the unpredictable journey

Why I Run

I went online to log my miles from this morning for National Running Day and Competitor.com. They asked for your name, city, email, miles for the day and why you run. I sat there stumped. Not because I don’t know why I run, but because I didn’t know which reason I wanted to list.

I run because it gets me outside my comfort zone and causes me to push myself. I run because I like to sweat it out. I run because it’s hard. I run because it’s fun. I run because it’s giving me the self-confidence to appreciate myself and what I can do. I run because someone once told me I couldn’t be dedicated enough. I run because I eat, a lot. I run because it makes me feel like part of a community. I run because I want to be healthy. I run because nothing makes me smile like running with my happy dog. I run because there is no imitation to crossing a finish line. I run because I want to continue to set new PR’s. I run because it’s a great thing to do with my husband. I run because I love being outside. I run because it’s helping me become who I want to be – inside and out. I run because it gives me purpose. I run to see how far I can go, then go farther. I run because it’s a stress reliever. I run because it quiets the world and clears my head. I run because I can.

These are just a few of the reasons I run. Today I sit in appreciation of something that has changed my life over the last year. My relationship with running started because I was tired of not fitting into my pants. I can now fit into them, but running has changed my life and my perspective. Thank you running, for taking me on, helping me become who I want to be and showing me that nothing is impossible with dedication and passion.

I also chose to celebrate today by signing up for my first marathon – the Dallas White Rock Marathon in December. I’m scared, anxious and excited. I know I will learn lessons and learn about myself during this process and I can’t wait to cross that finish line as a marathoner.

Distractions

I’ve been distracted lately. I’d like to say it’s not because I’ve been lazy, but I think that is probably part of it. Here’s my excuses/reasons why.

 About 2 weeks ago I took my dog on a long training run. It was a little warm outside but nothing we haven’t done before. I initially thought about an 7-8 mile run, but it felt so good to be out there that we went for 11. At about 9 miles she really started to slow down. That’s when I know I’ve typically worn her out. She caught back up to me and kept pace pretty good. I made sure I was stopping enough to give her water to keep her cool. That night she was a little out of it and a little shaky, so we decided to keep out eye on her. Come Monday morning she was shaking pretty bad so we decided first thing to take her to the vet to get checked out. Long story short that was a nightmare that ended up wasting 2 hours of our morning and we didn’t even get to see a vet. I went to work and my husband stayed home. Kai didn’t get any better so my husband took her to a closer vet and got her checked out. Nothing major wrong, just probably a running injury. Anti inflamatories were prescribed as well as bed rest for 7-10 days. It broke my heart, running is her favorite activity and I feel like I pushed her too far. We’d done over 11 miles before, but I still feel like it’s my fault. For a week she needed help getting around and she certainly couldn’t jump on the bed to sleep with us, so we had to help her. Poor kid, you could just feel that she was feeling awful. I wanted to make sure we were keeping her company, but I also felt like I was cheating her by running without her. She’s been on bed rest before from a prior surgery and it was the saddest thing having to look her in the eyes when I went out on a run. She knew and it made her sad that she couldn’t go with me. So I took the week off to rest (I’d been having a tender right achilles anyway.)

Finally when she started coming around I got really sick. I tried to fight it for several days before I caved and went to the doctor. Speaking of, I’ve been here for 4 years now and really need to invest in finding a real general practitioner for myself. I went to and Urgent Care facility and got a whole 2 minutes with the doctor. I walked out with 4 (!) prescriptions and one of them was for symptoms I didn’t even have. I’m a few days into the meds and they are really helping me. For the first time I woke up able to breathe, which in my book is a great thing. But so far that has kept me from running too.

I’m just really worried with my basically two weeks off I’m not going to have that great run I was hoping for in my Wounded Warrior half marathon in a few weeks. I’m really bummed out about it. Hopefully I can log some miles this weekend and feel like I can take on the race with confidence. I really want to get a sub 2 hour half this year, I know I have it in me, but I don’t think this is the race I’m going to do it. And I can’t wait to get my running buddy back. I know she’s itching to get out there, but I want to make sure she’s completely healed before I turn her loose.

Complacency

Oh complacency, how you love to sneak up and bite me in the butt. Lately I’ve been working out and doing okay at it. I’ve been balancing my work, home life and active life pretty well. We’ve been doing a lot of yard work which in my book isn’t a typical workout, but a great one to work muscles I don’t get to on a regular basis. I sure feel it the next day.

 Last week I participated in my first social run. I went in a little nervous, as when we’ve gone into the store that was hosting it, they tend to look at us like we aren’t runners and treat us along the same lines. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone was so nice and had a great run. I ran with a new friend April who kept a good fast pace for me (I hope it was a good run for her, too!) We came back to the store with chips, salsa, beer and margaritas waiting. What a great Cinco de Mayo treat. The run got me thinking, I train a few times a week and on my long runs I run a slower pace because I know I’m doing distance, but why aren’t I working harder during my shorter weekday runs? Complacency folks.

So this morning I got up and got out for a run. I started at a great pace. I recently watched a short clip on Ryan Hall’s form and they pointed out about his forefoot strike and high knees. I’ve been all about trying to improve my form lately and I belive in barefoot running. I’ve got the forefoot thing down, but I was working on getting my knees higher and I’ll be damned if that didn’t quicken my pace pretty easily. Don’t get me wrong, I pushed through and had to convince myself I could finish it out and I had to keep yelling in my head RUN FASTER, but I made it. And impressive time for me. 5 miles even at a moving pace of 46:29 or an average mile of 9:17. Wowza.

I can remember last year when my goal was to run a mile under 10 minutes. Look at me now. I can run as fast as I push myself – yet it never ceases to amaze me with a little determination and work, I can break through whatever I’m asking my body to.

Here’s to pushing yourself and creating new goals!

Also, I love judging my running by how tired my dog is afterwards. This folks, is success 🙂

Being Grateful

I woke up today grateful, for so many things. This last week and weekend was incredibly busy. I spent 3 days in Tulsa with my company for our annual conference. It was a great opportunity to meet people, learn and have a great time. We also have a small group of runners, we got up at 6:30 am after the welcome reception and ran together for 5 miles. Everyone I ran with is faster than me – I didn’t let that bother me, I ran my pace and at the turn-around they all cheered for me. It was fantastic, what a great way to bond.

Once I got home it was Royal Wedding time. I’m not afraid to say it – I created quite a spread for my good friend and I to enjoy while watching live. It was a great opportunity to be part of history and to say I watched it live. It’s a generational thing and I think it was fantastic and fun.

Come Saturday, Brian and I had a race – Thrill of the Grill 5k benefiting the Plano ISD. We’re suckers for great causes to run for. We signed up a while ago and saw it was dog friendly. My dog is my best training buddy and the reason I am in the shape I’m in – I thought it would be a great test run to see how she would do in a crowd. Once we got there she was very over-stimulated with everything going on. After about 30 minutes she calmed. Once the gun started she was in serious race mode. We started at the back of the pack – last 5k we did that was dog friendly I heard way too many dogs getting stepped on, I’d rather sacrifice time than have my dog injured any day. She was anxious but ready. Once we crossed the start a few minutes after the gun she was all business. I laugh when she gets into running mode, her ears go back and she’s got this trot that means she’s ready. We weaved through people and tried to run on the sidewalk which was a little clearer. I tried not to keep track on my Garmin and just ran at the pace that felt good. Once I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch I couldn’t believe what I saw. A new PR! And by 1 minute 8 seconds! Not only was I trilled about that, but Brian kept pace and broke his 5k record by a whopping 4 minutes! That’s craziness! Once I got home I uploaded all of the information and I was absolutely floored. I ran a sub 9 minute mile for the first time in my life. My second mile was 8:48, so not only was it sub 9 but it was sub 9 by 12 seconds! I was so grateful for my dog to be able to run with me. She kept pushing me and she makes it look so easy – everyone we passed commented on how she was out for a stroll. The best comment I hear about her was when we crossed the finish. The announcer recognized Kai and said that she looked like she could run another 12 miles – and you know what, she could have. I just love the bandana – it didn’t fit so we attached it to her harness and it looks like her super dog cape.

Come Sunday morning I wanted to go for a long run, I try to make sure I get enough running in, but also that my dog does. I feel guilty riding my bike when I could be out there with her. She loves it so much it’s like giving her a present – the easiest present to give – and I feel great when I can do that for her. We were put on hold for about 30 minutes as a storm passed over, rain is okay, but thunder and lightning is where I draw the line. I looked at the radar and we had an opening. We took off. It was raining on us but it felt amazing. Living in DFW sometimes it’s just too hot. It was a beautiful reminder of the Pacific Northwest where I grew up and more specifically, Eugene Oregon, where I went to school. The entire 7.3 miles I kept praising my body and thanking it for not only allowing me to set a PR yesterday but to carry me through 7.3 miles I was asking from it. For the first time in a while, I became appreciate of what my body can handle and get me through rather than what it can’t do or what I don’t like about it.

After the run, we went to bunch with some great friends and had a fantastic time. There is nothing better than good company, delicious food and bottomless memosas. On the drive home Brian and I discussed how lucky we are to be surrounded by great people. We took a much needed nap and then woke up in time to head to the FC Dallas vs LA Galaxy match. I had my rain gear on and set to go, and boy did we need it. I sat in my seat, grateful once again to be able to go to a match and to participate in cheering for our local teams. We made it through most of the game – but it started raining so hard even we had to give up. Even though we got rained out, I still am thankful for the fun I had.

Once we got home and settled in, we watched some Food Network TV and were about to head to bed. I checked my phone and I saw that Osama Bin Laden was dead trending on twitter. We turned on the news and watched a little bit. I sat in amazement at the accomplishment. 10 years of searching and we got him. Thank you to all of the service men and women keeping us safe and fighting for our freedom. I then went to bed, grateful to be an American.

The beginning, or technically, the middle

So here you have found me, smack dab in the middle of my journey. Where am I going you ask? My answer, quite simply, wherever my path takes me. I hope to share along the way my victories, defeats and everything in between. This includes life’s challenges as well as the challenges I face as I try to improve my body and my mind through running and triathlons.

Lately my life has been all about working on being happy with me, inside and out.