Saturday, April 18, 2015

Runner's Rambles: On the Move...see what I did there?

Ok, I know that there are people who hate running. In fact, probably far more who hate it than love it, but on days like today I just don't understand how. Did I have an amazing long run with an effortless negative split? NO! Hahahaha! Let's be real here. I ran 3 miles. Slowly. And I had to stop a few times to stretch out my calf muscles. But here's the thing, I got to spend time outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery that is Spring. I got a chance to appreciate my mobility, which is not a given in life by any stretch of the imagination. I got to interact with other people in a community that is pretty darn awesome; the running community is typically an uplifting and encouraging bunch! All those endorphins, ya know?

I have been in a limbo of sorts moving to Missouri this week. That may seem strange since I was born and raised in MO, but I am now living in pretty much the only part of the state I am unfamiliar with, and it is not the place I think of when I think of MO and home. It also seems strange to know that I have no return flight booked for Philly, and that is the other place I learned to call home. I got engaged, moved to Philly, got married, made some amazing friends, and spent my first year of marriage in Philadelphia. Now I am living in temporary housing outside of St. Louis, my worst nightmare as a child (slight exaggeration), just waiting to really settle into our new home in late May, and trying to forge my career path here. Seriously in limbo all around, but I still have running, and I should be thankful for each run even when they are slow or difficult.

One thing that is helping me get used to the idea of living in eastern MO is that St. Charles is ADORABLE. Seriously, I love the historic district and all the little parks I've seen, and I am pumped about being able to run on the Katy Trail. I hate gravel trails, but I might get used to this one! I even had another runner on the trail give me a high five on my run today!! Remember what I said about the running community? Eh, eh? And I needed that high five right about then. I may be in limbo, but I am still so fortunate, and running helps remind me of that. I. Just. Love. Running. Come on people, drink the nuun-koolaid! Fall in love with running! Ok, ok... just fall in love with something that will keep you healthy and loving life because right now you can, and one day it will be too late.



Talk about Rails to Trail!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Oh, hey there!

It's been weird. I haven't posted in quite some time, so let me just give the rundown, if you will, of where I've been and where I'm going!

It appears as if I never explained that I got injured and sidelined with physical therapy in the fall, which knocked me out of running the New York City Marathon. I was devastated. I did however, get to watch my sister-in-law run her first half marathon this past fall! It was my first time as a pure spectator at a race, and it was inspiring and gratifying to cheer on my sister, brother, and all the other runners that day.

I left my job at a running specialty store in PA to go back into teaching, but in a whole new area than ever before in my teaching career. I am loving my job teaching preschool!! I never thought I would say such a thing, but I love it!

So where am I headed? Well, first of all, back to Missouri! My husband is being  transferred to St. Louis, and I am pretty excited to be moving to the St. Louis area! And that's another thing I NEVER thought I'd say, especially with the quickly approaching start to regular season Royals baseball.

So, my running? It's been sporadic and inconsistent at best. I signed up for two spring races that I have run before, and I originally planned to return with hopes of improving my personal course records, but I have since transferred my bibs to friends who will be in the area since I am moving before the races. I am excited to start exploring a new area to run when I move in a couple weeks, and I am looking forward to setting some race goals for myself for the fall. I am also excited at the possibility of meeting up with family and old friends at races back in MO!!
I am loving the spring flowers instead of snow on my runs!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Race Recap: Bird In Hand Half Marathon

Holy crap. That sucked.-- This is a summary of how this race went, but you can read the whole post if you want the fine print.

It was a lovely humid 90 degree day in eastern Pennsylvania today. Juuuuuust lovely. And by that, I mean that it was actually awful. As soon as we stepped outside our front door this morning at 5:15 am, I felt the wave of heat and the heaviness in the air from the humidity, but no worries! I didn't have to deal with the humidity for long! The scorching sun seemingly burned off all the humidity by about mile 3 of the race. I wanted so badly for this race to go well. I was looking forward to another Amish Country run because the scenery is beautiful and this race is very interesting because of the Hot Air Balloon race that takes place on the same day, and there are Amish kids manning the water stops, and I needed a recharge for my marathon training, and I was running with my weekend running partner, Kristen, and I just... I just... I just wanted to have fun and run well. Why is that too much to ask?

If I haven't clearly conveyed this yet; it was stupidly hot. Now, I asked my friend Mark yesterday, "should I take my hydration belt?" "No!" he says. "They have water stops," he says. Mark gets angry when it is in the 60's and he has to do a long run!!! MARK!!!! IT WAS HOT AND I HAD NO WATER!!! I was shaking my fists at Mark for a while during this race today. That's the last time I listen to you, Mark! They did set out coolers of ice for the runners between water stops, and there were several kind Amish families who brought their garden hose up by the road to spray runners as they ran by, but there was no shade on the course, and it was HOT (in case I haven't mentioned that), and it just didn't go well.

I told Kristen by about mile three that she should just leave me behind. I seriously felt like I wasn't going to make it already at that point, so I kind of gave up most of my hope. I noticed at one point that I was even starting to hallucinate, or at least I thought I was. Remember last week when I thought I saw an ambulance, but it turned out to be a horse trailer? Well, I thought I saw a camel standing by an ambulance. Yes. It was so hot I saw a camel....but thankfully the camel was real, and so was the ambulance, which means that I hadn't completely lost it. They also gave out Rita's Water Ice at one point in the race, and it was amazing.

The best thing to come out of this race was that I met another kind person while running. When a race is going terribly, I usually try to find some other person around me who will carry on a conversation, and then help push me till the end. Today, I met Donna. Donna is an amazingly kind woman who seems to find the best in people and situations despite the fact that many other people in her situation would probably be very unhappy people. She cheered me on, and she cheered on other strangers as they passed us or as we passed them. She even SHARED HER STINGER CHEWS with me!! That is a big freaking deal in the running community! For real! This woman gave me some of her chews! We both agreed that one of the best parts of running is finding that throughout the running community there are so many different people, each with their own stories about why they run, and I am thankful that she reminded me of that because that will hopefully be my fuel to kickstart my marathon training back up for real!

Lastly, I just want to do a short rant about how the finish sucked most of all. You would think that after such a terrible race and the punishing heat, that I would just be elated to be done, but no. I cross the finish line, and a young girl smiles and says, "Congratulations! Here's an ice cold MILK!" Now my first instinct was to punch her in the face, but I didn't go with that first instinct, so no worries. I looked to my right, and a different girl hands me a bottle of water that she took right out of a cardboard box sitting on the ground, not in a cooler full of ice. It was 90 degrees!! Who wants freaking ice cold milk?!! I don't care how cold it is!! I want ICE COLD WATER!!! I just ran a freaking half marathon!! UGHHHHHHHH. Well, I survived anyway. And I got my Road Apple Award, so I guess it's all fine in the end. I just wish I'd had a better experience.

 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lessons Learned: Just go!

I took a whole week off. In the middle of marathon training, right after doing the same distance long run that did me during marathon training last year, I took a whole week off. I felt sort of tired, but not particularly sore, and I had a little knee pain... so I got lazy and semi-justified taking a whole week off. I didn't set out to take a whole week off, but it just sort of happened. It turns out that was a bad idea. Bad.

I knew I had to force myself out of bed this morning for the Church of Sunday Long Run at Valley Forge Park, so I reluctantly and slowly got up and headed over to the park. Standing around before we ran, I admitted that I hadn't run all week, and it was increasingly apparent that we were going to have a small group today because of the holiday weekend. I also admitted that I would probably end up only running 5 miles instead of 10 because I knew it would be easy to quit after one loop on the Martin Trail at VFP. Terry suggested I follow him over to the Schuylkill River Trail instead to do a loop that was about 9 miles. My watch only measured 8.5, but that's fine with me!

We headed off toward the trail, and Terry and Rick ran a very slow warm up mile over to the trail so that I could keep up with them. Mind you, I had to run my little heart out to keep up, but I did. Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit there, but you get the idea. It is a very good thing they stayed with me to get me to the trail because I likely would have been deterred by all the "road closed," signs and construction equipment! Never mind those! We forged right ahead! Hahaha And we even passed an entire HS girls Cross Country team! Ok, exaggeration again. They were standing around stretching after their warm up, and they promptly left me in their dust once they started running.

It's a good thing that there was beautiful scenery because I hate gravel trails, and I had a really rough time after all those lazy days I took this week. I walked so much today that I'm really not sure that I should even say that I went for a run, but I guess I get what I deserve for being lazy and pigging out all week. It was so hot and humid that I almost considered taking my shirt off while I ran, and the only other time I felt that way was Labor Day weekend last year during my last long run before bailing on marathon training and skipping straight to the marathon! Yikes! I really got a taste of why I should not skip training runs, and I told Terry on one of his MANY paperclips back to find me (thank you!) that I will think of how I felt today every time I think about possibly skipping a training run again during this training season!! I mean, at one point, I thought there was an ambulance up head of us that's how bad this was! It turned out to be a horse trailer, but I wouldn't have minded an ambulance at the time.

When I finally made it back to the parking lot, I told Terry and Rick that my run was miserable, which Terry already knew, but he pointed out that I finished it, and for today that was all that mattered. Now from here on out, I need to keep training and make sure that finishing a short run like today's isn't the goal!! It's ok to have an off-day in the sense of not having a good day, but there are training days and rest days. There is no more room on my calendar for taking-off-days!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

If marathons were easy, then everyone would run them.

It's been an interesting week. I had a terrible mid-week run, and I told my friend Mark that I was ready to give up on NYC marathon training. I got lost in my new 'hood in the 'burbs, and I had a very long and slow uphill climb to face in order to find my way back home. It was a rough "run" that ended in a dead Garmin, a long walk home, frustration and one very, very late arrival to work. No good.

I tried my hardest to brush it off, but unlike T. Swift, I can't just shake it off. I went for an early morning Saturday run with my friend and running partner, Mara, in a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to right myself before attending the Church of Sunday Long Run. And if anyone thinks I am being flippant with that phrase, well, let me tell you, I had a real come-to-Jesus kind of run on Sunday as I battled the sun and hills at Valley Forge National Historic Park.

I was grateful to have company for the first 10 miles of my run today, but I still had some obstacles along the way. First, my Garmin took forever locate any freaking satellites. Then, about two miles in, I realized it had decided to be a stupidly expensive stopwatch instead of a GPS watch. Not cool, Forerunner. It is a good thing I was running a 5 mile loop with kind people, so I knew how far I had gone despite my watch. And a long run feels much shorter when you have someone to run most of it with you, so I really am beyond grateful that I had company today.

I am at the point in my training where I basically gave up last year, so this is the turning point. I will finish training this time, but the further I get in the training, the more I remember why I don't like marathons. I think I will be sticking to half marathons from now on. I have found a few things that are getting me through training this time, so I am going to do a short shout-out list to wrap up this little update.

Internal dialogue: I have found that just telling myself to calm down goes a long way. Yes, I talk to myself. At least MOST of the time I don't talk to myself out loud, right?

My coworkers: Thanks to Terry, Erin, and Mark for listening to all my crazy theories, and telling my when I'm full of it and to suck it up and get running. And sorry to my newest coworker who was left outside the store waiting for me when I got lost on my run the other morning! Oops!

My friends: Yes, coworkers, you are included here too. And to all my other friends as well who have listened to me talk about running every. single. time. I see you.-- Guess I should start blogging more frequently.

My family: Thanks to my sister Grace, for always being excited about my runs even when I am not. To my brother Joe, for all the crazy competitiveness that is him. My sister-in-law Katie, for balancing him out and reminding me that he is some non-human competitive machine and that the rest of us are normal. To my sister-in-law Anna, who is getting ready to run the KC 30K Series AND her first half marathon this fall! AND a big thank you to my husband, Matthew, who has made me dinners and breakfasts and bares the brunt of my ridiculousness.

AND
My running partners: Thanks to Sheila, BJ, Nancy, Jill, Erin, Mark, Mara, Jim, and Kristen! Each of you have run with me at some point during my training so far, and whether it has been a few miles or many, once or once a week, I am deeply appreciative and moved to be able to be a part of such a great community of runners. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I would likely not have made it this far with out you.

So here's to a strong second half of training and hopefully an enjoyable race experience this fall.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hiatus

I have clearly dropped off the face of the blogging planet after I moved, and those who regularly read my posts may wonder why. The answer is simple; I am training for a marathon, working full-time, and enjoying my first year of marriage. We are settled into our new place, but I have not jumped back into the blogging.

I started this blog as an outlet for my thoughts, struggles, and accomplishments on my journey of active living. Right now, I am just concentrating on life and training and the balancing act that comes along with those. I am sure I will jump back into blogging at some point, so stay happy, healthy, and active until then!

You can do anything for 10.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Runner's Rambles: Vacation Running and National Running Day

Happy National Running Day!! It's one of the best holidays of the year! I celebrated with a short night run
after work. I absolutely love running at night during the summer. I'm not really sure why because it is usually still pretty hot at night because the heat radiates up from the pavement, but I guess I just like that I feel less exposed when it's dark. Believe me, I wear plenty of reflective gear to try my best to be seen by cars, but I just feel more like I'm flying than running at night even though I am not fast enough to consider what I do flying.

I am happy to say that my Summer Streak is firmly intact after going on a trip to Colorado to see two of my good friends get married! I got altitude sickness after their mountain top wedding, but even though they were probably the slowest miles of my life, I still ran at least one mile every day! Running can be difficult on vacation to say the least, but if you don't have to do super long runs, and your spouse or family doesn't mind you logging a few miles, then it is definitely doable! I just hopped on the hotel's "dreadmill" most days, but I did log some miles on a nearby trail!

At Garden of the Gods with my handsome husband, Matthew!

Garden of the Gods

Mountain View during my last run in Colorado

We got to go to the Olympic Training Center.
As another gift to me for NRD, when I went to my chiropractor this morning, he said that I am ready for PT, and I can start slowly increasing my daily mileage! So I upped my mileage a bit tonight as well! I am a bit bummed that my running in my current neighborhood is coming to an end this week as I officially move out to the 'burbs, but I am mainly bummed that I never figured out where the house is that JLaw "lived in" in Silver Linings Playbook. I will not at all miss the ridiculous traffic and getting honked at every day even though I am on the sidewalk out of the way. On one hand, I am pretty excited to find new routes after I move. On the other hand, I am not stoked that I have to go through runs in an unfamiliar place, so I will likely have some good stories about getting lost!