Sunday, February 24, 2013

Turtle Season Open!

Today marks a full year that I have been a runner.  I'm not counting all the walking and sissy-running I did before I joined the Towpath Turtles.  When I started the running season last year, I did not even know what I did not know.  Shoes?  Fuel?  What the hell is Gu, anyway?  Tapering--does that involve duct tape?  It was so overwhelming.  Each Sunday that I ran with the group, I picked the brains of the runners around me.  I pestered them with question after question, and they were always kind and honest with their answers.  Now I pester them with teasing and mocking. . . and they are still always kind and honest.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I look out the window on a rainy day.

Today started the new Turtle season, and I was so happy to see so many beginning runners.  I know what they are in for, and I know how much they will learn about themselves in one year.  It made me happy to see so many future friends gather to investigate why people run.  (Can you tell the endorphins from my long run haven't faded away?  I love you, man.)

This is my message to new Turtles:  Don't make goals right now; just be.  Any goal that you make will not truly measure your capability.  You do not understand right now how great you will be at the end of just one tiny year.  Just follow the group on Sundays and work into your weekday runs.  Sign up for as many Turtle races as you can when they happen.  Don't look ahead to them now.  Let your success surprise you in the beginning, and then expect it when you have learned more about your extraordinary physical and mental powers.

I am running away from trouble, and you are running to self-discovery.  We can do it together.  Run with me.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Why Do You Run?

David, from Daddy Runs Fast, wrote a few posts ago about why he runs.  Actually, he wrote about why he feels he isn't doing a good enough job expressing why he runs.  You should check out his blog; the link is in my blogroll.  You should also check out his play Double Heart (The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick), which is absolutely FREE.  Click the link for schedule information.

Double Heart (The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick)

I had another short-long run today: seven miles in the snow.  When I looked out the window this morning, I really dreaded the run.  It was snowing. . .again.  Stupid groundhog can't even get his shadowphobia right.  I finally suited up and left.  It was heaven.  Sometimes everything clicks into place, the scenery, the music coming up on the iPod, the breath, and all becomes right with the world.

I started this blog writing about running away from trouble.  I probably should have called it "Run away from Crazy" because that is what I do.  Running takes me one more step away from whatever is driving me nuts.  Did your Mac blow up?  Mine did.  Never mind; breathe in for three and out for three.  Are you worried that your son will grow up to be a criminal and your daughter will have an eating disorder and it's all your fault?  No comment on that one.  Concentrate on that hill; you can get to the top.  Do you worry that you are the worst teacher in the world and you are messing up your students just by trying to teach them?  I sure do.  Look at the creek.  Isn't it beautiful?  Doesn't it sound peaceful?

Running makes me realize that I am blessed.  I have a metropark practically in my back yard.  No matter how much I criticize my body, it is able to take me on long, hard runs through that metropark and beyond.  No matter how many times I say that my mind is bat-shit crazy, it is able to push me through my problems, and the problems of others, until I find the solutions.  I am strong, both physically and mentally.  I reiterate from my first post: the tears I shed when I run are almost always tears of joy.

Why do you run?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Yoga Take 2--Rodney Yee

I missed my yoga on Monday.  I have no good excuse; it was my own damned fault that I stayed up too late, got only four hours sleep, and couldn't bring myself to do any yoga at all.  I suffered for it, too.  ALWAYS do your yoga after your long run!

 Today's review is of Rodney Yee's DVD:

Rodney Yee's Ultimate Power Yoga

This DVD consists of five different routines; four of them are twenty minutes each, and the fifth is fifteen minutes long.  I like this DVD because I can choose my workout based on how I feel.  If I feel particularly tight (having run ten or more miles on the Sunday-Funday run), I choose the floor routine (lots of stretching while sitting or on my back) in combination with the power restoration (lots of forward bends to stretch those calves and hamstrings).  If I feel the need to sweat, I choose the sun salutes with anything else.

One possible drawback to this DVD is the back bends routine.  Back bends hurt.  They especially hurt when I am trying to do Camel's Pose.  I am learning that modification is a good thing.  Rodney Yee is a yogi.  He can do full Camel's Pose and Bow Pose.  I am. . . not a yogi, so I should not do these poses if they hurt me.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I do sitting forward bends.

I'm still debating about signing up for the Shamrock 15k.  Despite my recent success in running without music, I don't want to race without music.  I'll probably keep debating until I get locked out of it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Long Run, Short Post

I'd like to share that today I did ten miles. . . only one mile with music!!!!  Thank you, Towpath Turtles for a wonderful run; you are great people.  I love you, Man.

As a reminder, if you are looking for a running group, contact the Towpath Turtles through their Facebook page; the season opens in a few weeks.  Also, check out The Ohio Runner's Network, of which the Turtles are a part.

It is a gorgeous day out there; I feel lucky to be alive.  Get out there and run!

This is EXACTLY how I look when I run.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Get Outta My Head!

Today I hit a milestone, and I didn't even realize it until it was over.  Today was the longest I've ever run without music--8.75 miles.

I almost always run with music, no matter the distance.  Alone or with a group, I've always needed the distraction of the music to keep me going.  Most of the people with whom I run don't listen to music, even when they are alone.  They tell me that they "listen to their bodies" or "scan their bodies for information."  I've got a few problems with listening to my body.  One is that my body has nothing nice to say to me.  It complains.  It whines.  It tells me that this is ridiculous and I should stop right now.  The second problem I have with listening to my body is that my mind is part of my body, and when my mind isn't bored (from listening to the nagging of my body), it is bat-shit crazy.  Alone inside my head is the LAST place I want to be; inside my head with Adam Ant is another matter.

Today I ran with Heather.  She and I had a great conversation during the hour and a half that we ran, but we didn't always talk.  Usually I have one earbud in for those times that there is no conversation or we need to run single file or I need more distraction than usual.  Today I put the earbuds away. . .and forgot about them.  When we ran in silence, I listened to my mind, and there was nothing there.  It was nice.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I meditate.  Damn, I'm sexy!

Even when I meditate, I have a hard time letting go ("Let go your heart; let go your head.")  My thoughts race and bump up against each other.  Music usually drowns out the potential for negativity.  I know that I won't be able to run alone without music anytime soon, but it's nice to know that I can run "sans musique" when I'm with others.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Yoga--Yes, You Should.

I have always been a cardio-junky, but even before I was a runner, I knew that I had to balance the cardio with yoga.  I like yoga because it combines stretching and flexibility with strength training.  The breathing really helps me to calm my mind and focus; it's a great way to start the day.

I've got lots of Yoga DVD's (I've never taken a class, unfortunately), but I've really got two go-to programs:  Yoga Works and Rodney Yee.

This is how I look when I do yoga.

Yoga Works Body Slim is a good balance between cardio and strength training.  It's excellent for the core.  The lesson starts with ab work--crunches.  Then you go to the cardio part, which the instructor splits into three sessions alternating with what she calls "slow burn" sessions.  The cardio consists of sun salutations in increasingly challenging sets.  I love sun salutations because they help me to stretch my hamstrings and tone my arms (my arms are pathetic).  By the end of each set of sun salutations, I am a sweaty, trembling mess.  In between each set is a "slow burn" session, which basically consists of warrior sequences and forward falls (again, great for stretching the legs).

I like this DVD because it's a challenge every time I do it.  I like the way I feel when I finish; I feel that I really did a workout instead of just some light stretching.

In the next post, I will review Rodney Yee's  Power Yoga collections.