>Proud Mama


Zach ran his first race yesterday and I’m just so proud I could burst! So, here is the blog entry to chronicle this momentous occasion.

Zach and I entered the race (to fight pancreatic cancer) because for one, it was in Hudson and also because he had been wanting to run one. They offered both the 5K and the 1 mile fun run – perfect. The Monday before the race I thought maybe I should “train” Zach – doing some walking/running intervals just so he’d feel comfortable and to help him run the whole thing since he hadn’t done it before. Well, the week got busy (and really hot) so we only did one day of “training”. I actually think this was a good thing after all, however. The night before the race Zach told me he was worried about the race because we only one day of training. That is when I told him that I was wrong and that he didn’t need to train, but just do his best and that would be enough. He is just a kid for crying out loud!

What actually prompted me to get into this whole training mindset is the email correspondence we received about the Hudson Hawk football program (Zach starts in August). Now, no offence to any of the organizers or people involved with the program (it seems very organized and well run), but the email strongly encouraged that the kids should be getting ready for their conditioning by doing callisthenics, working out, running, etc before practice starts in August. I immediately got into panic mode. Oh, man – gotta get Zach running, gotta get him doing exercises, etc. I don’t want him to not to be able to keep up with the other boys! Thankfully, reason prevailed and I realized, “HE IS JUST A KID!” And an active one at that! He doesn’t need to train for 3rd grade football practice – that is just crazy! He plays at the pool or at camp, rides his bike, goes for walks – he’ll be fine!! Sorry, I digress. We nixed the training, but the race was still on!

On race day we were ready. Of course it was one of the most (if not THE most) humid days of the year. Zach and I donned our purple shirts and headed downtown. Mike met us there on his bike (which we have now affectionately named “Mike’s Tight Trike”!) Zach’s race was first at 8:30am. I encouraged him to just do his best and if he needed to walk, listen to his body and walk, but just don’t stop. The bell rang and he was off! I nervously headed over to wait at the finish line. It was so hot, I didn’t want him to get too tired or fall, or…whatever! Pretty soon, the first boy ran across the finish line and then a girl followed him about 15 seconds later. Then I could see a group of about three young boys running towards the finish in a single file line. I strained my eyes and thought I saw Zach…I squinted and sure enough I did see him with his blond hair blowing up a bit and a determined/pained look on his face. I started cheering then, “Go Zach!” “You can do it!” I felt my eyes getting a little moist and a lump forming in my throat as his barrelled through the finish! I had counted and was surprised to realize that he was either the 5th of 6th person across! I went over to him and congratulated him and all he said in a shaky, borderline teary voice was, “Mommy, I need water – I just need water”. His time was 10 minutes and 42 seconds – awesome! We got him water, a banana and all three of us cheered on the rest of the runners coming in. He said the run was really hard and that he had to walk a few times – but he didn’t stop. He was really proud of that. We were too.

After my run, which was pretty uneventful…just very hot…but I did okay, Zach and I stayed for the raffles and awards. Even though he didn’t get first in his age group and was disappointed not to get a trophy, I think he was proud of what he did. I think it will become more real when we see our times posted in black and white on the website.

I am just so proud. Proud of Zach for doing his best and being persistent. Proud of Mike for coming out to support both of us. Proud of myself for pushing it on a hot day. But most of all, I’m proud of our family – choosing to run/bike for a good cause on a hot and humid Saturday morning…rather than just staying in bed!

>A Bit About Bosu

>No, this is not about food. Bosu is not a new kind of cheese or a new brand of dog. It is a new kind of exercise equipment that I used for the first time last night with about a 6 out of 10 success rate, I think. Let me explain…

Zach has a tae kwon do class at Life Center from 6:45pm-7:30pm on Thursdays. My usual pattern is to grab my book and hang out on the steps right outside the class and watch him and his little buddies learn to kick and “fight”, as he puts it, much to my dismay. Then, it occured to me last week that there was a group fitness class going on during that same time. Not sure what gave it away – the music, the voice over the mic, or the sweaty people moving around. I began to think that it might make sense to take advantage of that time and actually DO something physical. I had thought about running the track, but that didn’t excite me at all – the whole inside running when it is nice out – just can’t do it. So, I went and looked in the program booklet to find out more about the class. I didn’t really read the description, (why would I do that?) all I read really was that the class started at 6:30pm every Thursday – that was all I needed to know.

Cut to last night. After arriving home from work at approximately 5:56 and scarfing down two bowls of fiber one mini wheats, Zach and I jetted out the door to get to my class on time. We made it with enough time to talk to instructor to find out what equipment I needed. I got myself settled in the back (the newbie position) with my mat, my free weights, my medicine ball, my water and this round bouncy thing that was flat on one side. I was told this was a bosu. Alright then. I was ready, thinking, bring it on! I’m in shape, how tough can this be?! Yeah – it was tough city!! Turns out the class is an advanced bosu class and is made up of cardio and weight work – an interval workout. It was great! I was sweating bigtime – at one point I had to run to the fitness area and grab a towel because I was dripping all over the floor (ya’ll know my sweating issues). It was such a good workout! The bosu was kind of hard to balance on – it was sort of used in place of a step that I had used in the past. I tried my best and modified some movements just on the floor if I fell off too much. It was just a great new challenge. The hour was intense and I felt like I had a great workout. Nice alternative to running, I suppose. I’m working on realizing that I can get a workout without a run. So after we both had good classes, Z and I went to meet grandma and grandpa….at Dairy Queen!!!

>I Could Run 500 Miles!

>I had an awesome run last night! Not sure if it was because the temperature was nice (not too humid), it was a good time (about 7:30pm), or the planets aligned just right, but I felt like I could run forever. I ended up only running about 3.3 miles (it was broken up into two legs), but it just felt really good. I didn’t have my iPod so no music – just my breathing and the noises of the outdoors. It was great! These are the runs that make me want to continue running! They are not always like this, but I sure love it when they are!! Of course this was after I had started my “training” with Zach and had him run/walk for 18 minutes – probably about 1 1/2 miles. He complained a little bit, but wants to do it again tonight!!

Mike had to mail something last night so we decided to make a family trip out of it. Mike and Zach rode their bikes and I ran. So we traveled to FedEx and back. It felt really good to do an activity as a family that was actually ACTIVE!! Nice. Hopefully there will be more where that came from! I have at least 496 miles to go…ha, ha, ha!

>Accidental cheating?!

>I mentioned this in a status update, but it is just too funny not to post as a blog entry if nothing else just for me to have for the future.

At the Firecracker Run on Monday, July 5 there was also a 3K Fun Run (2 miles). At the last minute we signed Zach up, as I mentioned in a previous blog. He was going to walk it with my friend, Carol. Well, true to form, Zach decided to run the first lap. So, after finishing the first lap he accidentally went through the finish line rather than the line to go to the second lap! He corrected himself and finished out the race with Carol – no harm done. However, the funny thing is that when the times were posted on the City of Stow website, they had Zach Ramsey listed as coming in 8th place (out of 170 people) with a time of a little over 13 minutes!! All the other ages of the people who finished in the top 10 or even 20 were like 19 or 23 or 25 and then you see age 8!! Hilarious! When I showed him the results he said, “oh, how embarrassing”! But, you know what? Good for him. When you think about it, this is a lesson to all of us to throw yourself into something you love. To give it all you’ve got and don’t worry about doing it perfectly. Good for him! And bonus, he wasn’t playing video games!!!

>Swim, swam, swum!

>I can’t believe it has taken me 41 years to realize that swimming is good exercise. Duh. I mean, I have always loved the water (pools, lakes) and swum (that is such a weird word) my whole life from taking swimming lessons as a kid with that crummy red kick-board (remember those?!) to more recently playing in the pool and serving as the “moterboat” with Zach. But just a few days ago I discovered how awesome swimming can actually be for exercise.

I am planning to do a triathlon in September. Now, before you freak out, I’m not talking about the hard core “iron-man or woman race” or whatever. This is really cool, really doable and just for women. My friend did it last year, but I wasn’t quite ready then. This year I totally am. It starts with the equivalent of 20 lengths of a pool (but it is in a lake), then a 7-mile bike ride and a 2-mile run. The biking and running part are fine for me, but I wasn’t sure about the swimming. So, I jumped in the pool to see how much I could do. The first day I did 10 lengths and felt pretty good and then Saturday I did 20 without stopping. It felt great! I was tired, but a different kind of tired than running or other cardio stuff. I really enjoyed it. Not to mention it was a beautiful day at a beautiful place! It took me about 20 minutes, give or take. So I’m psyched for this race now. It is in September so I have lots of time to get faster. I’m just excited to discover another way to get in activity into my daily life – there are opportunities all around us if we just look for them!

>Fried Green Tomatoes – not just a movie!

>So, I discovered a new food (well, new to me) again this morning that I just had to share with ya’ll. Have you tried fried green tomatoes?! So good! Truth be told I had no idea this was an actual food. Before today, my only context for this was the awesome movie by the same name with Kathy Bates (love it!). Last weekend, my hairdresser had mentioned that she loved them so I picked some up the other day at Szalays (again, love that place!) This morning I decided to try them and I was pleasantly surprised. This is how I fixed them. I sliced one green tomato in four thick slices. Dipped them in an eggwhite wash, slightly beaten, and then dipped them each in bread crumbs. I fried them in a griddle lightly sprayed with cooking spray (a few minutes on each side). Then I sprinkled a little parm cheese on them and dipped them in marinara sauce (I had a tomato sauce and pizza sauce mixture cuz that is all I had). SO good! A new summer veggie snack that was quick and yummy! The only thing with points was the bread crumbs, the sauce and the cheese, but I figured it at about 2 points for the entire thing. Very filling! Try it!!!

>Firecracker Run

This morning I accomplished a new goal – yahoo!! I ran 4 miles for the first time ever! I ran the Stow Firecracker Run sponsored by the Stow Parks and Rec, thanks to Dennis, my friend from Weight Watchers, who told me about it. It was early – 7:30am and very hot and humid this am. The route started at Holy Family church and went up route 59 two miles and then back. I was nervous about it because I had never run 4 miles before – only 3.5 and I hadn’t even run a lot this week. But, I committed to do it and that was that. I went to bed early in an attempt to get a good night’s sleep, but slept badly because I was hot. I got up and walked the dog as I shoved an English muffin with peanut butter in my tummy. I wanted to be sure to have something at least an hour before the run. I had begged (literally) Mike to come and cheer me on, but my deal included walking the dog, so I did. So, Mike, Zach and I piled in the car at about 6:45am to get to Stow by like 7am.

They were also doing a 3K fun run and Zach wanted to do it in the worst way. Thankfully, I ran into Carol, Dennis’ wife, – another friend from WW who was doing the fun run and she was willing to walk with Zachy. So with about 10 minutes to spare before the start of the race, I got Zach entered and he was very excited! I was short $3, but the registrar accepted our registration anyway. Come on, he’s a kid. Very nice.

There were tons of people there! I always feel a mixture of intimidation and motivation as I look around at the other runners getting ready to go. There are all kinds, but a lot of “hard core” runners wearing shirts from previous 10K’s and marathons that they have run. I just remind myself that I am only competing with myself and that it is just a normal run. The route was pretty good – a couple hills. I gave myself permission to walk a bit if I needed to and I did about 4 times!! It was just so friggin’ humid! It was 75 degrees already at 7:30 and really humid on the way back. They had water at about the 1.5 mile marker which was good. I almost poured it on my head! There were lots of people along the route because the 4th of July parade goes along the same route at about 10am later that morning. One neighbor guy was holding a hose out to the street and misting us as we went by. That felt wonderful!!! My ipod actually worked today so I had Lady Gaga in my ear the whole time which was helpful. It was also motivational to have other people around you and be a part of a group of runners. I was not last! Mike said I probably was in the first 2/3 of the group. I think my time was about 42:12, but I’ll know the exact time when it is posted on the internet later today. I was aiming for 40 minutes because that would be a 10-minute mile, but I was actually pretty happy with that time because of the crazy humidity.

As I ran towards the finish line I felt great as I saw Mike, Zach and my mom cheering me on. I also had Lance Armstrong in my ear – ipod – congratulating me on my longest workout ever. Such a great day! I still can’t believe I did it…that I’m doing this…I’m running…ME! Who’d a thunk it?!! If I can do it, anybody can!! The very best thing I heard today was at the starting line when the man announced over the loud speaker, “Runners, take your mark!”. Runners…he was talking to me!!! Awesome.

>First run of the month!

>First run of July on July 1 – what do you know! One for one so I feel like the month is already successful running-wise. It was a nice run today – I went at about 10:15am…I’m on vacation today so I got up late (like 7:30am – ughh), ate breakfast, did paperwork, and hit the pavement. My little “pace-car” came with me on his bike too. It was pretty cool out – high 60’s and no humidity. Pretty good run too…although a little tough to get motivated at first to go. I actually ran it fairly fast too (3 miles at just over 30 minutes – about a 10 minute and 4 second pace according to the ipod) and only walked once. I always feel SO incredibly great right after…the feeling of accomplishment plus just the feeling of being alive and active – my body moving and actively engaged. I wish I could bottle that feeling. I need to do a better job of recalling that feeling when I feel unmotivated to get out there. I always seem to have a much better day if it includes a run. I just feel more in control eating wise and just better about myself if I’ve gotten my run in. Life is good…and better with my running shoes on!