I’m not fast, I’m persistent

Knowing I needed to add some cross training to my regimen I added spin and barre to my running mix.  It’s kind of a pain to get to considering I have to drive back into DC.  It’s a 40 minute commitment just to get there before I even start class.  I thought it was just going to keep my body guessing, as well as, reduce the amount of pounding on my joints; little did I know that I was going to receive the added bonus of getting faster!

Now, before we start this conversation regarding ‘faster’ let me start off by saying I am not fast as much as I am persistent.  I’m that girl that finishes so far back that the winners and elite runners have received their awards, gone home, showered, and knocked back their post-race meal.  I don’t do “group runs” with some of the various running stores because I’m THAT girl.  I run.  I may not get there fast, but I get there. Don’t think Ferrari think dump truck.

As you know, I’ve been training for Shamrock.  Last week just so happened to be the 6 mile week.  Unfortunately, the weather was crappy which put me squarely on the treadmill.  Not my favorite place to run, but at least I’m still able to train.  I try to not focus on the time during these runs, but rather just the distance.  Just finish.  As I finished up my run I did a double take on the time.  Wait, what?  That can’t be right.  I went back and double checked my finishing time from my last 10k.  I cut 10 minutes off of my 10k time.  HOLY MOTHER OF….I know that we aren’t taking the difference to a 4 minute mile, but I’m pretty proud of it.IMG_5545

You know what this means right?  I guess I made the right decision is signing up for the 6 month membership at Biker Barre.  I’ve sat down and made “dates” with myself as far out as their system will let me schedule.  I’m excited to see just how much I can improve.  Who knows, maybe I’ll actually be able to see an awards ceremony.

Happy Feet! A tale of the new shoes

I truly did love my Salomon trail shoes, but they didn’t love me back. One slightly bruised/damaged tendon, two trips to the doc, and two weeks away from barre later I decided that it was time I try something else.  I sent the purple monsters back to REI, and started my hunt for a new trail shoe.  Veronika the best salesgirl in all of Road Runner Sports spoke about Altra running shoes the last time I was there.  She said that she really liked them.  I started my hunt with Altra.

If you don’t know anything about Altra, I highly recommend you check them out for yourself. There are some things about them that made me want to give them a spin.  First, they design shoes for men and shoes for women specific to that gender.  Second, they have a toe box actually designed for toes!  Shocker I know!

I called them before I put my order in and asked them some questions as no running store anywhere in a 50 mile radius around my home had the Lone Peak 2.0.  Their customer service reps not only answered the phone (no phone tree hell!!) but they also were super in answering all of my questions.  Hmmm. A company with customer service I’m intrigued. I will admit I was a little disappointed they did away with the orange colors in the 2.0 version, but unless you are Windows; 2.0 is always better than 1.5.

IMG_5532Today I finally got to take them for their first spin.  They look a little funny with the wide toe box, but my toes have never been happier in a pair of shoes.  Happy feet equals happy me.  With a 0 degree drop they recommend that you run some shorter distances in order to strengthen your lower calf and ankle.  After a 3 mile run I can understand why they would say that.  I do have different parts of my legs that got worked today, in a good way!  If these keep working out I may have to switch to their road shoes too!

Getting lost and loosing it

Let’s start with the good news shall we?  Unofficially, I have lost 10.5 pounds now.  I say unofficially because nothing truly counts until I stand on the nutritionists scale.  That won’t happen until next week.  In the mean time, I will take each loss as it comes.  I like to joke that my weight is coming off the way that I run, slow. It’s coming off a pound at a time, maybe even a pound and a half at a time, but the point is it’s coming off! Now onto the not so good news.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve really fallen in love with trail running.  Coming home from work today I glanced at the temperature; 37.  I did the calculus and determined if all I was doing was 3 miles that I was able to get my run in before the sun went down. I dashed into the house, changed my clothes, grabbed Perry and headed out the door.  Knowing I wanted to cover 3 miles I thought I would try the White trail.  It was suppose to be 3.5 miles.  Considering all of the other trails have been running a tad bit short I thought that this would be the perfect solution. That’s what I get for thinking.

We headed out on the trail and started off great.  The trails were a little slick, but nothing that the new trail shoes couldn’t handle.  We hit the 1.5 mile marker turned the corner and I remember “easy peasy” crossing my mind.  Yeah…about that.  We then proceeded to hit this really funky marker another half mile or so down the trail.  Looking at the sign I made the best guess I could.  Yeah, that wasn’t it.  Turning back around we get to the funky sign again.  Nope that wasn’t it either.  At this point the sun is dropping quick and along with it the temperature.  Getting back to the car at this point is becoming exceptionally important; my lungs were burning from the cold, Perry was getting tired (and thirsty), and I didn’t grab any water because it was suppose to be a short run.

Finally, Perry and I get back to the funky area and I just decided to go back to the point where I know that is a cross road that would lead me back towards the car and I take it.  It’s not exactly the marked White Trail, but it would get me back towards the car.  By the time all was said and done we had covered over 4.5 miles and the temperature had dropped significantly.  Grrrr. Not happy.  Note to self; don’t run this one again until either it’s warmer out, or the rangers come through and remark the trail.

Getting lost

Trail Running and Dad’s Laughing

BackpackI spent my formative years in the Adirondack mountains with my father.  It didn’t matter how snowy or how cold it got; we were outside.  Some of my worst and happiest childhood and teenage memories are from being outside with him.

See, whenever Dad did anything outside it wasn’t for 10 minutes.  Oh no! When Dad did something outside it was for hours.  Hiking mountains, skidding logs, didn’t really matter. When you went out you stayed out until he was ready to come inside.  I learned quickly that whining and crying made absolutely positively no difference.  As a matter of fact, I honestly think we stayed out longer when I whined or cried.  Plus, my face would get cold. All of this time taught me how to dress in layers, put breadbags on my feet to keep them dry, and how to identify all sorts of trees, birds and animals.

When my brothers and sisters came along many years later we started affectionately calling Dad’s hikes “death marches.”  If you didn’t hike fast enough or started to lag (which was usually accompanied by whining) Dad would use his ‘poke a hiney’ stick to get you moving.  We laugh about it now, but at that time it definitely kept you from falling behind or outright sitting down in the middle of the trail throwing a hissy fit. With 7 kids varying in age I think it was Dad’s control mechanism.

Ironically, I have come to absolutely LOVE trail running.  Treadmills and road running all have their needed places, but I would much prefer to be out on the trails.  I know my Dad is getting the last laugh on this one. When I told him this week about my love of trail running he quite literally busted out laughing.

Why do I love the trails so much?  First, nothing soothes my soul more than being out in the woods.  Again, I know my Dad is laughing.  I am 100% certain that that wSmiling Springer Spanielas his intention many moons ago when he started dragging taking me with him. Second, trails are just so much softer on my knees and back than any road or treadmill.  Plus, Perry gets to come with me.  This means not only does he get exercise, too, but he smiles the whole time we are going because he is with me AND he gets to play in the woods. What could be any better?

Trail RunningLuckily for me, there are several parks not too far from my house with various trails with a wide variety length.  I’m grateful that the soil in most of them is sandy vice clay which means even after it’s been raining for 13 days straight (no I wish I were kidding) there is still very little mud. Granted, some of the parks could really use some updated signage, but as long as I catch my errors early I don’t mind it so much.

I know that I truly love doing something when I finally commit to getting gear.  I broke down this past week and ordered a pair of Salomon Speed Cross 3‘s from REI.  Today was my first run in them and I could immediately tell the difference from my regular running shoes.  Not only was I not sliding all over the place, but all those tree roots I kept hitting didn’t matter because the tread comes up and over the toe box.  My toes thank me.  Yes, I think Perry and I shall make this a regular concurrence.  Well, as often as Mother Nature will let us.  I’ll let Dad continue to laugh.  I won’t hear him anyway, I’ll be off in the woods.

Finding my inner strength

“You need motivation and you need inspiration to keep going”– Jessie, Biggest Looser

I don’t normally watch The Biggest Looser, but in an effort to not break myself by doing too much I have been slowly making my way through this season.  When Jessie said this particular little nugget it stopped me in my tracks.  Huh, I never thought about it that way.

As I’ve been going through this journey I’ve been vacillating between motivation and inspiration never seeming able to get both simultaneously.  I’m not necessarily sure if you should have both simultaneously or not.  I would love to ask him for clarification.  I pushing along regardless, but I am not mindful of the need for both.

Motivation is a bit easier to find.  I have built a fail safe into my system.  I like to call it fiduciary incentivized running. If I pay for a race I will run the race.  If I will run the race that means I have to train for the race.  That plain, that simple.  I have spaced my races out enough to ensure that I continue to train and continue to push.  However, they are also spaced out enough to ensure that I (hopefully) don’t get hurt.

Inspiration is more challenging for me to find.  While, yes, I could look to other people and other people’s struggles it doesn’t stick.  It’s not internal.  It’s not MY inspiration it’s not MY story.  This week, however, it has been easy to find inspiration.  Why?  I quite literally ran out of my pants.  I was on the treadmill and my running pants were sliding down my ass.  Why?  I have now lost enough inches that even though my pants are the Under Armour capris my waist was now smaller than the pants and they were now slipping down to where they would catch, which was half way down my ass.  At the time it was a pain as every 10 steps I ran on the treadmill I had to yank my pants back up.  I grumbled all the way through the run.  Run, run, pull, run, run, pull.

Then I got done and it hit me.  I was smaller than my pants.  Huh.  I’ve shrunk one size.  It’s not enough, I need to keep going, but I was a size smaller.  I went home and ordered more pants.  Then my wallet screamed at me, but I was a size smaller so I tried to ignore the whimpering that was coming from my wallet.  I’ll call that this weeks inspiration.  Now, to work my ass off to go down another size. Yes, this isn’t going to be the cheapest way to get inspiration but it is still inspiration.  Between that and the scale, for now, that is where I shall find it.

I am a fighter.  I will push forward.  I will be a Shamrock 2015 finisher with less weight on me than when I did Diva’s.