plodding pace), said, “For my birthday I want you to run the Foam Fest with me.” And I am a dutiful friend, so I signed up for this Foam Fest, a 5K race with obstacle courses thrown into the middle of it.

This was months ago.

Ask me how my training’s going.

NOT WELL.

Every time I go for a run my mind says, “UGH, really?” And my body agrees. I can barely make it a mile without wheezing. But now I’m staring down the barrel of this Foam Fest debacle — it’s less than 50 days away. So I need to get serious.

Runner
Clearly, I’m a totally serious.

(Aren’t deadlines a miraculous thing? It’s the same with writing. Word count rapidly increases when D-day approaches.)

I signed up for RunKeeper yesterday, and it already seems to be helping — last night I had my best run in a LONG time. When I told BFF Mary I had signed up and was tracking my runs, she asked, “What’s your goal?”

I didn’t even have to think about it: “Not to die at the race in August.”

A TOTALLY doable goal. I think I’m gonna knock this one out of the park.