Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Dark Days Are Upon Us

Yes, the wonders of an autum in the Northeastern United States means cooler temps, colorful leaves, pumpkin stuff that other people love, post-season baseball, the end of humidity, coats. It also means shorter days and less sunlight. As I set out for a easy morning jog today, I realized I have to readjust my morning run mode for "FALL/WINTER". This means:
  • It's going to be even HARDER to get out of bed. Set alarm for earlier. It's hard to imagine a time earlier than 4:50 am. But for a snooze-button addict, it's a harsh reality.
  • More blankets + warmer bed > need to run. Math sucks.
  • Layering: Add a long sleeve t-shirt or lightweight hoodie to 'running clothes for tomorrow morning' (if I actually get up)' pile on the floor. Remove sport tank tops as it's too chilly for shoulder sexiness now. Add longer shorts. Remove skirts. Add beanie hat. Remove marathon cap.
  • Fewer (or less? Kylie- grammar me!) people on the trails. Everyone runs in the spring and summer. It's the pressure of bathing suits and ice cream. Moms don't have kids to get ready for school. It's lighter and cooler out. There are many advantages to running in the mornings during the summer. However, it's a lonely time in the chilly months. This means that it's okay to sing along while running but you're also more likely to be bear breakfast.
  • Switch cereal with fruit to oatmeal with fruit.
  • Leave coffee warmer on because the best thing in the world after a chilly run is a warm cup of coffee. It's also the worst thing in the world after a hot hot hot run.

The biggest change in seasonal running is the lack of light in the morning. It's still dark at 5:45am which is when I'm lacing up my sneaks and syncing the Garmin. Dark means:

  • holycrap High Beams! Cars are equally as baffled to see me running in the dark as I am to be running in the dark. Be prepared for a retina burning shot of adrenaline as cars forget that people have eyes too and beam the bejebus out of you. This is when I retire from 'road running' and turn to the towpath.
  • No more ninja running gear. Ninja running = wearing all black. I need some kind of light reflective gear to alert cars and deer of my presence.
  • Animals, even cute little kitties or mischievous squirrels, are pure evil untill the sun rises. I've had full, though one-sided, conversations with a deer in broad daylight. However, seeing a deer dart ahead of you in the gray dusk of the morning is horrifying!
  • Remove "Thriller" from running playlist.
  • Dogs really hate morning runners. Be prepared to get barked at.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Making Up and Moving On with Running

Dear Running,

Ok. So.

The 12 mile on Saturday morning was respectful. The speedwork session tonight was really sweet. Oh, running. I can't stay mad at you.

I needed that week off. I thought about how devastated I was at what I thought was a terrible race. I can be so hard on myself that any accomplishment gets overshadowed. I took my ridiculousness out on you, sport, and that's not fair.

I'm going to redefine the terms of our relationship, Running. I'm going to stop holding you accountable for so much of my self esteem. I'm going to find more to feel good about than just you. You're great and I couldn't imagine not being a runner at this point. However, I'm going to spend more time with karate and maybe even try biking. I can't just only run.

The biggest amendment is going to be the definition of PR. PR is no longer personal record. PR is now Progress Report. I will always aim to do better in races because it's just not in my nature to not give my best at everything. However, I will always remember where I came from and who I am in terms of my times. I'm not a natural runner or athlete. This is not a gift, this is a passion.
Progress Report will measure performance by things such as pacing, walk breaks, hydration, nutrition and pride. When I aim for a PR now, I'm going to aim to have fun, do my best, and cross the finish line strong and happy. If it's at 2:01 or 2:31, it's a finish line and it's matters.

Running, I can't promise I won't get angry or frustrated again. Thank you for letting me recover and recoup for a week and come back strong today. I'm looking forward to our adventure on Sunday and hopefully will have an easy session on Wednesday or Friday.


I'm such a good blogger that I forgot what the website I used and how to login.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Breaking Up or Down with Running

Running and I got into a fight this weekend.

I'm sure we'll both get over it soon enough.

If it wasn't for the five races I'm signed up for and the five friends I'd be disappointing, I would be seriously considering breaking up with running right now.

I'm going to stay at Karate's place for a few days and let my muscles recover. And think. Think about my training, what I did wrong, or right, why running and my stomach seem to battle at the worst possible moments and what exactly a PR means. To both of us. I'm going to think about the races I've done and remember my runners high. And I'm going to wonder why I'm feeling the exact opposite of that. I'm going to talk to my heart and brain to see that they think about this whole thing. They so rarely agree that I wonder if it's worth it.

I hope running does some thinking too. About how much I care. How much I've given up and how I've changed because of him. I hope he understands that there are so many factors that go into every step of every mile. And sometimes every step is a victory in and of itself. It doesn't matter if it's a running step, a walking step or a step off of the course to breathe. Running should also maybe send a text to my stomach and my lungs to see whose brilliant idea it was to gang up on me at mile 11. Seriously, running should look into that because it was just a cruel thing they did.

I'm sure we'll both get over it soon enough. If the past 18 months have proven anything, it's that we can't stay apart for too long. We have an event in two weeks in New York.