Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Words for Wednesday

Life is a succession of lessons enforced by immediate reward, or, oftener, by immediate chastisement.
~Ernest Dimnet

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why do you run?

I started to write this about 20 times.  I started it over a week ago... and then, something happened.  Something that made me wonder....

It wasn't a bad thing that happened, it was... just unfortunate.  Someone said something to me, defending their own point of view, that made me realize that they didn't get me.

At all.

And the thing that was said, well; it was kinda harsh.  Unintentionally harsh, but still ~harsh~.

But you know sometimes how unfortunate things make you think?  I just wondered, if this person understood why I do this, maybe they would get me and cease making unintentionally hurtful comments.  And then I realized - wait...  I'll come back to that...

Jenny, a Silver MTT runner recently blogged about why she runs.  She was very specific in her reasons. I admire her for taking the time to put them down in writing.

DeeR, a SNOW runner blogged here that she only runs because it’s part of the triathlon.  Apparently those pesky tri folks at USAT aren’t ready to find a more desirable 3rd leg for DeeR’s needs… so she runs because she must.  I get that.  I guess.  

It’s not the reason I run though.  Not even close.  In fact, in this regard, DeeR & I couldn’t be more different.

Why do I run?  It’s personal.  And simple. 

I run because I love it.... and why does a person fall in love?  Who knows... really....

I run because I always thought I knew my limits, and knew that it was stupid to push past those limits into a certainty of failure….  until I met running and found a whole new level of stupidity to test.  Failure can happen, but for me, running has shown me that not trying is a greater disappointment.

I run because I love to skirt the line between blowing up and exploding… and yeah, those are two very different things.

I run because it's a series of contradictions.  I love how it makes me feel invincible and mortal at the same time.  

I run because I love how I feel powerful when I accomplish a hard run, and how the very act of doing it makes me stronger.

I run because I’m a bit like a drug addict and running is my heroin.  My life is measured in the quantity and quality of my Heroin Use in General.

But mostly, I run because it makes me happy to run.

Writing that down makes me think that everyone has a reason for doing this.  And (here's what I was thinking I wanted to come back to) no one's reasons are going to be the same.

Even if the reason looks the same, it’s probably different.

15 runners on GBA equates to 15 different reasons to run.  50 runners on SNOW equals 50 reasons…. And 1200 or so runners on MTT … you get it. 

By the way, that’s 1200 TEAMMATES to support YOU and respect YOUR reasons…  and 1200 TEAMMATES you should support and RESPECT for their reasons.

Even if their reasons are not the same as yours.  Even, if you look at your dear friend DeeR and think, "but this is AWESOME!  Why don't you love this like I DO?"  Even if you are tempted to judge someone because they train harder than you, or not as hard as you, or run 6 days a week, or run 3 days a week, or wear tall socks, or don't wear tall socks...
(which is a mystery to me why more people don't wear them ~ they're terribly comfortable...).

Chances are, unless you’re really outgoing, you’re not going to meet all 1200 MTT runners. 

Here’s my suggestion though.  Support and respect the ones you do meet.  After all, nearly everyone on MTT shares the common goal of “laying down 26.2 miles their own way”.

I try to meet as many people as possible.  I like to introduce myself.  I like to know Sonja, and Cheryl, and Miriam's names because who knows who you'll meet on race morning, or more importantly, on race afternoon at mile 23 when seeing a familiar face is not just "nice"... it's more like seeing an oasis in the desert.  in july.  during a heat wave.  

And I'm not going to lie, ever since reading Jenny & DeeR's posts, I have been tempted to ask every MTT runner I meet... "Why do you run?"

So do me a favor and answer this question today:  Why do you run? 

If you want to comment, I’d love to know your reason.  Take as many words or as few as you like...

Or write it down and keep it for yourself and know that you KNOW why you run.

Or if you don’t want to comment publicly, but you’re willing to share - you can send me e-mail (nmomof3 (at) gmail (dot) com.  

And if you feel like it ~ ID yourself as novice, intermediate, advanced, coach, or non MTT runner. 

All are welcome to drink the Koolaid here.... no matter their reasons for running.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sprained ankles and bruises and going to PT, these are a few of my favorite things....

It's no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy, 'cause every now and then I kick the living sh*t out of goes the line to one of my favorite Lit songs and what should be the anthem of my training and life lol!

The road to training hell is paved with good intentions and torn ligaments falling on the trails as you run. I really thought it was just my ego that was damaged, but wait, there's more! I did manage to finish my run after I fell. I was bloody and gross, felt my ankle pop but it blessedly went numb and I ran another mile and a half that night. What hurt worse was Heather making me clean my boo boos. That and sleeping with that road rash for the next couple of nights.

Have I mentioned I am not too fond of running, I think it bears mentioning again hahaha!

I remember asking someone, does this look swollen to you?

And their horrified look as they took a gander at my ankle, ok, ok, I will go to the doctor when I have the time and done with my races ahem....

BUT, I had races coming up, things I couldn't miss and here I was injured. It's bad enough I was out of commission for so long from getting spare parts removed, I totally didn't want to miss my first race back, the I Love the Tavern Tri. So I didn't! Amazing thing about the ligaments I tore was it didn't hurt to run or bike. Hurt like crazy to swim. Anyway, did the Tavern, finished 4 minutes faster then the year before, maybe I should injure myself more often. Did I really just say that out loud??

Two weekends after I had the Alleghany Medio Fondo. What is a fondo you ask because anyone who reads this blog is probably a runner, no it's not a pot of melted cheese silly, it's a bike race! There were three distances the piccolo, the medio and the gran. My training buddy and I were doing the medio together, 65 miles of mountainous riding.

If you've never climbed a category 3, or category 1 mountain, believe me when I say, YOU AREN'T MISSING A THING! It's hard and it sucks and you know what, I am doing it again next year because I popped my chain 1/2 mile from the top of the category 1 climb and didn't finish riding the climb but walking. Not like the chances were good for me making it to the top in my saddle, I was struggling big time, but I want the chance to redeem myself. I struggled like hell up the category 3 last year during the piccolo and this year it was wayyyy easier, so I am hoping to have the same success next year with the category 1. Here is yet another why do I hit myself in the head with a hammer moments for those of you keeping track at home!

After the ride I cried uncle, I went to the orthopedist, he said I had damaged the blah blah blah ligments on the outside of my ankle and had swelling in the joint, well duh... He started me on physical therapy, Voltaren twice a day that I stopped taking because it made my lips tingle and put me in a brace. The only activity he restricted to limited was my running. He has me aqua jogging instead. Wow, there something to be said for it too, IT IS AS BORING AS WATCHING PAINT DRY! It's hard, don't get me wrong. Your whole body, arms included, are resisting the water as you try to maintain form and not look like you're on your way to the big doofus convention. The only thing it has going for it is when you get too hot you just dunk yourself under water. Good times, good times.

My last race in the trio was the 3 Sport RTC Sprint Tri. That was this past Sunday. I was all freaked. I played tennis in my head with the I am going to do it/I am not going to do it thing. Did I not run at all and take it totally easy and give my ankle more time to heal? So many people freaked me out about how much more damage I could to my ankle, I could totally screw up my IronMan training. Aw hell to the no! I did it but I didn't race it all out. I used it for training and aside from getting behind two pool walkers which gummed up my swim time, I was rather pleased with the time I posted for holding back. I PR'd from last time I ran this course by 3+minutes. I mean really, this is getting ridiculous. I am doing better hurt then I ever did before.

The irony of my injury is staggering, hurt but doing better then ever. I feel like screaming at my body "lucy you got some 'splainin to do...." They always say no pain, no gain, but this is ridiculous.

Words for Wednesday

“If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  
~Henry David Thoreau

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ordinary Runners

I’ve recently had reason to think about magazine publications.

What they’re about, whom they market to, and what it takes to “make the cut” as far as the photo department is concerned. 

I get it; magazines are in the market to sell magazines.  So featuring normal humans is tough on the marketability of the magazine.

Running Magazines feature the Great Runners of our day.  Lean bodied athletes who train twice a day, 7 days a week, and perform amazing feats of impossibility.

That’s why people buy them, right?

Or is it. 

Kara awes me.  Don’t get me wrong.  She’s awesome.

However, I am flat out amazed, lifted up and inspired when I meet a normal person doing extraordinary things in running.

Maybe it's because they raise UBER amounts of money for charity….

Or they can seriously run 7 days a week for 14 months in a row….

Or they're a Richmond Elite.  

Or like one of the GBA runners, 3L, a Richmond Elite in her own right (& MTT SNOW runner).  3L took up running only a few years ago.  She kicks my a(star)(star) at every race we've run together, and she inspires me because she is gracious and modest with her successes. 

Or maybe.... maybe these runners inspire me because they just run, because it’s Tuesday, and they want to run because they love it.

Moms, Students, Shop owners, Accountants, Preschool Teachers, Fathers … these are everyday people, doing their thing.  Working 9 – 5, studying 5-9, wrangling their children 24/7, God Forbid they should want to watch a little HBO in their odd free hour… and in between all that, they make time to run.

No excuses can get between these athletes and their run.

They run because they want to run.

Not because their coach said they had to, or ‘cos they could lose their sponsorship, but because they “have to” if they want to attain their goal to run a marathon.

These are the magazine worthy runners.

These are the people I admire.

Ordinary Runners who go out every day and do Extraordinary things.

Pink, Green, Yellow and Blue MTT runners who get up four or five days a week, maybe at 4am, to squeeze their run in before work. 

Red, Silver, Neon, Orange, and Indigo runners who jet home after working a 12 hours day to go for a run. 

Purple, Teal, Navy, and Clear Team runners who balance their need to run with the need to share a piece of cake with their son, a drink with a coworker, or a late night with a friend.  

Coaches who give up 20odd weeks of their own running to run with people who clearly can’t dress themselves properly in the hot RVA air....

Coaches who give up 20odd weeks of their own running to run with people who are significantly slower, cuter, and more friendly than they are or ever will be.... 

Coaches who give up 20odd weeks of their own running and then don’t run America’s Friendliest Marathon because they’re busy giving up yet another day to run with ORDINARY PEOPLE who are out doing EXTRAORDINARY THINGS....

These are the people I want to run like, with, and near.

These are the people who I understand.  People who love to run more than they love sleep, food, HBO, and… possibly their spouse…. but we’re not going to talk about that here....  I'm sure somewhere someone makes a magazine that covers that topic.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Words for Wednesday

The most destructive force in the universe is gossip…with chaffing a close second. 
~Dean Karnazes

Monday, July 11, 2011

Road to IMFL

This weekend I joined my fellow Ironman training partners, Brad and Danielle Robinson, for a ride in the Alleghany Mountains. Danielle and I rode the medio (65 miles) while Brad rode the gran (105 miles). The experience was great and other than the one giant climb (Category 3) and one ginormous climb (Category 1), it wasn't too bad. I kind of surprise myself by thinking out loud that I actually look forward to doing it again next year. I really did not know what to expect from Saturday's ride. I knew we were in the mountains but the only tough hills I had done was the short Tavern triathlon course hill, Tarrington hills, and Winterfield. I did ride to the Wintergreen entrance last year but I had no clue what a category 3 or 1 meant! For those that don't ride, I have copied a general guideline for categories:

Hors Category (HC) - the hardest, climbs of 5000ft+(1500m+)
1st Category - climbs of 3500-5000ft (1100-1500m)
2nd Category - climbs of 2000-3500 ft (600-1100m)
3rd Category - climbs of 1000-2000 feet (300-600m).
4th Category - the lowest category, climbs of 300-1000 feet (100-300m).

The rolling hills at the end of the 65 miles were the most challenging on tired legs but I was happy with our 5:59:07 time! The next day we had a 10 mile run on our schedule. Aches, pains, sprains, scabbed knees, and blisters on the feet did not stop us from hitting the pavement in Covington Sunday morning. 4 miles into it we decided enough was enough and turned back. We were just short of 6.5 miles but better than no miles! Sitting in the car for the 3 hour ride home to Richmond let the lactic acid build up so only one thing left to the cul de sac 5k tonight to flush it out??!! Holy smokes this is a long road....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Horses for Courses...

Think about your typical runner dude and what comes to mind? The guy with 3% body fat wearing those little shorts with the slits up the side and a lightweight tank top, flying down the road with feet barely touching the ground? That's who I see. Mostly I think about his expression, his eyes intent on his goal, and a little bitty smile on his face ….because after all he’s totally in love with his run and the feeling…the really amazing feeling.. he gets as he flies through the air.

He’s the mustang. I just stole the name. Actually I had it bestowed on me and I think it had more to do with the song than my running style. But I’ll take it. The mustang is hardy, lean, wild, fast and ferociously loyal…and can run and run and run.

Then there’s the REAL me. I’m your Clydesdale…large, sturdy and strong. Bred for work. Also the mascot of Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser beer. Just saying. But you get the visual. I just plod along. I heel strike and I don’t use my arms enough. Look up any Bright Room photo and you’ll have confirmation. It’s not pretty. But I run. And I am a runner. Freaks me out really.

Freaks me out as I’m a reasonably normal mini van driving married mother of two kids. I am at least 20 pounds overweight and I will continue to blame my children for each 10 pound butt cheek I possess until someone finds an easy way to solve it…that doesn’t include sacrificing margaritas or the odd glass of wine. Or two. I’m really just a regular girl. But, I can do extraordinary things. And I am surrounded by others who can do extraordinary things. Some know it already, and some are just starting the journey.

I run marathons. Seriously. Isn’t that like the coolest thing ever?? It never ceases to amaze me that an everyday person like me hangs out with extraordinary people who run marathons. That 26.2 miles is a long way to run all in one go. A really long way. A marathon takes heart, guts, sweat and tears and that’s only deciding to sign up for the training … and paying the fee. The race itself becomes a blip on the radar when you think about the journey you travel to get to the starting line. The MTT schedule totals us at 800 miles all done. And that’s if you run according to the schedule. Yet here I go again.

I am blessed to run with a group of extraordinary women ( some celebrities too no less!) who are also training for the Richmond Marathon, among other things. There is a pretty decent age gap between all of us… and we are all very different… yet in so many ways we are all very alike. Because we all love our run, we protect our run… and treasure it for everything it brings us, be it fitness, sanity, company, friendship, motivation, inspiration, each other… even fashion advice. And tall socks.

My runs with these women provide me with some of my favorite things in the world, excluding margaritas …although I would never rule that out. I could drink and run. I could. Maybe not with the nice glass with the salt around the …ok focus…back on track …back to favorite things, many of which have to do with running:

The sound of feet hitting the pavement in unison.
Chafing. Together. (not really a fave but worthy of a mention)
The light of the morning sun peeking up over the horizon.
Knowing that while the rest of the neighborhood is sleeping,
we are completely in the moment.
Constant laughter and the occasional gossip
Knowing we are running toward something, even though it’s different
for each of us.
An outlet for whatever might need to be let go of that morning
The feeling of inclusion, something that has eluded me off and on over the years

Mostly, it’s knowing that they’ll be there tomorrow to run with me again. And the day after that. That’s the coolest thing. I don’t have to run alone.

Best thing about this is that I’ve know these women, these runners, for only about 8 weeks now. It feels like I’ve known them forever. And I hope they are in my life for as long as they can stand it.

I’m the Clydesdale running with the Mustangs…but every now and again I embrace my inner Mustang. No matter which breed you are, there’s a slice of the other breed within you somewhere, whether it’s your past, your future, your self image.…and as one of my “celebrity” run buddies says often, “ it’s all good”.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

WAR and piece

In the war between woman versus chafe... there can be only one winner.

It has become quite the ritual in my house.  Long run morning I stand before a mirror in my skivvies armed with a tube of anti-chafe.  

Since my heart rate monitor chafed me last week… this week, I lathered up that piece of me.

The week prior I had chafed on my lower back.  Odd, right?  OK, glide that piece too.

And then there are the standard spots that aren’t really blog worthy.  Well, I mean, I could mention them, and if you NEED to know details because you're having chafe-issues you can e-mail me…  but why don’t we just say that since these parts are usually covered by my “unmentionables”, I’m pretty sure the blog could get “flagged”, so… yeah.  Moving on…

It’s July.

The war of chafe is in full force. And right now, it’s going poorly for the allies. 

Chafe wars are a lot like WWII.  They start as an isolated theater, one “country” divided… and the next thing you know, there are battles on both fronts, and you’re in a global assault.

As I said, it’s July, and it’s the salt that’s the problem. 

I’m a salty sweater.  Sexy, true?  

At least I’m not an itchy sweater, or a wool sweater, though I know I’m plenty soft, which might make me a soft sweater, but I'm not sure...  

BY THE WAY.  Did you know that salt is an excellent exfoliator.  Yeah, I've noticed that too.  And while this could be good information to have if you're interested in removing skin for pedicures or facials... as far as running goes...  not the best news.

This week, I was 100% certain I had addressed ALL the possible chafe spots.  I applied GLIDE with military precision, using a global strategy that was FOOL PROOF.


About that fool proof strategy…

I didn’t get any chaffing in the usual 18 spots.  Nope.  Instead I got…

belly button chafe. 

Yeah, seriously.  How is that even possible?  My shirt must’ve been “just right” for “just long enough” today.  10 miles down, and I’ve got a chafed belly button to prove it. 

I guess THERE YOU HAVE IT.  A valid argument for running “clear” on the long runs.

Of course, there are still 384 valid arguments in favor of me keeping my shirt firmly in place.

~savor the run~

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"non-runners don't understand..."

You're running on guts. On fumes. Your muscles twitch. You throw up. You're delirious. But you keep running because there's no way out of this hell you're in, because there's no way you're not crossing the finish line. It's a misery that non-runners don't understand.

~ Martine Costello

I love this quote.  I would tattoo this on me if I could, except that it would be really long, and I don't think the non-runner in my life would understand.  at all.

Non-runner doesn't understand most of what I do.  He doesn't get my desire to get up before the sun to taste the morning air before it's flavored with auto exhaust and heat.  He doesn't even hear me when I talk about how much I love the squish of the shoes under my feet as I run over the wet pavement, dodging puddles and leaves left by the overnight Thunderstorm.  He especially doesn't get how much I love to get out and push my limits for the sake of pushing them.  

He doesn't understand how the run, whether it's alone or "in SNOW", can reset my internal "SCALE".  

You know, that internal measure one uses to determine that balance of life... the balance between the non-runner, the running and everything else that falls into the day?  Without my run, I don't know how to just be....

That's why I ran today.  The schedule said I should, but I am no slave to the schedule.  I could have skipped it.  A missed run in July isn't the end of the world.  

I ran though, because I needed to run.  

~savor the run~

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What? Me Run

Wow, my first blogging experience. This is fair warning...I know I am following behind experienced bloggers so bare with me. So...we have this individual...pretty much at the lowest time in her life. She signs up for a running group where she hopes to meet new friends and maybe, just maybe become a runner in the process. At the first meeting you can see her standing in the back corner of the room, tears streaming down her face feeling like she totally doesn't belong. Everyone around her is talking, "running talk" PR's, pace, tempo runs, and race goals ....Crap, what the heck does all that mean?? All she wanted to do was make new friends. And the worst part was that after the meeting they were going out to run 6 miles. Really?? But it is our first day. Guess that is why they called it "Advanced 10k training". That's how it all began..3 years ago. Well let me tell you how her life has changed... She had a very wise coach during that training that said "your running friends will become life long friends, people you can always count on." He encouraged her to sign up for MTT. It took a year....but here I am ladies. And yes, Tony was right. I have met life long friends. To the posse, I say thank have no idea what you have truly done for me. To all runners, I say thank you. And to people that don't run...I say START....It has the potential to change your life. This I know is true...