Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Two weeks from marathon

          I am two weeks from MCM and my confidence is shot and my mood is foul. I'm not sure why I feel this way really. Being a practicing buddhist and a runner has taught me to just learn to sit with the emotions as they come, and allow them to come and go naturally without a rush. Therefore, instead of fighting them or trying to get rid of them, for the past few days I've been low and watching these feelings come and go. Most likely my hormones are going crazy, but I can't be , seeing as I have not been to a doctor (nor will I be going). Yet, for someone like me, who is normally super busy with always something going on, one would ever see it or recognize that these things are going on in me. But, this week  HAS been super tough, getting up at 4 or 5am and making myself go running, or going to the gym or even feeling good about my second 20 miler in 8 days, which SHOULD be a no-brainer. I'm not saying I'm not proud of this run. I do feel proud that I was able to finish a second 20 miler in 8 days, something I have not done for my other marathons, ever! But, a large part of me feels somewhat numb overall. Of course, I did a gratuitous 20-miler (19.5 actually) and I should be feeling quite awesome indeed, but nope, I'm struggling to celebrate, or even feel generally good at all. Again, it might be my hormones going crazy. When no real reasons exist for one's negative feelings, it's most likely hormones and I have to simply ignore and/or distrust my thoughts for some time. Nevertheless, knowing the WHY does not necessarily solve it. I have been quite a witch lately. It's not easy for my family to experience me in this mood. 

               About the run, this was a fairly easy run. Having already done my initial 20-miler I had a lot less pressure for this run. I did run a very easy 17 miles and then I hit the trails where there was gravel. Oh, I don't like gravel at all. My ankles have a really hard time adjusting to the unevenness of it and I ended up walking most of the remaining miles. I did beat myself up over it for the entire 3 miles but was not about to make it up at all, I was spent and I was D.O.N.E. But what a gorgeous fall day it turned out to be Sunday and it was all mine! I did not see even one human being either running or walking until hour 3 of my run. So you see, the streets did belong to me from 5am to almost 8am!

I LOOOOVE seeing funny things on my runs.....looks like someone emptied the entire contents of their oven on the sidewalk.....As much as I hate to see liter and litterers this was quite amusing.....

Sunday, October 9, 2016

20 miles baby!!

        I love rain.....I love running in the rain. Unfortunately, it only rained ever so lightly and ended within the first hour. What was most shocking is that I did not see another walking person or even a runner until about mile 9. 

              I don't think of myself as competitive until a streak of competitiveness sneaks out and takes a hold of me. Then I know I am as competitive as they come, I just pretend not to be. As I approached an intersection an older man and a very young woman entered the path in front of me and were doing a faster pace than me for some time. Every time I'd look up they were further and further forward. In situations like these I always make a mental note to run my own run and not to worry about others' pace. After about 10 minutes I look up and the young woman is walking. The older man is motioning with his hands trying to get her to start back up. She starts back up but by the time she does I am only a few dozen yards behind and quickly pass them both. Wow, this is new to me...passing someone, and more importantly, passing a woman half my age. It did bring a small smile to my face.  

            I saw a fox for the third time in my life. Its gait is a bit like it's confused and at one point it started walking towards me....In a split second I decided the mace would not work, too windy. The whistle would not work, it would wake everyone up where I was running. So instead, I just made crazy motions with my arms and off it went. That was easy.  
            I did find a pair of keys. I picked them up and ran with them, then thought I should drop them at anyone's driveway and surely they'd find the owner. About half a block later I change my mind. Nope, this was an accidental find by me and seeing as I believe very strongly that there are no such things as accidents I felt it my job to find the owner of these keys. I was too lazy to stop and place them in the back of my hydration pack so in my hands they sat for about 7-8 miles. This might be the work of a guardian angel and I am a person they thought would do the job, and not stop until I find the owner, so I will do just that. 

17 miles behind me.....3 to go......I'm going to do this!

 I posted this picture on my Facebook, and only later did I see the big huge pile of salt on my left temple. For the past 4 long runs I have stopped taking any kind of food on my long runs. I was famished by mile 13, but then I forgot all about it and was fine with water and S-caps the whole way. 

 My feet were particularly in pain so I decided to dip them in icy water for 8-10 seconds at a time. It did help quite a bit. What also helped was staying in bed for about 2 hours after the run. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Week 12 done...sort of

                 This was not a run I wanted to do. First, I had been skimping on my runs this week so I was already many miles short of the plan. Then, I had taken 2 Advils the night before to help me with this recurring foot pain that has yet to go away. I totally forgot that Advil keeps me awake, not only that, it makes my heart race. So I was awake from 11pm-4am watching Amazon Prime fall pilots, hating all of them. When I got up (from the couch that is, not from sleep) I started getting ready. I was out the door at 5:05am. It was a 2 hour run in the dark seeing as the sun did not rise until 7:07am and it was cloudy, which made the seem to sun seem to rise even later. I love early morning runs. The streets are all mine, the shadows dance as I shuffle by and I can let my mind wonder wherever it pleases. I have a really strong flashlight which helps to keep me feeling safe. 

Once the sun did rise I got to Zion Drive and I really do not like these gently rolling hills. I tried my best to tackle each one without stopping. 

Because I was running to my son's game 3 miles from my home I needed to use a trail to get there, and in order to cross a main road that does not have pedestrian access. It was an absolutely gorgeous run. 

Again, I saw very few humans on any of these trails. A straggling human here and there, waving good morning and disappearing away behind me. 

I crossed Braddock underneath and it was super muddy. I had to imagine I was walking on melted yummy chocolate to keep me from getting nervous as I walked over the entire length. Reminded my of the North Endurance Challenge or a trail race in which you have to stop and figure out a way to get around this natural obstacle, be it a muddy patch or a stream. 

It was lightly misting when I ended....at my son's baseball game. I went to the ports-potty there, changed my bra and top and sat and watched 4.5 hours of baseball. Best day ever. I JUST noticed this now, but I also took a picture of my mini knife that I hang on my hydration pack. 

I have decided that I need to find out the official names for these plants/flowers. They add so much to the scenery of the trail run. As much as I HATE the gravel on my trail runs, I very much like the required special attention necessary to get through a trail, that is nonexistent on pavement. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Romance with running....Until death due us part....

              Without running I would be a depressed, miserable soul on the verge of suicide. When people boil down what I do as merely a means to an end, such as weight loss (gag), I cannot even begin to explain to them how far off mark they are, yet, I hardly ever correct them for others' experience of me rarely matter anymore (side affect of running). It would take way too much effort to even try to explain anyway, so I don't even bother. Besides, one of the most significant things running has taught me is that one's own understanding is quite enough most times.  

               When I was little, my mother would refer to education as something "no one can take away from you". Although I very much value my education and thanks to it I have a wonderful career I very much enjoy, etc, etc...but, to me, those words of my mom's best fit running...... The teachings and feelings I get from running, THOSE are what 'no one can take from me'. For example, the stunningly quietly rising sunrise I caught this Sunday, or the 5am streets that for miles and miles belong to only me or the hours I get to myself to ponder all my silly ideas, fantasies and current troubles. Now, those are the things no one can take from me. Most importantly, there is a pure joy I experience being out there and carrying my body over great distances. The unadulterated power that surges in after any run stays with me for many days ahead.  

             Yes, this sounds very much like a romance. There is not a day that goes by where I do not think of myself running, or in which I am not planning some new long run like a giddy teenager planning for a first date. In an odd sense it is very much a passionate romance, I even joke about "t'il death due us part". Also, as much as I love my hubby, I can survive quite well without him, but running, I cannot see myself living a happy life without running. 


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week 11 done!!!

That look of uncertainty mixed with hope, I'm sure it's there before every single long run. I am super excited for my 17-miler this morning, again, set a new record for the half marathon distance, beating my average time from last week.  I know it's because I logged in less miles this week than last week leaving my legs to have extra rest......hmmmm....thinking of cutting down my runs to 3 runs a week....a mid-ling run Wednesdays, a short fast run after,and my long run on the weekend. 

              My route has a new feature and I googled to see if there was a death on this particular street and nothing. But it did make me shed a tear as I ran past it. I am also super proud that I tackled EACH hill with running and only maybe walked about 5 minutes total the whole day. 

First sight of the glorious sunrise. 

a quaint little trail on Zion Drive. 

Looped around and got to see the makeshift memorial for Kaila again, the time in full sunshine. Kaila was 3 when she died. Not sure yet if Kaila was a human baby or a pet, perhaps. 

My newest love (drum roll), ice baths! 15 minutes in cold-ish water in the bathtub. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tears of joy

            Tears of pure joy!! 16 miles and fastest half marathon distance this year!! NEVER.GIVE.UP. This training season has been quite torturous. I have not been able to lose some of the weight I have put on since my last race (Nov. 2015) and therefore I automatically thought I would not be able to run the same pace as I have done before. Although that remains somewhat true, I have been getting faster little by little, week by week. After my 16 miler today I got this alert on my Garmin that I have 2 new records....Longest run and fastest half marathon distance!! wow. This one run today was very strong. I ran up most of the hills except the ones at the very end and the huge ones. 

Today was also a beautiful morning! The moon was out behind these ever so lightly breezy clouds, the air felt cool and fresh and new, even though the humidity, online,  said otherwise. Surprisingly, the humidity was still very high, 95%; this is even higher than it was last week!, luckily, it was a lot cooler than last week. 

I relaxed into my run listening to some new Bachata songs on Spotify. The pace of bachata matches my pace white well and the lyrics are always pretty entertaining, all about unrequited love and lovemaking, pretty amusing. Here is the view of my flashlight on the street before sunrise. This is one of the darkest streets I run on and there is this 1/4 mile wall on each side of the street. My amazing flashlight is able to illuminate the whole street and I feel quite safe and secure once I flash my lights all around once over and no one is on the street. 

The sun shows up behind the shadows. By mile 4 the sun starts to creep in, but seeing as it's cloudy, it's darker for much longer. Nevertheless I am always amazed at the many faces of the sky. This one id other-worldly. 
I finally put the flashlight away in my hydration pack pocket and I just LOVE this wide street....saw zero runners until about mile 7...

Zion (below) is the most twisty and hilly street. I was getting pretty annoyed with how many roller coaster-like dips I had to run on.

Found a nice little side path on Zion. It was a really nice path with the exception of the highly uneven pavement covered with pine needles. 

            So week 10 is complete! 6 weeks to go....Although I am getting faster there is still a good chance that I might get pulled off the course for being below pace. I am trying to train without worrying about it, but I am also making sure that no matter what happens I will be okay....I have put blood, sweat and tears into this training and no one can take that away...Of course, I'd love a medal, but, nothing can take away the strength and power these weeks of training has brought me so far; and I have not even run my 20 miler yet. 

Perdona si te hago llorar
Perdona si te hago sufrir
Pero es que no esta en mis manos
Pero es que no esta en mis manos
Me he enamorado, me he enamorado
Me enamore
Perdona si te causo dolor
Perdona si te digo adiós
Como decirle que te amo
Como decirle que te amo
Si el ha preguntado
Le he dicho que no
Le he dicho que no
Soy honesta con el y contigo
A el lo quiero y a ti te he olvidado
Si tu quieres seremos amigos
Yo te ayudo a olvidar el pasado
No te aferres, no te aferres
A un imposible, ya no te hagas
Ni me hagas más daño, no
Tu bien sabes
Que no fue mi culpa
Tu te fuiste sin decirme nada
Y a pesar que llore como nunca
Yo seguía de ti enamorada
Pero te fuiste
Y que regresabas