Sunday, May 23, 2010

Breaking the cycle (with something short and hopefully sweet).

I usually start running to get back into shape. Then I think, “why not train for a race of some kind?” Then I run a race and think, “why not train for a longer race?” Then I complete a longer race and think, “why not train for an even longer race?” At this point, my life is usually becoming somewhat consumed by my running schedule as I train for longer and longer races. At some point, however, I always get too burned out to continue. In many cases, I get injured or just become too busy with “life” to sustain a workout regimen that has morphed into something rather insane. So, I concede and give myself sabbatical from running for a while. Cycle complete.

This summer I’m breaking the cycle and trying something new! I’m training for a race that is short and fast. Exciting, right?! I will be training all summer to run a 10K in the fall…as fast as I can! Instead of increasing my mileage each week, I’ll be working on speed and running in a completely different way, with different goals. My personal trainer/athletic trainer/conditioning coach/husband is stoked about this. I’m hoping his excitement stems from the idea of seeing more of me and not losing me to longer and longer workouts (like he has in the past), but it could also be because he will finally have his very own personal, human “guinea pig” to experiment with (one that he doesn’t have to pay from a research grant or bribe with extra credit). I kind of think it is the later, but I’m a little afraid to ask.

Anyone else feel stuck in a cycle or have any tips on getting faster (sometimes I feel like my legs only have one speed)?  As I eluded, this is an experiment.  I'll prepare my thesis and be ready to defend it after the 10K this fall.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

We get to inspire our kids...

I had an interesting conversation with my 6-year old daughter a few days ago. While I was helping her dry her hair after a bath, she said, I don’t think I ever want to get married, but I would like to have a baby. Do you have to get married to have a baby?” A little stunned, I quickly answered Yes.” And that, of course, was immediately followed by a why?” from her. Trying to delay “the talk” in its entirety for another day (or year), I simply explained that God wants children to have both a mom and a dad. She started nodding and said, Oh, I know why. It’s so that if the mom wants to go for a run, there’ll be someone around to watch the kids.” I told her she was exactly right!

Later, after reciting the conversation to my husband (and listening to him laugh out loud), I thought about my daughters logic and couldn’t help but feel pleased, not only because I dodged “the talk”, but because in her little mind, she defined me, at least in part, as a runner. Even more important to me than that, is the fact that she thinks of my running as a normal activity that moms do. It’s apparent, by this example and numerous others, that my actions directly influence the way my daughter thinks and no doubt will also have an impact on the decisions she makes in her future. I’m not saying she’ll be a runner or want to be an athlete of any kind for that matter, I’m just recognizing the incredible responsibility I have as her mom to set a good example. This is a terrifying, challenging and rewarding task for any mom who wishes to encourage her kids, motivate them, and yes… maybe even inspire them!

I'm definitely a work in progress... so excuse me now while I surf the library website for parenting resources. I’m going to need to brief myself several times for the day when she asks me “more serious” questions.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It’s a dog eat dog…I mean, dog eat runner world.

(Cottonwood Creek, Colorado Springs, CO: 2008)

I see the beast heading straight toward me.

My heart starts racing and I look away. Almost immediately, I look back and our eyes lock. Even though he is yards away, I’m positive he can already sense, maybe even smell, the terror that I feel rapidly engulfing my entire body. He’s closer now, so I move to my left. He moves to my left. Like a fool trying to juke him again, I side-step to my right. He mirrors my action with no hesitation. Having no time to sort them, random thoughts and words flood my mind… Is he running faster now? Should I slow down? Should I speed up? Should I grab a stick? A rock? Where is his owner?teeth, slobber, rabies, leash law, pepper spray, pooper scooper, help!  

Stop thinking!

Nevermind, start thinking!



Taking a deep, possibly final breath, I squeeze my eyelids closed and leap (I’d say hurdle, but my form is way off). With relief, I instantly welcome the solid, dirt trail beneath my feet once again and immediately look back. In full stride, the dog hasn’t missed a step... and neither have I.