It’s been nearly 3 years since I wrote in my blog, far too long. Truthfully, my life was so chaotic that I found it difficult to write about anything. But it’s the beginning of a new year and a beginning of a new book for me, the book of joy. This year I am dedicating every cell of my being to finding joy. That doesn’t mean finding wealth or finding herds of friends. To me, finding joy means digging deep within my heart and seeking that missing piece that I’ve wasted so many years pursuing. I’m realizing that I need to let down the curtains that have hidden my feelings and be vulnerable; I need to open up myself to God’s purpose for me.
This blog will continue to be about my training adventures but it will also include my endeavors toward finding joy. That’s my most important goal in 2013…find joy and shine it brightly for all to see.
This song spoke to me, changed me, broke me. Maybe it will speak to you.
Today’s weather was perfect for a race (40°) and nearly 1,000 runners turned out for the 2008 Johnny’s Runnin’ O’ the Green - a fantastic showing!
Prior to a race I usually run 3 to 5 miles and do yoga. Not today, though. Instead, I warmed up with three of my closest friends Karin, Kathy, and Jean-Paul for 1.25 miles just before the race. Although it was strange to not run longer in the early morning, I think this helped me. Also, I didn’t run with music today and I will say that I missed my tunes.
I ran the 5 mile course in 39:01 (according to my GPS, not sure what the clock said) and placed 10th in my age group. A bit disappointing, but it is what it is. As always, it was great to spend time talking with friends after the race.
Following the race, I ran couple of cool-down miles with Karin and her husband, Matt.
“I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.” – George C. Lichtenberg
As a little girl in Ireland, I vividly recall going to mass everyday before school. In those days, mass was said in Latin, and although I knew little of what the priest was saying, I loved the predictability of mass. Even as a little girl, I depended on my daily visit to church.
When I arrived in this country as a young adolescent, I was shocked to learn that few people attended church everyday. In fact, not one single soul in my small circle went to daily mass. Although I said little, I longed to go back to the ritual I had known in Ireland.
However, as time progressed, I changed and became much more American than Irish. I quickly learned to assimilate to my surroundings and found myself “fitting in” quite nicely with my new friends. I began to think less and less about Ireland and its traditions and culture, focusing instead on being apple-pie American.
Yes, I still go to church every Sunday and I still hold to many of the traditions of my heritage, but I realized early on that I needed to make some changes to adapt to my environment. I also realized that change isn’t always desirable but it is necessary.
On New Year’s Day 2007, I never would have predicted the events that awaited me and, yes, changed me. Never, ever would I have thought that my youngest child would face death while away at college. Nor would I have predicted that I would start writing a blog and make new virtual friends. Certainly, I never saw myself running hill repeats, track workouts, tempo runs – only the really strong runners do that! Some of the people I met at school, races, and running groups are now friends, each adding to my life and teaching me important lessons (not all positive) that I needed to learn. Certainly, every event I’ve experienced and person I’ve encountered has helped to contribute to who I am on this 29th day of December, 2007.
I think it’s important to reflect on change. I think it’s even more important to anticipate and plan for change. No, I’m not referring to change that results from crisis such as my son’s illness but to goal-setting. In my next post I’ll write specially about my goals, both in and out of my running shoes, for 2008.
A belated Merry Christmas to all! Really, I had every intention of writing a post or two prior to today, but the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas kept me from writing. (Hey, it was either run or write. For my sanity, I chose running!)
I am happy to report that I’ve been doing a considerable amount of running, including social running. Last week I ran 36.4 miles and so far this week (Monday – Thursday) I’ve run 28.4 miles. Considering that I still have my long run to look forward to this Saturday, I’m pretty satisfied with my mileage. My speed is another story but I vowed that I wouldn’t whine in this post; so, I’ll save that for another time.
It seems like many posts I’ve read the past few days have focused on reflections for 2007. This past year has certainly been filled with change for me – some positive, some not so positive. Change is necessary for growth; therefore, I’ll embrace the changes (including the negative experiences) and glean whatever lessons I can from each.
A few brief thoughts on the subject of change…
Whether we like it or not, change is a constant. Some changes are within our control and are self-induced. And others? Well, they just seem to happen. No matter how change occurs, one thing is for certain: change is inevitable in all of our lives.
Being injured has brought about very necessary changes in my life. I’m learning the importance of cross-training and PATIENCE. (With myself, I am not very patient.) One very important lesson I’m learning is that time does very certainly heal all.
For the sake of change, I’ll stop here and keep this post brief!
What a difference a week makes! One week ago I was agonizing over whether or not to run the Columbus Marathon. One week ago my leg hurt badly making it difficult to place all of my weight on it. One week ago I struggled to maintain an 8:40 pace while running an easy 5 mile run. But today? Today I feel hopeful, stronger, and nearly pain-free.
On Saturday, I ran 5.7 miles at a very easy pace, although my tight adductors made it very difficult to get a decent stride. Nonetheless, I felt okay when I finished and began to prepare my mind for Sunday’s long run. I woke up Sunday morning with a nervous stomach and I felt rather anxious about completing my run. You see, I decided Saturday that I needed to run at least 16 miles to regain my confidence in my ability to run long as the my last 20.6 mile run was September 29 – an eternity ago.
Typically, I crave long runs. In fact, I look forward to the peace that washes over me when I’m about 12 miles or so into my run. It’s difficult for me to put into words what happens to my mind and body, but I’ll try. When I’m running for an hour and a half or more I feel like I’m floating, not running. My senses become much more in tune with my surroundings, and the brilliant autumn colors become much more vibrant, the birds chirp much more sweetly, and the occasional bunny is much more cute than usual. Truly, running is my escape, my refuge.
However, Sunday I was trepidacious as I set out on my run. Still, I laced up my shoes, loaded my gu flask with 4 packs of GU, filled my water bottles, and headed out to the Canal for my run. The first 11 miles went by slowly but with little pain. I stopped to buy a bottle of Powerade and started out to finish my last 5 miles. To me, Powerade is the elixir of life – my magic potion that unlocks all of the energy and strength in my body. Wow! I felt great and I finished my last 5 miles at my goal pace. That night I cautiously practiced my Yoga for Athletes DVD and whispered a thank you for a good run.
Today, Tuesday, I ran 5 miles in 40:54 and felt better than I’ve felt in nearly 4 weeks. While my left leg is still tight, I’d say that I’m 75% recovered. I’m being very, very careful to take a lot of time to cool down and stretch. In fact, my cool was .75 miles.
As I finished my cool down, an old favorite song of mine played on my ipod. It goes like this,
“I do believe in you, and I know you believe in me. Oh yeah, oh yeah…Knowing that you would have wanted it this way, I do believe I’m feelin’ stronger everyday.” -Chicago
Again, I whispered a thank you and smiled.
Coach Mark’s instructions for my 6 mile tempo run were clear and concise. After a 1.5 to 2 mile warm-up, run 3 x 1 mile repeats at an 8:00 pace with a 1 minute recovery jog in between each repeat, cool down for 1 to 1.5 miles. Try to keep your mile repeats as close to an 8:00 pace as possible.
No problem, I thought! This run will be a snap (just snapped my fingers)! Well, I’m here to testify to the fact that this was not at all an easy thing to do. Of course, the warm-up and cool down were a piece of cake as it wasn’t necessary to keep a steady, even pace. But the tempo part? Whoa!!
You’re probably thinking, “What’s so hard about keeping an 8:00 pace?” Well, for me it’s keeping an even, steady speed that presents a challenge. Try as I might I just couldn’t stick to an even tempo (I know this because I watch my GPS); my tendency is to run much faster and in spurts. At one point during my second repeat, I looked at my GPS and saw that I was running a 6:45 pace! No wonder I was breathing hard! For each mile repeat I averaged 7:40, 7:25, and 7:50, respectively. Again, I didn’t follow my coach’s instructions!
Honestly, it’s damn hard to find your tempo when running; which got me thinking about the challenge of finding your tempo in life. (There’s always a metaphor, isn’t there?) I am currently at a crossroads in my life as my youngest child will leave the nest in 7 days and embark on a new chapter in his life: The College Years. My entire life has been devoted to my children and the children I teach. Oh yes, I’ve always been a runner, but I’ve always run when it didn’t interfere with anyone else’s schedule. (I was the mom who brought her running shoes to her children’s sports practices to sneak in a run.)
So, now I’m faced with the challenge of finding my own tempo, both in and out of my running shoes. Sounds like an easy task, but it’s really much more complicated than at first glance!