Please excuse my ‘resting runner face’ – it is a rest day. 

  Another weekend complete filled with outdoor fun and running. Saturday’s morning run was a scheduled easy 5 that somehow turned out to be rough for me and my run partner. We just weren’t feeling it, but we got it done with a bit of walking and a lot of laughing. Saturday afternoon went far better though, with a hike and trail run. I have really enjoyed getting out in the woods especially this day, since my Sweet Babboo came with me. Ella has enjoyed the trail time as well and is turning into quite the trail whippet!

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Saturday: A beautiful, balmy mid-30’s. Ella is the pink dot. Whippets don’t have a lot of fat so they need coats in the winter.

Sunday I was on my own again so I got to sleep in. When I finally rolled out of bed it was snowing! Yesterday it was just me and the geese.

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Sunday: A less balmy 16 degrees. The geese didn’t seem to mind.

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8.65 miles done and all smiles- plus the sun finally came out!
This run went a lot better since I was able to sleep in and get extra rest. Rest and recovery have always been my biggest challenge and this is at the forefront of my mind since classes start again tomorrow. I have really enjoyed my winter break, yet it never seems long enough. Just as I begin to almost feel like a “normal” person, the chaos begins again. It can be difficult to balance working full time, being a university student taking 6-9 hours, plus running, relationships etc…. It is sometimes a challenge to fit it all in a day.

Well meaning friends (non-runners), have suggested before that maybe I should cut back on my running, that I do too much. I admit that may be.  Running however, is actually the glue that holds it together and makes it all possible. It clears my head and brings focus to my day. While I contemplate the semester starting and my long runs getting ever longer, I know this year will be different. I am confident in my training plan. I am using the 50 mile race plan from the book by Krissy Moehl’s book Running Your First Ultra, which I will review as the months go by. I have also grown as a runner. In the past, I have been too rigid in my need to run regardless of what my body might be telling me. Or I am happily agreeing to extra miles with friends. This year I am not only embracing my rest and recovery days, I am fiercely guarding them as I do my running days. I am honoring my body’s need to recover in direct proportion to the gratitude I have for the running and movement it performs.  Please, do not take offense to my ‘resting runner face’ if you ask me to run with you on a scheduled rest day. The internal battle you see flicker across my face as I politely decline is all too real! I know you didn’t know it was a rest day and believe me I want to run! It is almost impossible for me to say no to a friendly, easy run. I plan this year however, to train harder and smarter so I can run those friendly, easy runs for many happy years to come. 

Happy running!! How do you balance it all?

 

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The 50 miler – Thanks for not asking why

12/31/15: “Congratulations! You are registered for the Mark Twain 100 – 50 miler. Do you want to share this news on Facebook?” I pause, looking at the big blue button and decide what the hell. The news was then quickly spread on Instagram and Twitter. It was so much easier to to spread the news across social media than it was to click the submit button that charged my card and confirmed my entry into this 50 mile endeavor. Plus, I have sat down several times to write about it and then walked away. Why?

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When I texted my run partner the news, I noted that I simultaneously wanted to smile and vomit. That sounds about right for running an ultra from everything I’ve ever read, seen or heard. As the congratulations came across the various media platforms, even though I hadn’t actually run 50 miles yet, surprisingly no one said I was crazy. Instead I had people volunteer for long runs and trails. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the tremendous support I had. Thankfully though, no one asked me why…

I wasn’t worried about other runners asking me so much as the rest of the population.   Ask a runner why they run and you will get a blank look and then maybe a canned answer. If you get a canned answer, it is because they have fielded this question before and realized there is no one answer. I love running! That is the simplest answer for me and I think it is the obvious answer that everyone sees. Therefore, no one questioned my desire to run 50 miles- at least they didn’t to my face. The reasons why I love running are so intensely personal and varied, as they are with all runners. I could spend hours explaining why I run, the joy and peace it gives me, but there is no understanding it unless you yourself do it.

  • my meditation and spiritual time
  • health: both general and pain management for arthritis
  • helps with depression and anxiety from past traumas
  • friendship and community
  • dealing with everyday stress
  • discovering myself and becoming the best me possible

This is a short list of reasons in no particular order. These reasons listed today are not necessarily the same reasons as to why I started running to begin with. Even still, my reasons are not the same as yours and that’s okay. They don’t have to be. The emotions and feelings are still shared when the run is done and the finish line crossed. Because as you breathe and struggle next to me on the road or the trail,  I share your pain and struggle. I have been where you are and I will gladly come again. We can cheer each other, silently if need be. Even if I don’t look over as I pass you or you pass me, know I have acknowledged you. I have gratitude for you sharing in this with me, this thing I love.

As for why 50 miles? I could describe to you my decision making process that led me to this. In fact, I started a post to do just that.It was well thought out and discussed with my running partner. Or, I could tell you other reasons such as: it has always been something I wanted to do, that I love being outside, I’ve been wanting to start running trails, I want to get a trucker hat, etc. The reality is I do not have a satisfactory answer as to “Why?” Which was why it was so easy to blurt out a quick sound bite across social media, yet so difficult to actually write about. I know the reasons I give today will change and evolve over the next 9 months. This is part of the process of running, the growing that is involved, especially running that far. I am looking forward to this and writing about it.  The best, most honest answer I have today is I am curious. I want to dig deep inside of me, pull that out and take a hard look at it. I want to live. This answer I do not think will ever change and so I run.

Happy Running!!

Today I played

Today I played

We finally got our first good snow today. The weather forecast called for rain in the morning then turning to snow. Suddenly, all of my run partners were weather weenies and Friday became an impromptu long run morning. Except Friday didn’t work for me.  I stuck to my original plan of Saturday and became excited because, not only did I get to run in the snow this also meant I was able to sleep in! Now don’t get me wrong, none of my run partners are athletic slouches by any means! Their resumes include an Iron Man and national level dressage riding among other things. These ladies do not mess around, but for whatever reason I had the day to myself. With all the excitement of a child, I went to sleep Friday night anticipating the beauty of the next day.

It did not disappoint and I awoke this morning to beautiful, fresh snow. I quickly drank my coffee while answering texts from my run partners cheering me on and asking if I was out yet. Observing that there was already several inches of snow on the ground, I put on my trail shoes and headed out the door. It was a winter wonderland!

   

   


 

8.51 miles done and all smiles!
  

There are benefits to living in a smaller town. The pockets of quiet beauty were all around me. With soggy feet and a big smile, I ran taking it all in. I was a child again, playing in the magical kingdom of Narnia. You’re never too old to play or experience wonder. 

Happy running!