under my own steam

a blog about moving through the world


Today was Day 1 of the 100 pushups challenge.  I did 10, 12, 7, 7 and 10 pushups (5 sets).  Yay.  I was definitely difficult and I feel it now.  I didn’t think that would happen (the feeling it and it being difficult).  But things aren’t as easy as they used to be.

Also, I ran today – 2 miles.  It was hard.  I was wheezing for the first half and felt okay the second half.  And, it was slow.  Two miles shouldn’t be hard.  Eventually it won’t be hard. 

Ya know what else?  I did it.  I didn’t feel like it – I was a grump all day – trying very hard not to be but not succeeding – and I still did it.  A bad run is still a run.

Later dudes.


November 11, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

push ups

Okay – so my fabulous training partner and I decided to do the 100 push ups challenge.

I did 17 to start – yay me.  It was harder than I thought it would be to get to 17.  Sad.  But still – 17 push ups to start with isn’t too bad, right?

This week we have 3 days of push-up workouts.  Each workout is 5 sets. 

Day 1 – 60 second rest in between each set.  Set 1 – 10 push-ups.  Set 2 – 12 push-ups.  Set 3 – 7 push-ups.  Set 4 – 7 push-ups.  Set 5 – max (at least 9).

Right now – it doesn’t sound too daunting.  We’ll see tomorrow.

What happened to running?  I’m getting back to it.  I have run some – not as much as I would like.  I love it though.  I love to run.  Mostly right now, I don’t eat right enough to be able to run when I have the time.  And, I’m thinking about running as something that I do when I have the time – not something that pushes other stuff out of the way. 

What happened to swimming?  I haven’t had any reason to swim.

What happened to biking? I still bike – right now it’s just on my trainer.  But, that totally works for me because it’s time for me to read.  I like it.  I know I need to get out on the road sometimes.  I have a hard time getting out on the road just to train.  I like riding places – seeing stuff.  I’m trying to bring those 2 things together so I can get some road training and see stuff.

What’s happened to all of it?  I guess I just have to work myself back up.  I had a great triathlon (the triathlon at pacific grove) and then a great bike ride (le tour de femme).  Now, I have the half-iron but that’s like a year away.

Baby steps right? Start with push-ups. Keep up the trainer (the bike part) and throw in a run.  I’ll get there.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

new season, new commitments

Okay, here I go.  We talked about.  I agreed to do it.  We’re gonna do a half ironman next year – the B2B.

Gotta get a training plan.  Gotta figure out nutrition.  Gotta blog more.  Gotta read more blogs.

November 3, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

thanks stef

I’ve thought a lot today about your comment – that I have to want it – want it BAD – bad enough to commit to doing the things that are uncomfortable or difficult.  But what is it that I want?

I’ve thought all day about what is it that I want – because if I can figure that out, if I can have a clear vision, then I can commit, make a plan, make it happen.  I talked about it with my fabulous training partner.  Now, I have an outline of a sketch of an idea of where I want to be.  So, here’s what I have so far…

I want to be able to run without it being a chore every time.  For me, that means that I can run a mile in less than 10 minutes or even a 5k with three sub-10 minute miles.  I want to be able to go out and run 5 miles without thinking that it’s a big deal.  I would like to get to a point where I could jog all day if I had to.  There’s a part of me that thinks maybe I want to be an ultra-runner.  I know, I know – there’s a big difference between running a sub-10 minute mile and being an ultra runner.  You might think – dang, she’s got a long way to go.  But, I don’t think you have to be fast to be an ultra-runner.  And, I don’t need to be fast – just strong and able to keep going if I need/want to.

I already know I can bike all day if I want to.  I want to be able to ride on my bike in all kinds of weather – I don’t think I can do it in the winter.  (I biked in the cold once and I was miserable.)  I want to be able to race on my bike.  I want to be able to bike all summer on my bike or across country (this one or another one). 

I want to be able to swim for as long as I need to.  I already know I can swim a mile.  I would like to be more comfortable swimming that mile.  I believe I can swim more. 

I want to be strong and feel strong.  I had (have) this mantra that I’ve been saying to myself for several months – I am swift and strong, taut and firm.  I move through the world with ease and I look good in my black jeans.  I am currently none of those things (well – I’m kind of strong but I want to be stronger) but it’s what I want.

But, I can’t just magically get there.  I have to work at it.  I need to train for it.  Then, it will be something that I’ll have to maintain.  I think having a race that I need to train for (like a triathlon) will force me to maintain.  So, I think triathloning is my means to an end.

October 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

so what do I do now?

Okay – so I’ve done the triathlon, I did the bike ride and then I got sick.  I didn’t do the 5k and I’m not doing the 10 mile tomorrow.  We can’t afford to stay in Philly long enough to do the half-marathon next month, so what now?  What do you do when there’s no race out there and you have NO motivation to do anything?

It’s weird ’cause I can see myself stronger, doing races, doing a half-iron (maybe even an iron one day), making PRs – all kinds of good stuff – but how the hell do I get there from here?

So – you’re probably gonna say I gotta train.  Okay fine.  What do I do when I’m always freaking cold in the winter time and I don’t want to go outside?

I suppose I can ride on my trainer.  I can lose more weight (’cause in my tri-world less is more).  I can swim (although I’m way less motivated to swim now than before the race – maybe I need to get to where I like swimming more).  But, run?  I don’t like running when it’s cold and I live in NORTH CAROLINA.  It’s not cold like ya know Wisconsin cold. 

Did I mention I’m from Miami?  Not so tough in the able-to-deal-with-cold arena.

I can also read y’alls blogs – they make me want to get out and train.  Thanks for sharing.

October 24, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

race report

The “le tour de femme” was fabulous!

The skies were overcast and the temperature was around 65 or 70 degrees at the start.  Perfect!  I ran into a couple of people I know – a former student (who is a sophomore in high school now) and her mother (who I consider a friend.  She’s a fellow cyclist and adventurer.  She and her daughter were in the front of the pack and stayed there for the duration.

I bought one of the fabulous jerseys.  I wanted a bigger size but they only had large. It seemed REALLY tight to me but both my partner and the really handsome guy selling them said it looked great.  (I’ve been trying hard to lose weight so it was…well – just nice.)

The course was beautiful.  We started in Cary, North Carolina and rode out into the surrounding rural areas.  We rode past Shearon Harris – a nuclear power plant in Wake County.  The route ran right by it so it was like all of a sudden there it was.  I had to take a picture with my camera.  Totally geeky but I love stuff like that. 

The first 15 miles was relatively easy.  I didn’t have a pack to ride with so I tried to hang with a couple of riders.  I would get in front of them or they would get in front of me.  It was a sort of mental challenge to me – not in a “I want to beat you” kind of way though.

The first rest stop was shockingly wonderful.  It was difficult to want to leave.  They had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, homemade chocolate chip cookies, gatorade, cytomax, water, bananas, oranges, a porta-potty and a bunch of cow-bells.  Totally awesome.

The second 15 miles wasn’t too bad either – some wind but that was the worst of it.  My partner met me at the second rest stop so that was fun.  She had a Coke waiting for me (which is usually what I need when I ride a lot – it’s the sugar I suppose).  I hung out for a few minutes, chatted with her and some of the other volunteers (including the handsome guy who sold me the jersey).

The third 15 miles was a little harder.  I expected it to be.  Although, it was very scenic and I took it in 5 mile blocks which made it ‘easier’.  I got to ride around Jordan Lake which was very scenic.  The third rest stop was very small but perfectly placed.  I really needed a break.  I also expected the first few miles of the last 15 miles to be kind of tough so I took an extra minute or two at the stop.

Then off I went into the last 15 miles.  There were some long not-so-steep hills and one or two steep short hills.  Nothing major but at the end of the ride it got a little difficult.  I slowed toward the end.  And, at one point I was going up one of steep hills and I was trying to get into ‘granny gear’ (I hesitate in saying that anymore because there were some seriously powerful older women in this race that totally out-rode me and could easily have been grannies) when I dropped my chain.  ARRRRGGGGHHH.  I decided it just meant that I needed break mid-hill.  I powered through the rest of the ride – just a couple more miles – and finished strong.

There were only about 200 riders so the end was different than all of those HUGE races that I’ve been in.  But, it was perfect.  The people that were there were focused on me finishing.  There was FABULOUS food at the end and we made a couple of new friends. 

I can’t wait to do it next year.  I hope if you are close, you’ll do it with me.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

race tomorrow…

Tomorrow is “le tour de femme”.  I’m pretty nervous tonight which surprises me.  I’ve bike this far before – in fact, several times.  I think the difference is that this is a race.  All of the other times, it’s been part of a longer ride that’s taken days to complete and I spent the whole day biking that far but tomorrow I need to get it done as soon as I can – you know, like a race.

Interesting tidbit that’s a little scary – I could burn up to 7500 calories tomorrow during the ride!  Who knew I could burn that much.  Do I have that many calories in me to burn?  I guess that means I need to eat A LOT!

I hope it’s not too hilly.  I hope it’s not too hot.  I hope I can finish.

Later dudes.

October 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

running music

So let’s talk running music…

Here’s my list

Madonna – Music, Like a Prayer, 4 Minutes

Eminem – Lose Yourself

Kanye West – Stronger

KT Tunstall – Black Horse and a Cherry Tree

Linkin Park – In the End

Pink – Get the Party Started

Rihanna – Pon de Replay

Timbaland – The Way I Are

Caught Up from the Queer as Folk soundtrack

Cascada – Everytime We Touch

Rob Zombie – Dragula

Any suggestions? 


October 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

When I get out and run…

I want to run more. 

I have been pretty down this week – not wanting to run even though I have all of these races coming up.  Kind of makes me nervous – if I can’t get motivated to run 2.5 miles how am I gonna run 3 miles, 10 miles or a half-marathon?

Today, I drove the bus (one of my many hats for school) for the cross country team.  When I drive the bus, I take my stuff and go for a run.  I forgot to go get the bus during the school day which is what I usually do (weird to forget something so important) so I had to hustle over after school to pick up the bus.  In that hustle, I forgot my inhaler (I have asthma so I use my inhaler before I run) so I was worried about being able to run.  

I did run.  There’s a handy little loop around the school that I’ve run before and did again today.  I cut myself some slack because I was having trouble breathing and took a break after each loop.  I decided to think about it as interval training (or something like that).  I did okay – I ran 4 loops.  I felt a little weak on the last one but that’s okay.  I’m working on it.

What was totally AWESOME about the day is that I got to see some of my current students and former students and other students run.  I got to cheer them – you know, the way all of those people cheer us during our races – that’s what I got to do today.  It did a lot for my running spirit.  There was a little girl who was running last – slow, red-faced and hurting but by-god she did it and there was one of my guys from last year – a big guy who got roped into cross country this year, he was last but it didn’t matter – he was strong all the way through.  Other students were in it too at various paces – it was great.  They were very inspiring to me.  I’m pretty sure that all of them run faster than me – even the slow ones.  But, that’s okay.  I’m working on it.

I talked to the coach (father of a student from last year) – I told him that I might have to pick his brain some for some ideas to help me get stronger.  He invited me to come to practice next week (so I’m gonna).  He talked to me about increasing the number of footfalls (kind of like more rpms on the bike) and strengthening push-off (doing hills) and how that can increase the amount of distance a runner covers during each stride which immediately decreases time.  Wow.  Very cool.  That’s what I want.  It seems simple – I’m sure the work itself is hard.  But I’m okay with the work.  I might need a little help with motivation.  Seeing those students today – that’s some serious motivation to me.

Enjoy the debate.

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

biking and eating

I biked today – it was overcast – no rain – cool – good day to bike – 38.2 miles.  I ran out of energy.  On my way back (about 4 miles from home) I was biking up a hill that tends to be challenging but usually doable.  And, recently I’ve been trying out this new thing for me – higher rpms – which for me means that I’m spending more time in my middle ring.  So, I’m going up the hill, I’m out of energy, I’m in my middle ring and I shift to the smaller ring and my gears lock up.   It’s happened before – doesn’t scare me – I just have to click out of my pedals before I fall which I did.  But, I had a hard time getting off my bike and staying upright. I had run out of energy.  I have got to figure out eating.  I’m trying to lose weight – it’s one of those things I decided would help me in my next race (less baggage – more energy devoted to pedaling faster or running faster) and I just want to be smaller.  I’m taking in less and it’s working – I’ve lost a couple of pounds but then I didn’t have enough fuel for the ride today.  Poop.


It’s not so bad if I’m going for a 2 mile run or on my trainer at home but out on my bike where I can fall…and hurt myself or worse…look stupid. 

Oh – and I was slower than I was in the triathlon – the fuel part probably has something to do with it but jeez. 

I repeat – must….find….balance.

Happy Sunday to you.

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment