Today I learned—much like dialing 911—running on a treadmill is to be done in emergencies only. Ironic it may be but laziness found me at the gym tonight. It was dark out and I have been putting off my purchase of reflective gear for weeks. However it happened in a way I’m glad it did. If waiting for an open machine wasn’t frustrating enough once I finally got on one all I could do was stare out the window and wish for the road. It was a reminder of no matter how much I still hate running at times I absolutely love dashing around outside.

I know I’ve covered this before but I can’t get over how much of my running life has been spent on a treadmill. Hours and hours of staring at an electronic display, counting down the seconds, going nowhere. Of course I do owe the treadmill some gratitude as it got me to the point in my running where I am now. But after that first outdoor run this summer I’ve never wanted to go back.

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On Being Old

26Sep12

I turned 30 a few days ago. I don’t feel any older; mostly I’ve been wondering if my auto premiums are going to be reduced.

At milestone birthdays like this people often worry about their futures and where they’re going in their lives. Instead, tonight I find myself thinking about where I’ve come from. I know people say you shouldn’t look back but think in this case it’s allowed.

I think about my grandparents, all four of whom are still living. I think about how lucky that makes me. My Grandpa Sweet is 91 and living proof getting older doesn’t make one old. I’m sure he’s got his flaws (Grandma could probably clue me in on most of them) but to me he’s always been warm, vibrant and full of life, laughs and love. He’s been fading these past few years but the sparkle is still there. I think about my own parents; my father started his company in his 40s and my mom didn’t find her career until her late 30s.

Then I think about myself and what I’ve accomplished in six months. I finally stopped complaining about the job I hated and found a better one. I found a place to live I absolutely love. And perhaps most significantly I finally bested a running plan that had taunted me for ten years.

Tonight, as I pounded along a now familiar path, under a clear sky and between the sinking sun and soaring moon I realized being 30 is pretty damn amazing.


Will there ever be a better day for running than today?

I’m a complete baby about running weather. Being new to running outdoors I’ve never attempted it in the rain but it’s a fact of life here in the Pacific Northwest. So I’m going to have to somehow get over myself, put on a damn jacket and embrace it. Someday, that is, because for whatever reason it’s going to be almost 90 degrees on Thursday, my next scheduled running day. Really? It was 46 degrees when I woke up this morning and it’s going to be 90 in two days?

There’s always the gym but it’s so hard to imagine myself climbing back on a treadmill. As tightly as I clung to those belted torture contraptions I can’t even fathom going back. These weeks of running in the open air have been sheer bliss in comparison. And today! Well, it wasn’t perfect. I’m not naïve enough to think that running downhill wouldn’t catch up to me eventually. My knee ached once or twice during the run and my shins weren’t much happier. But the weather was absolutely magnificent. Seventy degrees and blue skies. What more could you ask for?

If anyone wonders why Oregonians put up with rain nine months out of the year all you need to do is visit in early September. Just not on those 90 degree days, of course.


It’s been so long since I visited my own blog I not only forgot my password I also forgot my username. But about a week ago my dear friend Paige mentioned to me that I need to start typing my bizarre feelings about running instead of just thinking them (not her words; she’s far too nice).

Anyway, somehow I’ve managed to keep running all these months. Some weeks have been more consistent than others and I’ve talked myself out of more than one run. And while I’m nowhere near the point where I actually enjoy it I’ve finally begun to appreciate how wonderful it is. Does that make sense? Let me put it this way: I LOVE that I get to lace up my shoes, head out the door and ten minutes later end up in an entirely different city (not a huge accomplishment as it’s just across the street). I LOVE that I feel like part of a community of runners and it’s the height of rudeness not to wave at everyone I pass. I LOVE how accomplished and amazing I feel after each run, especially because I now live on top of a hill and the last couple minutes are like reaching a mountaintop.

But there’s so much I don’t love. I have to psych myself up before each and every run. I have to think about all the past failed attempts and remind myself I never again want to do Day 1 Week 1 of Couch to 5K. I have to trick myself into running longer by only letting myself turn around once the disembodied voice in my Nike + tells me me I’ve completed my run. And really, thank goodness for that hill because the first five minutes of any run for me have always been torture. The fact that I get to run them downhill for the most part has basically been my saving grace these past few weeks. And it’s only going to get worse in a couple weeks. If it’s hard to talk myself into a run when it’s 70 degrees and blue skies out imagine what it’s going to be like when it’s pouring buckets.

Oh well, must keep running, must keep typing.


One of my biggest problems has been an inability to successfully adjust when something comes up that “pre-empts” my intended workout. Last-minute tickets to a basketball game? Of course I can skip the gym! Meeting up to plan a bachelorette party? You bet—I didn’t really need to run today. And naturally, instead of going to the gym or running the next day I just write that day off.

But things aren’t supposed to be like that anymore, right? If I’m serious enough to start a blog and subject readers who have the misfortune to stumble upon it to my ramblings then I need to be serious enough to finally make time for running.

So quickly, however, I was back to my old tricks. I remembered that even though my plan is to run Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays I’m busy Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  Ordinarily I might push it to Wednesday, Friday and Sunday but that obviously wouldn’t work either. I was tempted to shelve the whole thing until next week (as if that ever works) but then realized I’m never going to get anywhere close to running a 5k if I keep pulling stuff like this.

All this was going through my mind while I was at the gym earlier and it finally dawned on me as I was trying desperately to remain upright on the elliptical machine that the answer was fairly simple: I could run in the morning.

Gah! I wake up at 6 a.m. for work as it is. How the hell am I supposed to squeeze a run in? Am I really capable of dragging my ass out of bed and onto a treadmill at five in the morning? In all honesty, I have no interest in finding out.

Instead, I came home from the gym and did my run right then and there. And it felt great, even though this (wonderfully) freakish 80 degree April day was not exactly ideal for an extra-long workout.  It’s just that it’s enough of a battle to get enough sleep as it is—no matter how early I get to bed I can rarely turn my brain off before midnight. But the fact is—no matter how hard I try to fight it—running in the morning is something I need to seriously consider. Life is simply too busy to be able to work out five or six times a week without being willing to make some serious concessions. And because I’m not willing to give up my social life I might have to be willing to give up a little sleep.

 

Next up: I have until tomorrow to buy a Groupon for a Hot Yoga package—my nose says no but my thighs say yes!


From my experience, the most effective way to keep in shape is by running. I tend to hate it. It feels completely unnatural to me and my balance (especially on a treadmill) isn’t the best. Figure in my big boobs and flat feet and it can also be quite uncomfortable. I’ve dealt with blisters and shin splints and bum knees and a variety of other minor pains thanks specifically to running. So why do I do it? Because it feels awesome when I’m done. It’s like Hot Yoga—a completely miserable experience but the endorphins skyrocket for hours after. So here I go…

For years I’ve talked about races I’d like to run but have never just done it. I’ve been worried about the training or terrified that I would come in dead last, etc. Any excuse you can imagine, I’ve probably come up with, too. So someone’s got to keep me honest, I guess. I’ve enlisted a couple of friends to do a mud run with me at the end of June. That gives me just over two months to train, and while my fitness isn’t 5k level yet, it’s not too far off. And there’s something about a mud run that makes me think time isn’t really much of an issue. I’ll probably be glad to just finish with both shoes on. Plus, it sounds like a blast! Who wouldn’t want to pay $50 to get muddy as hell? Well, there might be a smidgen of sarcasm there but in truth I’m serious. I wish I’d known about these types of runs years ago.