Happy tears …

Today is one of those days where I’m overwhelmed with emotions. Libs is currently taking her AP European History test. This class has been ROUGH. And with the finishing of this test a close is brought to A LOT of our school year misery. Thank you JESUS! On top of that, I finished my last hilly long run today. Nothing but light “jogs” and walking until race day. YIPPIE! And if those two things aren’t enough goodness I have one more. George is coming home from college today! It has been a crazy freshman year for him that started with (but certainly not limited to) an evacuation because of the California wildfires. Yep, his school year was a DOOZY for him. Needless to say, with all this resolution today, I am feeling pretty darn thankful and very much relieved.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you cry happy tears!!!

Celebrating 18 awful miles and I yelled at a squirrel …

Long runs are hard. Some are easier than others but even when they are easy they are still hard. This morning I dragged my body to the curb for one of my last long runs before race day. I wasn’t feeling IT to say the least. My body is tired. Accumulative fatigue is REAL and I am riddled with it, HA! Anyway, because I wasn’t feeling IT I did everything I could think of to make sure I set up a good fueling station for myself. On my long runs I often loop back by my house where I can easily grab the fuel I need so I don’t have to carry it all with me. My supplies usually include water, Gu, granola bars, half sandwiches, fruit, whatever I feel I may need or want. It’s so helpful … usually. Today I don’t know how much worse my run could have been without it. Seriously, I was dragging. On top of that just as I was leaving my house I reached into my purse to grab my pepper spray and got one of the worst paper cuts of my life. This thing goes across the whole tip of my index finger. And despite being covered with a bandage it burned from my salty sweat. UGH.

So between my feet feeling like they were covered in concrete blocks and the pain in my finger I was pretty miserable out there. All of this misery didn’t make me immune to the other issues that come up during long runs either. Like the nuttiness. That was alive and well. Simple math was out the window. And I yelled at a squirrel. Yup, you read that right. I yelled at it. I came across a particularly spry little squirrel this morning. Not unusual, but this one just seemed a little sassier than the rest. This is the long run talking here. He was so fast and flitting all across the street. Then he stopped and looked at me. Like I wasn’t running fast enough to scare him. Good grief! It was at this point I lost my grip on reality and told him out loud that he was being a little show off. Yes, I scolded a squirrel. Not my prettiest (or sanest) moment that’s for sure.

I finished my run over 30 minutes later than I predicted I would. It was THAT bad! But despite all of the yuck and the fact that I yelled at a wild animal, I couldn’t be happier with myself. It’s taken a lot for me to get back to running this kind of distance. It’s been a tough and emotional road. But I’m doing it. Again. And I couldn’t be more grateful. Running, even on my worst of days, is still a gift that I will never take for granted. Not ever.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you look past all the bad and see only the good!!!

A nice day …

Holy moly, I am wiped out. I am still feeling the fallout from my awful long run on Friday and it’s been a hectic performance weekend for Libs. We were also out late last night after her final show for a little celebratory dinner and for some crazy reason I work up EARLY this Sunday morning. But it’s all good. I am so thankful for the a blessed and busy life we have! And despite being a little beat up, I plan on enjoying this day to the fullest! Later we are headed to the beach to attend a luncheon with some people I just adore. I can’t think of a better place or way to spend an afternoon recouping!

Well, I hope you all have a nice day!!!

Hell hath no fury like a runner disappointed in themselves …

I did my long run yesterday … and it was horrific. I was looking forward to it and had no reservations about getting it done, but it got ugly. REAL UGLY.

The first six miles were fine. Completely uneventful. But by mile 8 I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. The miles that followed were even worse. The word NASTY describes it about as good as “ice cube” describes an iceberg. Yep, it was THAT BAD. It was honestly one of the toughest training runs I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong I have experienced these awful miles before. Some runs just SUCK. And this one SUCKED HUGE.

But as much as I loathe these trying runs, I have also grown to appreciate them. Not at the time, of course! At the time I’m too wrapped up in the misery to see anything good. I wonder why I continue to subject myself to the disappointment. I wonder if my body was ever meant for distance. I berate myself with all sorts of negatives! The appreciation I have for tough runs comes later when I realize that I can suffer greatly and still somehow manage to survive. There is something in this realization that gives me strength. Knowing that I can push myself mind, body and soul is empowering. It’s hell, but it’s empowering!

Thankfully by the next day, the memory of my terrible run fades and I begin to think about my next long run. One that I envision will be better. WAY BETTER. The best part of this is that my mind believes it’s possible. Somehow my feelings of defeat morph into determination. FIERCE determination! And it gets me back out there, HAPPILY, week after grueling training week. To try to explain this roller coaster of emotions and self-inflicted physical torment sounds insane even to me. But I guess that’s why they say runners are crazy, HA!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you can’t wait to do it all over again!!!

Sprinklers …

California is in a major drought. And despite our 93% dead lawn (along with most of our neighbors) we have had very little discomfort from cutting back on our water usage. This makes me very happy and it’s something that I hope
we continue to do long after the drought is over.

However. Today I had my first real feelings of deprivation stemming from the drought.

Typically on my Saturday long runs I am refreshed by early morning sprinklers. Yes folks, I run through the sprinklers almost every Saturday. As silly as it is, it makes me feel like a kid again and it has been a real life saver.

Since the drought many of us in my neighborhood have either stopped watering or have significantly diminished watering our lawns. People have either torn out their grass, turned off their sprinkler systems or have adjusted sprinkler heads so that there is no water run off. I think all of this is great for our environment. But it did me no good as a runner who had a hot and humid 17 miles to run this morning.

I am officially down to two neighbors who still water their lawns in the early morning hours. TWO. And the accuracy with which they have fine tuned their sprinkler heads should be award winning. They had ZERO water run off. NONE. Not a drop landed anywhere close to me on either the sidewalk or when I was in the street. Seriously. Not. A. One. I am not exaggerating when I say that I almost melted out there today.
And trust me, if I had, I would have been the only liquid found anywhere in my neighborhood not being used effectively.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you find a way to cool down!!!

I’m in it for the long run … 

I ran in the Fontana Half Marathon this morning. It is a very fast downhill race from start to finish. And I had one goal. To set a new personal record for myself. It’s marketed as “the world’s fastest race” and also known by runners as “the quad killer”. I have to agree with both. The downhill was very … um … DOWNHILL the first 7 miles. The last 6 miles evened out quite a bit, feeling very flat to me. I felt great through mile 9 despite my right foot not being happy with the change up. Mile 11 was a long mile, HA! So I knew my “wall” was coming. Luckily it didn’t get too bad until about a half mile from the finish line.

I get so emotional during races, especially right before the finish line. So many thoughts flood my mind. Many races I find myself thinking about my mom and my Reese. They both give me so much strength.

Earlier in the race I knew I had that new personal record “in the bag”. It was just one of those races where everything you needed to happen right, did. My official finishing time was 1:53:05 (8:39/mile pace). I’m not saying it wasn’t hard as heck to run, but I knew in my heart I had trained hard and that the first 7 miles went really well for me. I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other and not do anything stupid … again!

I spent a lot of time this race thinking about how much I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This race showed me exactly what I have to do … TWICE (oh my god) … to qualify. But I found a peace in it. Again, not because it came easy today. It didn’t. The peace came in knowing that I really don’t care how long it takes me. I love running. I love how it makes me feel. I love what it requires of me, especially running distance. There is nothing quite like it. One day, I’m not sure when, but I will stand at the Boston Marathon start line. And it will not be the qualifying race that I will think of. I will think of all the failures, injuries, bad runs, blisters, and lost toenails that were the building blocks to get me there. I will think of my friends and family who stuck by me, with unwavering confidence, despite all the setbacks.

If I have learned anything from running it is that the finish line rarely tells one’s story. It is their journey to the start line that often matters most to people. Their courage and what they had to overcome to get there is what speaks to their character. Their tenacity. Their determination. It is part of their reason WHY. My road to THAT start line will be part of my life’s legacy. And no matter how long it takes to get me there, I know I will enjoy every awful and wonderful minute of it.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are IN IT FOR THE LONG RUN!!!

The long run …

I had a sucky 2-mile run today. I had a decent 3-miler yesterday, that included a hill, so I was pretty happy with myself. But that’s just how running goes. Good … bad … love … hate …

I’m not really sure what caused the suck-iness factor of my run this morning. It was early, my leg was a little sore (not from the injury, probably from the hill I ran yesterday), it was chilly … meh …
pick one.

OR … it could be that I LOATHE THE first three miles of almost every run. The first three are the worst for me. I honestly question why on earth I, or anyone else for that matter, would ever want to run. The first three are just awful.

But then IT happens.

Somewhere between 3-4 miles the MAGIC happens. Well, at least for me. Some call it HITTING THE ZONE or the RUNNER’S HIGH. Whatever it is, it’s when everything falls into place for me. My breathing. My footsteps. My arm swing. My pace. The rhythm of the music playing on my iPod. It all a comes together like a finely tuned machine. And I just tell myself … “settle in.”

This moment is why I will always come back for more and why I love distance running so much. Once I find the MAGIC I can literally run for hours. It doesn’t have to be fast or anywhere particularly wonderful. It just has to be one foot in front of the other … and suddenly … at that very moment … I am free …

Well, I hope you all have a day where you’re in it for the LONG RUN!!!