Hi everyone! No race reports from last weekend. We had considered running one on Saturday but decided to skip it and take the kids (and Flat Stanley – my nephew’s book project) to the Jackson Zoo and State Capital. It was such a fun day and even though we could have run the race that morning and then gone on our trip, we might have felt a little less than energetic by the time we got home that night.
Since I don’t have a race recap to give you, I thought I’d ramble on about a few things that have gone through my thoughts this week while I was running or during my
few and far between moments of quiet time around here.
Isn’t it amazing how you can run one day and feel like you are most likely the worst runner that’s ever stepped foot on the earth and then, a couple of days later, you go for a run and feel like you could go on forever? This was my experience a few days ago and then on Monday. Last week it was hot and I mean super hot. (I’m sure you get so tired of hearing me fuss about heat but, guess what, it’s only going to get worse because summer is coming, haha!) I decided to go for a run on Thursday afternoon. Jason said to bring the kids, along with the jogging stroller,and he would just meet up with me after he finished up his run because he was already running at the same place. I’d been talking to my friend, Stephanie that day, who’s just beginning her journey as a runner, and she said she’d love to come along and run with me. We’ve tried several times to get together for a run with no success, so I was thrilled that we’d actually get to go. She’s still doing running with walking mixed in and I thought, since it was so warm, it would be a great day for me to take it slow and enjoy getting back to the basics. We all met up as Jason was finishing and I could tell by the sweat pouring off of him that it was going to be a lot hotter of a run than I had anticipated. I grabbed up my Ipod and ushered Steph over to our starting point, making sure to only put one earbud in my ear so we could visit a little while we ran but I could still hear my music too. I, probably like at least a few of you, don’t like running “unplugged”! For some people, they’d rather hear their breathing and feet hitting the road and stay in tune with their body. For me, I’d rather have something moving me along, especially on those runs when I start to struggle. Sometimes it just takes turning on that certain song and I can switch off my left brain that’s trying really hard to convince me to stop and switch my right brain on and push through until I feel strong again. I think if I only had my labored breathing and sluggish sound of my feet to listen to during that time, I’d probably not be able to make it. That being said….we weren’t more than 2 or 3 mins into our run and my Ipod stopped. (Noooooo!!) I was in shock at first but then remembered what was going on. Now that I have my Nike watch keeping up with my running, I don’t bring my Ipod inside after every run and plug it in to recharge it/upload. I had a miniature freak out and then decided I shouldn’t set a bad example for my new-at-running buddy. I did complain outloud (just a bit!) but decided that we’d probably visit more without the music anyway. Problem was, since she was walking/running and I was running/running, we weren’t together the entire time. I would run with her and then when she’d stop for a walk break, I’d run ahead and then turn around and come back to meet her. By that time, she’d be ready to run a little more and then we’d repeat the process. (Did I mention it was really hot that day?) By the time we had about a mile left, she told me to go on ahead and finish my part of the run out. I did it but was suffering from the torture of having no music and lack of air to breathe. After I finished, I trotted back to Steph and walked back with her. Jason had been taking pictures of us as we started our run out and was taking some of us coming back too. I was so thankful he didn’t snap any of me after I’d finished because it would have been ugly, lol! I gave Stephanie a quick hug and told her goodbye and was secretly a little happy that she didn’t stick around to see my misery in full force. I was nearly lying down on the back of Jason’s car, eyes clenched shut in pain because so much sweat had gotten in them, and feeling like I had probably just done the worst job in the world at being a good example of a runner. Honestly, for a day or two, I really began to wonder if I was losing my running mojo. That’s not a good feeling, by the way.
I was pretty disgusted with how my run turned out that day but, keeping in mind that a bad run on one day can make your next good run feel great, I headed out on Monday to try again. I was thankful for much cooler temps and a chance to redeem myself from my less than impressive performance a few days before. It was a cloudy, unseasonably cool day and it felt wonderful! I went there knowing I was going to run more than 3 miles but also knew that I couldn’t run as far as I wanted because our cat was at the vet and had to be picked up by 5:30. It was already almost 4pm so I scrapped my dreams of running 7 or 8 miles and opted for a little over 4-ish. The run that day was one of those that I didn’t want to end. I felt great, the weather felt great, my Ipod worked great…everything was..well, great. I’m not sure if it was truly the best run I’d had in a while because it was that good or if it just was in comparison to the train wreck of a run from Thursday. Either way, I finished feeling strong and excited that probably weren’t as bad as I had thought they were. I’ve said over and over that the heat is basically my kryptonite. Now I just need to remind myself of this when I have a bad run on really hot days!!
Now here’s something I’d like to ask you about: How do you run? Do you startle people when you approach them from behind because of your stealth-like stepping or is there no need to say a word because your feet do all the “talking” as you clip-clop along? Unfortunately for me, I’m in the second category. As I mentioned on the Run Like a Mother page today, I feel like a Clydesdale when I’m running (and not in the glorious, majestic way). I make so much noise and I know it’s not a good thing but I don’t know how to stop! Believe me, I’ve tried. Yesterday, while out running with my husband (who’s not only a faster runner than me but a stealth-stepper too), he was trying to help show me (again) how to take those ever elusive lighter steps. I tried and tried but no matter how I changed my stepping, the noise stayed! What’s the deal? His theory is that I’m pressing down with my foot (into the road) instead of pushing the pavement away. Seriously, I have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to this. I know what I need to be doing but somehow I can’t implement it. I’ve heard that Chi Running was helpful in learning how to run lighter and wearing Vibrams can help too. I’m sure I’m losing a lot of energy by pounding it into the pavement and I’d probably even knock off some of my time if I could ever figure it out. Have any of you had this experience and how did you fix it? I’d love to hear any suggestions that you might have for me!! I’m going to post a pic of my feet while I’m running. Maybe you can see a problem that I don’t?
I forgot to mention that our run yesterday (besides obsessing over every step I took) was a really good one again. It was another cool afternoon and the company wasn’t so bad either. 🙂 I love being able to run with Jason although I know he probably feels like he’s going at a snail’s pace, he never complains, only encourages me and that means a lot to me.
So, those are a few of my thoughts this week. Zach is already out of school for the summer and my older kids have next week and they’ll be finished, which means our Florida vacation will be just around the corner! Our racing will significantly slow down during the heat of the summer but I’m sure I’ll still have more than enough to blog about. I’ve still got to fill you in on our Nike watches, some of my supplement/eating tips and I’ve got to keep you up to date on my quest to become a quiet runner (and faster one too).
In regards to my Ipod dependence that I mentioned earlier, I wanted to see how many of you have (or don’t have) a music dependency when you run. So, here’s a quick poll I’ve set up just for you:
One more thing! My blog has had over 3000 hits as of this week since I created my first post on March 22, 2011. This is so exciting for me (even though I’m sure some blogs get that many a day, lol) because when I started out, I figured I’d have mostly family and a few friends reading it. I never dreamed that I’d have as many readers as I do and I want to thank YOU for that! I also appreciate all of my other fellow bloggers that have linked my site to theirs, Rod’s Racers for promoting my blog and Facebook page and to the ladies at Another Mother Runner for profiling my blog on their site and sending a lot of new readers my way.
Thanks again to all of you for being such an encouragement to me! (And for looking over my writing errors that I’m quite certain I miss sometimes.) 🙂