Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why I run - Jennifer

My Dearest Sibs:

For as long as I can remember, I have been involved in some sort of group athletic activity -- from competitive team sports in childhood, to training for my first sprint triathlon in 2000, to my first marathon [Chicago] in 2001. To be honest, running a marathon was not on my bucket list. Never crossed my mind. Until....... a challenge. Simpy put, my boyfriend at the time did not think I could run one -- well, nothing gets me more motivated than telling me that I cannot do something. So, off I went and I finished Chicago with a smile on my face and a desire to do a marathon again -- which I did the next year! I married my naysayer, took time off to start a family, had twin girls, and readied myself to train again.
I continue to run because I can. My father -- and my role model for all things athletic -- died last year, peacefully but unexpectedly. He was a marathoner and an all around great guy. So, with him in mind, we run. My siblings and I will run Chicago this year in his honor. I will run to prove to myself that I can do it again. They will run for diabetic research. It will be their first marathon and my third. We could not have picked a better marathon -- from its symetrical date, to its unbelieveable organization, to its incredible crowd support, to its history and neighborhoods, to its course -- Chicago has it all. We will be traveling from Los Angeles, Boulder, Philadelphia, and Austin. The Piskun Pack plans to take the Windy City by storm and, if Dad has anything to do with it, we'll have the run of our lives [which means finishing!], with the most incredible weather, and enjoy more pizza and pasta than we can handle. We are looking forward to it! Thanks for helping us get there! See you 10-10-10!
Sincerely, Jennifer Piskun Johnson, Texas

Why I run - Christopher

Jennifer today sent out an email with a very cool story of why she is running the Chicago Marathon and it'll be included into a news letter with a Chicago based running group. Apparently that newsletter will reference our lil blog here...!

Why am I running....? It started this past Christmas in Vail. A common topic of conversation among my sibs was getting together in Austin 2/14/2010 for the Austin Marathon/Half Marathon. Despite dropping massive amount of weight over the past 2 years and being in the best shape of my "adult" life, this simply was impossible and stupid to even fathom.

I was running for exercise and weight control. Time Based... I'll do 20 minutes or 30... every once in a while a miracle 40 minutes. 100% treadmill because the road was just too hard on my feet. (amazing the BS we can convince ourselves). I had no goals. Pretty GD boring now that I think about it. I knew running 13.1 in Austin wasn't possible by Feb.

After I got back from Vail...I wondered and therefore started reading about training for a marathon and found inspiration. Boom. Without a doubt... "I have to run a marathon." "This is my year" I convinced myself. My year to do something big and different.

The past few years have been a roller coaster of successes, failures,.. losses. Call it what you want: Bucket-list, mid-life crisis, 40th b-day present, therapy... whatever. It hooked me and anyone who truly knows me understands that when I want to do something... it'll happen come hell or high water. That's the Piskun in me and I have on occasion been to hell or did some paddling.

That was it... I broadcast my intentions to the world. Chicago in Oct. Prepare to join me, support me or get the F*** out of my way. Woke up at midnight Feb 1st (open registration) to officially register. Invested in the right pair of shoes, the right set of winter clothing, the right play-list and I was off.

A blink of an eye later... I ran my first race on May 16th. The Wilmington, DE Half in 2:09:22, a 9'52" average which exceeded all my training and expectations. It was a cake-walk and elevated my confidence through the roof.

But wait...Stop...

Nice try Chris. I got something wrong. I'm coming in way too shallow here... this isn't just about me and my year. I'm not sharing what makes me get out of bed to run 11 miles when I don't feel like it. What makes me eat oatmeal when I really want a super-awesome, holy Sh&% that was great can I have another... bean and cheese burrito.

Redemption ( ... about the only word I can find at this time that may cover it all. It passes by as visions and thoughts;

My son, Luke, cheering me into the finish line; Don't be a wimp; The family coming together, as foretold by our father; T-shirts; Because we said we would;
Because they said we couldn't; Pride in the eyes of a child for his/her father; 1%-er; A Piskun tries everything once;

Finally and undoubtedly....Wally will be waiting for us when we finish...

Why I run

- Christopher

The lull

Normally my week consists of:

monday: dodgeball (40 minutes)
tuesday: running (6 miles)
wednesday: dodgeball (40 minutes)
thursday: running (5-6 miles)
friday: speed run (2 miles)
saturday: easy run (4 miles)
sunday: long run (8-10 miles)

Last Monday I played dodgeball for 80 minutes, ran 6 miles on Tuesday, ran 5.5 miles to the gym Wednesday BEFORE db, Thursday only went 2 & Friday ran 4. There was a fundraiser that I was helping out with on Saturday where I ended up playing 4 hours of dodgeball and an hour of tennis so I elected, wisely, to skip the day's run. By Sunday, my body was VERY unhappy with me.

I woke up Sunday at 10am with the usual, "Oh, joy, it's Sunday. Time to run now." If I do not get from toothbrush to running shoes within 10 minutes of rolling out of bed, I know I've never knock out the run on a weekend. I can't afford to even have a moment to harp on the plethora of reasons my brain will come up with to rationalize skipping the long runs. But this Sunday was different. I could hardly move out of bed. My body felt terrible from all the exercise the day before...the whole week before!

I headed down stairs after brushing my teeth to grab my usual pre-run Slim Fast shake (yes, Slim Fast...they are a great sources of quick calories and frickin delicious, ok?). The trip down the stairs proved to me the day would be very difficult for me...the trip back upstairs garnered tears.

Slim Fast in hand I sat down at my computer and looked for a new post on this blog - an omen from God – willing me to get my ass out the door. That’s the hardest part; walking out the door. Never have I ever turned back once outside.

Nothing. No new posts. Great. Now what? I thought to myself. I wrote out a short post, hoping putting that down on paper for all to see (all 3 of us), would force me to complete the looming task. I finished the Slim Fast, finished the post and looked at the clock. 10:10 am. UGH! I refreshed the page. Still. Nothing. FINE!

I got up and put on my running shorts and shoes, then grabbed my iPhone. Dead.

Out loud I said "Alrighty. There you go. That's it." And I laid back down, shoes on, and fell back asleep for 2 hours.

Needless to say, no long run on Sunday. And I blame Jennifer and Sally and my all too comfortable bed. Who am I kidding, I blame me...and I definitely let myself have it during yesterday's run. Running a 6-mile @ 7'20 pace... I almost passed out the last 100 yards.

MOTIVATION my sibs, I need it...especially realizing I haven’t even begun the hard part yet. I want to hear you so get on the posts, people.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Long run day

Ugh.  I dont want to. 10 miles...I can do that?  We shall see.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nike+ Profiles

Let's all share our Nike+ profiles. Jennifer, make Sam get one and sign up. I agree with Molly... I love posting my times on Nike+ and on Facebook. Had a few friend even comment that they get sick of my posts and that just encourages me even more. They can de-friend me before I give it up.

So post your Nike+ profile userid (username). Mine is cpiskun and already buddies with Sally and Molly.

I got my half behind me and my confidence is through the roof. I was able to stay goal oriented (10" pace) even while half the field was passing my ass the first 2 miles... I had the last laugh. Now onto the Full and looks like Sally (maybe even Molly) are on the EXACT same running schedule. I'll be joining my Nike+ schedule May 30th for a mild 10.2 tempo effort run, but in the mean time, having a few ritas and some weight training.

Third time's a charm?

(For the record gang:  I love that we are doing this.)

My two older sisters and older brother and myself have done the impossible.  We agreed on something.  Jennifer, Christopher, Sally and myself are doing it!  Chicago Marathon, here we come.

On October 10, 2010 four Piskuns set out to conquer Chicago's 26.2 miles of mapped out misery.  This is my first full marathon  ...pfft... I say that like there will be a second (um, doubtful)...and I have to say I'm scared shitless.

Ever since I agreed to join my siblings in tackling the Windy City's streets, I can't help but imagine myself leisurely jogging across the finish line with a shit-eating, I'm amazing smirk on my face.  Until I look down at the date.  May.  Five months away.  Hundreds of miles to run before I even get a shot at my fantasy.  What the hell am I thinking!?!

Medal.  That's what.  I want.

My first attempt at long distance running was the Austin Half Marathon in February of 2007 with Sally who had talked me into a half by asking at the perfect moment.  While visiting her I went out for a run on a beautiful September afternoon in Colorado.  Running was new to me at this point.  (I'm inherently cheap and wanted to workout WITHOUT paying for it, so I started jogging after work.)  That afternoon in Boulder, I managed to complete three consecutive miles - something I never thought I would ever, EVER been able to do.  She was looking to lose baby weight from her first child, then 3 week old baby Gus, when she jumped on my euphoria and laid the question on me, "Wanna do a half marathon in February, Molly?"  I'd have agreed to just about anything in that moment, and apparently did so.

What a joke I was participating in the Austin Half.  I puked at mile 6, 7, 8 and 10 feet before AND after the finish line, cursed and disowned my sister two or three times throughout, and managed to crawl across the finish line after 3+ hours of pure torture.  I hated it.  Every second of that race was difficult for me.  I desperately wanted to be as good as Sally, to be running along side her the whole time with my head held high....I think I may have fantasized about us holding hands across the finish line.  That bitch named Reality was much more vindictive than I thought she could be...I trained, I did some running, I Reality?  I mean, come on, being able to run 4 miles, 2 weeks before the race seemed enough, right?  Who knew I wouldn't be prepared?  Pffft, only everyone Molly.

I thought to myself, 'Never....again... will I subject myself to that torture!'  Assuming I meant running in general by saying never again - any distance - but apparently the thought meant 'never-ever will you be that unprepared.'  Because a year later I was signed up for another one.

Plus that Austin medal was pretty freakin sweet!  And looked so lonesome hanging on my wall.

The City of Angels half in December of 2008- my second half and here in LA - was an improvement for me in training and showing but I still didn't take my training seriously enough and pooped out at mile 11.  A personal accomplishment and failure all at the same time.  11 miles was the furthest I had EVER run without stopping!!  But I stopped running 2 miles from the finish line which pissed me off.  What?  You couldn't push yourself harder, Molly?  No, thank you very much.   I could not.

This time is different.  I can feel it.

Why you ask?
1) Nike +
 - this, like seriously, is the greatest thing to happen to mankind since Jesus showed upon a T-shirt
2) Nike + Facebook
- tracking the progress of my siblings from ACROSS THE COUNTRY...are you serious?  Amazing!
- sibling rivalry kicks into gear, and no offense, after an 11 mile post by Chris or a 7'00" 5-mile run by Sally, and my competitive juices start to flow and I want to kick your posts' ass ...with my own!

3)  No Smoking
 - It'll be 6 months May 24th. YAYs

4) At some point I became a runner.
- between starting my training with a piddly 2 mile run & my faster-than-I-thought-possible first 6 mile run ...I got hooked on accomplishment.  It's a great drug.
 - Now, I look forward to my runs rather than dread them & I feel terrible and sad when I skip one

I'm going to make Chicago my bitch.  And then eat all their pizza.

I'm really excited to hear your thoughts on how you all started running.  Jennifer especially as you are the pro amongst us us all; having completed so many full marathons already.  Chris too because you are starting from the beginning.  And Sally - you are a freak of nature, I look up to you so much and at 29 I still try and emulate what you do, so thank you for pushing me!

But really, I must thank all of you for encouraging me to do this.  I know dad is just rooting us on and is so proud of all of us for banding together and knocking out something so personally and physically a family!

I love you guys.

And let get these posts started!!
Hey gang! Loved Molly's idea to start a blog... here it is