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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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Don't Go Chasin' Waterfalls. On Second Thought. . .

This has been my recovery week from the Akron Half Marathon.  I gave myself two easy-peasy morning runs during the week and a dreadmill trot while watching Dr. Who. I didn't think I'd like Peter Capaldi as the doctor, but I'm digging him.

How can you not like this grumpy face?

I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do for the next few months.  Running peeps tempted me with a half mary here and there, but frankly, I'm worn out.  I need some fun.

So, I decided to sign up for the Ohio Outside Trail Series in Munroe Falls Metropark.  It's a five mile loop done in October, November, and December.  These are on Saturday mornings, so I can run the race and be home in time to catch my kids in the act of NOT CLEANING THE HOUSE  like they are supposed to do.  These exact dates (plus, the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon--more on that in another post) are during mornings when I should have been attending some committee meetings (on Saturdays???  What???), so it was kind of a relief to take some time for me this year.  I don't have any expectations for these races; I just want to run and then drink cider.  My mind as well as my body is going to take a well-deserved rest.

Today, in the spirit of just having fun, I ran around Blue Hen Falls with Mandy.  The morning temperature was cool enough for a long-sleeved tech shirt and capris--my favorite running apparel.  I had never run there before, and I have to say it was beautiful.  Mandy and I hope to go back in a few weeks when the leaves have changed.

Blue Hen Falls
This run was relaxing.  It was a somewhat difficult trail, enough that I had to pay attention, but it wasn't agonizing.  After the turnaround, I got into my groove, and it felt like I was flying.

This is EXACTLY how I look after I get into my groove.
This is my moment to remember why I run and enjoy it.  I am grateful that I can run, and I'm so grateful that I live in Northeast Ohio, where there are so many gorgeous places to run.

Clearly, you can tell that I am still working a runner's high.  Don't worry; tomorrow somebody will do something stupid, and I'll be back to my old self.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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