Monday, July 29, 2013

Runner's Birthday I not the luckiest birthday runner?

Pearl iZUMi Women's W EM Trail M 2 Running Shoe

I had to return these for they came a bit tight at the toes. I am normally get 8.5, so I returned them and am waiting for my 9 to come soon. 

Womens Yurbuds Inspire Sport Earphones

I tried these out last night while watching a movie and they do stay in place. I was a bit annoyed at how deep the stuff goes in, but I think I can get used to them. Will try them out on my run tomorrow. 

Under Armor Semi-Fitted lavender top....
I cannot have too many of these tops. Seriously. They are so comfy, so well fitted, they do not fade, they really do absorb sweat (not after 2 hours). I sometimes wear them as regular t-shirts just b/c the colors are so bright and the shirt so well done. 
Zone Bars for those long runs
These are for my long, long runs every 2 weeks. I tatsed it and it was super chicolatey, just how I like them. 

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Things I bought myself for my birthday: 

A Nathan's Intensity Vest for women and a 24 pack of chocolate GU. Nathan  Intensity Hydration VestChocolate Outrage GU Energy Gel (Box of 24)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I am 40!!!

                    I turn 40 today....
I got up at 5am before the sun came out and went for an 8-mile run on the Jones Beach Bike Path and watched the sun rise. Times like these make me miss loved ones that have passed in such a deep and desperate many have moved on in these 40 years and are no longer part of my journey....Running has a way of getting those emotions out there in the open, raw, bright, pulsing. I had myself a nice little cry of joy and sadness thinking of these lost loved ones as I pumped my legs against the pavement ....Times like these I think of running as being much more than mere exercise. It's a meditation a form of prayer and that is what I did today, I prayed to Kyle, Monique, James, Duncan and thanked them from the bottom of my heart for changing my life, for saving me, for showering me with love....thank you, thank you, thank you....I will live this life to the fullest in your honor and send all the joy I experience your way. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Update on Training for my First 50K in the Fall- Week 5 of 16

             I am 2 days away from completing week 5 of my 16-week 50K training I designed for myself. These next 2 running days, Saturday and Sunday will be very telling of whether or not I will actually be able to do this race. You see, Saturday, I am due to run 18 miles, and 8 on Sunday. Remember, for ultra races the trainings call for 'running on tired legs', hence the long miles Sunday after the long, long run. We are still in New York, at my mom's, and there are no hills and although the training calls for running on hills, at least once a week, I have not been able to do them at all for 3 weeks now. Those 'hill' muscles will have a rude awakening when I go back to DC; I guess I'll have to take it real slow at first. Anyway, things have been going very well otherwise. Been doing my miles and staying on with the schedule.

                Running in and around my mom's in Freeport, Long Island has been different to say it mildly. There are basically NO runners anywhere on the street. Occasionally I have caught a glimpse of a lone runner at large parks, but oddly enough, they all run wearing weights, humongous backpacks, or sweatshirts in 90 degree weather, in the MIDDLE of the day. Yeap, totally crazy, I know. While running on the bike path that leads to the beach though one will see just a tad more runners than on the streets, oh and walkers too. Mostly people on bikes though, going very fast, just zooming past you as if they were racing at the Tour de France, then a lot of walkers and a sprinkling of runners. I miss my hills in DC and mostly I miss my trail runs in Rock Creek. I can't wait to get back home to run on MY streets, but I am also having a blast here at my mom's....

               Wish me luck on my run this Saturday. 18 miles. Never run that long or far before and I am pumped. Being a mom, I am planning on going to bed early and start running at 5am. I have not quite figured out my route yet, there are pockets of areas that are not too safe feeling for a woman in general, so, I figured staying on a larger road might be the best option. Will update on both runs Sunday.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mile by Mile Recap.....

Here is how I feel....mile by mile....

Mile 1: My ankles and shins are killing me, How the HELL am I ever going to finish this? I feel fat and   slow. I feel people are looking at me. I'm too slow. How am I ever going to run 10 miles.
Mile 2: Okay, the pain is going away. Keep on working on my form, keep listening to inspiring songs..
Mile 3: No more pain, finally! Now it's my left foot that feels achy, damn....Hope it goes away too. 
Mile 4: All pain has gone away! Music is awesome. 
Mile 5: My form is actually much more automatic, like utter, half way there....yes!!! my body moving better, less fragmented. 
Mile 6: Nothing hurts anymore, running a bit faster now, enjoying the sun and sweating
Mile 7: I am awesome! Feeling amazing, feeling blessed....I CAN run..smiling at everybody
Mile 8: Speeding even more. I am not even paying attention to people anymore, who the hell cares what I look like, I am doing 10 miles nonstop today...2 easy miles left!, I've got this! 
Mile 9: I practically did it!! I am almost there! Feeling amazing, strong, invincible. I love my body, I love everybody. The last mile is smooth and my form is like butter. 
Mile 10: This feels great, I want to keep running but also itching for a few stretches. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Redefining the strong woman (minus the sexuality or the masculine)

                  When society is made to think about images of women, strength is rarely first on the list of descriptors used to describe us. Early on, most women are taught by general society that strength does not really belong to them, beauty perhaps, frailty and daintiness maybe, but definitely not strength! As I grow into a better runner and slowly begin to think of myself as an athlete, I find that there is a lack of images out there of strong women for me to look up to. Okay, let me rephrase that. There ARE images of strong women out there, but they are either heavily sexualized waif versions of some barbie fantasy or paralleled to men by having them have an increase of male characteristics, nothing in between. 

                  My question therefore is, 'Are there images of women out there where strength stands alone, without her being sexualized or masculianized?' I have found, yet not surprised, that rarely do we see strong women not sexualized. If they are not sexualized, they are then often very masculine looking. I believe this is because a strong woman alone may be threatening to society, a free-wheeling soul that lacks eye candy appeal....? too dangerous...But I will have to think further on this before I can speak to it further. 

                One interesting phenomenon I recently noticed that illustrates this need to sexualize women is found in the upsurge of plus-sized models. We all celebrate plus-sized models as if we have finally advanced as women. Yet, if we look closer at the images of these plus-sized models that are being pumped out there is hardly any room to budge in the identity prescribed. Plus-size models are most often depicted heavily sexualized. You will not find a non-sexualized plus-size model out there anywhere, I dare you to try to find one....why is that? It's like her strength alone is not allowed to stand solo. Putting her in a lingeries, stilettos and heavy makeup to me takes away whatever power we women could have drawn from these women in the pages of our magazines. 

                   Surely there are women who fit in between these two far distant extremes of sexuality the masculine. Notice how the images of these supposedly 'strong' women in magazines and on TV are always either sexualized or either made to look totally masculine; the TV commercial could be about mayonnaise for all we know and still, you'd see women swoon and breathe with their lips parted as if they were in some heated love exchange.  

                       As I get older and struggle to define the newly-found strength in my muscular, healthy and curvy body I do not see anyone on TV or magazines that carry the pride I do without the apologetic additions of lipstick and/or macho qualities. I decided to go on a quest and search on Pinterest and try to find these images of women that I would off-the-bat consider 'strong' but without the over-peppering of either sexuality or testosterone. I quickly found that it was very hard to find such images. Below are some of the very few images I did manage to find. 

                The difficulty of this quest to find these images made me wonder if there even IS such an identity of a stand-alone strong woman in our collective visual library.  In the coming weeks I will try to meditate to try to define what a strong woman looks like to me.  I believe as an artist and a visual person I need this identity redefined to fit a more genuine truth about strength in women....obviously, this will have to be a new chapter.....inspiration drawn only from me, seeing as there is practically nothing out there defining strong women that isn't cheaply contaminated. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Adventures In Jones Beach Trails

               I lived in Long Island, New York for 4 years back when Luke was a baby. Interestingly, I never even knew about these trails. Never doubt that running can make your life MUCH more interesting. I started running and all of the sudden the whole world opens up. Just 10 minutes from where we use to live is a trail that goes directly to the beach. It's a bike/jogging trail and I ran the whole length of it yesterday, 4.5 miles each way. I did not have enough time to actually go directly to the beach, but I vow to make it to the beach next time. When you live in a household where both parents run, you have to always be mindful of the other parent's running needs. I had to be back by 8am and therefore could not venture further....although I was damn close. Next time....
You pass over 3 bridges in which you can catch a glimpse of the water. 

Since it's primarily a bike path it's important to stay on the right. 
I caught this amazing bird in the water as I was crossing over one of the bridges. 

I almost did not see this baby bunny....he refused to go anywhere even though we were 1 foot away from each other. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lessons in the Nature of Confidence

                 This morning I woke up totally convinced I would pull myself out of the 50K race I have signed up for in October 2013. There is something about the mornings that make me doubt every bit of myself and this morning I came very close to actually caving under the pressure of my ever-creeping fears. I ended up rolling myself out of bed anyway and getting my butt out the door. After completing 10 miles I was beaming and once again my confidence was filled. The confidence is so short lived though and only going out and running again can replenish that confidence. At this point I will continue to follow my training program, and set aside all fears of potential logistical issues I perceive will pop once I start working again and the increasing milage. I will let those future problems be tackled as they arise, later, and hope that my growing strength will help boost my confidence. 
                 Regardless of what happens with this decision on the 50K race, these struggles with confidence have been so revealing on the flimsy nature of confidence. I could have easily cowered to my fears and given up. But each time I push past those fears and go for a long run, I am again fully replenished. How amazing to discover that lack of confidence is only a smokescreen; the more I ignore it the more it melts away to nothing.