Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Husband Owns Running Tights and Other Strange Occurrences....

Strange Occurrence #1: My husband's new running tights came in the mail on Friday.

When running took over my life two and a half years ago, my husband was happy for me and tried to join in, but he just didn't like running. He was up to 3 miserable miles when he broke a bone in his foot in a non-running accident. That was that. I kept going and going, running 6 half-marathons and one full over the years. He dutifully drove me to start lines, waited patiently for me to finish, and offered all the love and encouragement for which I could ask.

Fast forward to November of this year and out of the blue, he decided to train for a half marathon in March. He said he wanted to understand and be a part of this thing that is such a defining force in my life. I think his exact words were, "I hate running, but I'm going to run a half marathon. For you." I told him I would "coach" him, but he had to do it for HIMSELF, not for me. Now he's up to 8 miles, has had his first blister, and is losing a toenail. Welcome to my world, Honey!

On a 17-degree run the other day wearing thin running pants, he was freezing. I told him that most of the male runners I know wear tights in the winter. He looked at me like I was crazy because he's seen these guys in tights (you know the BOLD ones who wear them with nothing over them showing off every aspect of their physique?). But I ordered them anyway. Now for the rest of his long runs, he'll at least be warm (though he still hates running). Plus nothing says "serious runner" more than training for a half-marathon while wearing tights! Now if I can just get him to like running..... (He does like the sense of accomplishment he feels after completing a long run.)

Strange Occurrence #2: Our Tennessee Blizzard

On Friday and Saturday, we got 6 inches of snow in Tennessee. We are officially snowed in! This is quite rare. We have many winters where the sleds never even make it out of the garage. Unfortunately, this was the week of the first training run for the new half-marathon training group I'm coaching!

I am leading a 12-week training group for the Country Music Half Marathon. I have 24 runners of all ages and ability levels. One has run a full marathon (something like 15 years ago), two did the training and ran the fall marathon with me, 5 are from my fall Couch to 5K group, and the rest vary in experience. With 6 inches of snow on the ground, we couldn't exactly run outside. I know for many of you, that wouldn't have been an issue, but we don't own Yak Trax or anything and frankly, we Tennesseans have NO IDEA how to drive on this stuff. Not a good combination. So, we had to do our first training run of 5.5 miles INDOORS on the treadmills and track at the local YMCA. Out of 24 people, 9 braved the icy roads and showed up, which was nice.

Strange Occurrence #3 Run Like a Mother

On a post earlier this week, Sara Bowen Shea, a contributing editor to Runner's World magazine, left a comment. Remember the issue with the running skirts reviews from August of 2008, I believe? She wrote those reviews and has contributed to several other articles since I've been an avid Runner's World reader. Her blog Marathon Moms was at one time part of the Runner's World website. Anyhoo, she has written a book called Run Like a Mother and is sending me a copy. I will read it and tell you all about it on here. For a former English teacher turned stay-at-home-mom and part-time running coach, anything that combines books, mothering, AND running is pretty awesome. Look for my review soon!

Despite the snow, I had a fantastic running week. I ran 25 miles. On Monday I did a tempo run, on Wednesday I did a long run, on Friday I did an easy run (indoors), and on Saturday I did speedwork (indoors). I don't know if I've hit all the MAJORS (tempo, long, easy, and speedwork) before in one 7-day period!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Still in the Game

Though this blog has come to a near stand-still, I wanted to let you know I'm still in the game! Last week I logged 34 miles. My long run on Saturday was one of those ugly ones though. You know the kind where at mile 6, you feel like you've run about 12, and at mile 12, you feel like you've run about 18-20? One of THOSE kinds of runs. Ahhhh, well, you take the good with the bad.

On Monday, I got to run in the snowfall for the second time this winter. Running in the snow always makes me happy inside. There's just something poetic about it. I try to freeze those moments in my mind, so next July when it's 95 and 160% humid here in Tennessee, I can remember.....

Today I got in an unexpected 12-miler. Or I should say "unplanned." (Yes, kind of like my 3rd child---I knew I wanted to do it, I just didn't plan to do it so soon....) I woke up this morning and looked at the weather forecast and thought, "I can run 12 miles on Saturday when it's about 18 degrees and a predicted 2-3 inches of snow and ice all over the roads, or I can do it today with 35-degree temps." I opted for today. I didn't carb-load yesterday. I didn't hydrate extra well like I usually do. I didn't even eat anything special for breakfast. But I got in my 12-miler, albeit very slowly..... I didn't even GEL. (That's rare!) I had 1/2 banana and a Luna Bar (Nutz over Chocolate--yum!) during the run.

It's funny to wake up on a random Wednesday and run 12 miles, you know? The body really adapts to what you give it.

See ya!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fancy Running Talk

I just finished Personal Best by Dr. George Sheehan, the foremost philosopher of running. (He and John Bingham are my two favorite running writers.)

I have to share a few quotes in case you are in need of inspiration or motivation.

Sheehan discusses the reasons why he started running at the age of forty-five. He began running because "... I was locked into a routine that utilized only a small percentage of my capabilities, imprisoned in a physical and professional and social existence that no longer allowed me to express my real personality. I ran to find myself." I get that.

On racing, he says the most important thing is "not to excel against others but to excel against yourself.... The real contest is within. The real trophy is the self... becoming a person you can be proud of."

Other gems:

"As luck would have it, or the Creator intended, the sportive use of the body brings its own joys. My body has found in running all it needs to know, or do. I am not upset that it has no other skills. My life needs nothing more."

"We are here to lead a heroic life."

"For me, running has narrowed the distance between what I am and what I can be, between the actual self and the ideal, between aspiration and reality."

"The runner's high is an integral and essential part of our lives. It draws us again and again to escape our humdrum, ordinary, and commonplace real lives."

"The race for me is what the mountain is to the climber, what white water is to the canoeist. The race, where I can be a hero, is a contest where I give my word of honor to go out and do battle with myself. I do not question this impulse. I know it is basic and true. It is the attempt to be myself. I take the risk, seek the challenge, invite the pain. Peace lies beyond the finish line, on the peak of the mountain, just past the rocks, across the turbulent water."

As for the blogging community, I think this quote says it all: (not that there was a blogging community when this book was published in 1989)

"When I became a runner, I found these new friends, those whose hearts and souls and intellects and, yes, even faces and bodies somehow resembled mine. Friends who had felt what I was now feeling, known what I was coming to know, and written in words that rang with MY truth." That may be my favorite one of all!

Monday, January 18, 2010

MIA???

Wow, it's been FOREVER since I blogged. Life just got in the way, lately!

This blog post is coming from sunny Orlando, Florida! We just spent the last 4 days exploring Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom. It was the a vacation of many firsts--- the first time the two youngest had flown, the first time I'd ever flown WITH children, the first time for the kids to visit Disney.

The week before our trip, I ran 32 miles knowing I wouldn't get many in on vacation. Last week, I ran a total of...... 6. We left on Wednesday, but with packing for a family of 5 and planning every last detail of the trip, I only managed two short runs on Monday and Tuesday. Of course, I walked like 100 miles over the 4 days at the parks! That should count for something! It's not super-warm in Orlando, but it's been in the 60's and 70's, which is just about perfect. A little chilly for the outdoor pool at the resort where we are staying, but the kids didn't seem to notice. They swam anyway. I made it about 5 minutes. Even though it was a heated pool, at some point you have to get out, and when it's only about 68 degrees and windy and you are in a bikini, it's tough! (I ran 7 miles in 17-degree weather and SNOW a week and a half ago, but 68 and a heated pool and I'm freezing!)

I finished my little vacation this morning with a 6-mile run. I ran 4 in the resort fitness room on the treadmill (a little speed work) and the 2 exploring the nooks and crannies of the resort. We fly home in a little while (I HATE to fly! The best part of flying is getting OFF the plane.) Tomorrow, normal resumes. We went from Christmas to snow days to Disney..... now normal can finally begin.

Friday, January 1, 2010

10 for 2010 Virtual Run Reports!

Hello, Running People. How was your run today???

It's chilly here in the south. At 8:00, it was 19 with a windchill of 10. That's pretty cold for those of us in Tennessee! (I'm sure it's waaaaay colder lots of other places though!) I texted my friends who had planned to meet me at 8:45 and asked them if they were sure about this---all three of them were totally in, no matter what the weather.

We got together around 8:50 and ran 3.8 miles. Despite the wind and cold weather, it was really nice. We were surprised how pleasant it was at the beginning before we were even warmed up. I guess we dressed just right. After our 3.8 mile "warm up" run and hanging out for a bit, we drove about a 1/2 mile away to the local running store's Resolution Run at 10:00 a.m. It was an informal group run, not a race. No clock, no gun start, just a bunch of crazy folks who like to run. There was a 5K route and 10K route, and we planned to do the 10K to end at 10 miles for the day (thus the reason for 3.8 ahead of time). About 40 people showed up, but only 7 of us opted for the 10K, which was a double loop around the 5K course.

It was kind of neat--after the first loop, all these fast guys in their tights and their cross country shirts (lots of high schoolers showed up) who had blown past us on the route were relaxing and hanging out at the finish after "only" 5K. We passed them eating their bananas and oatmeal raisin cookies, and we just kept running, slow, but steady, knowing we had run further than them before the Resolution Run even started.

We picked up a new friend in the last mile of the 10K--a traveler visiting from out of town. I love talking to other runners! The lone group run organizer was waiting for us when we finished--the four of us gals who had completed 10.5 in all(the course was a little long) and our new friend. I was surprised that out of 40 people, only 7 of us did the 10K, but I guess the weather was a factor. Or maybe most people are just content with 5K. (If I could actually run FAST, I might be content to run 5K's only, but since I'm slow, I might as well go LONG!)

After we finished, I was supposed to meet my husband and kids for lunch. When I called him, the kids weren't dressed, but he estimated he'd have all 3 of them dressed and out the door in about 5 minutes. (Yeah, right. I knew that meant at least 15 minutes in real time.) So I went to our little lunch meeting place, parked, and ran another 1.5 miles until he and the kiddos got there, bringing my total to 12 for the day. I kind of enjoy those bits and pieces runs.

Hello, 2012?

Please post your virtual run report in the comments section. I'll highlight some of the funny/strange/neat parts in an upcoming post!

Happy New Year!!!