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June 2007

A new PR for me!

I don't have much to show for it.  No cool Tshirt, no finisher medal, no cheap water bottle or hat with a sassy logo.  Not even a race number.   There are no action photos that will arrive in my email to show off my crappy form.   I can't tell you about how hard the course was - and it was - it would be too difficult to explain.   My training plan and lessons learned along the way probably aren't that interesting.

So, you will just have to trust me on this one.  This is a super big moment!  As of Friday night, I set a new PR.  I Winner finished teaching my first college course - it was hilly at times, unexpected turns throughout, and relatively unmarked.   There were many hours without fluids or the right nutrition.   I made it through with Diet Cokes and granola bars.

There were no chips or fancy timing equipment, but I think I found 100 hours that I didn't know I had. I coordinated schedules that I didn't think could be aligned.   And, I taught.  I think they may have learned something - if nothing else, a few of my personal quirks.  But I did it!  I said I would try it, and I tried it! 

I celebrated with a long(er than normal) slow run listening to music that I haven't been able to listen to and afterwards had a really cold beer (with just a touch of salt).   Ahh...the finish line is a sweet place to be.

Now, I am going to bed for the next 3 weeks.  (Or, at least for a good 7 hours of sleep).

Yeah me!

Photo on Flickr by billypalooza

I chased the sun and won

Dscn1167With kids away, mom can play!

I snuck in a Dessert Run #2:  Chasing the Sun last night and it wasDscn1171  fabulous!   

I was interested in catching the sunset, but not real interested in running in the heat and humidity so I started in a spot that I knew would be good viewing.   And it didn't disappoint!  I ended up running farther (and faster) than I thought.   Here are some of the pictures - the run was as good as the Dscn1179 view.

Because I went farther than planned I ended up running back on theDscn1200  trail in the heavy dusk, ushered by about a million lightening bugs, an almost full moon and some heavenly tracks from KT Tunstall.   Wow - doesn't get much better than this!

Enjoy the pictures!  Give your own sunset a whirl.

Dscn1188 Yep - this was an 100% Iowa moment.  And in the Fall, these signs are serious business - tractors do get the right away or you get squashed right away.

Thanks again Dan for the reminder and idea.

Want to see a picture of an Iowa sunrise?  Check out one in Day 3 as well as Brad's progress. He should conquer the 150 miles mark today!


BikeThat would be the sound that me and my bike (Tiger) made as we zoomed down the trails this morning.  Sheryl Crow is singing in my ears "...slow down, you're going to crash...."  (of course, I have music from the soundtracks of kids movies).      Weeeeeeeeee.....

And of course, that ride was followed by a run.

God love the person who figured out that biking and running go together as well as chocolate and peanut butter, vanilla and chocolate, marshmallows and chocolate, cookies and beer, ..... (you get the picture!)

I am loving it!   Now that the affair is in full swing it will be close to impossible and cut ties with my buddy bike - he may have to hang around for a wee little triathlon this year.  Just one - a little one - so little that no one will notice I was even gone.

Here is a great quote about bicycles from Jimmy at My Path to the Ironman:

"Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live." ~ Mark Twain, Taming the Bicycle

Well said Mark....

Photo on Flickr by t-squared

I traded the kids for a handful of magic beans

Ok, not really.  But I do have 3 days without kids!  Our schedules reached a new level of insanity.  No amount of calendar mamba-ing would dance me out of this mess. My parents agreed to take the kids for a few days to get over this hump.  When I met them for the drop off, there was my mom, with a bag of green beans and peas fresh out of the garden (and a smile), saying "trade ya'".    Best deal I made in a while!

I love my kids dearly - but am looking forward to a few days where I just Dscn1214need to keep track of me.  I can work when I need to and can rrrrruuuuuunnnnnn anytime I want!  Yippee!

When I got home from work and class last night, there waiting in my garage was my bike.  All aired up, cleaned up and ready to ride - thanks honey!   It was like seeing an old friend.  Me and bike (his name is Tiger) are going to have an intense, yet short affair over the next few days and log some miles.    I can't wait!

Now, if I could just trade the "magic beans" for some cool weather and a few hundred percent lower humidity...

Why We Run

Running easy on the streets recently with friends, we discuss why we run.  Not about why Happy_runnres we started running.  Nope.  But why we are we running these days?   What gets us out running on the streets and in our neighborhoods?

We banter around several great reasons to run —to control our weight, to complete a race, social enjoyment, and as a stress reducer.  All great answers and not one of us claiming to escape our spouses, kids, or reality. 

Because I brought it up, my friends press me for my answer. 

Okay, here it comes.  Sure, I run for better health, but I’ve learned over the years that running alone doesn’t guarantee health nor a ticket to everlasting running.  A serious illness or accident can snatch away all the built-up good health in a heart beat. 

I also chase personal running goals—achieving a race performance or to sustain a disciplined lifestyle.  Both work for me. 

But at the heart of the matter is enjoyment. A simple and perhaps the most natural, pure physical activity, I love the motion, energy, and feel of turning over my legs and charging my breathingRunning feels good to me, and has always been a great companion to my life.  Running uplifts me!

So why do you run?

Photo on Flickr by mypointyshoes

It's soooo easy when you know the answers

Ok, little problem.   I did something really dumb!

I have been trying out teaching for Simpson college this summer.  A 5 week course on organizational behavior.   It is something I have wanted to do since I started my undergrad degree a few hundred years ago.   I was lucky enough to have a chance to try it and am in the final days of the course.

In the five weeks, the students have 3 tests.  I have just finished writing the third test (with the answers - thank you test guide manual) and set about the task of making the test the student copy without the answers.  I had deleted the answers/explanations, unbolded the bolded answers and hit SAVE.   Uugghhh!  Not SAVE AS, but SAVE.   All the answers were gone!   Staring back at me was 100 questions, without answers.

For the last hour, I have been taking this darn test, filling in the answers.   Can I tell yDscn1146ou, between you and me, it's a whole lot easier when you know the answers!   

And isn't that so true with running.  Once you get one experience under your belt or have an "aha" moment with your running, it is so much easier.   I had an "aha" moment with my running this week.

I have never been a fan of hill training.  It would go on the "what's it good for list" with heat, humidity and wind.  But after about 2 weeks of running my very hilly trail around my house  (here is a picture of one of the 6 long steep hills - it looks tame in a photo), I revisited one of my favorite flat trails and took about 2 minutes off of my time.  It felt so darn easy!   It was only on the ride home that I put 2+2 together and realized that hill training does equal stronger, faster times.  (Yeah, there are pages of runners under "hill training" who also see the value of hills like Alec and Madman.)  See, it is so easy when you know the answers.  I just wish the questions didn't involve hills, heat, humidity or wind.

For other learning experiences in the last week...Check out Little Miss Runner Pants account of her triathlon or Angie at onepinkfuzzy and ice baths.   Runners are finding the answers every day!

Another little kick in the pants...

Keep_running_sign ...from Brad today.  He swam through humidity and heat to finish 28.63 miles.   Anyone skip their run today because of the temps or humidity?!?  :}

Scott Dunlap published a post yesterday on A Trail Runner's Blog about Sri Chimnoy 6 & 10 day Transcendence Run in New York. It is the world's longest IAU recognized footrace at 3,100 miles.   One of the quotes he includes in his post from the article is:

At one level its admirable, at another it's ridiculous," says Phillip Hodson, Fellow of the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy.

Ridiculous seems like a pretty strong term, no?  With all this talk of endurance running lately, I can't quite decide if there alot of really crazy runners or they simply know something I haven't yet figured out.

Maybe I will figure it out in a few more runs.   I am out the door since the temps are back below 85!   My last ditch run last night with my dog Buddy turned out to be one of best of the season.

Happy trails tomorrow Brad!

Photo of sign on Flickr by somewalksinla

Some would call it an evolution

If you have been listening to me belly ache and complain for the last month you know that I Pokemon have been weaning myself from my traditional schedule of training for events and converting to a "run for fun" runner this summer.   I am taking on new/different life challenges this summer (but not as big as jkrunner or Amy) and something had to give - and this time it was the training and events.  I think I have begun to find some balance between training for races and running for fun. 

I am generally pleased with myself from moving from grumping to acceptance and happened to mention it to my 7 year old son a few days ago.   He had noticed that my training was different (and less!) and was asking about why I had changed.   I tried to explain all my noble reasons of trying to balance teaching and a new business with family and work - all the while beaming inside for all the "sacrifices" I have made for my family.

My son, listens and then doesn't miss a beat and says..."Mom, I think you are evolving."

Hum...very insightful.  Wow, as a mom, I am thinking, this boy is brilliant, clever and really in tune with what is going on in my life.   And, he is so right, this is an evolution - a great learning experience...yes, something I can learn from and become a stronger person.   Yes, I will survive, er....evolve!

"Evolve?", I ask.   Then he says, "Yes, I think you must be evolving into your next life - a grandma."

Ouch!  In his mind, which has been taken over and consumed by Pokemon, this little evolution is going down a different track than I intended.  Ok, maybe I am not ready for change. 

(NOTE to running moms, dads and family members of small children:  If Pokemon hasn't invaded your home, get on your knees and thank the Lord!   If Pokemon has already arrived and stayed for a while, my sympathies are with you!)

Photo of Pokemon on Flickr by mutantlog

Running is Important to Us

I’d say finding time to run continues to be a challenge for many committed runners.  Why do I think so?   Well let’s just say that conversations around finding time to run often have words like selfish, sneak, cram, squeeze and guilty embedded in them.  In the same conversations we also hear, “If I’m lucky” or “It’s just not going to work today.”

Sometimes we don’t see a way to fit in a run; other times we give up too easily on the importance of going for a run.

Urgent The key for me is understanding the difference between urgent vs. important.  As we manage our time, we often focus on what’s urgent, pressing us and what’s on fire at the moment.  So on any given day, it’s likely that another matter, or even more likely, someone else’s matter, takes priority over our running.

The truth is that today’s run is not urgent, but it is important.  And the cycle continues because tomorrow’s run is also not urgent, but it’s important.  If we give in constantly to only what’s urgent, we’ll continue to not make time for the important. 

Change_priorities The result is over time, we don’t carve out time for what’s important; consequently, weeks and months from now, our running fitness, goals, satisfaction and enjoyment have taken a back seat.  Now how is that right?

It doesn’t help that as runners we treat our activity as an interruption or disruption to our days or even our lives.   Further, we don’t help our cause when we fumble over ourselves defending our interest in going for a run, and asking permission to fit it in.  We need to take some more ownership for our time—all of it—and what’s important to us.  The reality is that going for a run will often seem a light matter to others, but that doesn't make running less important to runners.

I'm not talking about abandoning responsibilities, our jobs, our children, and our loved ones.  But more about subordinating the matters that can be left until tomorrow or the next day or next week, while we bring to today what is important to us. 

I admire the honesty of Jess who admitted she didn’t get out for an intended morning run.  Even more, I admire nine supportive running friends who posted comments within hours, encouraging her to make time later in the day to get out and run.

  Guilt_free_4 So what would a Runners’ Mantra sound like?  Perhaps...

  • Running is important to me…
  • Running is not disruptive or an interruption…
  • Running deserves a higher priority than I (or my spouse, boss, housework) give it…
  • I’m at my best when I run…
  • Taking time to run does not require defending...

Come on, friends.  Let’s reduce the running juggle and stop using excuses.

Don’t compromise. 

Run out the door when you can.  And don’t bring along nagging Mr. Guilt with you.

Urgent graphic on Google Image

Changed Priorirties on Google Image

Guilt Free image on Google Image

Reminds me the old Army ad...

Remember that old Army ad where they would list all the things the guys in the Army did before 9 am and would then end the ad by saying something like...We do more by 9 am than most people do in a whole day.  Army - the toughest job you'll ever love...

Brad's run today reminded me of that ad.  Early on this lazy Sunday morning, in a span of 7 You_can_do_it hours, Brad finished his first of eleven 28 mile courses that will take him across Iowa.  In the span of time that it took him to travel 29 miles on Sunday morning he covered more miles than I ran last week and probably more than I will this next week.  And I can't think of a better way (even though it may have been tough) to spend a Sunday morning.

Before I read his post tonight- I was just winding down for the weekend and going to skip my run this evening.  It was a very busy weekend and the kids have worn me out.  But, then, I read his post and thought - crap - I am being a wuss again...I think I can crank out a few miles.   So, thanks again Brad for a little nudge and reminder to keep moving.   

Happy running tomorrow!   (Here is your cheering section on the right!)

Photo on Flickr by David Ian

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