Sunday, November 22, 2015

Short and Sweet

I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving!

I also can't believe that five days ago I ran in capris and a long-sleeved shirt, and today I ran in tights, a long-sleeved shirt, a short-sleeved shirt, a jacket, a hat, and gloves.  And honestly, it wasn't that cold; I'm just not used to it yet.

Today I ran the Towpath from Lock 29.  Gorgeous as always.

Cuyahoga River
I ran two miles alone, met up with a group and ran with them for about three miles, then ran the rest alone.  It was nice to run with people, but it was also nice for me to run with silence and then with music.  Yesterday I had a reflexology session, and while I can pinpoint my problems and "blockages," I still have some work to do on getting rid of those blocks.  I feel like alone time might be a good thing for me for a while.  I plan to do some more journaling and meditation to see if I can work through my issues instead of ignoring them, as I usually do.

Stacy asked me today what I'm training for, and I said nothing; however, when I started listing what I committed to for next year, I realized that I will have a full plate.  Just this week I will run the Home Run for the Homeless and the Tryptophan Run.
This is EXACTLY how I looked in last year's Home Run for the Homeless.

  The following week I'll run the third race in the Ohio Outside Series and the next morning I'm going to run an eight-mile stretch of a trail relay.  And that's what I called nothing.  Huh.

Well, Peeps, I said this would be short and sweet.  I'd like to finish by listing what I'm thankful for:

1.  My family and friends
2.  My ability to run
3.  My career
4.  My enjoyment of reading and writing

Lastly, I'm thankful for YOU.  Don't think I haven't noticed what a difference your presence has made in my life.

Before you think that I'm getting all mushy, I'll post something that I think comes directly from my heart:

Until next week, run happy Peeps!

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

(Running) Friends Are There. . .

Is that a flash from the past or what?

I used to have a running posse during my weekday morning runs, but now I don't.  I used to run with a large group on Sunday runs, but now I don't.  I'm starting to think it's me.

I tend to like being alone, when running or not.  I think it's because I spend my workday being "on" for everyone around me, and I feel so drained at the end of the day/week that I just want to recharge by myself.  Sometimes this is a good thing, especially when I have a goal and I am motivated.

I currently have no goals, and I am not motivated in the slightest.

Usually I love the chillier weather, and I love running in the early morning.  I love to look up and actually see the moon and the stars when I run.  This week I didn't run outside ONCE during the week.  No biggie, you think, I'm sure you hit the dreadmill, and that's just fine, too.  Right?

Nope.  Didn't do that either.

The only running I did this week was in my living room, back in forth in front of my tv.  The reasons don't really amount to more than lethargy and laziness.  I have finished Season 8 of Dr. Who on Netflix, and I started watching Supernatural (because my daughter has been driving me bonkers about it), but I can't access the first 15 episodes on Netflix on our tv in the basement AND the DVD player doesn't work, so I can't put the show in down there while I run on the treadmill.  You could watch something else, you are thinking.  Nope.  Lethargy and Laziness are my twin friends this week.  They have been whispering things in my ears, seductive things like "You don't need to run at all, you know.  Put in a dancing DVD.  It's all the same, even if you don't sweat as much, " and "Yes, you should eat that brownie.  Shove it in your head right now; you deserve it.  Don't worry about calorie counts."  I gained about five pounds listening to those damned voices.

I was very reluctant to do my long run this morning even though the weather is gorgeous. I'm feeling a bit doldrummy (yes, I know it isn't a word--leave me alone already) and when I feel this way, I try to isolate myself from others.  True friends know this, and you know what?  They DON'T LEAVE YOU ALONE.  You heard me; friends know when you should and shouldn't be alone.  I am lucky that my running friends know when I need some company, and that was today.

Marilyn posted a running event for this morning, and I said I MIGHT go (but I was thinking that I'd probably run around there, see the group later and keep running alone).  As I was leaving, Sheila IM'd me asking me if I would be there, and once that happens, I am committed.  When I arrived at the meeting point, I found these peeps:

Marilyn, Jen, Shelby, Sheila
We had a beautiful run in the sun.  I had a few miles to myself, and I ran various miles at various paces with each of my friends.  It was perfect.  At the end, we did our traditional selfie:

See that warm, fuzzy glow?  
Thank you, Marilyn, for setting this up.  Thank you, Sheila, for messaging me to make sure I was going to be there.  Thank you, Jen and Shelby, for understanding EVERY SINGLE long-run topic we cover when we run together.

"Friends are there to help you get started, to give you a push on your way. . ."

By the way, in the above Garfield video, I'm Garfield.  Just in case you think you know me, but you don't.

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Recap: Ohio Outdoor Series Race #2

After a week of Parent/Teacher Conferences and a presentation in Columbus, I ran the second race in the Ohio Outside Trail Series in Munroe Falls. I am really, really tired, Peeps.  I was in bed by 8:30 on Friday night to wake up at 6:30 for the race.

I really wasn't feeling it much.  I dragged my butt around the house until I HAD to get in the car, and I arrived at 8:05 for an 8:30 start.  As I walked quickly to the bathroom (only one person waiting in the women's line!), a woman who was walking next to me looked at me and RAN AHEAD so she could be in the line ahead of me.  Seriously.  Now I was miffed.  Then she wanted to make general conversation while waiting, but I wasn't having it.  I collected my bib and my beer glass and went back to my warm car to wait it out.  No socializing for me.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I don't want to get out of my warm car.

I lined up at the very last second.  Right next to me was Tracy, who told me that she hadn't decided whether she was going to run or race, which was exactly my dilemma, too.  When we took off, I decided that the chilly air actually felt really good for racing, and so I made my decision.  The trail was swept clean of leaves, and the packed dirt was perfect for running.  I especially liked the downhill parts this time because I didn't see a lot of rocks and roots, and I allowed myself to open up. Just like last time, the finish came quicker than I expected (weird GPS stuff going on), so I was pleased to see the steps that led to the flat sprint at the finish.

Pretty finish along the lake

I actually shaved over a minute off my time from the first race in the series!

This is EXACTLY how I look when I shave over a minute off my time.
I attribute it to the cold weather (lower forties/upper thirties seem to be the best racing temperatures for me) and the fact that I know the course a little better.  I was able to push myself on the hills because I knew the downhills were coming shortly after.  In any case, I'm happy with my time, and I'm super happy with the two carrot cookies I shoved in my pie-hole immediately after the race.  Seriously, they are that good.

Today I ran ten miles with Mandy, who is great at picking new spots for us.  We started at the Mustill Store in downtown Akron, and we turned around about a half-mile past the Wilbeth Road Trailhead.  This took us past Summit Lake, which I had never seen before.

Summit Lake
We had all different surfaces to run: pavement, road, soft track, dirt.  We even ran across a few bridges:

See the birds?  Mandy was freaked, but I felt like they were our honor guards.
The best part was running the last mile completely downhill.  I forgot that I was sore and tired and hungry, and I let it all go.  Totally worth climbing that hill in the first mile.

Our reward was the potluck dinner for The Ohio Runners Network, which will be the subject of next week's post.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Running Re-Connections

This week was a time for me to re-connect. . . with mileage and with people.

I have decreased my mileage since I haven't been training for anything in particular, and I thought that if I want to achieve my end-of-year mileage goal, which is 1,100 miles, I need to pick it back up. My first (reluctant) re-connection was with my treadmill.  I like the fact that I can watch tv while I run, but I don't like the fact that I can't really hear all the dialogue.  Is it because I'm old, or is it because tv shows are so weird about volume?  I turn the volume up to listen to someone who constantly whispers, and the next second I'm scrambling for the remote because there are a bazillion explosions.  Crazy.

Seriously, why you guys gotta be so quiet and then so loud?

My second re-connection was with my high school and college friend, Fred.  I have been following his running progress on Facebook, and after some of my nagging, he agreed to meet me on Saturday for a short run at Sand Run Park.

This is where we ran.  It is my favorite part of Sand Run Park.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I run with a good-looking guy.
We hadn't seen each other in twenty-five years, but when we started running, it was like we had never disappeared from each other's life.  Running really is the great connector.

My third re-connection this week was with Shelby and Jen, with whom I've done plenty of cold-weather Sunday runs.  Today was not cold; it was a sunny fifty-something degrees, and we ran loops at Hudson Springs Park.  Shelby hasn't been running lately because she is recovering from her badass run at the Akron Marathon, and I haven't seen much of Jen either.  It was great to run around the lake and through the woods while we picked up right where we had left off on our last run together.  I don't have a picture of us from today, but here is a reminder of how we all look:

This is EXACTLY how we look when the sun is in our eyes.  Now that I think about it, this is EXACTLY the same outfit I wore today, except that day I accidentally wore two different shoes.
Re-connecting with my friends helps me to re-connect with my love of running.  I realize that I don't always have to run my hardest; sometimes it's nice to chat.  I'm lucky that I have so many running friends who are willing to chat with me.

Do you have a set of running buddies?  Do you ever feel the need to re-connect?

Next week is the second race in the Ohio Outside Series.  I'll let you know all about it.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Running with Joy

And Happiness.  And Satisfaction.

Today I ran ten beautiful miles on the Towpath with my friend Joy, whom I haven't seen in weeks.  Joy and I used to run together regularly in the morning and on Sundays, but life got in the way for us, and it has been a while.  I was surprised and happy when she responded to my invitation to run with a "See you there!"

I've been worried about a bit of weight gain lately--food will always be a struggle for me--and I haven't run more than nine miles at a time in the past few months, so I wondered if today would be difficult.  It turns out that it was easy-peasy.  I felt like I could have easily put in a few more miles.

I attribute this to several factors:
1.  I ran with Joy, who is so easy to talk to.  Even after not seeing each other for weeks, we were able to slip back into our long-run conversations.  That is a true running peep.

2.  I haven't neglected my strength training, and I've tried to step up my core-strength training during my non-running days.  It's amazing what a difference weights can make.

3.  Believe it or not, I also credit trail running, which I have done about three weeks in a row.  I initially thought it might make me slower or more reluctant to run a longer distance since I walk the hills most of the time, but guess what?

We ran from Szalay's into Peninsula and turned around just a mile past Lock 29.

The Towpath coming back from Peninsula
One of the great things about living near the Cuyahoga Valley is that during fall I can randomly point my camera at ANYTHING and it will look artistic.  Case in point:

The Cuyahoga River from the Towpath
How could I not enjoy such a beautiful run?

On a final note, I would like to congratulate my running peeps who raced this weekend: Stacie and Cassie did the Buckeye 1/2, Teresa and Julie did the Buckeye 1/2 Relay, Heather and family did the Marine Corps 10k, and Jennifer and Steve ran the Marine Corps Marathon!  Well done, Peeps!

Gotta race coming up?  Yes? No?  Mine's in two weeks, but I'm definitely not stressing about it (I know--who is this person?).  Enjoy what is left of the fall leaves, and run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Brandywine Falls

Today's post is short and sweet:

I ran from route 303 to Brandywine Falls and back on the Bike and Hike trail.  It was gorgeous.  If you had run with me, you would have been counting the number of times I said, "This is so beautiful.  We are so lucky to live here."  It was, and we are.

Brandywine Falls.  This is just a picture on my iPhone; the Falls are THAT BEAUTIFUL!

Mandy and I met Sheila and Shelby, and they ran with us for the first 3-4 miles and then turned around.  I was so happy to see both of them; I've been feeling quite disconnected from my runner peeps lately.

I had never seen the Falls before, and Mandy took me there.  It was worth it even when the hail started.  Then the rain.  I'm not gonna lie; there may have been some swearing.

In other news that doesn't involve me, my #CLEVEMarathon Ambassador friends ran their asses off this weekend.  Pam ran her second Iron Man.  Think about that: she did one, and then SHE CHOSE TO DO IT AGAIN.

Andrew ran a major badass Columbus Marathon.  He cut 15 minutes from his PR!!!  In a marathon!

My friend (and colleague) Erin ran her first marathon in Columbus today.  I'm envious.

Me?  I did some laundry.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Race Recap: The Ohio Outdoor Series #1

Saturday I ran my second-ever trail race (the first was the Ragnar Trail Relay in West Virginia), and it was a lot of fun!

The race was at Munroe Falls Metropark, which is close enough for me to take some extra time to sleep in the morning.  The race started around 8:30, and I arrived for my bib pick-up just before 8:00. The colors of the trees are starting to change, and the view of the mist coming off the lake was breath-taking and maybe just a bit eerie:

The race was very informal; there were just over 200 people running.  The race director told us to be careful on the steps around the trail and to let him know if anyone decided to bail after the first loop.  Then he gave us a "On your mark, get set, go!" and we ran for the woods.

The loop is about 2.2 miles, and we ran it twice plus a run to and from the trail.  My first goal was to get it done in under fifty minutes, and then I adjusted my goals to 1. never walking a hill and 2. keeping my pace to about a ten minute mile.  I think I did pretty well on both counts; I ran all the hills, and I finished 4.61 miles in 46:29.  Not bad!

The finish line was pretty informal, too, although the race was chip-timed.
 After the race, there was a great spread: breakfast burritos, delicious cookies with things like oatmeal, carrots, and dates in them, hot cider, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I ate some yummy food, but I wasn't digging the cider; I like my cider cold. . . and fermented.

This is EXACTLY how I look after running 4.61 miles and eating yummy food.
I liked this race because I was able to roll in at the last minute without my usual parking and bathroom anxieties, and I was able to be back home by the time my kids were thinking about changing out of their pajamas.  To be fair, I warned them before I left.  I also love my hoodie and beer glass.

I'll be running  this race two more times in November and December, so I'll post pictures of the hoodie and glasses then.

Today I ran 9.24 more trail miles with Mandy.  It was absolutely gorgeous:

The Ledges
Pine Lane
I definitely didn't run all the hills.

I'm feeling more relaxed with these trail runs.  Even though Saturday's run was a race, I am not feeling the usual pressure I put on myself.  I'm actually enjoying myself and recovering.

How are you loving your runs?  Hitting the trails?  What are your fall racing plans?

I'm going to work on reaching my mileage goal for the end of the year.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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