Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter Running

I've already told you that runners are weird, right?

This morning (8:00 am) I ran six miles on the Sand Run path.  If you are a runner, you know this is a somewhat challenging trail because of the hills.  The woods and waterfall are beautiful at any time of the year, but I really prefer fall.

This is my favorite spot on the trail.  

I naively decided that I was going to "take it easy" by doing six miles instead of ten for my long run day.  I also stupidly said (out loud, mind you) that we were going to "get 'er done.  One hour, tops."  This is what I found:

This isn't Sand Run, but you get the idea.

It's just not fair that my heart was racing, and my glutes and quads were burning, and I checked the Garmin to find that we were running a 12:30 pace.  Seriously.  The only consolation I have is that MANY fast runners passed us, and we found nearly all of them later WALKING BACK.  That's right.  There is a reason that my horoscope today said, "Slow and steady wins the race."  I feel vindicated, and hearing Meredith Brooks singing "Bitch" as I came down the home stretch made the finish that much sweeter.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Runners are weird.  They are a mysterious tribe with their own customs, language, and traditional clothing.  I've wanted to join this tribe ever since, ten years ago, I started cheering on the runners who passed my house during the Akron Marathon.  I've learned from the experience of living three years in France that complete immersion is the way to go when one wants to experience a new culture.
If you dress like this guy while in Paris,
French people will mock you.

In other words, you want to be a runner?  Dress like a runner.  It all starts with the shoes.

The first piece of advice I received from tribal elders was to go to a real running store to buy shoes.  The mall will not do.  DSW will not do.  It must be a store that caters to runners.  Considering I wore the same pair of New Balance running shoes for over five years, I found this advice puzzling, but I ran with it (see what I did there?).  My store of choice is Second Sole Akron.  Vertical Runner is another good store, but it's too far away for me.

When I visited Second Sole for the first time, I was apprehensive.  My mind flashed back to the days of mall record stores where cooler-than-thou kids with multiple piercings would sneer at me when I tried to find the newest Duran Duran album.  Not so here.  The owner of the store was very welcoming, and when I told him that I wasn't really a runner yet, his reply was, "Nonsense.  Of course you are a runner."

The twenty minutes it took for me to find a pair of shoes was incredibly therapeutic.  I have never learned so much about my feet as I did that evening.  I had to take off my socks, walk, run, and grip with my toes.  Each time I performed one of these actions, the gentleman would give me a new piece of information about my feet and walking/running styles.  At the end of our session, he brought me a pair of  Women's Guide 5 | Saucony.
I've never looked back since!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Let's Run Together

"Let go your heart; let go your head, and feel it now."  These are the words I sang along with David Gray on my playlist this morning.  I touched my heart, and I touched my head, and I pictured the pain, grief, and fear I have been feeling float away into air I left in my wake as I ran to the finish in my ten-mile run in the sun this morning.

Had you told me a year ago that I would be running ten miles in twenty degree weather in order to experience catharsis, had you told me that I would have willingly awakened early on a Sunday morning in order to do this, had you told me that the tears I shed were of joy, not sorrow. . . Well, I would have sarcastically laughed, poured another drink, and asked you if a bear would be chasing me when I did this.  I wouldn't have believed you because I didn't believe in myself.  Running can help.  Running changed my life for the better.  Run with me; run away from your troubles, and you may find one day that you are not running away from a problem, but running to a solution. 

 I did.