Tuesday, March 23, 2010

easy is boring

(not so fun fact: this is a revised post to the original. i spent over an hour writing what i felt was a pretty good entry, only to have it not save when i went to post. now having to re-write... ugh)

"Running is not fun. It's too hard to be fun". ~Dean Karnazes

there are days when i definitely agree with dean. i do not always find running to be fun. there are days when its easier than others but all in all running is hard. its hard on our bodies. its hard on our minds. we beat ourselves up in so many ways. so why do we continue doing it? day after day we hit the pavement or treadmill for different reasons. weight loss. upcoming race. mental therapy. but should it be easy? is it fun?

an online dictionary defines "fun" as:
1. something that provides mirth or amusement: A picnic would be fun.

hmmm, provides amusement huh? the only amusement i typically find on a run is if (when) i trip or fall (yes, this happens more often than you might think). and if a run is going to be described with the same "fun" as a picnic, i would hope there would be more snacks available on my run.

now three months into my 2010 resolution of running a road race every month, ive really started thinking about why i run. why am i doing this? my whole body aches. my toenails are barely hanging on. i have blisters. im tired. (clearly i complain). im reading a book right now by ultrarunner Dean Karnazes, "50/50" (Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons In 50 Days- And How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance). this man is incredible (follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/DeanKarnazes) and could literally probably motivate a slug. in no way do i believe that i could even run 50 marathons in my lifetime, let alone back to back to back... (to back... times 50 days) but if there was anyone who could get you to try, it would be Dean.

this one passage from the book comes in the chapter where he ran the marathon in seattle, washington. this whole book is full of motivating passages (and i HIGHLY recommend this read to anyone, runner or not) but this one has stuck with me and i want to share:

"Running teaches you that there's a difference between working hard and feeling bad. Consumer culture tries to teach us otherwise. How many television commercials talk about "making life easier"? If everything you knew about life came from TV, your goal would be to live the easiest life you possibly could. You would believe that the only good feelings are sensual pleasures such as the taste of a good soft drink and the fun of driving an expensive car and lying on the beach.
But it's just not true. Challenging and testing your mind and body, even to the point of exhaustion, failure, and breakdown, can feel as wonderful as anything else life has to offer. I suppose the enjoyment of hard work is more of an acquired taste than the taste for pleasure and fun, but once you've acquired it, you're blessed with more ways to feel good, and life is better. Harder and better." ("50/50" by Dean Karnazes)

we live in a world where things are made to be easier. home delivery. internet. drive through. microwave. instant everything. but can you go out and run an 18 mile training run in less than a couple of hours? not if youre just an average runner like myself. most days i feel like i dont have enough hours in the day to just do everyday things, let alone go out and just run. so what is on my mind while im out there? the house is a mess. theres so much laundry i should be doing right now. i need to go get groceries.

so. much. negativity.

im gonna tell you something that might blow your mind... my life is NOT tough. (phew. glad i got that off my chest). i have a beating heart. oxygen in my lungs. shoes on my feet. heat in my apartment. a job. money in my bank account. family and friends who love me. for someone who probably has more than i am even thankful for, i sure think a lot of negative thoughts. and most of those come out when im all alone, out on the road.

running challenges us all in different ways. it is truly a selfish act. no one else is going to benefit from your run, whether it be struggling through just one mile or a three hour weekend training run. so why not allow it to help YOU. think positive. challenge yourself. i really think running can be fun if you make it fun for yourself. be thankful you can be out there putting one foot in front of the other. think about the stresses in your life, but think about them in a way that is encouraging and positive, rather than stressful and negative. im glad i have laundry because that means i have clothes to wear. my house might be a mess but i have a house and people that live in it to mess it up. i know those might sound really lame but i personally think im way too negative on my runs and it ultimately affects my overall running experience.

if i have learned anything over the past few months of training and races, its that running is not easy. and most days, its not fun. but the more i run, the harder i train, the easier it gets. and that just allows me to work harder to get faster, to run farther. the challenges never end unless you sit back and allow it to be easy. and to me, easy is boring.

Monday, March 8, 2010

psychic prediction & irish road rover

despite my deep hatred for 5k races, i managed to somehow sign myself up for two of them in the same weekend. smart. lucky for me it was one of the warmest weekends we've had so far, and i didnt really have to go all out in either of the races, both of which are positives in my eyes.

sometime last year my friend sarah told me about a "prediction race" she heard of where there are no time clocks, no mile markers, and you predict what your time is and whoever comes closest wins. we both thought that seemed like a pretty sweet race, but had never seen one around here. well, thursday morning i got an email from Maine Track Club (which i joined back in december) announcing their 6th annual psychic prediction 5k run. at first i wasnt going to do it but on friday i figured why the heck not, and signed myself up (and there was no race fee, woo hoo! so broke right now). i couldnt really decide what i wanted to do for my time, so i just went with tylers age and my age (clearly not my fastest 5k, but not my slowest either).

a guy that takes pics at all the races around the area was there and took this lovely one of me before the start of the race...
despite the prediction of 50 degree weather later on that afternoon, the start of this race (7am) was still a bit chilly. and when i found out how the race started, i went back and sat in my car with the heat on.... (whoever picks the slowest time they start the race clock at their time, then as the clock ticks down you leave the start at the time you picked for your prediction. then the person to cross the finish line closest to when the clock reads 00:00 wins). the slowest predicted time was 43 minutes i think, and i predicted 26:29. had quite a bit of time to warm up in my car (and call sarah of course).

here i go!

i found this on the guys website... was he being artistic? or did he like my tattoo? :)

aaaaand here i come, turning my head as i pass the "finish line" (cone) to see what the clock read.
so how did i do? i was 9 seconds off! and that won me 3rd place :) 1st place went to a woman who was off by 3 seconds, and 2nd place went to a guy who was 6 seconds off. this race was really interesting because you truly were running your own race. you didnt have to worry who was coming up behind you or passing the people in front of you. for those of you that run a lot you know when your body is working too hard or not enough which is key in a race like this. i look forward to doing this race (and/or another one like it) again!
then on sunday was the irish road rover 5k, the 3rd race in my 12 in 2010 series. an absolutely beautiful day for running, and it was a race i had never run before so i was excited. i also somehow convinced the boy to run it with me (he was not so excited as you will see below). i decided before even leaving the house that i was going to run with tyler the entire way... i felt if he was caring enough to come out and run it with me, i wouldnt leave him in the dust (haha... plus he was running as a bandit and was a bit nervous about it).

melissa and me in our signature pre race pose outside the bar that put this race on, brian boru.
dont let his semi smile fool you....
...he clearly wasnt as excited to be there as the girls were. and although im no where near irish, i figured i would rock the shamrock socks :)
nothing all too special to report on this race except a HUGE CONGRATS to melissa on her PR, 22:38 i think it was. you rock!! tyler and i ran/jogged/walked it in 30:38 (cut the kid some slack, he's missing 1/5th of his lung!) but we had a great time. after the race we all headed to bull feeney's pub for a guinness or two.

another race down. cant believe its march already... ten weeks til sugarloaf!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

a getaway to the midwest

so i decided i needed to take off for a week and, although the somewhere on a beach with the hot sun sounded lovely, i instead chose to head to the midwest to hang out with my maid of honor and my family. my visits out there always seem to go by so fast but we had a great time (as always) and i even got a run in (once the rain stopped!). my cousin jay picked me up from the airport and we walked by this "panera".... for whatever reason they have both saint louis bread co and panera down there. they are the exact.same.thing. im slightly confused.

they also have this lovely place that i just so happened to visit twice while i was there...
these looked sooooo good, but i had a "tuxedo" cupcake and a "coffee cake" one. diet fail.

saturday night we went out for sushi.... this is me and my best friend/maid of honor at the drunken fish.

i took this as we were driving back home... busch stadium with the arch in the background. love love love this city.
and finally, the epic run i went on with serena. i had wanted to try for a long run through the streets of st louis and down by the arch, but the weather and other plans just didnt allow for that. for those of you that have never been to the midwest, here are a few pics. its flat. there are miles and miles of corn fields. the most unfortunate part of the flat land is the wind. 3 miles out on the road wasnt bad, but turning around and coming the 3 miles back was just brutal.
this is the stretch of road (pretty much one of the only roads) in the small town of prairietown (population 150, haha). we headed down this road for about half a mile....
...before turning onto this road and going the next 2.5.

those 2.5 looked just like this.... awesome.

lots and lots of corn.
the 6 miles felt great because i hadnt run in a really long time (marathon training is not going as well as i had planned) but it really made me feel lucky to live in maine along the ocean and near a big city. i can run at or near the beach and through the city streets, which are much more exciting and interesting than the corn fields, haha.
im going to try for 13 miles friday, then saturday morning i might run a prediction run and sunday is my 3rd of 12 in 2010 run! im hoping this weekend will catapult me back into full force marathon training mode cuz ive only got ten weeks left til sugarloaf!!
happy running everyone :)