Racing with Hot Pants

Hot Pants, as we so affectionately call her, is my age and SHE. IS. FAST. My first run with Hot Pants was in a town nearby. It was before I was pregnant with #4 and was progressively getting faster and had a couple of second place medals hanging in my closet at home.

I finished in exactly 25 minutes and was proud of myself because it was one of the more brutal 5Ks I had done. For one, the route was BORING! 2.5K down a long street, turn around and run 2.5k back, slightly uphill all the way in 50 degrees with high winds.

Hot Pants finished in about 22 minutes. My guess is she’s been in several other races and I failed to notice.

In the last 5k, she was right up front. I know when Hot Pants shows up, I do not stand a chance of any first place medal. And I also knew that my time would probably not be under 25 minutes because my training so sporadic at best with 4 little kids at home and my husband’s crazy work schedule.

Still, I pushed myself, not bothering to time myself or anything like that.

Here is a photo one of my friends found on a local news station’s website. I’m in the blue shirt bringing up the rear of that small cluster, although I passed at least two of those people in the last 1/4 mile. It’s hard not to get a little competitive about these events even though they are for charity and also fun.

East Meets West Run


Here is what I’m like when I cross the finish line. Face flushed, sweat dripping, stomach churning. I don’t want to be touched, talked to, or looked at until I’ve had a chance to catch my breath, walk around a bit, and get over the urge to get sick.

Sometime after that, the runner’s high sets in and I feel great.

Here is the first thing I heard from my mom after I crossed the finish line. “Hot Pants finished first, as in, first one to cross the finish line.” Her time was 19 minutes. According to the spectators, she crossed the finish line smiling, looking quite fresh and asked “where are all the guys?”  Really?

I came in much later at 25:20, feeling a bit defeated for not getting even a smidge below 25 minutes.

After we stuffed ourselves on some amazing pancakes and drank hot coffee, I met a seasoned runner, a man of about 60 years. We talked and I told him it has been a struggle to lower my PR. He said it’s normal to plateau and not peak until later on. Also, I have no regular training routine or schedule because it is truly impossible to stick to one without sacrificing things at home with my family.

Once I am able to put all of my little children in the nursery at the YMCA while my oldest swims or runs, I will be able to adhere to a better running schedule.

Before #4 crawled, I was in a nice routine at home using my treadmill, but she is on the move and climbing so unless she is sleeping or being watched by someone else, the treadmill presents a physical danger to my wee one.

My guess is that I will never beat Hot Pants in a race, unless she eventually has a baby and I hit my peak right when she is running after giving birth or something. Gotta strike while the iron is hot! HEHEHEHEHEHE!!!!!


How to Start Running

Years ago, I could not fathom ever liking to run. Imagine pounding the pavement and sweating being fun? No way José! I remember very clearly friends who ran saying “It’s so great once you get doing. It’s becomes addictive!” Right. I smirked at the very idea. Running is hard, wah, it hurts, wah. Well, they were right. Running is addictive, I hate when I miss a few days, and there actually is such a thing as a runner’s high. If you can imagine yourself running, you can become a runner. Here are a few tips from me, a Mommy who  few years ago, had no intent of ever being able to run so much as a mile!

1. Decide you want to run, for whatever reason/s. Keep the words on the poster below in mind while you are on your way home from the fast food drive-thru and see a runner while you secretly think “I wish I was doing that today.” For all you know, 6 months ago, she’d had a baby and was regularly stuffing take-out Chinese food down her gullet wishing she could put down the chopsticks and go for a run.

* I do not recommend EVER eating Chinese food and then going for a run.

2. Buy some decent running shoes. If you get blisters, you may decide to throw in the towel after your first outing.
3. Do NOT psyche yourself out. It’s just running, or jogging, or doing intervals! This is not a competition, until you actually decide to compete.
4. Wear something you feel very comfortable in. If you try to run in pants or shorts that ride up between your thighs, you’ll regret it and it’s all you’ll think about while running. Just say no to Scootchitis!!
5. LOWER your expectations! Starting to run is not a competition nor does it mean you are training for a marathon. I’ve been running for about 2 full years and have not run more than 6 miles at a time.

6. Avoid advertising your efforts on facebook. If it becomes a habit and you feel awesome, brag all you want because you did it! You’ll feel very proud of yourself for making a commitment to your health and well being.
7. Start easy!

My amazing chiropractor Dr. Brown suggested an interval work out. It made ALL the difference. It is how I started running and kept at it.

Here it is. It is a treadmill work-out. Using a treadmill counts. It’s an amazing training tool, so use it if you have one or join a gym. Then you have no excuse not to run on rainy days.

  • Walk 2 minutes at 3.5mph
  • Run 2 min. at 5mph
  • Walk 1 min at 3.5mph
  • Run 2 min at 5.5mph
  • Walk 1 min at 3.5mph
  • Run 2 min at 6mph
  • Walk 1 min at 3.5mph
  • Run 2 min at 6.5 mph
  • Walk 1 min at 3.5mph
  • Run 2 min at 7mph
  • Walk 1 min at 3.5mph
  • Run 2 min at 7.5mph
  • Walk 1 min at 3.5mph
  • Run 30 seconds at 8mph
  • Walk 1 at 3.5mph
  • Walk as slow as you like to cool down and then get off and get in a great stretch.

No, I could not or would not do the entire interval work out the first time, or even the third or fourth! I thought running at 8mph on the treadmill might kill me, or that my legs would fail and I’d go flying off the treadmill! But I did it, over and over, until I could do the entire work out. When I could do the whole thing, I’d do it once through and then go in reverse, faster to slower. When that became easier, I increased the running times by a minute. After a while, I’d spend 15 minutes at 5.5 mph.

That simple work-out changed the way I looked at running! And it is SO SIMPLE. Try it and please tell me how it works for you if you are just starting out.

8. Find motivation. I started after my son was born. It was a while after he was born. I needed to get out of the house and we had a membership at the YMCA. I had a goal of running a 5k in 30 minutes. Then, I quit until after I had our third baby. I did it to lose baby weight and to relieve stress. That is when I committed and started to love running even though at first I only ran two blocks at a time.

9. Not everything comes easy. Running is hard at first! What stunned me was how quickly running became easier! Another story for another time.

10. Find support. I have a small group of online friends. Some I have not met in person. We brag about our accomplishments, share sorrows, joys, recipes, and ideas. We are all on a different journey, but the thing we all want is to be healthy and happy. Do not be in the 70% that quit.