Sunday, April 28, 2013

Running with Scissors

I have spent way too much money lately on running gear. At the same time, I have really been wanting either a medal hanger or bib display book. When I looked at one of my favorite websites, I realized that the cost was more than what I wanted to spend at this time. I also know that I will want to sign up for more small races this summer, but I am pretty sure that my fiance will have to remind me soon that we are still saving for our wedding if I keep spending money on race entries and running gear and whatnot. That is why I decided to spend my evening making my own medal hanger as my relaxing activity after our 10 miler yesterday.

I have never been all that creative or crafty. It is funny because people kind of expect me to be, or they assume that crafting would be my kind of thing, but the truth is that I suck at it. I had some projects from my 4-H craft class win some blue ribbons when I was a kid, but really, the teacher did most of the work over my shoulder as I sat quietly watching. It could be because I had a small accident in the flower arranging class the year before...there was a hot glue gun involved. And when I had to take mandatory junior high art class, my dad went to the teacher during conference night for a report. I think he mainly went to see her because my brother also had her that year, and he was....well...Joe. The teacher had other siblings from my family in the past, and she asked my dad why the talented kids weren't the ones in art class. She was more than right.

However, I think my project turned out better than I would have projected knowing my skills and ability level. I didn't get too fancy or anything, but I had some good, cheap fun. The best part is that Matt and I now have a place to hang medals. I didn't realize till afterward that it will be completely full in two weeks when we run the Delaware Half. Oh well! Maybe I will just have to extend "RUN" to RUNNER."

Make Your Own
Materials: Wooden letters, acrylic paint, scissors, old Runner's World issues, mod podge, and  small screw-in hooks.

Steps: Paint letters. Cut out scraps to decorate and lay on letters for placing. Mod podge on the clippings. Screw hooks in the bottom of the letters. Hang and display race bling.

Cost: Materials were under $10, and it only took about an hour to make.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Run or Die

When I was running today, I was listening to a podcast of “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” and one of the segments in the podcast expanded on the dramatic changes that occur in a persons’ life after having a near death experience. This was research about people who were living after having been clinically dead and then revived. The researcher reported that the patients’ lives were changed so dramatically and in a way that they could not fully express to others because the people around them simply could not understand the impact of the experience.

I have never been clinically dead and then revived, and thankfully so, but the first thing I saw when I got home was a running meme. It hit me that running is the same as a near death experience.  Running has changed my life. I don’t always want to run. I am not fast. I don’t have the typical runner’s body type. I have not been running for very long. Despite these and other factors, I am a runner, and my life has changed drastically because of it.

It is sometimes weird when I talk about being a runner. I used to think it was stupid to say I was a runner at all when I had finished my first half marathon. Calling myself a runner to family, or with close friends, doesn't seem strange to me anymore because they understand what I mean when I say that I am a runner. I am slow and sometimes whiny, but I log my distance on a mostly consistent schedule. I still tend to shy away when I am talking to someone face to face. I feel like I am lying when I say it to someone I don’t know very well, yet at the same time, I have a hard time not talking about running with anyone and everyone. It just seems strange that something that meant nothing to me not so long ago, could suddenly mean so much to me now.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Becoming One of Those People

It's always nice to shake up your workout routine. It can make working out more fun on a day when you don't really feel like doing anything, or it can give your body that change of pace needed to meet goals. Today I didn't really feel like going to the gym, but with my half training nearing race day, I have really been neglecting strength training to get in more mileage. I have mapped out and run various lengths to the gym to get in some miles and strength training, but with the sun shining on this spring day, I decided to shake it up.

I ran to a park that surrounds a lake that is near where I live, and then stopped to do my strength training circuit.  I did 10 push ups, 10 chair dips on a park bench, 30 crunches, and 30 reverse crunches. And then repeat. It was so nice to have such lovely scenery while working out on such a beautiful day. I even felt more energized on my way home than I did on the way there! Matt commented that I was "one of those people," when I told him what I'd done. He opted for football in the park with friends over working out with, "one of those people." It is always good to shake it up whether you are being active with friends or going solo.

Laying it all out on the line: Progress Pictures

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Heavy Heart

I had originally planned on blogging today about ways to be active with family and friends, along with some witty comments about how playing two-hand-touch football for a few hours in the park will make you feel so young at the time, and so old when the soreness sets in the next day, but it is an important day in sports. Today is a landmark day for both good and bad.

It is Jackie Robinson day. This marks the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first major league game. I was raised by a dad who loved sports, but the sports bond that he and I shared was baseball. Kansas City Royals Baseball. I love my boys in blue. Being as I grew up with the Kansas City baseball, my dad also taught me about the Monarchs, Jackie Robinson, and Buck O'Neil. Jackie Robinson was stepping out on the field and standing up to the senseless hatred that was segregation, and he did so long before the Montgomery Bus Boycott or Dr. King's moving speeches and rallies. He was the lone target of the hate, but a shinning light as to how we should all do what is right and live our best lives. If you want to learn more about Jackie Robinson, there are two movies that have been made to chronicle his rocky debut in MLB, and one of them, "42" is currently in theaters. This marks the good landmark day in sports.

Today is also a landmark day in sports that will be remembered as a terrible day. It was a landmark day for all the wrong reasons. A coward decided to make his mark on innocent people at the Boston Marathon. I had been pumped all day to find out who would win the race, and who would win out in the Flanagan vs. Goucher showdown. The first report I heard about the race was of the terrible incident that took place instead of finishing times and winners. I was shocked, then sickened, then angered, and now the cycle just keeps repeating itself. I recently posted that running makes sense of the senseless by giving the runner a chance to sort through the nagging thoughts during a run, but this does not make sense.

The only thing I can do to feel better is to pray for the victims and their families. I have also found myself listing over and over the reasons why I run, and how empty I would feel if I could never run again. I know many of the injured were spectators, but that doesn't make the thought any less horrifying. I was originally dreading my run tomorrow morning because it is supposed to rain, but I will be running tomorrow morning rain or shine, and I will hold in my thoughts the victims, our country, and all the reasons listed below that keep me running.


because I can.
to feel the sun on my back and the wind in my face.
to be a healthier person.
to feel like a kid again.
because it opens my eyes to who I am, not who others think I should be.
for an extra scoop of ice cream.
for pizza.
to donate to charities and causes I believe in, while also donating to myself.
because endorphins rock.
because it's cheaper than therapy.
to remind myself that I am worth the work it takes.
to fit into skinny jeans.
to admire the beauty of nature.
because it pushes me to be more than I think I can be.
to soul search.
for race shirts and bling.
to connect with family and friends.
because it is impossible to know which run will be the last run of my life.
because I can.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Runner's Rambles: We meet again, Schuykill Loop.

I am really going through one of those phases where it is blatantly obvious how much you really have to want to live a healthy lifestyle. Life can really get in the way sometimes. I really let the head race beat me last week because there was more than one day when I didn't even make it out the door for a run, and I only made it to the gym twice. Now, I did take some time out to spend an entire day walking all around Center City and Chinatown in Philadelphia with some friends, and that part of a healthy lifestyle is something I really enjoy.

I have also been reminded that it is so easy to choose unhealthy options when it comes to what I eat. I'm sort of in that, "when it rains, it pours" kind of stage, yet I am the one tipping the bucket that's pouring on my head. I have been squeezing in work outs, and even squeezing in this post just a couple sentences at a time, but I haven't been keeping myself accountable for what I am putting in my mouth. It just reinforces how important it is for me to prepare for the whole week ahead of time.

I forced myself to get in a little bit better workout this week by mapping a route to the gym that was long enough for me to get my full distance in only split in half. I also decided for our long run this weekend that Matt and I would take on The Loop again. I knew that after that crazy long run I wrote about before, and my lack of dedication would need a good solid run this weekend. I get somewhat annoyed by the traffic and whatnot when it comes to city running, so having a path just for pedestrians is very appealing to me. And I wanted another crack at The Loop.

This run wasn't much better time wise, but mentally it was a thousand times better! I had Matt with me the whole way, and I think the Forerunner helped too. I hate when I am running a route that I don't already know the markers on, or running a race that isn't marked. It was a beautiful day in Philadelphia, and I was able to get some sunshine on my face and some spring air in my lungs. I was a beautiful day for a run, and I can't wait for more spring running. Now next time, we will have to take on the "Rocky Steps" as well.