17 March 2015

Race Day Preparations

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Life, my friends, is finally back to normal. Nothing makes you appreciate the mundane like having your car totaled.

This Saturday is Down Syndrome Awareness Day, and I'm working on my annual letter. I came up with the topic a few months ago (I honestly start thinking about it around December), and am spending a few days carefully crafting and editing it. On March 21st, I'll blast it around social media and email it to every person in my contacts. (Hey real estate agent, you showed us a house two years ago - be Ds savy!) Each year I've managed to eke a few tears out of someone, which I consider to be the ultimate compliment. I also have a fun post planned for next week (you're not going to want to miss that one!), so in light of all these more formally crafted posts, I'm going to just be frivolous today. I promise, lots of pictures.

I love running.

I suck at it. But I love it anyway. I started running a few months after Matt and I got married when I gained the Honeymoon 15. (That's a thing, right?) I ran in Florida, then I ran in Florida with a jogging stroller, I ran in Chicago around Matt's work schedule, I run where we live now - there is even a nice trail that runs through the length of the city limits through wooded areas by a creek.

But like I said, I stink at it. I'm slow. I usually run 1.5 miles three times a week. I take "long runs" of 2-2.5 miles once or twice a month. For quite a while I've wanted to run a 5K, but I always found excuses to avoid whichever ones I stumbled across. "I can't train in time." "That one is too expensive." "That's free resident day at the local zoo/aquarium/museum." "It might rain in some part of the world that day." But you know how when you really want to do something but you're afraid and so you keep postponing it, it starts to eat away at your self esteem? Yeah, that was happening to me. I now need to run a 5K. To prove to myself that I can.

A few weeks ago, a friend (and my Godson's mother!) mentioned that she was planning to run a 5K in May for autism awareness at park we frequent. I got that little flash of "this is meant to be" intuition. The date was clear on my calendar, so I told her I would run it with her before I could chicken out. It's a recipe for success: I can't back out on a friend, it's two weeks before my sister in law's wedding - so you know I'm going to be hard core about working out anyway, and I have many friends with children on the spectrum who would benefit from the cause.

With everything set in stone, I got nervous. I train in the evenings after the kids go to bed, but I need a way to further my goal during the day! And with all the car drama, I wanted something more fun to think about. So...I started planning out my race day outfit.

I know, heavy-hitting.

First things first. I needed expert advice. So I bought a magazine.

Yes, I know.

I think it was Runner's World (the girls have since ripped the cover off) and it had a shoe finder chart/graph quiz. Personalized chart/graph quizzes always get me.

I decided at the end of the fall last year that I needed new running shoes this spring and had tucked away some Christmas money for a new pair. I made and sold a few crochet projects and saved up my free spending money (Matt and I budget allowances for ourselves), and managed to save up a nice little bundle of cash for my new shoes. I carefully studied the quiz and all my ideal shoe results and came up with three styles I found most appealing. I went to a store specializing in performance footwear and sat down with a sales rep who did a foot and ankle evaluation and gave me tons of information about what I most need in a shoe. (As it turns out, the shoe finder chart was surprisingly accurate!) She pulled a few shoes out for me to try on and the third one was the charm.

I know, shockingly redpinkorange. I really, really didn't want to restrict my options by available colors. I opted for the Brooks Launch 2 - they are a good mix of cushion in the heal and fitted around the foot. I also found out I overstride. Like, a lot. The store offers a free class twice a week in the evenings that goes over good form, so I plan to hit one of those up. Maybe, just maybe, with better form I'll be able to make my goal of finishing the 5K in 35 minutes.

Okay, shoes? Check. Outfit? In progress.

Since I've been running for a few years now, I've amassed a decent collection of running gear. I find that the Old Navy clearance rack and sales at Target offer the best prices. My favorite running pants are starting to get a little too loose (yay!), and the waist-band-rolling-down-while-running thing is getting annoying, so I need to find a new pair or figure out how to take them in. (I over-budgeted for the shoes, so I do have extra cash for new race-day gear.) In terms of shirts, I have two favorites. One is simple cotton but perfectly matches my shoes, the other is one is a fitted, moisture-wicking style. I want to avoid looking like a race-day tourist and I'm afraid both scream "newbie who is trying too hard!"

Oh goodness, can you believe I seriously waste energy on this? In all honesty though, I think it's healthy to have something light and rather meaningless to work on. Ya gotta have fun and thinking about nail polish racing stripes and headbands makes for a rather nice break for this type A-er.

Too touristy? I think the racing stripes might be too touristy.

Eleanor seems to prefer the neon.

Either she's selecting it or stealing it so I'll wear the slimming black.

The race is in two months (minus one day), so I still have plenty of time to prepare. I promise to keep the training posts to a minimum.

How're my treads, Runner Baby?

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