Saturday, August 27, 2011

DC Running

Post Earthquake at twilight. Can you see the crack?
Last week I blogged about my struggles with running while on the road. I am proud to say I got over my challenges, found my stride and enjoyed the new sites and sounds of city running. Here is my story:

While laying in bed last Tuesday I was shamefully recognizing I had gotten very few miles in so I quit feeling sorry for myself, stuck my feet in my shoes and headed out for some of the most enjoyable routes this season.

Tuesday morning I was scheduled to meet a co-worker for a run. Much to my dismay she never showed so I headed out alone. I had a great run past the White House around the Washington Monument (pre-earthquake) and back to my hotel.

Tuesday evening I was picked up by a great passionate woman who took me to the burbs to run with her running club on what she proclaimed a 'flat' trail. There was nothing flat about this five mile run. I have never been so challenged while running!!! It was a very motivational group who shared in my enthusiasm about running. There were hand slaps, people saying way to go and genuine encouragement along the way. There was also an encounter with a tree that has given me some eye pain and a puffy eye to this day.

On Wednesday I scheduled a run to the MLK memorial. It was a little more than six miles round trip with a stop at the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and past the White House.

It was so refreshing to see the sites by foot. It also provided me relief from long hard days and the ability to clear my head! Here are a few pictures I managed to snap from my cell phone. Enjoy!!!

Capital Building


Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope - MLK


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Traveling and Running?

One major struggle I have encountered over he last five years has been maintaining a training schedule when I am traveling for work. This really would not be a problem if most of my work travel took place over the winters as winters are appropriate times, in my mind, to take exercise sabbaticals. I could feel myself slipping slowly on Saturday morning. I wasn't even on the road yet but for some odd reason I found myself oversleeping until 6:30, and then 7:00, and then 8:00. I convinced myself when I woke up that I would put my things together for my dog sitter and then head out for 10 miles.

Well, Sunday came and went with little success for logging any substantial mileage and so the story goes...

It is Tuesday now and I hang my head in shame as I consider the limited opportunities that have presented themselves to me to get in a good workout session; I have only minimally capitalized on those opportunities. I am feeling both thankful and frustrated about the remainder of my week. I was smart enough to schedule running 'dates' with friends through the remainder of my trip and for this I am thankful, but am somewhat frustrated that I have not been able to embrace the peace and serenity running provides back home in Columbus, while on the road.  

So here I am awake, restless but also wildly exhausted at 4:20 in the morning plotting my next move. I could continue to toss and turn or I could go and log a couple of miles on the treadmill before my running date this morning.  What would you do?

UPDATE: It is now 10:02 pm and I am on my blog again. I did NOT take a nap today but I did get in two runs. The first run was three miles past the White House and around the Washington Monument. It was an awesome run. The second run involved a trip to Maryland with a very hospitable DC local who took me to her group run. We ran five miles on a route that people out here would call flat; not to my Columbus, Ohio standards. It was great to spend time with a great person. Another example of how the running community comes together!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When in Doubt

A couple of things I have to say today. I know this is two in one week but this one might actually have a point? You tell me!

First I have to say, when I am in doubt about what I am about to post on my blog I should take a step back and press the delete button. Last night's post was TERRIBLE!!! I don't know whether I should thank my close friends or shame my close friends for NOT telling me to take that crap down. Well at least the video was good! And yes I am leaving it because it will remind me to reflect before I post.

I discovered today how crucial running is to my mental health. I had a somewhat frustrating day. It was long, tiring, mentally draining and the list goes on. I got home and was exhausted. I thought it might be nice to take the night off and just lounge around my freshly cleaned house. I was sitting on my couch, reading a book and I got the itch. Without even thinking, I was in my favorite running clothes and at the corner of Goodale and Grandview Avenue. I got about two and a half miles from my house before I even realized I was running. An old friend of mine asked me yesterday when I became so hard core; I think the answer is today. I know that if I am ever doubting a run I need to strap on the shoes and go.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

And So the Story Goes...

This week has been interesting on so many levels! I'm going to stick with the running levels though...

First I had experienced pure euphoria, most likely because of an amazing pace coach who made me realize that everyone has hard days. The true test is sticking with it and making it through the tough days. The quiet nature and gentle words spoke volumes about the care he puts into helping people across the finish line. I'm going to have to say thank you next time I see him.

I had a moment of, it could have been me, this week. My favorite bike path has fallen victim to a man approaching people with a knife. I should have been in the same location at the same time as the woman who was approached but for some reason I wasn't. Call it what you will but I'm calling it luck. It wouldn't have bothered me as much as it did but it was at 3:00 in the afternoon. I guess I need to find a new bike/run route to work for awhile and check the news to see if he was caught. I never go out for a run alone after dark and now I have to worry in the day light as well. I have never really believed in running with an iPod. It just doesn't work for me. Every once in a while I put the plugs in my ears but I miss out on so much when I do. I love hearing my breathing, the rhythm of my feet pounding on the ground, the birds, river flowing, my constant talking to myself (yes I talk to myself when I run alone) and my thoughts. Music clouds my running judgement and makes it more difficult for me to hear bikes, other runners or crazy people approaching me from any direction. Be careful out there friends!!!

Yesterday I was grooving for the first four miles of my run and then I hit a speed bump. This was actually less of a speed bump and more of a gap in the concrete that popped all four of my wheels. When I hit this patch I took the time to regroup, think about how fortunate I am, remember the words that so many wise friends have shared with me this week and moved on. The remainder of my run was less stellar than I would have liked but regardless I ran, I enjoyed, I conquered. After all the goal is to finish the marathon NOT kill the marathon. 

This is a journey that I know will last beyond a 26.2 mile road race. It lasted past two 13.1 mile road races. I love running and the truth is that this journey is my destination. 

Of course no good blog of mine comes without a song. Here is some Johnny Cash for my faithful readers:


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happiness

Happiness comes in very small packages. Have you ever looked around at your life and tried figuring out what is going to make you 100% happy? I'm sure you have; everyone has at some point in their life. Have you ever had that moment where you all of a sudden felt fully fulfilled in life, just to not truly understand where that fulfillment and happiness came from. You know the moment. It is that moment where all of a sudden you realize you are totally happy, everything is perfect and you never want to let it go just to realize the next moment that feeling is gone? I know I have.

I started writing this post about a week ago. The same day, one of my friends wrote a post about the very same thing. I decided to hold off on posting it because I couldn't eloquently make my point and I probably still won't make my point. But here goes nothing!

I have been striving for that moment of sheer joy for a long time. If you know me, you know that I am a very happy person 95% of the time. I don't let many things bring me down, which is why last week was so difficult. I relish in the small thing, the small moments, in which someone makes a statement, a song comes on the radio that puts a smile on my face, my dog gets his upper lip stuck up making him look like Elvis, my nephew gets on the phone to tell me he jumped off the diving board. All of these thing add to the joy of my life. Well most recently I have realized, even on the bad days, running has brought joy to my life.

Was last week hard? Yes. Was this week better? Yes. Will I have weeks like the last again? Yes. Will I give up? No.

Tonight I was talking with someone about how my confidence has been really low because everything has been hard and then I realized what matters is I am doing it. Regardless of the 100 degree plus heat indexes that have plagued Columbus, I have still managed to get out and pound the pavement. When I am at my worst, I still walk out the door and run!

So many positive things have been happening lately, and I kid you not, as I was running up the dreaded hill at the very end of a short run tonight, I had the feeling. You know the one, the one I spoke of earlier in this post and it lasted. I might even still be on that high!

Running has enhanced my life. The people I have been exposed to, who have supported me, who have challenged my confidence are all to thank!

I look forward to seeing some of you at various mile markers while I run the Columbus Marathon in October!