Sunday, November 29, 2015

2015 Home Run for the Homeless

Ah, Thanksgiving morning.  The day one can sleep in, have a lazy breakfast in pajamas, read the paper, smell turkey cooking. . . unless you are a runner.  Let's try that again.

And watching the Macy's parade.  Who doesn't love that?

Ah, Thanksgiving morning.  The day a runner gets up extra early, fuels and digests, downs some coffee, and heads out in running gear to shiver her way through a Turkey Trot or some such race.  And so it was for me.

This isn't AT ALL how I look when running a Thanksgiving race.
This was my second time running the Gennesaret Home Run for the Homeless in Akron.  Gennesaret helps homeless people with all of the details that go into getting housing--deposits, furniture, appliances.  Home Run for the Homeless is a four mile run and a one mile walk, and it is their only fundraiser all year. Many businesses (donations came from Giant Eagle, Mustard Seed, and Papa Joe's, among others)and people in the running community (Jim Chaney, director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame race series is one) devote their time and talent to this race. This year about three thousand people participated, and one of them was me.

The weather was fantastic, starting in the forties and rising.  I got really hot after the first mile, which is quite different from last year.  There were people running in ugly Christmas sweaters and elf and Santa outfits; I don't know how they did it.  The race winds through a VERY hilly cemetery for miles two and three, so I was extremely proud of myself when I bettered my time.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm proud of myself because I bettered my time.

After the race there were lots of door prizes from the donors. I didn't win any of them.  I don't care; I just wanted to run in the nice weather and then eat a bunch of pizza and chicken wings for dinner.  What?  We don't eat turkey, ok?

Between this race and the 2015 Tryptophan Run sponsored by Vertical Runner of Hudson (which I ran today), I have a lot for which to be thankful.  Running sometimes with my friends and sometimes alone at this fun, free event reminded me that I don't have to train for anything in particular to be a runner.
Jen and me warming up in Vertical Runner before the run

Jen, me, Renee, and Carrie just before starting the run (in the dark)

Thanks for enjoying the run with me, Peeps!  Run Happy!

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

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!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

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.

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

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!

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

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!

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!