Posts Tagged ‘Running’

Hello friends!  I still contend that there are few things in this life more luxuriously relaxing than a weekend morning with some quiet and a cup of coffee! It’s about 8:45 as I’m starting this and I’ve been awake about an hour, feet tucked under a blanket on the couch and coffee mug in hand. It’s a form of meditation. And then I started thinking about the day, more about the days of other people than myself really. The Queen Bee 13.1 is this morning, with a large group of my RWB crew crossing that start line.  The Bourbon Chase 200-mile relay started yesterday morning and I know 3 different crews of runners from all walks of life in that adventure – an RWB crew, a group from my old training group, and some of my Lexington friends from Run the Bluegrass – actually they’re Louisville friends but I met them in Lexington…so does that make them Louisville friends or Lexington friends? Hmmm.

Finally, there’s my friend Allison, who in just over an hour, will be challenging Kona – the Ironman World Championships. Holeeee crap!

What am I doing this morning? Um, dog walking, at some point. Ha! I had a pretty aggressive chiropractic adjustment on C1 Wednesday which demands a few days of taking it easy til the stiffness fades away. Going to try a full on run either later today with the other dog or first thing tomorrow.

It’s gotten a little dusty in here, so I’m planning to clean that up – mainly because I have a short flurry of Race Recaps to update with a few other events tossed in.  After not being able to race, or even run at all for most of the Spring and early Summer, I noticed that the knee issues were finally starting to fade and it’s almost as if I’ve been trying to cram an entire year’s worth of races into this Fall.  On top of which, I started trail running – not on well-manicured gravel trail at my office, but on actual trails – with rocks and ruts and grass spears jutting up to stab your ankles. I LOVE IT! It’s like all of the best parts of running for me without the pounding of pavement echoing through my bones. So there will be a few posts coming up in the next few days to bring things up to speed, shake the dust off.

After I finish my coffee. 🙂

One of those runs came along. The kind where you can feel the stars beginning to align a full hour or two before your run, a little pep in your step starts – you know in your soul it’s going to be a GOOOOOOD run. A REALLY GOOD run.

It’s been a while since I’ve had one. I’ve been picking up some extra yoga-teaching opportunities as a sub, and focusing on my swimming. Running had temporarily fallen by the wayside, and I’ll be honest in saying that I didn’t run very much at all in July. When I did run, I took Fred with me – which meant shorter runs and all of them intervals (.25 on/.25 off) to get her conditioned without ripping up her little puppy feet. Okay, big puppy feet now.  I hadn’t earned a good run. I hadn’t put the time in on running that it takes for one of those to happen.

But then the stars – and there’s no ignoring those stars when they start to tug at you and say “hey! hey you! lace up!”. I was actually dancing around the house as I got dressed for the run, and chanting rather selfishly “I’m going for a ruh-hun, all by my-sel-elf!” to Fred. Who was entertaining other company, so she didn’t really care – but she did find the little dance amusing. Dogs like it when their humans dance for them. In case you didn’t know. I decided on my favorite around-the-house route, an ambitious 6-miler for the amount of not-running I’ve been doing lately – and then set the goals. Interval (3:1) the 3-miles to the park and stay unwaiveringly strong for those intervals, then walk it back to just soak in the sunshine on the cooldown.  I set out –

And it was GLORIOUS!!

Apparently, there was some keg of energy that I needed to get out of my system because the first 1.5 miles of intervals were sub-9 min/miles. Um, I don’t run sub-9’s. Really, I don’t run sub-10’s. Guess I do now.  At one point I looked down at my Garmin and saw 8:12 pace. One of those moments where you go “WHAT THE HELL am I doing, I NEED to slow down!” except then you shrug your shoulders and go ‘but I feel good, so I guess I’ll just go on then’. So, yeah, the first 1.5 I went out WAY too fast, and spent the other 1.5 slowing down and struggling just a little. But I stayed with the struggle and made my goal all the way to the park, even running past my usual endpoint just to make sure I rounded out all the way to 3 miles.

Then I paused at the beautiful overlook that’s there and just took a moment to enjoy the view. What’s the point of it all if you don’t stop for the view.

Drinking fountain stop. Then I walked over to the jungle gym and used it to knock out some sets of elevated push-ups and regular sit-ups, beginning the walk back after that.  Then I decided to add some sets of alternating lunges, side-lunges, and knee-ups to the first few blocks of the walk back. Grinning at all the other runners who passed by, heading to the same point I’d just left. Never mind me over here, just lunging my way down the street, nothing to see, move along.  It felt a little ridiculous. It also felt really STRONG and AWESOME!

My legs were spent by the time I got back to the house, but WOW did I feel good! Re-energized. Inspired.

Friends, sometimes running hands you a gift even when you don’t deserve it and you haven’t earned it. Haven’t put in your time. It takes a moment to say “hey, you’ve got rested legs – and this is what they’re built to do” and you have to say THANK YOU! and take off like a shot because ignoring that gift would be wrong in your soul. And you remember why you put the time in the rest of the time. 

Time to start logging miles.

Tri-inspired

Posted: 05/28/2014 in Photos, Uncategorized
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Since May 10th? Really? It’s been an eventful two weeks and I’ve got a bit of catch-up to write, but first – this – because I took a lot of photos and they’re on my mind.

Stuck like a song except that you see it every time you blink. Imagery tends to stick with me.

I’ve been spending a bit of time with a local organization called Team RWB (go check ’em out!) and part of that time took me down to spectate a local triathlon called Tri for Joe. I’ve never spectated at a triathlon before.

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45 seconds between each swimmer launching themselves at the pool. Wait, wait, wait and then it’s on like donkey-kong with your best effort. So many nervous faces.  

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And then after weaves and turns and dunking under lane markers, this part is over.  I can not even imagine. I consider myself a strong swimmer, but not for this.

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All the gear to organize, and disorganize in hustled transitions.  Trying to find your stuff when you’re soaking wet and exhausted.

Wow. Just wow.  And now too much thinking going on for my own good.

Pre-run Zombies

Posted: 05/10/2014 in Photos
Tags: ,

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From the Flying Pig. Very, VERY early – somewhere around 5:15, I think. The Pig has a 6:30 start time, a little earlier than most. Eric had to drop me off a little further away than we usually end up, and after walking through a scenario that probably should have gotten me mugged, murdered or bitten by vampires – had I actually seen another living or slightly undead soul – I stumbled into the very back of where the corrals are – in their pre-corral state.

Walk toward the light, runners. Walk toward the light.

It’s a gray day Saturday. Workouts are done, and I’ve got a little time to kill before the Reds game. Photo-editing. Finally some time for photo-editing. *happy sigh*

 

 

Friends, I managed to run about a mile last night. How’s about that?  I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s a big deal glimmer of light at the end of the injury tunnel. I hope. *fingers crossed*

There were 2 miles in total – an out and back – incline on the out, downhill on the back.  The rest of the group did more than that, but I cut it off for me early since I was just ‘test running’. The first 3/4 mile of incline I managed to do straight and pain-free and if it hadn’t sucked the wind out of my lungs so bad, I probably would’ve started crying from happiness.  It’s been 7 WEEKS since I’ve been able to run at all. That kinda shocked me when I looked at the calendar today. SEVEN. WEEKS. As in 7.  Which is WAY MORE than the 3 or so I kept telling myself it had been. SEVEN. That’s about the gestational period of a kangaroo. In case you were wondering.

On the way back, the knee started to feel a little twingey and weird, so I did run:walk – mostly walk.

About a mile. It’s a starting point. I hope.

The Flying Pig is this weekend – and that was what the running group was all a-chatter about.  Last minute reminders, talk of where people will meet up before the starting line and after the finish line. Who is going to be at the expo when. What are you doing for dinner the night before?  Still finalizing my own plans on that front, though I’m obviously not running it this year. Got me thinking some more about starting lines and finish lines and remembering what it was like the first time I finished a 13.1.  Country Music Half-Mar in Nashville. 2007. I’d trained by myself or walking w/friends on occasion and I was WOEFULLY unprepared & undertrained, had no idea what I’d gotten myself into or what I was doing, didn’t knowing anything about running even though I’d been running – didn’t have a training plan or know about nutrition.  Egads.  I still can’t believe I actually finished the thing, and I remember how teary-eyed I got when I did.

Which then got me thinking about this video again – because one finish line makes you think of another – and this  is quite possibly the best finish line video ever.  Since I have a bunch of peeps that are going to be crossing the finish line themselves this Sunday, thought I’d link it out again – (here’s my first post about it)(which you should also read since it kind of explains the video, which just to be extra clear, is not of me)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKWWtztFU6w

Also, if you don’t watch it all the way through, you’ll miss Wonder Woman finishing Iron Man, which will be a certain loss. (Okay, it’s Rev3 but writing Wonder Woman finishing Rev 3 doesn’t sound as naught. ha.)

Have a great race peeps!  Remember: Start SLOW, you have 13 miles to pick up speed if you want to. BREATHE! Fuck the crowd – let them pass you or chase you, but run YOUR race.  Also, fuck the crowd – you pass them, but don’t you go chasing them either – run YOUR race.  You’re trained. You got this. Chin up and game face on! Go get it! And in case I didn’t mention it – RUN *YOUR* RACE!

I want to hear all about it when you’re done!!! Please link me your recaps in the comments if you got ’em.

 

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Well Friends, Run the Bluegrass is over til next year and after a little break, it’s time to adjust my focus for the Summer on to other endeavors.

In addition to my regular yoga teaching gig, I’ve sent out a few feelers with an idea I have for some other yoga ideas. I have a few more to research and send out. So there’s that. I had a friend reach out to me today about setting up a class at another studio. So there’s that too. And I’m feeling a renewed sense of focus on promoting the yoga business. Figuring out how to make it work.

But to be honest peeps – 2014 has been a MAJOR suckfest so far.

  • My car was totalled and had to be replaced unexpectedly
  • The puppy broke her leg
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  • Then she had to have her “girl” surgery – which while not unexpected, is unpleasant
  • The knee thing – which could just be an irritated “plica” or it could be a torn meniscus (will xray or MRI if the cortisone shot doesn’t work)
  • And also, as part of the knee thing, my kneecap is now tracking completely wrong
  • Woke up 3 weeks ago with an entrapped nerve in my shoulder that has had me in intense pain. It’s better, but I still can’t feel 3 of my fingers very well.

That’s just the highlights. IT HAS BEEN A VERY. SHITTY. SPRING. with a few good things interspersed – like RTB was a good weekend.

And every good thing has had a backhanded dark side. Like when we picked up the dogs from boarding for RTB (a good thing), both dogs had some funky eye gunk and the puppy had a gash in her leg. Or a friend who doesn’t have a car needed me to drop off some spare yoga mats to her for a class she was hosting. I dropped them off, and my car battery died right in front of her house. Since she doesn’t have a car to jump me, I had to call in help from a sick husband. No good deed goes unpunished. Or at least that’s the way its felt lately. It’s like being pecked to death by ducks.

I’m sick of it. Soul sick of it. Heart sick of it. Mind sick of it. SICK. I’m sick of being injured and not being able to do the things I like to do. I’m sick of feeling like I’ve got a dark cloud over my head. Today I woke up feeling sick of feeling sick of it. The Universe has been using me as a punching bag lately, and I was trying to roll with it, but not so much anymore. Sometimes when you keep getting punched – you need to hit back.

YOU PUNCH THE FUCKING UNIVERSE IN THE THROAT. 

You get your head back in the game and you say out loud ‘ENOUGH’.  I AM GOING TO GET HEALTHY. I am going to figure out this knee thing and get my ass to putting in the miles again. I am going to heal this shoulder. I am going to make progress on the yoga business in the direction I want it to go. I am going to start getting some photos together and try to work up a show. The setbacks are going to stop and the ducks are going to find another target.

A few days ago, I started repeating to myself “I am not a fragile creature.” In any given day, I am a force of nature, but I feel like I forgot that for a moment. No more. I am NOT a fragile creature. Where the mind leads, action follows.

Then I started with sending out into the world requests for more yoga work – the kind of work I want, on my terms. I have a plan.

A few little things to mail I’ve been procrastinating on – I knocked that shit out and got it in the mail. Procrastination is bad mojo. It’s like sending the universe a postcard that you don’t really want what you say you want.  No more of that.

Then I went to the kickboxing gym again. I haven’t been there in months and having a bum knee & shoulder makes that a questionable idea at best. But as I said to my favorite trainer there, “when you feel broken, you go back to the last place you felt really strong and you start over“.  I haven’t felt really strong since I haven’t been kickboxing or lifting at that gym the way I need to. At the boxing studio, I feel strong.  And ya know what? It went better than I expected. I finished with 300 straight punches that I didn’t even know I had in me when I walked in the door.  Ya know what else, my knee didn’t bother me ( & with all the pivoting in kickboxing, it should) and my shoulder feels a little better already.

Attitude is important.  My attitude has been gradually falling away from positive and I could feel it. But today, I dialed it right on up to 100% BADASS and the Universe WILL pay attention. I AM NOT A FRAGILE CREATURE.

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It’s one of those runner things, at least it’s one of *my* running things, and particularly for half-marathons, that all through training my focus tends towards finish lines. I think of times and goals and crossing the blue timing mats and if I’ll need to kick in the last mile and the beer afterward and what it’s going to feel like when I’m done and how bad I’m going to hurt afterward and and and.  I think of hard parts on the course and get myself in mental check to work through them, coach myself well. I consider any struggle points I might encounter. Then race week arrives and like someone clunked me on the head, my thoughts shift.  To the starting line. From the end to the beginning.

I have been up since 3:38AM, with the house quiet and no coffee, in a form of meditation. (Yes, I’m still on meditation as a topic – for another post.) It’s made me a bit stoic. It’s now approaching 9AM – which has left a lot of time for thinking and shifts in thinking – which is when I realized I was thinking of this photograph. I didn’t take it, though I did clean it up a bit. It’s one of Eric’s pics and I am somewhere in that line of people.  Almost a year ago I was gathering in that early morning mist with all those other people, in the shadow of Keeneland about to take off for 7-miles. I’d had the great fortune to run into some friends who I didn’t know were going to be there and we were chatting it up, trying not to squander the energy that excitement brings before the starting gun goes off. It was PERFECT race weather.

I have lost track of the number of starting lines at which I have stood.  And to be perfectly honest, when I think of starting lines – in general – I do not think of this one.

I think of concrete, and long lines for porta-potties. 25-30,000 people jostling to find the right spot to launch their run. The last time I did the Flying Pig, the crowds were so thick – even on the sidelines – that you had to move through them single file. SO. MANY. PEOPLE. It’s hard to stay with your friends. It’s exciting and fun, too – don’t get me wrong – but also claustrophobic and tedious and it can feel like it takes days to get the race started as the waves creep forward, pause, creep forward, pause. For me, all I can think about is how to simultaneously get the heck away from all of these people – find a pocket of air, room to move – and not get swept up by the crowd pace as I try to find my race lost in all these other races.

I do not think of green space – wide, well-manicured lawns. Or room to stretch while in the corral chatting it up with my buds. I do not think of having  all the air I can breathe and that there will be plenty of time to take care of all the things I need to do before start. I don’t think of the after-party, where it will only take me moments to get a beer and the line to get stretched out by a physical therapist is short. I do not think of how Eric is able to be chatting it up right there with me and taking pictures until he steps out of bounds just before race start. There are 5000 people here and it never feels crowded or uncomfortable.

The start feels like an awesome parade and the end feels like the best lawn party ever thrown at my neighbor’s house.

It strikes me again how different this run is.

Run the Bluegrass is in ONE WEEK. The forecast is about identical to the day that happened in the photo above.

I am so completely excited that so many of my running friends are coming this year – it is going to be an AMAZING WEEKEND!

An interesting part is that I can say that, even having found out that I won’t be able to run it this year. The knee thing.  Doc says it’s a no-go – not even to walk it. Yoga is helping, so I can still do all of that, but trying this race would not be a good idea. The paradigm shifts again, from end to start, to how to not start. DNS. Grrrr. But it’s the right thing.  This is another thing that speaks to this run and these good people – I cannot think of any other race that, knowing I was DNS, I would still go spend an entire weekend on the race.  And it’s not about the yoga class. And it’s not about the friends I have going – they would understand. It’s that this race is bigger than a race – it’s an experience. I don’t want to miss it. Even if I can’t run it, I can still be there close to the start line and finish line with my friends, I can do the tours, I can take pictures, I can party at the Griffin Gate. I CAN CHEERLEAD MY MF-ing ASS OFF FOR ALL THESE RUNNERS!!

I will not be lost there in a sea of people and concrete. I will be around 5000 people that I consider friends. This race is so very different.

Marr & Rachel tell me that my first yoga class on Sunday has sold out, and so we added a second. I have been writing, rewriting and tweaking again this yoga class in my mind for weeks – months – now.

It boggles me that this is actually happening.

I woke up this morning – at 4:35am, which happens to be a full 40 minutes before my alarm, to the sound of Fred stirring around in her crate.

And as my blurry mind came slowly into focus, waiting for the signal that puppy needed to go out, the first crystal clear thought that came to mind was

“half butterfly – I need to be sure I put half butterfly into Yin class tonight”.

Half butterfly is a yoga pose for the lower back or hamstring (or both), depending on your need. I tend to sleep in a twist, so on occasion I wake up needing a little forward bending or squatting to offset the twisting I’ve been doing most of the night.

Then almost immediately my thoughts linked through to my Yoga for Runners class (on Sundays), then further to Run the Bluegrass. I was thinking about Run the Bluegrass – it is indelibly linked to my yoga and running thinking now – before my feet hit the floor this morning. And more specifically, my thoughts went to this group of people –

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I didn’t know any of them 7 months ago. Now, through the power of social media, I interact with at least one of them every. single. day. We share encouragment, ideas – we tease the crap out of each other! We touch base on plans.

In the bright blue at right, that’s Eric Marr – the RD for Run the Bluegrass. The cowgirl with the fierce stance – that’s Rachel Crabtree – the ARD & Race Experience Coordinator. Her birthday just passed.  Susannah in the light green at right, I introduced you to her before. Mark is standing next to Rachel and Dawn is in the light blue with the braids – Friends, those two are mad-crazy with all the runs and races they do! Levi has his back to you and right now, he does not want to talk about skunks. Tracey is falling off the picture at right – he’s in my local running group and I’m lucky I caught him in the picture as we were both on the fringe taking our own shots during the tour. I could go on…

This group right here is the 2014 Ambassador group for RTB. If you’d asked me 7 months ago if I could miss a group of people this much having only met them for a weekend – I would’ve told you no. But it’s true – I miss them. I woke up with them on my mind this morning because they’re AWESOME!

I think one of the best parts of RTB, for me – is going to be getting to see this group of people again – and get to mix & mingle them in with all the friends that are coming down to Lexington with me or meeting me there. It’s not just a race – it’s like a reunion of all the coolest running people I know.

One month until the expo starts, my friends.

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Friends, am I the only one starting to think Mother Nature has it in for my Saturday long runs?

Geez Louise! Another big snow kiss got dumped on all our sidewalks for Valentine’s Day. Makes the motivation a bit hard to come by in the early morning hours. Except for one thing –

Run the Bluegrass is 6 WEEKS OUT!

Six weeks, my friends.  According to the Florea training plans – long runs should be hitting @7-8 miles in the beginner program or 11-12 miles in the intermediate training plan. In either plan – you’re more than halfway to the finish line. I’ll be honest in saying that all this snow (& still the knee thing) has me a little bit behind. I’m in the 6-mile category, but that’s okay. It’s not my first rodeo on the half-mar and I know my body can do this if I train smart moving forward. For a run this hilly, training smart to me means cutting back on the speedwork in favor of steady-paced hill runs which alternate in intensity between treadmill hill programs (easy) and making a very hilly local cemetary my go-to running route outdoors (hard). Long runs are for getting it done wherever at whatever pace, just getting the bones and muscles used to the wear & tear of the distance.

Then recovering smart in between.

Ahhh, recovery. I love me some recovery movement. It’s part of what makes us yogis tick. I haven’t written about progress on the yoga front lately, but trust me – there’s lots going on in my teaching and training spectrum. Including – in case you missed it – one pretty BIG announcement for me.  Y’all –

I’M GOING TO BE TEACHING YOGA FOR RUN THE BLUEGRASS!!!!

I’d say the cat’s outta the bag – but we’re talking about Kentucky here. The cork’s finally out the bottle!

It’s something that has been in the works since last Summer when Eric Marr, the RD, reached out via Twitter for new ideas to make the race weekend *more* special. Having already made a connection via last year’s race recap, I said ‘what about yoga the morning after the race?’. It’s something my friends & I do the day after anyway. Eric, being the brilliant man he is, ran it past Rachel, (because second opinions are good) and the answer came back ‘HECK YEAH! LET’S DO IT!’.  They busted tail talking to Griffin Gate Marriott – getting me a great space in the race hotel to offer class – and part of my trip to Lexington last October was checking it out, so I could consider details. Done deal!

Since a huge part of my passion for yoga comes from its benefits for recovery from the rigors of other activities, offering a class as part of the race weekend experience made perfect sense to me. A way of saying one more time and in one more way – this race cares about runners. Not just about the race or the money – but about all these humans that come to the starting line for the 1000’s of reasons they bring with them.

Does RTB want you to come run hard? Yes. But they want you to play hard too (just check out all the other offerings for the ‘Experience’ weekend) – and when you’re done soaking up as much of Lexington’s awesomeness as you can, they want you to leave feeling great about all you’ve done.

Friends, it will be my privilege to host the closing event for the weekend – a yoga class which speaks to us distance runners through the language we understand best – our bodies. We’ll be stretching out the rigors of mile 9, leaving behind the after-party hangover, and acknowledging our race accomplishments before heading back to those things we do when we aren’t running our assanas off.

I want you to leave feeling great before we close the barn doors on Run the Bluegrass 2014. So – as I say in my regular yoga class offerings –

COME GET YOUR STRETCH ON!

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*Photo taken on the Buffalo Trace Distillery tour.

The husband caught a pic of me on the cell phone as I headed out with my running group on Tuesday night.  10 degrees.  And no, that’s not the coldest run I’ve done – 2 degrees is where I draw the line.

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For the curious sort –

On top: First Ascent Base Layer under a Smartwool pullover under an oversized fleece jacket.

Bottom: Winter running tights under a pair of loose fleece pants.

2 layers of socks, 1 layer of gloves, a fleece scarf, my face-gator, an earwarmer (my Reds earwarmer!) under my fleece hat.

I’m a big believer in the power of fleece.  Also, I was sweating like a mo-fo and had pulled off the face-gator by the end of mile 1.