Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Psychological Thin Line

This post is late, by my standards, and YOU DON'T CARE AND NEITHER DO I.

I ran 16.2 miles last Sunday. 13.1 of those miles were with Kristin, who is amazing and I love her. The Medina Half Marathon course was the focus for most of our morning.
Kristin and I are front row, second and third from left.

I should have kept going after 16, but I just felt. . .done. So, I stopped.

This is EXACTLY how I look after I run 16.2 miles.

I wanted to remind you about the title of this Blog: Run away from Trouble. I try very hard to keep this blog upbeat and positive, even when circumstances seem glum (see when I broke my foot!), but you need to know that there is a reason that I started to run: I have a lot of crazy to burn off, and I need to run away from my troubles.

Today, after lots of thinly-veiled hints from my daughter that I suck as a mom, and after a long phone call from school about my son (not my first, I might add, and unfortunately probably not my last), I decided I needed to run away.  I strapped on my phone, turned on the music, braided my hair, and took off.

Screw this. Screw everyone. I just want to run away.

It was 81 degrees during my run, and I chose a route with hills, lots of hills. At one point I wanted to cry, but I reminded myself that I was running AWAY from all of that. . .so I tried to live in the moment.

Breathe in for three. . . Breathe out for two. I am strong. Runner. I got this. Runner. Relax-er. Runner.

I ran for five miles, and when I came back, I felt better. My troubles were still there, but I was better equipped to deal with them. I talked through the school day with my son, and I helped him plan a better day for tomorrow. I warned my daughter that until the end of the school year I am psychologically unstable, so she needs to think twice before poking the bear in any way. I showered, went grocery shopping, put the kids to bed, and finally ate some dinner.

Look, I have a lot of crazy in my head. Running is one of the best ways for me to cope. Sometimes running (especially racing) can be equally as stressful for me, but quitting isn't an option. Today I told myself that if quitting the run wasn't an option, quitting my family can't be an option either. We all have miles to go before we sleep; we need to figure out how to best get through those miles. If we are lucky, we can enjoy them.

How do you view running, Peeps? I hope you can Run Happy this week!

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

19 Miles!

Today I had my 19 miler--a mileage I have not run since training for the Akron Marathon. It went surprisingly well.  Here are some pictures and some lessons I learned:

1. (Re)Learn to run by yourself.  This one is odd for me. When I first started running, I primarily ran alone. I loved running long, slow distances (as well as shorter runs) and races all by myself. Just me and my music. What can I say? I'm a rebel, Dottie, a loner.

 In the past two years, I have switched my focus to running long with groups or partners. In a way it was really good for me to be sociable. As I get older, I have less patience with others, and I often find it tiring to talk to other people when I don't have to do it. Such is the life of a teacher.

Anyway, I grew to love running long with others, but unfortunately, I also grew to depend on it. When I decided to train long with groups, I forgot the fundamental rule: People will not always come through when you need them to. (It's the same rule with running with music, by the way.) As long as you depend on people, you are always opening yourself up for a letdown. Now, this isn't a condemnation of anyone in particular; it's just a fact. For example, you might set up a long run at 8:30 AM with another runner, and she/he might wake up sick. It happens to all of us, and it is nobody's fault. That, however, will not help you when you realize that you didn't take your earbuds with you because you depended on conversation as your distraction.

I've had a few situations in the past month where my runs were partly alone. Mostly I have awesome friends who have "rescued" me by running a few miles here and there during the long runs, but I now realize that I have to stop depending on running with other people.

Today I ran the first ten miles of my long run alone, and it wasn't terrible, but it would have been so much better if I hadn't gotten out of the habit of running long alone.
Technically, I wasn't completely alone. Snappy here was on the Towpath cheering for me.  Or hoping to chew off my leg.

I need to get back to depending on myself, Peeps. After all, chances are really good that I'll be running alone for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon (unless you want to run with me?). I used to be so good by myself, and I need to get back there.

2.  Don't sit in an Epsom Salt bath immediately after your long run if you have ANY SUSPICIONS AT ALL  that you might have chafing anywhere in your nether regions.  'Nuff said.

Joy ran with me for the second part of my run: 9 miles. It has been a while since we were able to talk, and I really missed her, so we had a good time. We dodged a lot of snakes.

There were LOTS of these.
The weather was really hot, and by the end of the run, I looked like a salt lick. Joy was my savior, and I'm so grateful to her for saving my butt and getting me to finish 19 miles.

We finished at Lock 29.
I kind of screwed up my mileage plan for the marathon. Normally I should hit my 20 miler on April 30, three weeks before the race; however, I couldn't pass up a fabulous deal to run the Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon on that day (for only $26.20!), so I had to decide whether I want to hit 20 miles before or after that. I've chosen the Sunday following the race, which will give me 2 weeks to taper. This is actually more than I normally schedule to taper, so I'm hoping this will all work out for me.

How is your training going, Peeps?

Do you prefer running solo or group running?

How long do you take to taper? Do you REALLY respect the taper?

I hope to see you in Cleveland. Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Flat Is Where It's At

I've focused a bit on hills lately, which is totally good for me in every way. . .

This is EXACTLY how I look when I run hills.  See that look of joy? See the little kids in lederhosen?  
But for my dial-back run this week, I wanted something flat and easy. And pretty.  And so I chose the Towpath. I did five miles myself for the first hour, and because I didn't bring my earbuds, I did it without music!

Views of the Cuyahoga River from the Towpath

I love running in Merriman Valley; it's so beautiful, and the Towpath never looks the same from day to day.

After my first five miles, I met up with Kristin for the next ten. We agreed that the purpose was to relax and chat. We certainly chatted.  It was a surprise to both of us when the turnaround seemed to come so quickly, and it was definitely a surprise to Kristin (who has never run that section of the Towpath before) when I told her that we were in the home stretch.

Of course we had to take a picture:

Shiny, happy people
As a bonus I saw some fellow Turtle alumni who were coming in as I was going out. Ladies, you were looking strong today!

The sun was shining, the weather was perfect, the company was fabulous. All in all, I give this run an A+.  Thank you, Kristin, for being so awesome; you made 15 miles feel like 2.

I am almost at the 20 mile point for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Peeps.  Won't you join me by registering here

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

Hills and More Hills

I had a dilemma:

I had 18 miles to cover on Sunday, and it looked like I was going to run them alone until. . . Rachel came along. Rachel is another Cleveland Marathon Ambassador; you can check her out here.

What a happy coincidence that Rachel had to run 18 miles, too. . . except she wanted to start at 7:00 AM.  In Chagrin Falls, which is 40 minutes away from my house.

This is EXACTLY how I feel when I realize I need to get up before 5 AM to be ready for a long run on my day off.
At first I said no, but after watching Moana with my kids, I decided to call it an early night, and I told Rachel I'd meet her in the wee hours of the morning.

We did two loops of 9 miles. I liked the idea of doing these loops because it wasn't the same loop, and I got to stop by my car to eat a banana and consider a wardrobe change (which I didn't need after all). The hard part (besides getting up so early) was that both loops were ALL HILLS.  SO. MANY. HILLS.

This is EXACTLY how the hills looked.  Maybe.
It was so pretty running through Hunting Valley, and we decided to take some pictures of the river.

My morning view
It's difficult to find a good running partner without too much adjustment. There is so much to think about: pace, personality, stamina, training needs. I was really lucky because Rachel and I seemed to mesh pretty well, and we stayed strong for the full 18 miles of freaking hills. I'm really glad I gave the 7 AM call a chance.

We look pretty good for being about 6 miles from the finish.
Because I was on Spring Break, I put in some good miles this week. I actually got a nine-miler in midweek by running part of the Blue Line in reverse. It was a great way to shake up the routine. I ran 40 miles, and I'm still alive and thriving.  Not bad at all. Maybe I'll be ok in this marathon after all.

Will you join me, Peeps?  Register here for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.  I promise we will have fun! Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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