Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ten Thousand Drops of Sweat!

Last Sunday night, I was sitting in my hotel room at the outset of my family's week at the Marco Island Marriott. Marco Island, on the extreme southwestern corner of Florida, is the largest of the "Ten Thousand Islands." There are actually a few hundred islands; someone has counted.

The good news is I did keep my promise to myself to maintain an exercise plan. I ran three times and went to the nicely equipped workout room twice to ride the exercise bike. Here are a few observations:

1) 8:30 a.m. is not early enough to "escape the heat" on Marco Island in July!
2) The chocolate croissants at the Cafe San Marco taste amazing as a post-run snack.
3) Most of the planning around an hour long run during this vacation involved hydration -- stashing water bottles in trees; stopping mid-run at 7-11 for Gatorade, and wondering just how toxic the "non potable irrigation water" was!
4) Venturing anywhere inland is directly correlated with being hotter due to the lack of beachside breezes.
5) The city fathers (and mothers I guess) of Marco Island who put a water fountain (complete with a doggie-height spout) halfway through one of my runs are GENIUSES!!

Will the runs I took on this trip get me any closer to running faster 5K's? I think I at least held my ground. I do know that, just like a regular workday here in Tallahassee, most days that start off with a run end up being better days in general!

Yep, I sweated at least 10,000 drops on these runs. That's okay; I had plenty of options for hydration as the day wore on and the beautiful sunsets filled the sky.

There's another island to run in the future: Roosevelt Island when Tenley and I are in New York in October! (I got this idea from a post at

I'll "run" into you next week, readers!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Racing to Marco Island

There will be no races for me this week, and a brief blog post.

As our family (plus my niece Elizabeth) settles in for a week at Marco Island (thanks to Wayne's participation in the Environmental Permitting Summer School), my trip out of the Last Banana Club involves keeping up with my exercise program from a new venue, the Marco Island Marriott Resort. That's why sweat is still running down my back after a foray to the fitness center at 9:45 p.m.

I ventured back to intervals last Tuesday. After six months of working toward my goal of "faster 5K's," my time has not budged much. I even got the "early bird" start at Thursday night track so people didn't have to be around till 10 p.m. while I finished the 5K.

But as I told someone recently, my mood is a whole lot better. Now it's time to pair that happy elevated mood with some marked improvement in race times.

This week will not be a step backwards for me. I have a beautiful beachfront at my disposal, and a determination to get up early and run before the heat descends; after all, I can nap poolside later.

Each of the three children on this trip with us asked "Are we there yet?" at some point on the long drive today. This runner isn't "there yet" for the goal of breaking 30 minutes (or 40) for the 5K. But I have a plan, the support of my friends, family, and Gulf Winds supporters, and determination. This is one trip is that going to be "running" through my spirit for miles to come.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gettin' Greeks (and Me) In the Streets 5K

Rather than a "LBC" (Last Banana Club) report, this post would more appropriately be called "LWC" (Last Water Club). When I completed today's "Gettin' Greeks in the Streets" 5K, I hopefully put my cup under the cooler's spout and got ....... nada. There was a container of Sunny Delight on the table, though, so it did the trick.

It was a relief to arrive at the FSU Union Green and discover:
1) there was a race going on! (my friend Rob famously arrived at another campus race in February 2009 only to discover that the race had been cancelled due to drizzle)
2) I was not the only non-college student there. I still think at 44 I elevated the average age by my presence alone, but some GWTC stalwarts (Gary Droze, Margrete Deckert, Jamie Joanos, Fran McLean, Fred Deckert with his trusty camera) were there too.

The pre-race instructions had been a little odd. Pre-registration had closed on 7/1/09, and the instructions said that race day registration would be from 8-9 with the race starting at 9:30. By the time registration closed at 9, the organizers decided that it was futile to wait until 9:30 and announced "starting in 5 minutes." Gary somehow managed to talk them into 10 minutes, and I ran to the parking garage to put on my running shoes. When the organizer was about to yell "go!" a couple of us were trying to point out that some people were still arriving but the .... um ..... Greeks were already in the Streets.

This was not the day to break 40 minutes. Gotta keep working toward that goal (intervals here I come).

Even though I did not make progress toward my time-related goal, no day is a complete loss when you have the opportunity to circumnavigate the campus that holds your happy college memories; share time with running friends; and burn some calories.

My original title of this post was: I didn't have a great time but I had a great time. I wish there had been a better turnout and that the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tallahassee (the designated charity) had netted more proceeds, but no day is a complete loss that starts with a run with friends!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"At Least I Didn't Finish Last"

Tonight's "LBC" (Last Banana Club) report is not about me. Maybe the "Little Banana Club" because it is about Wayne Kevin.

Seven years ago, when Tenley was "between" dance and whatever the next pasttime would be, she was briefly involved in running. When I took her out to the Gulf Winds Summer Track series, I didn't know what to do with three year old Wayne so I ..... took him along. Tenley went on to gymnastics (and dance) (and cheerleading) but Wayne and I are still "at the track."

Children are so unique in what motivates them. I have evolved over years of parenting to come to terms with the fact that my parental idea of what a child's goal should be, what should motivate them, or what will make a child feel good about him or herself differs wildly from the child's ideas.

I don't know if Wayne will ever set any kind of records. I don't know if he'll be running next week, next month, or next year (of course I still hope!). What I do know is that in the three Red Hills Kids Triathlons he has done, and yesterday's Freedom Springs Kids Triathlon, I saw determination in his eyes. And when he said, "at least I didn't finish last," that was as satisfactory to me as a first place finish.

One of my friends whose child was participating said she was going to take video next year of all the parents whose behavior was less than sportsmanlike and show it on a big screen so they would see for themselves that when you verbally berate a child who is putting together a 100 yard swim/3 mile bike/1 mile run for not doing it fast enough, that child may shave seconds off of their time but the parent is undermining something far more enduring: a child's sense of wonder at the things their body and mind can do.

So this week, when a child in your life wants to spend their time in a way that diverges from your vision of what will make them happy, take a moment to put aside your adult expectations and see things from their perspective. You might be surprised at the things you'll "tri" together.