Tag Archives: winter

And it begins…

image credit: http://imgkid.com/

Once, several years ago, I took a personality test.  It was in one of those corporate training sessions intended to help me learn about my personal style and how to work better with others.  I don’t remember much else from that course, but I do remember learning one seemingly important thing about myself.

I get more enjoyment/reward out of starting new things, than I do by completing them.

Ever since that day in training, I have over and over again seen this fact demonstrated.

Case in point: I have three knitting projects in process at the moment.  Scratch that.  Two.  I guess I did finish one last week.  Anyway, I keep finding myself looking at new projects I could start and wanting so badly to cast on a new one.  All while this blanket sits in a basket, taunting me with it’s semi-not-even-half-finished state.  I look at it and I just feel guilty for not wanting to work on it, although I do want it to be done.  It just seems like a never ending project – I know that I am not even halfway yet and already I am looking for something new to do.

Case in point #2: I just spent a half hour or more putting together a training plan for the Quad Cities Distance Classic in May.  I had no idea it was 12 weeks away exactly from today.  I have the plan all lined up, and will start tomorrow.  Right now I am excited about it and can’t wait to start.  I am definitely over-optimistic, and I know I probably have put together a much too aggressive plan.  I predict no more than 2 weeks before I miss a training day and start to feel burdened by the thought of following the plan for a full 12 weeks.  I completely wimped out this morning and didn’t go run with my friends.  On one hand I was feeling really guilty for not going (in my defense the windchills were -14 at 7 am this morning), on the other, now that I see this 12 week expanse of training I feel a bit justified in taking one more day off.  I see a lot of treadmill running in my future…and I dread treadmill running (Betty and I are not friends at the moment).  But I don’t know how else to do 400 m repeats in the dead of winter.  Almost all my favorite running spots are covered in snow or ice.  See?  I’m already questioning the sanity of the plan and I’ve only had it for an hour!

Oh, and let’s not go anywhere near the sanity of my goal to run 750 miles this year.  Let’s just not.  Perhaps in a few months I will be able to say I am on track.  Right now, not so much. And it’s only mid-February, there’s still time to correct, right?

How do you stay motivated to complete a long training plan or project?


Surprise!

I got a surprise this week!  If you have seen my latest dailymile posts, you probably know what it is.  But if not, let me introduce you to my new running partner.

Isn't she a beauty?

Isn’t she a beauty?

Do you see her?  She’s all shiny, and new, and beautiful.  My husband (awesome man that he is) decided that I needed a treadmill for those days when I can’t make it to the gym and for one reason or another can’t run outside.  It was delivered Friday, and yesterday we carried the pieces downstairs.  My seven-year-old and I did the majority of the assembly work – until the last two bolts.  Those last two were cross threaded and the holes didn’t line up, and I had to call for backup.  (In my defense, even with help we only got one of those two in through brute force.  No worries, though, that console isn’t going anywhere.

This morning, after tearing up my knuckles lubricating the belt (there has to be a better way to do that), my seven year old  had the honor of testing it out for the first mile.    This afternoon, although it’s a positively gorgeous day outside, I had to try it out.  So I got my running clothes on, laced up the Altras, and walked downstairs.  It was the weirdest feeling in the world to get dressed and in mere seconds be running.  That never happens for me – I always have to get in the car and drive somewhere.

Anyway, I just finished my first three miles on the treadmill (she needs a name, don’t you think?).   The verdict?  Yeah, I still don’t like treadmills.  But…I will definitely use this one.  There are many days when I can’t make it to the gym because the kids are home.  Or it’s too cold to run outside with the jogging stroller.  Or, my husband is gone and  so I don’t have a chance to go.   I’ve even toyed with the idea of a consecutive day (CD) challenge of at least a mile a day, now that there is really no excuse for not running.

Hope you are all having a great weekend and you’re ready for the Super Bowl (or the Puppy Bowl…) or whatever you’re in the mood for today.  Me, it’s football all the way, although with three kids running around I probably won’t get a chance to watch much.

Question of the day:  What should I name the new treadmill?  I can’t call her “the treadmill” all the time, it sounds boring.  What are your ideas?  For some reason the name “Betsy” just popped into my head.  Odd.

In other news, we hosted a stem cell/bone marrow donor registration drive on Thursday.  We registered 13 potential donors in about an hour?  Have you registered yet?


The children were nestled all snug in their beds…

What are you dreaming of tonight?

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Happy Holidays, everyone.


Winter reflections

Winter is my favorite time to run. I love running after a snow, when everything is cloaked in white. It’s peaceful and quiet. The snow muffles sounds, even my footsteps feel lighter.

I love running in the cold, too. No sweat-fest, a winter run is spent trying to warm up my body. It’s usually a mile or two before I even start to feel warm. And when I do, it’s such a stark contrast. I’m running, in the snow, breath making frosty clouds, and yet I’m unzipping my jacket and removing my gloves. I love the feeling of warmth paired with with the chill of the air on my skin.

Once in a rare while, I get the opportunity to be the first runner on the path after a snow. It’s a bit surreal to be breaking the first footprints into the fresh snow. To think that I’m the first one to be out there is a pretty sweet feeling (and not one I get to experience very often). I’m running alongside the tracks of the rabbits and other critters, with not a shoe print to be seen.

It’s a run like this that make me remember just why I love to run.

What’s your favorite running season? Do you like the cold?


I ran for Sherry.

Don’t know who Sherry is?

Read this and then come back.

Back?

Good.

Now you know who Sherry is.

When I first heard about Sherry’s disappearance, it rattled me. As a mother, and a runner, and someone who does most of my runs alone in the country, it made me think twice about my running routine.

Am I predictable? Well, yes, kind of. I run on the same path almost every weekend.
Am I someone who would be seen as an easy target? Well, depends on who you ask. I’m not exactly the strong, muscular type.

But I think we’ve come to realize that Sherry’s disappearance was just what it is. An awful, horrible, there-are-no-words-to-describe-the-evil event. And, in all honesty, an isolated one. Most of us aren’t going to be threatened in our running routines – but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be careful. I’m always aware of the people and cars around me – thinking of what I will do if that guy on the trail ahead of me isn’t just walking his dog for fun.

This morning, when I got up, the windchill was -6. It was cold. And windy – the wind was gusting up to 17-20 mph. I did NOT really want to go out and run 9 miles.

But I headed out anyway. I will be the first to admit those first miles were hard. I was cold, even with extra layers. Those extra layers were making me uncomfortable because my jacket felt tight and my sleeves felt twisted. My legs felt kind of like cinder blocks. I was plodding along feeling pretty miserable for myself, and I wasn’t even halfway finished.

Then a red tail hawk flew over my head. Not once, not twice, but many times. The hawk circled overhead, soaring on those 20 mph wind gusts. I saw it at 3.5 miles, and then again at 4 miles. I thought of Brian, and then I remembered Sherry.

What Sherry wouldn’t give to have been out in my place plodding along in the subzero windchill.

How her family would probably give anything, even the ability to walk, to have her back with them.

How lucky I am that I am able to go for a 9 mile run in subzero freezing temperatures FOR FUN.

I realized just how blessed I am, just how wonderful life is, and I spent the next 5 miles thinking of Sherry, being thankful for my life, and hoping that in some way this outpouring of support all over the world is bringing her family just a little bit of peace.

The last half of the run was a lot easier than the first half.


learning to fly

Almost a year ago, I was out for a run when I had one of those experiences I will remember forever.

I ran with a bald eagle.

And, since that day, it hasn’t happened again. Not that I would expect it to, because bald eagles in this area don’t stay year-round.

Last week while driving past my usual running spot, I thought I might have seen the eagle again. Today, I saw it for sure.

So this time, I took pictures. (Excuse the photo quality, I don’t run with a DSLR…)

Eagles hold a really special place in my heart. My best friend, Brian, lost his battle with leukemia when I was in college. Brian was a runner. Brian was also the smartest person I have ever met. We were also a lot alike, more than I realized at the time. He loved Star Wars, he loved science fiction. He loved Pink Floyd. He longed to fly. During his cancer treatments, Brian said to me once, that if he beat cancer, he was going to change majors from mechanical engineering to aerospace engineering. “Why not?” he said. “I might as well do what I love.”

One of the songs that he used as the signature on his emails to me our freshman year of college was from the Pink Floyd song, “Learning to Fly” – “A dream unfrightened by the morning light, could blow this soul right through the roof of the night.”

I’ve always imagined that his soul is now soaring like an eagle, free of gravity and free of pain. In fact, that’s exactly what is on his headstone: an eagle. The first time I visited his grave after the funeral, a robin kept hanging around, hopping much closer to me than birds usually come. I had a feeling that somehow, that bird was linked to him. Often I find myself looking at a particularly precocious robin and actually talking to it (I am the first to admit it seems a bit crazy, but heck, we’ve all got our quirks).

So when the eagle soars 10 feet over my head, lands in a tree branch overhanging the path, and looks down at me, I can’t help but think somehow, this means more. Somehow, somewhere, my friend is okay. And he’s checking up on me. And that makes me feel really good.


nightmare marathon

I’m sitting here at the computer, 9:00 on a Saturday morning, and I’m still in my PJ’s sipping coffee.

Not running.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to be out there, but just haven’t gotten up the motivation yet. I did get up from the computer once, to start the process, and picked up the Garmin to realize the battery was almost dead. So, it’s nestled in it’s charger on the kitchen counter, and I have a reprieve, for now.

We’ve had a warm winter so far this year, either we’ve been lucky or we’ve been unlucky, depending on who you talk to. My coworker hates this weather and wants a blizzard. I can’t complain about 40-50 degrees, but I wouldn’t mind a nice snowstorm, either. There’s something about a snowstorm that makes me really appreciate a warm house, soft slippers, and hot coffee. Plus, it forces us to slow down and really enjoy time with the family. (periodically interrupted by bouts of negotiation, arbitration, and mediation between three very active boys).

So as I sit and wait for the Garmin to charge, I am enjoying a few moments of peace (not quiet, no, not that. I’m a mom of three, remember?)

I had a nightmare of sorts last night. Not a “wake up in a cold sweat, screaming” type nightmare, but a nightmare nonetheless.

I dreamed I was with a group like Team in Training (I did TnT in 2009), getting ready to toe the line at a Disney-like marathon. In my dream, there was a staggered start, so I wasn’t concerned about being at the starting line right when the race started, and neither were most of my teammates. Then, all of a sudden, two teammates came over, despondent. “We got kicked out,” they said. “They won’t let you stay on the course if you can’t maintain a 10 min/mile pace.”

I rushed to get to the starting line and realized that there was nobody there. Nobody. The race had started 45 minutes ago, and I was running alone. I took off and tried to follow the course.

As I ran, the course went through (I kid you not) restaurants and exhibits at the theme park. I was elbowing my way through people eating at a bar, looking for small 8.5×11 laminated signs with arrows to tell me where to turn. I was running down flights of narrow stairs, in and out of buildings, and in back alleys. I ran into three other women running the race, all of us in our purple team shirts, and all of us equally as lost. We were trying to stay on course and to stay ahead of the “cutoff” time so we could finish.

I was four or five miles in, thinking about quitting the race, and feeling very disappointed, when I woke up. At first I was still locked into the emotions of the “non-race,” even though I knew immediately that it was a dream. I have the most trippy, psychedelic, un-realistic dreams, so I never think they are real. Even when I’m dreaming I usually know they are not real.

So, that was quite an interesting way to start the day.

Now, I’m off to check and see if the Garmin is charged enough for a run…enjoy whatever adventures await you this weekend!


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