Monday, September 28, 2009

The Mound

Today was an ohhhhkay run.  The weather was great of course.  We ran out at Clinton Lake for the Trail Hawks beginners' run, although, there haven't been any beginners the past several weeks.  Nick and I met up with Jim Beiter at the Corps of Engineers trailhead at Clinton Lake.  Nick wanted to explore some section of trail we haven't run on, to scope out a course for a potential race in November.  We started out fast.  Too fast for me, but I kept up as best as I could.  I didn't realize how hilly the course ahead was going to be, but I should have guessed from the name, Saunder's Mound.  The trail was beautiful, albeit a bit jungly.  The grass was as tall as me on the sides.  Once we got to the top of the mound, we were graced with a beautiful view of the lake.  We decided to travel down a trail that traversed the other side of the mound, heading down toward the lake.  This section was especially jungly.  I ended up just walking down with my arms in front of my face to keep the grass and sunflowers from smacking me.  The trek paid off, because the trail ended at a narrow section of shoreline.  We briefly threw around the idea of having a race course run along this shore but all decided that it was too narrow and we didn't want people to fall in the lake.  We ran, or in my case ran/walked, back up the mound, and when we got back up noticed another fork of the trail that went down the east side of the mound and wrapped around to the north.  We hooked back up with the trail we came  out to the mound on and made our way back up the hill to the parking lot.  We'd only run about 1.5 miles at this point so we got back on the white trail to go out for a couple more miles.  Nick and I ended up doing about 3.5 overall.  My leggies were tired after the hills and the quick pace at the beginning, so I was ok with running less than usual.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Heart Fall

It's been a great week so far.  I think much of the greatness has been fueled by this amazing cool weather, marking the beginning of fall.  I don't know what it is about fall, but it puts me in a constant state of excitement.  I feel like running everywhere I go.  (I also feel like wearing plaid shirts, drinking hot apple cider and making pies.)  It's an amazing time for running.  You're not burdened by the heat and humidity of summer.  You're not ultra paranoid about ticks.  The spiders are starting to go away.  It's an amazing transition between the heaviness of summer and a different sort of heaviness that comes with winter.  It's light and floaty!  With winter comes the cold which is alright with me, but KS winters are sort of wet and fickle.  If you're not trudging through snow (heavy on the legs), you're trudging through mud leftover from melted snow (heavy on the legs), or you're running through mud and freezing rain (heavy on the legs and miserable).  If you're lucky, you'll run on a day that's just bitterly cold and the trail is frozen (not heavy on the legs, but hard on ankles).  In abrupt conclusion, I want to run!!!  Can't wait to run with the ladies tonight at Clinton Lake!

Running stats for the week:
Sunday - 3 around campus/downtown
Monday - 4.5 at Clinton Lake
Wednesday - 4.5 at Clinton Lake
Thursday - 4 at Clinton Lake?
Saturday - volunteering at Shoreline Shuffle and running after?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cool Run

I went for a nice run tonight at Clinton Lake with Nick and Levi.  It was cool and lightly raining.  Perfect for me.  I loved running in the mud, something I haven't experienced in months.  We ran 4.5mi?  Great night and great running companions.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I say no to the pain

We've all heard, "no pain, no gain."  But is it true, and if so, for whom?  I've always sort of operated with this in mind, at least with respect to running.  But as I've discovered, sometimes things get in the way of lofty training goals, like life.  So why, if for many people, running is supposed to be a form of recreation, do we still find it necessary to "push ourselves".  Well for the record, I believe it IS true that people can get large gains from pushing themselves hard, enduring physical and mental anguish.  But what is the benefit we get out of the effort?  A new PR?  Winning a race?  Completing a longer distance?  A brief period of elation due to an accomplishment followed by another long period of anguish building up to the next brief period of elation?  So I thought to myself, why can't I have both "no pain" and "gain" or at the very least "no pain".

I was thinking about this on my run around campus and downtown this morning.  My goal was to run whatever speed was comfortable, without chest pain or side cramps.  At one point, I couldn't find a speed slow enough, so I walked for a while.  After I began running again, I merged paths with another runner, a stocky 40-something woman.  My ego told me, "Surely you should be able to outrun her.  You're taller, skinnier, younger..."  I told my ego to shut the hell up.  For one thing, you can never judge a runner by appearances.  I once got my butt kicked by a woman who must have been 4'7".  And for another, I didn't wanna go messing with something that wasn't broken.  I felt fine at the pace I was already maintaining.

So now the question is, will my running improve if I use this approach?  I believe the answer is yes.  As with anything, we improve with practice.  I might not see the big gains I would get from pushing myself harder, but like I said in the last blog, I don't want running to be a job for me.  It's gotta be fun.  It's my hobby.  Yes, I'll forgo the excitement of a big achievement to just be content if it means I also forgo the emotional and physical lows.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Long Time No Blog

I'm back people! Hasn't been much to talk about lately as I haven't been running much, but I'm back into it. At least I'm trying to be, when I'm not swamped in homework. I went through a running funk for a while. Battled being busy with school, sickness, probably some other excuses too. All of these hurdles, of course, set my running way back from where I wanted it to be. I was training for a 50 miler, which I didn't end up doing, because I was under-trained. The summer pretty much consisted of me being bitter about running and my inadequacies with respect to it. I think I'm finally clawing my way out of it. I know my life is gonna be pretty busy until I'm done with grad school and I know sometimes I'm gonna be sick and won't be able to run as much as I want. So my goal is...not to set goals for myself. I'm not training for any races. I'm not setting a weekly mileage goal for myself. I'm gonna run when I have time. I feel so much better about running when I don't feel controlled by it. It's not a job for me anymore.

Recent running log:

3ish mi Sunday - ran around campus, then through downtown, then home
2.5-3ish mi Monday - ran Clinton Lake in huaraches with Nick and Levi (Levi went farther), fun, feet were a little tender after but feel great now, Nick said it was 2.5 but the Garmin is always short on trails
4.5 mi Wednesday - Clinton Lake with Christy and Rachel, the guys (Nick, Gary, Levi, James) got ahead of us (me, but Christy and Rachel hung around) pretty early, great run and fun dinner after
4 mi Thursday? - Gal Gallop tonight at Clinton Lake