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Saturday, March 27, 2010

The End of Another Week

I'm watching the weather on TV, and I'm plotting my running days according to the weather.  It looks like next week is going to be excellent weather for outdoor activities! After my running is done,  I plan on actually going out into the yard and cleaning up all the junk I decided to leave last fall.  I've got tulips pushing up,  daffodils ready to bloom, and iris  peeking  around the garage.  I've avoided Menards because I know once I step in the doors, I will gravitate to the seeds and drool over the pretty pictures.  I must have control!



 I'm excited to get things rolling outside--wash the house, sweep up the sand,  pick all the rocks out of the yard, and decide which plants to dig up and gift to someone now, before they grow out of control. Has my lavender survived from last year?  Will my poppies pop up or do I try again this year?  Has my green thumb ditched me for someone who actually weeds on a regular basis?  I don't know, but I'm happy to try again to bring some color to the yard.  Zinnias and morning glories  are definitely on the list.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone (with Teeny-Tiny Baby Steps!)

I'm ashamed to say that for the last five or so years I've been running, I generally run in only one place--a small park near my sister's house that has a porto-potty, a drinking fountain, and a precise one mile around loop of gravel trail.  It doesn't have much in the way of hills (actually, none), but it's a great, safe place to run and I've enjoyed logging the miles in a quiet place.

But now I'm bored.

So, as I've decided this year to try new things, I'm adding new running paths to my list.  Yesterday, Bud and I drove out to a local park that a friend told me is a great place to walk her dog, and many people run the road through the park.  We were going to see just how far around the loop was, so I could plan my distance runs accurately.  We got as far as the parking lot before discovering the road we wanted to follow was closed to vehicles due to "soft road conditions".  Drats.  We drove home.  I'd have to attack the loop by foot.

This morning, I drove back to the park, and ran the loop!  No Ipod attached to my ears.  What a beautiful place to run--a couple of pretty good hills, a winding black top road, and plenty of places to stop and catch my breath.  The woods surrounding the road were lovely, and I can't wait to see them change over the coming months.  Even though this loop has an odd distance to it ( I think it's around 2.84 miles),  I'm going to enjoy running up the hills and around the park.  I'll just have to pay attention to how many loops I make!

Next week, I'm planning on trying out another running trail.  I will still go back to my tried and true park when I just want to get in a few quick miles; but  it's good to change the scenery, unplug the Ipod, and hear myself gasping for air  as I run!

Have a great week!    Try this website for mapping runs where you live:  http://www.mapmyrun.com/

Friday, March 12, 2010

Meet My Friend the Marquis


I (sadly) haven't run since my inglorious treadmill event on Tuesday.  I'll try again next week!  So, instead of running, I have been coming home and enjoying a glass of wine at night while reading my latest book (just finished The Poisoners Handbook).  My new found favorite, courtesy of Traci and the First Avenue Winehouse  is Australian and called Marquis Philips.  I've tried both the merlot and the cabernet and they are fantastic!

I started out drinking lighter whites, and have slowly progressed to reds.  I'm happy to say I'm beginning to taste the  differences in various wines.  My goal is to just enjoy a glass of wine.  I don't aim to become a wine expert; I think that would take the fun out of it.  I've learned a lot from going to wine tastings and recommends from friends.  I'm so happy my friend Bud has joined me on the red wagon.  I had to stop and wait awhile, but he finally hopped on and admitted he enjoyed reds more than whites.  Yes!

Anyway, take a moment to pop a cork (or untwist a cap) and enjoy some wine.  I find it makes me stop, take a deep breath, and relax a bit after a hectic day.  If only books were made with a wine glass holder, I'd be all set!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Truth I Know to be True, But Ignore Anyway


So I went to the gym this morning to start the week off running.  My goal was 3 miles.  I haven't run  3 consecutive miles in months.  Of course I did everything wrong before I went to the gym:  I lingered at home, drinking coffee and eating peanut butter toast.  Now I know this much about running and my body:  it does not appreciate coffee and a full stomach before I run.  I know this, and yet I do it anyway.  I think to myself--"I'll be fine!  It will be an hour before I run--plenty of time to digest!"

Duh.  Wrong.  I get to the gym, psyched up to run.   I have my Super Wee Pod set to my new favorite running podcast and I step on the treadmill to warm up for a few minutes.  So far, so good.  I start to run and feel pretty good--if only this feeling would last past the first 30 seconds!  As I approach the half mile mark, I realize my throat is parched and when I try to swallow, I just want to hack up a lung.  I slow down to a walk, grab my water, and take a few quick sips.  I've started to sweat and I can feel my face getting really warm, which means I will look like a lobster rather quickly.

I begin to run again, and start to take stock of different areas of my body.  Legs feel good--they apparently don't forget how to run, and those body pump classes I've been taking must be helping.  Yeah!  Then I realize from the waist up, I have a problem.  My gut is sloshing around and my breathing is sounding terrible--and this with headphones and music in my ears!  Sure enough, the side cramp begins.  I slow down again, and try stretching from side to side as I walk, knowing this won't help, but still making a futile attempt.  Oh well.  Live with the cramp.  I've made it over a mile by now, and bumping up my speed so I'm actually running hard.

 I make it to 1.8 miles before I call it a day.   I actually get looks from people at the gym, because my face is bright red, my hair is dripping with sweat, and maybe they think I'll be dropping to the floor at any time.  The other ladies on the treadmills keep walking, reading their magazines and looking gym-glam in their sweats and matching tops.  I don't care.  I'm there to sweat! Onward to tomorrow, and getting to that 3 mile mark on the treadmill--and no coffee until I return home from the gym.  Have a great Monday!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

To Run or Not to Run



I have read many articles and books on how to run, what to wear when I run, and how to run my best.  Each time I read something about running, I get motivated.  If only I could read these articles while I'm running!  I have run a half marathon, a full marathon, and many other races over the past seven years, yet I feel like a fake when I say I'm a runner.  Staying motivated is very difficult.  Whether it's going to the gym to run on a treadmill during the cold months, or driving somewhere in my truck to run outdoors in a safe place, I have to keep reminding myself I'm doing this to stay healthy.  I know if I don't take care of myself now, my mental picture of an old lady sitting at home will come true.  I want to be an active woman in my seventies; many women still run and compete in races well into their "twilight years".    My senior years will be full of good times--because I will take care of myself now.  

My brother tells me he will only run if something is chasing him.  I know I will never be the first over the finish line, and there will always be someone who runs faster and farther.  That's ok.  I'm running a half marathon on May 23rd, so I'm beginning all over again this month in my training.  I know my lungs will burn, I'll  get a horrible cramp in my side, and I'll  sweat buckets each time I continue the long road to that half marathon finish line.  I have races lined up for the summer--having a goal is what keeps me running.  I'll keep you posted on my progress as I add up the miles each week.  I know I'll be healthier and happier as my body adjusts to running again.  

And, of course, I'm reading to help me along the way.  Zen and the Art of Running by Larry Shapiro is about using a Buddhist mindful approach to running.  I'm hoping it will give me some new insight into running with my mind as well as my legs!




Monday, March 1, 2010

March-a new beginning

Today the sun was shining and I woke to birds chirping outside my windows.  There's still snow on the ground, and the heat kicks on every so often to remind me that it's still cold outside.  I can smell the difference in the air, though.  Standing outside on my back patio, all I see of my yard is snow, with one fairy statue peaking up out of the whiteness.  It waits patiently for the hostas and bleeding hearts to keep it company.
I breathe deeply and anticipate the coming days full of planting seeds and watching my backyard blossom again.