Why Do YOU Run?

I started running and I started this blog in January of 2011.  I actually started this blog strictly as a way to keep track of my running and to keep myself motivated.  I just read my first post; I forgot I had signed up for a half marathon and THEN started the Couch to 5K plan. I made it to the end of the plan, I did not make it to the half marathon.  And in 2 and a half years, I’m still not regularly running a 5K.  My average at the moment is a 2 mile run. I guess I should be ashamed of that fact, and sometimes I am, especially publicly.

But privately, I’m thrilled I’m still running at all.  I’m not the type to stick with something. I am the type to see I’m getting better at something, freak out that maybe I should be pushing harder, and then stop altogether. I’m also fairly shocked I’m still keeping up this blog but I still enjoy it. Hmm, maybe I’m maturing. Probably not though.

It makes me wonder, why am I still running? I like the way I feel after a run, like I actually did something.  Like I’m following through with something even though no one is making me. But that’s never made me stick with anything before.

There’s something special about running.

I remember when I was a kid I went running with my dad a couple of times. He told me to run on the asphalt, not the sidewalk because it was better for my joints.  I don’t even know why I remember that so vividly, we only did it once or twice.

Even then I wanted to be a Runner. I have no idea why.  No one I knew ran, my dad only ran those few times that I can remember. I never saw running in the Olympics, watched a single race, or tried out for track in school. It was just something I wanted to be.

I spent most of my life around Phoenix, AZ and if that is a hotbed of running I never saw it. Brutally hot in the summers and too cold in the winters, it wasn’t a great place to do anything outside.

Then I moved to Florida and everybody here runs.  Still no one I know, but I pass runners every time I leave the house. I drive past people who must be doing ultras, people who must be new to running, people who must be 80 running.  They can do it.  Why can’t I?

But the question remains. Why do I run, even when it would be easier to just not, even when I know I don’t run far, I don’t run fast, I will never be a great runner or even good at it?

When I was little I wanted to be a veterinarian. I wanted to work for the Peace Corps. I wanted to learn karate and be a ninja. I wanted to live out of a backpack and walk across the country.  I wanted to be a runner.

Then I grew up and I had kids. I became a technical analyst, not a veterinarian. I had to have a degree or some useful skill to join the Peace Corps. Although my dad was a black belt I never learned karate. I do wear lots of black though. (Kind of like a ninja)  I can’t pick up and hike across the county (yet) but I can go outside and run. So I run.

Why do you run?

Hidden Dangers of Running Barefoot (Indoors)

If you’ve read my blog much (and you probably haven’t) then you know I’ve been running strictly barefoot for all year, except for mud runs.  Something about climbing a rope net barefoot intimidates me, though at the last one I went to there were a few people who did so maybe I’ll give it a go the next time. (sorry, squirrel)

Anyways, while I mostly run in the neighborhood I also occasionally run in the woods across the way and I have never yet hurt my feet.  Something about knowing I don’t want to step on a snake or bug seems to just make me more aware of where I’m putting my feet.  The funny thing is that I still space out and don’t consciously look where I’m going fairly often – but something subconscious seems to be paying attention because I DO pass freakishly close to the occasional snake, bug or oil spot but always jump over them.

Tonight I ended up running on the treadmill because I hate running outside when it’s not dark and I felt like running early.  As a matter of fact, all day today I couldn’t wait to run tonight.  So, I got started and it was horrible.  My right calf hurt, which it never does. I got really hot really quick, I got tired, I quit at about a mile because my stupid calf was just feeling weirdly not right.

I got off the treadmill and went to the kitchen to make a drink (vodka and grapefruit juice DOES cure all ills you know) and I realized my toe was hurting. Bad.  Why? Because I had a loooong splinter in it.  That I got running inside on a treadmill.  WTF?

Does it ever feel to anyone else like life is a series of jokes?

Finally Fall! and?

Everyone around me seems to be very excited that fall is here. I understand why.  The leaves turn color, the air picks up a bit of a chill, running seems easier, and the holidays are on their way. The family is talking about wearing sweaters, baking bread and cookies and the like.

Oh, wait.  I’m in Florida.  Fall doesn’t really apply. Not yet anyway.

I sat outside having a cup of coffee with my dad and other neighbors on the first official day of fall. The air was thick and heavy with humidity, one of those morning when you can almost feel a literal weight on your shoulders.  I decided that if we have time zones then we should get to have season zones too.  It’s only fair, don’t you think?

I have to admit, I am looking forward to the weather cooling down, making soups and bread for dinner and feeling a crispness in the air.  As a runner I also look forward to how much easier it will feel the first few times I run outside in the cold.

Plus, Halloween is on it’s way and it’s always been my favorite holiday of the year.

But probably the best thing of all is that once it gets cold I won’t have to mow every single weekend.  Come on, you know that’s your favorite part of the season too!

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I looked through all of my old pictures and this crooked picture of a bridge (which gives me a bad case of vertigo) is the only one I could find that looked a bit like fall. It seems that Florida is really green all year round.  Which is great until you are looking for a picture that reminds you of fall…

Are you excited that the seasons are changing?  Are you looking forward to the holidays this year?

Mud Endeavor

This is an extremely late race review, Mud Endeavor Dade City was July 20th.  But it just so happens that was when I fell off the blogging wagon, and this race was too fun not to mention. Honestly it was long enough ago that I don’t remember all of the obstacles or the order, but I do remember it was a REALLY well put together run, well enough that I would be interested in any run Mud Endeavor puts together.

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This was the stickiest, muddiest run I’ve done so far.  There were a bunch of people who lost their shoes, some at the very beginning of the race. I was wearing my minimalist toe shoes and they lasted to almost the end of the race – then I got both feet stuck and couldn’t get them out of the mud.  I had to get them out without the shoes then pull the shoe out with my hands – and I thought for a couple of minutes they were lost.

As great as that is, it wasn’t what made the race so great.  I don’t know if all of the people working at the obstacles were volunteers or part of the crew but they were awesome and they made the race.

The obstacles had lots of options.  For example, we had to climb several HUGE walls with 2 by 4s to help you get up.  There were 4 places to go up, each with the 2 by 4s arranged in ways to make it easier or harder.  The people working at the obstacles actually gave advice on how which one to take, how to get through the obstacles, and cheered you on.  On top of that the water stations had tons of water and it was CLEAN which I’ve found isn’t always the case at these runs.

I ran this one with my sister. Here we are before and after, slight difference.

This is the first race I ever did that I was able to go up a rope.  I was super excited but in the interest of full disclosure it was only because of the guys helping people at the obstacle.  But I still had to put in enough effort that my arms were useless for a while afterwards – definitely something I would like to get better at.  You never know when being able to climb a rope may save you from zombies after all.

In spite of how proud I was to get up that rope, it wasn’t the hardest obstacle.  They had several, I think 3 layers of black tubes like the one in the picture below in a pyramid and you had to climb them.  The picture is of one at the park that is maybe a foot and a half wide.  The ones they had were so tall I could barely reach the top of the bottom pipe.  But what made it impossible is the fact that it had been raining the whole time, so they were insanely slippery.  Even the biggest of the guys were having a difficult time with this one.  I had to get a boost up.  Going down the other side took a leap of faith all in itself!

I think the final thing that made it so fun was that it was just me and my sister, and neither of us are strength rock stars.  There was a series of walls we had to get over were she gave me a boost and then I came back around and gave her a boost.

We had to be the biggest nerds on the whole course but I did every single obstacle and in this race that felt like a big deal!

Dreadmill? Hardly.

I have a treadmill my grandparents gave to me that I keep in the garage but I don’t use it as often as I thought I would. As most people will tell you it’s boring and since it’s in the garage it’s also super hot; running outside is more comfortable for the most part. I taped a poster of sharks in front of it to look at while running, but it still wasn’t the most exciting thing to do.  Then, it got stuck on the highest incline.  Then, it just stopped turning on.  Not good, but it didn’t matter too much since I so rarely used it.

However, I live in Florida, lightning capital of the universe. The weather will be great, I get dressed for a run, get my running watch on, get the headphones from my son to listen to Zombies, Run!, walk out the door, and a lightning storm starts.  Often. So when I had the chance to get a treadmill that works for $50 I didn’t turn it down.

This time I put it in my living room.  It faces the sliding glass door since it would have to be pretty much in the middle of the room to face the TV and I rarely watch TV anyways.  But it does sounds like a great thing to do while running! I can’t help but think I would run a lot further if my mind was more occupied.  Sometimes I quit running simply because I get bored.

So far that hasn’t happened.  I listen to music and Zombies, Run! and watch the numbers go up (calories, distance, things I don’t pay attention to like carbs, how do you burn a particular number of carbs?).  Somehow just zoning out, watching the numbers change and thinking about my form the time just flies.  Maybe it’s because I’m in air conditioning, maybe it’s because I’m not listening to see if something is following me, or maybe it’s just because it’s new again I just don’t get as bored or as tired as quick as usual.  I’m 100% certain air conditioning has a lot to do with it.

I still intend to run outside a lot but it’s nice to have an alternative on the nights filled with lightning.  Like tonight. I can see some major benefits to both running outside and inside.

Outside:

  • Running over pebbles and  the unknown makes me pay attention to my form and I think it improves my balance
  • It toughens up the bottom of my feet so I can run over different surfaces – I’d love to do more barefoot trail running!
  • Waving at my neighbors as I run by is the only contact I have with most of them
  • Passing the occasional armadillo or deer makes for a good story later
  • If I get tired of running I still have to get back home

Inside:

  • Air conditioning! 
  • I am running more often because the treadmill is right there and lightning is no excuse
  • It still strengthens the muscles in the feet

Long story short?  I don’t care which one is better I love having both options!

Lost that Blogging Feeling

I ‘m not sure why but it seems I lost all interest in all things computer over the last two months.  I stopped blogging, stopped participating in Twitter run/healthy something chats (the fact that I like motivational twitter chats is embarrassing yet true), even looking at Facebook or surfing the net.  I’d like to say it was because I did some get off the couch and get outside challenge, but if I had tried that you KNOW I’d be at the computer every day.  Actually it was probably more the fact that at work I comb through databases most of the day and just got tired of looking at computers and of thinking in general.

Whatever.  I am not the most consistent person or the best at convincing myself I should do things that I don’t wanna do (ya, that has to be said like a 3 year old would). 

I’ve always been kind of cyclical (sounds better than back and forth or irresolute). The same way I lost any desire to write about anything  I suddenly found it again.  I even signed up for a class, Stunt Writing for Personal Growth on Canvas Network.  Sounds kind of dangerous, it should be fun!

I haven’t tried a class on Canvas Network yet but they offer free and inexpensive online classes.  I found out about them when my sister asked me if I wanted to take Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead with her.  Um, yes.  Of course I want to take a class based on surviving a zombie apocalypse.  You know you’re signing up too. They have quite a few classes that look interesting but I’m going to wait to sign up for anything else until I find out whether I like these classes or not.

Well, I’m off to pick up my son.  I intend to be back soon but you know how that goes…