Sunday, April 29, 2012

Gaining Perspective

Ok, so I have pretty much completely abandoned the training schedule that I started out on. I have had a lot going on with my work and personal life, so getting up before 4 am to run just wasn't working out. The thing is, I am running for fun and health benefits, but if I am so stressed on following a schedule, then I have completely thrown those two things out. I talked to my sister about how stressed I'd been, and this Half will be our first ever race together, and she isn't going to be at peak performance either. We haven't completely discussed it yet, but we WILL be running together. I am going to tell her that she has to stay with me. I'm not looking to PR, and she already has a pretty good PR for only having run two Half Marathons before. I am going to attempt to run a long run on the 5th, but is also a big day in my life because my boyfriend will be graduating with his undergraduate degree, so if I don't get the 10 in on that morning, then I am not going to sweat it. I am just going to enjoy the day either way.

I did do a short trail run this weekend at a nearby state park. I enjoy trail running with other people, but I am not really cut out for trail running in general. My boyfriend really psyched me out before I went, and it was my first solo trail run. He was pretty worried though, so I did carry my phone with me the whole time. I was ok by myself until I almost tripped on a turtle... and then there were some GIANT bees that scared the crap out of me...and I may have mentioned in earlier posts that I can be a bit skiddish. I did manage to take a picture of some of the scenery, but the picture just doesn't do justice to the beautiful sight that I was able to experience in person. The picture doesn't really show how beautiful the rolling, tree-covered hills in the distance are, but I have added it below anyway.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Taking the Scenic Route

One of the reasons I fell in love with running in the past year was because of the experience. Running allows for an experience that is unlike anything else. When I am running, I am able to experience the world around me in a brand new and completely different way. There are so many things that I am able to take in about the place I am running that I can't experience when I am driving and whatnot. There were places that seemed brand new to me in the town I live in when I started running the same roads I had driven down a thousand times before. I had the same, only maybe more profound, experience when I ran my first half marathon in Downtown KC. I had driven through the busy city so many times, but that was the only time I think I ever REALLY experienced Kansas City.

I think that one of the things that has really put a dent in my craving for running is my super crazy schedule. I have to run at the most ridiculous time. I have to be at work around 6, and I run around 4. I know I am not the only person in the world who has to wake up before the sun, but that is the whole issue with it. I enjoy running at night every once in a while during the summer, but I don't want to run under the moon and stars every single day. I love being able to really enjoy my surroundings when I run and running so early kind of puts a damper on that.

I ran a wonderful run today. I forgot my watch, so there was no pressure for time. I also had nothing else to do today, so I took it slowly and just relaxed. I got to run through a beautiful park with trees, a pond, and there were people having picnics, and the soundtrack for my run was the roar of the crowd attending the little league baseball games. It was glorious. I was able to think about how beautiful the Earth is, and how thankful I am for it all. I also remembered to take a drink to keep me hydrated. I hid it under a bench, and I ran multiple loops of a 2 mile trail. My sister had told me once that she would plant water bottles along the route she mapped out before she went to run, and I need the boost more and more as it begins to warm up some more. The only downside to the whole thing was that someone stole my water bottle. Now I would think the whole thing was just an honest person doing their part and throwing away some trash, but this was a reusable, double walled bottle with water and ice floating in it. It clearly hadn't been there that long. Either way, I am really not even too upset about that, but I was getting too thirsty to run the last lap, but I still got in a pretty good run overall.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The True Chronicles of a Bad Luck Runner

I am not entirely sure, but I am beginning to think it's me. I promise that I have not made up any of the ridiculous stories contained in this blog, and for those who have read several or all of my posts, I wouldn't blame those who have wondered if the stories are true. The universe may be trying to tell me not to run...or in retrospect, it may just be telling me to run faster. Those who have read older posts also know that I am admittedly an ugly runner. I know that I look like crap, and based off my encounters last week, I apparently also look as if I am either on my first run ever or as if I am in extreme pain based on the looks people give me.

Now, I am not sure any of that warrants being chased by the same wiener dog every week, being trailed by six dogs at once, getting chased by a schizophrenic woman, or any of the other crazy things I have endured while running. I have decided that it's just me. Keeping in mind that I obviously look severely pained, I tried today to not look so pitiful when I encountered people. I semi-waved at passing cars and everything. At one point, there was a small boy who was playing in his yard near the street. I was on the opposite side of the street, but we had already made eye contact, so I mustered up a smile and a small wave at the boy. As I passed him I heard and sort of felt a rock hit behind me, so I turned to see what happened, and the kid was clearly guilty. He threw a rock at me!! What? Kid! Did you seriously throw a freaking rock at me? What did I do to you?! I didn't say any of that to him, but when I glanced up at him and saw that he had clearly just thrown a rock at me, he yelled out, "Stupid girl!" Really? What did I do to him? I just can't catch a break. Even first graders are trying to get me to quit running...or like I realized earlier....maybe just to run faster.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hitting a rough patch...

I have let myself slack quite a bit on my running schedule lately. I forgot that rain tends to come with spring, and  I pretty much hate rain. I usually run around 4 am in order to be ready for work on time, and I have been under  quite a bit of stress lately, so when my alarm goes off and it's raining, I just let myself go back to sleep. I have decided that I still won't run in the rain, but if it is raining, I will hit the treadmill this week. I even skipped my increase run this week, which is usually something I am a stickler on.

Now the last time I ran, I went out on a 6 miler much later in the morning than I usually run because I had the day off work. I was also in a bigger and much more populated town than I live in, so I encountered way more people on my run than I normally do. This led me to develop a product in my head that I think would be a big hit. I would like a shirt that tracks the miles and elevation changes on a nice big display across my chest and back. This would keep me from being so annoyed when I get looks from people who clearly wonder why I look like crap. They could note that I am at the end of mile 6 and that I took on some massive hills, and then there would be no need for the judgement and wonder on their part. Because I think it is highly unlikely that a company will pick up my idea anytime soon, I think I may just make a shirt that has giant letters across the front that read, "Don't worry. I'm probably NOT on mile 1. It's ok if I look like crap."

And now to get back on track with my training...and my blog. Keep me on my feet, people! Literally.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring has sprung!

In my running this week, I have been able to admire the beauty of spring. I am in love with the weather and newness of all the plants blooming. I was happy and reminiscent as I saw all the blooming lilac bushes. Lilacs always remind me of my oldest friend, Laura. We have been friends ever since she told me were new friends when we were in Kindergarten. It's not that she is bossy, it just that she knows what everyone else should be doing. It worked out well as we grew up that she was organized and constantly telling me what was going on because I am completely unorganized and never know what's going on.

I have been impatiently waiting to see the first iris bloom this spring. The warm weather has tricked me into thinking they were late, but in all actuality, seeing one in March was probably a tad bit early. I did see one this week. Only a single iris had bloomed, and it was right next to a lilac bush. It was purple. This also has great significance to me, and to my friend Laura. Cara, Laura's mom, lost her battle with lung cancer when we were in high school. Purple iris's remind us that she is still with us. Her kindness and wisdom are always with me, and I  hope that I am able to accurately channel her wisdom and kindness in my life.

This does have more to do with running beyond my seeing lilacs and iris this week on my runs. This fall I ran the  Lung Hill Run in Kansas City. The race raises money for LUNGevity. There are probably several readers who made a judgement as they read that Cara died from lung cancer. Cara never smoked. Not a single puff in her whole life, but she still suffered the atrocity of hard-fought battle with cancer. LUNGevity raises money for lung cancer research and awareness that lung cancer doesn't just affect smokers.

Learn more about LUNGevity Foundation and lung cancer here

Now about the Lung Hill Run, it kicked my butt. I ran the 5k. Laura worked as a race course volunteer, and two of Laura's other friends signed up to do the 5k walk. I know I should have been more prepared for the tough race course because the word HILL is in the name of the race, but I was seriously surprised at how hard the hills were. The course partially overlapped the Kansas City Marathon course that I had run a month earlier, completing my first Half Marathon. The two biggest hills in the Half were the two smallest hills in the Lung Hill Run. I laughed at one point going up the biggest hill when a boy in a jogging stroller next to me told his mom to go faster, and she replied that she was going as fast as she could. It was so funny. Overall, it was a great run, for a great cause, with a great friend.