Sunday, April 28, 2013

Grumpy Smurf Says. . .

I don't dislike rain.  I don't hate the cold.  I hate being wet and cold at the same time.  Unfortunately, at least four months in Ohio involve being wet and cold.  It gets a little old at the end of April.

This is EXACTLY how my run looked this morning.

Curse you, Weather Channel.

First of all, when I set my alarm for 6:45 this morning (a thoroughly respectable hour to get up and get ready for a long run), I didn't realize that I had accidentally turned my clock ahead an hour.  When the alarm sounded, I couldn't understand why it was so DARK.  Dumbass.  By the time I figured out that it was only 5:45, it was too late to figure out how to get more sleep without missing my wakeup time.

I hate waking up in the dark.

I ran a few miles with Stacie this morning, and I smugly told her that Weather Channel said it wouldn't rain until 10:45.  I was wrong.  I hate being wrong.  Stacie bugged out with the first few drops, and I was left trying to stop my stupid Garmin from going berserk in the rain.

Normally, I like to run by myself.  I like listening to my music and pacing myself.  Today, however, I ran the Munroe Falls loop AGAIN.  It's 1.25 miles, and after about the fourth loop, it's incredibly BORING.  I hate boring.

There was a sweet, old couple walking their dog who hailed me as I passed.  "You're at about five miles, aren't you?  We've been counting your loops."  That would have made me feel less lonely if I hadn't already been at seven miles with no other companionship in sight.

At 9:30 the Turtles started showing up, and I switched to parking lot runs.  Then I gave up and sat in my car shivering, eating a banana, and listening to the Garmin beep.  After a while, I shook myself out of it and joined the group.  I tried to get out of running (it was a timed- practice 5k),  but I could tell that the only way I could contribute to the group was by starting the race.  I managed one loop of the race, and then I just gave up and shivered and bitched until everyone finished.

The good news is that I put in at least eleven miles; I'm not EXACTLY sure how many I did because the Garmin wouldn't work correctly.

The bad news is that there was very little runner's high today.  I was mostly irritated the whole day.

I hate being irritated.

I'll end on a good note:  Because I did at least eleven miles, I'm sure I avoided killing my husband or one or both of my kids.  That is a good thing.  Plus, there is always booze.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mother's Day Prep

The Munroe Falls Mother's Day 5k was the first race I ever ran. It was a small race--about 400 runners/walkers--but to me it was huge and important. It was proof that I am a runner. I remember thinking that if I could ONLY hit a ten-minute mile on this race, I would be satisfied. This was the race where Teresa, Deidre, and I started our fist-bumping tradition: We put our fists together and agreed that there would be no crying, no falling, no puking, and we'd get it done in thirty minutes or less. Now, no matter what race I am in, I chant that credo (keeping my time goal to myself, however) with anyone who is around me. Sometimes it's a complete stranger, but that person usually goes along with it; after all, nobody likes crying, falling, or puking.

Rosie gave me a tiny Turtle charm after the Shamrock 15k.  It is adorable, and I'm pretty sure it is magic.  I've decided that I'm going to carry it in my races from now on.  It will remind me that no matter what happens during my race, I belong to a group of awesome people, The Ohio Runners Network.  Runners are the most supportive community in the world.  Don't believe me?  Check out the running blogs that popped up after the tragedy at the 2013 Boston Marathon.  Whether it consists of chanting, dancing at the starting line, or fist-bumping, a tradition of support is a great thing to establish.

What is your tradition around races?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Curse You, Hall of Fame City Challenge!

The moment has arrived; the verdict is in.  I will NOT be running the Hall of Fame City Challenge Half Marathon.  For those of you who don't remember the situation over in Canton, here is a recap, and here is a more hopeful recap.  Today I received emails from the organization telling me that the date will now be September 8.  Although I'm sure I don't have any other races going on that day, running a half then will possibly screw up my training for the Akron Half Marathon, and I am not willing to mess with that.

Sigh.  I'm really disappointed that I won't be running this race. The bright side is that I won't be running a bunch of hills in June so soon after running a half in Medina.

I have requested a refund.  I'm sure that won't be a problem.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Renewing My Relationship

I'd like to expand a bit on my last question (which I threw into an apparent void, since nobody really responded to it):

What do you do to renew your relationship with running?

Running and I are fairly new to each other--we've been serious for just over a year.  A year is long enough, however, for this Aries to start getting bored.  Commitment is difficult for me. . .ask my husband of eighteen years (Love you, Mon Petit Chou!); I constantly get bored with any kind of stability, which I often perceive as stagnation.  It often takes a lot of reflection for me to realize that I am NOT bored, that stability itself can be a very satisfying goal.  For example, I look at my husband, and I think about what our life was like last year, five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago, and I feel extremely grateful for what we have together now.  BAM!  I'm in love again.

How can I do that with running?

This is EXACTLY how I look when I renew my running vows.

One way is through my list of races and times.  I don't like to compete with other people, but I constantly compete with myself.  I like to check my times for all my races through, which is a free tracking site.  I often look at my times and think about how I felt when I ran those races.  Did I push myself?  Was I happy?  Then I compare my current practice times with those races.  Will I PR in the next 10k?  You bet I will!  Seeing the progress in the numbers makes me want to continue this relationship.

Another way I can renew my relationship is by reviewing my goals, both long and short-term.  I use to help me with this.  This online journal tracks my miles, pace, and how I felt about that moment.  I can look at my profile (or the widget on this blog) and see how far I've come toward meeting my goal of one thousand miles in 2013.  I can look at any entry and think about whether I should be working on speed, hills, or distance.

Yet another way is through this blog.  I look at my previous posts, and I remember how I felt at that moment in my life, and I realize how hard I've worked to get to this point.  I also realize that there will always be bumps in the road; some will be pebbles, and some will be boulders.  The blog helps me to remember that I got around the previous obstacles, and I'll get around any future obstacles, too.

Lastly, I would like to celebrate a short-term goal I made for myself this week (Spring Break):  I ran four days in a row, Baby!  While waking up at 7:00 wasn't my favorite thing to do, I am so glad that I started my day by renewing my relationship with running.  I'm taking tomorrow off (gotta clean the house sometime), but I'm going to rock a long run on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Reverse Running Route = Mind Blown!

In theory, I am excited and happy that I can run every day this week (without getting up at 4:30 am) because it is Spring Break.  In reality, I haven't been feeling great on my runs, and I keep thinking that I really HAVE lost my mojo.  I remember reading that switching up your running route can be as simple as running the route in reverse.  Challenge accepted.

This is NOT what I did; this is running in reverse.  I ran a reverse ROUTE.  Aren't you glad I cleared that up?

This morning I took my normal 4:30 am running loop and I ran it in reverse at 7:30.  I strapped on the Garmin and the iPod, but I wouldn't look at the time on the Garmin.  I decided to concentrate on the music (I have private videos that I have made in my head for each song--no, none of them involve porn) and on my breathing.  I still felt like my legs were made of lead, and I started wondering if I need to fuel before my short runs, too, which would REALLY make me feel defeated.  After all, I am not a petite, bird-like, graceful runner, and although I realize that I need to fuel before my long runs, I feel that I should be able to rock a 4-5 miler on just some water.

All of a sudden, the runner's high kicked in.  I straightened up, pulled back my shoulder blades, picked up my knees, and gave a long sigh.  Right away I heard a BEEP; I checked the Garmin and noticed I had hit the two-mile mark.  That's when it hit me:  how could I have forgotten that I usually feel like crap in the first two miles?  Why did I consider that a failure on my part?  I've even BLOGGED about this, for Pete's sake!  Do I not read my own blogs?  I did a quick check at my pace--about ten minutes.  There was a time when I would be ecstatic with this pace. . .but that time was a year ago.  Then it hit me again:  why couldn't I do one mile out of the four at a much faster pace?  Isn't that what intervals are all about?  Duh!  So, I kicked it up for mile three, and then I gave myself permission to slow it down in mile four.

The point is this:  I think running a reverse route gave me a different perspective on my form and strategy.  It made me see my neighborhood in a new way, and it reminded me of lessons I've forgotten from past runs.  Every relationship takes effort and reflection; this includes my relationship with running.

What do you do to renew your relationship with running?