Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Just one Mile

A few weeks ago I left a comment on my friend's blog that I was thrilled 3 miles away from reaching my goal of running 15 miles that week - a task that would be easy to accomplish the next day, Saturday. It sure is easy to be smug . . . and a bit more of a challenge to bring to fruition.

The next day rolled around and before I knew it I had slept past 8AM (RARE!) - a full hour past when I planned to wake to knock out those easy 3 miles.

By 9:30 I had consumed the delicious big breakfast my husband so lovingly made. You know, the works: eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, toast, & OJ. Clearly the run wasn't going to happen before noon after THAT.

A post-breakfast shower and afternoon outing with the family made this "easy" goal further and further out of reach. I'm a morning runner, without a doubt, and by 4:30 when we dropped off the kiddos for an overnight at their grandparents' house, I still had not laced up those Brooks.

Rounding out a wonderful day of food, my husband and I had an actual date at a Thai restaurant. It was quite possibly the best Thai dinner we've ever had. I was pleased to have some to take home with me for lunch the next day, but my stomach was definitely full. Clock read 7:30 when we got home from our outing.

At this point my Type A personality started to twitch. Not only had I set the 15 mile goal for myself the previous Sunday, but I had bragged about it to a fellow runner (and dear friend). The goal was out in the world, ready to be reached. I made a deal with myself that if I just cranked out 1 mile, I'd be satisfied. So I laced up.

And I ran 1 mile. And my Type A personality reared its ugly head. I picked up the pace and made my way through a second mile.

By this time there was no stopping me. And my husband began laughing. "I knew you couldn't run 'just one mile,'" he poked.

That's when I smiled sweetly, blew him a kiss and went another mile and a half. He was right, clearly. Once I set my mind on a goal, anything less than 100% just doesn't feel right. And sometimes it feels good to prove to yourself that you can make it just a smidge further, hence that bonus half mile.

Funny, but up until that night I've been apprehensive about night running. At some point in my running life I had trouble calming myself after evening workouts and found it hard to sleep. But I found that at this point in my life the satisfaction of reaching a goal and staying true to myself was *just* what my body and mind needed to have one of the best night's sleep I've had in a good month.

Last week I ran into a morning that had no room for a run, so I got it in that evening. Same thing - the sense of accomplishment satisfied my spirit and I slept well.

This opens the doors WIDE for this runner gal. Knowing that my body and mind are now willing to go "the extra mile" anytime of day really gives me a boost. As a mom I treasure this new found flexibility. And as a wife whose husband is returning to the world of running after a bit of a break, I look forward to making running part of our date night experiences without worrying that I'll have to pay the "consequence" for running with my best friend in the evening with a sleepless night.

Happy running!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Starting Wet, but with a Thankful Heart

When I'm feeling overwhelmed or frustrated negativity can seep into my brain and set up camp there. So today I'm going to play a little game as I start the week with a thankful heart. I'm looking for the upside of negative thoughts in effort to push the negativity OUT!
1. The rain returned last night (and hasn't stopped all day) . . . but we took advantage of a string of nice days and filled them with park time and even a trip to the beach. We've stored up the outdoor activities like squirrels so the next stretch of inside days will have their own flavor of fun.

Here's me running in jeans and Keens with sweet ol' Albus Dumblepup on the beach. This dog loves to run and saw the sandy beach as his opportunity to GO!

2. My running mileage for last week was shy of my weekly goal . . . but I did an extra day of yoga, which relieved my tight hamstrings and made it possible for me to end the week with a good run. And my legs feel great this week!

3. My husband and I didn't make it to the Watershed Preserve in time for a hike on our date night (darn early sunset!) . . . but we made it to our favorite restaurant (45 minutes away) for a delicious dinner over which we did some preliminary planning for summer adventures. We also made the HARD decision about what to do for our children's schooling next year. It really was a good night and now we know for the next date night to head out just a little bit earlier to get in that hike.

4. The late winter sunrises make my Saturday morning running group hard to motivate . . . but we're taking the next month or so off. I hope the break will bring people back feeling fresh and motivated in April when the sun is up. This also gives me a chance to reach out invitations for others in the community to join us with the goal of running the June 5K/10K Duvall Days races. Sometimes fresh starts can make all the difference.
5. The kids were horrible in the car on our way home from the beach . . . but they did have a few bright moments that let us know the trip was worthwhile overall (see photos below - even the dog is smiling).
How about you? Can you find the positive outcome from an otherwise disappointing situation?
Have a great week - and happy running!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The sun came out today for the first time in probably a week. For my own personal sanity I try not to count the sunless days, so I'm not sure exactly how long. Today also happens to be the day my daughter attends the oo-op preschool without me. This created the perfect equation:

Sunshine (and warmer temperatures, too!) + both children at school = TRAIL RUN!

With new shoes and a new long-sleeved running shirt on, I was ready to head out for my first trail run of the year promptly at 9:40AM. Apparently my mind, legs, lungs, and spirit all had a different start time in mind, because for the first 3.5 miles of my 4.4 mile run, they were all out of sync. Big time. And my self-pity whining kicked in, or "st-run-ggling" (a play on "struggling", ya know?) as I decided to call it.

"I haven't run the trail in a month. I'm slower than I run when I'm with the group on Saturday mornings. I had to stop and walk. My left hamstring is tight. I should have stayed home to fold the mountains of laundry waiting for me. If I can't run well today, what makes me think a half-marathon should be in my plan for the year?" . . . on and on the excuses and complaints went. And on and on my body and mind fought.

I nearly turned around at the 5K half-way mark, but my brain tricked my legs into staying the course.

At the 2 mile marker my brain was ready to give in, but my spirit took over and noticed that the sun was shining and I had the trail to myself. It would be a shame to give up and not make it the last stretch to the 2.2 mile turn around point (a major Roundabout that leads to "the city") when no rain was pelting my face and no children were whining.

At 2.2 miles I had no choice but to run another 2.2 miles back to my car, so after quick hamstring stretch and a deep breath, I got going again.

Somewhere between mile 3 and 3.5 I came to the realization that how I felt about this run was up to ME. So I began asking myself some important questions:

Why do I run? (It is time for myself, it makes me feel strong, I'm less stressed afterward, it is the only time that I feel beautiful while sweating)

Why did I choose the trail this morning? (The sun was shining, I wanted to test out my new shoes on the trail, my children were at school)

Why am I whining? (FOR NO GOOD REASON!!!)

And with that, everything fell into place. I found my stride, I lifted my chin, my steady breathing rhythm hit and off I went to finish the remaining 0.9 mile stretch.

When I reached the end of the trail and checked my watch, I realized the joke was on me. Despite the fact that I felt slower, stopped to watch some ducks duke it out in the river, took a stretch break and took several walk breaks . . . I still finished in under 40 minutes, which put me at under a 10:00 pace. Not bad considering all of the mental commotion.

So if someone asks me about my run today I can now say that it was a sunny, eye-opening run filled with self-reflection. Not my best run, but definitely not my worst. And now that I've faced my whining demons, I'm sure my next run WILL be a good one. It is all about perspective.

What do YOU do when your body-mind-spirit are out of whack on a run?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Starting with a Thankful Heart in 2010

Welcome 2010.

I kicked off the year on January 1st with 3.5 miles on my trusty ol' treadmill. After two weeks of not running, it was fabulous. Delicious even, if a treadmill could be considered such. I went the next step and even recorded my mileage! That's right, this year I'm going to track it. I suppose that could be considered one of my New Year's resolutions - write down the good things!

Remember the running calendar I told you about in December, Carol Goodrow's What a Day for Running!? Well, I bought one when they came out and a running pal of mine gave me a copy for Christmas. We're using one to keep track of family stuff and I'm using the other to track my mileage. I think I'll hang the second one by the treadmill for ease of recording since I use the treadmill year-round (I DO get outside for runs, too, don't worry).

Though the year is still quite new, it has been full. A local friend of mine welcomed her second son into the world at noon on the 1st and my college roommate said goodbye to her mom for the last time the night of the 3rd. These two life-changing experiences prompted me to return to my Starting with a Thankful Heart posts. Life is too precious and too short not to take notice of the little things that make life full and rich and worth sharing.

So, on this first Monday of 2010, I give you a short list of things that make my heart happy.

1. I am thankful for my daughter's question as I tucked her into bed tonight: "Can I hold yours hand?" While her nearly-three year-old self can sure push me over the edge sometimes, she does know what to say to melt her mama's heart.

2. I am thankful that I cranked out 2.5 miles this morning before getting back into the groove of post-holiday reality. One day at a time I'm getting back to my workout routine and it feels GREAT!

3. I am thankful that others reach out to share their passion with the world. A high school friend of mine is kicking-off her 2010 in grand running style. Please take a minute to visit my Beth on her Sweaty Quest for Enlightenment blog. She's a strong, smart, sassy go-getter of a redhead who is using running to get her life back after several years of serious illness and time taking care of everyone but herself. Please join me in supporting her on her quest and enjoying her new found passion for running! And I do have to toot my own horn here, too, in mentioning that she's a big supporter of my book, for which I am forever grateful.

4. I am thankful that after the stressful holidays we managed to squeeze in a day trip to Camano Island yesterday before my husband's vacation was over. We practically had the beach to ourselves and even brought along dear ol' Albus Dumblepup. There were many treasures to be found, as you can tell from my son's bursting arms.

How about YOU? Is there something big or small that makes you thankful today?