Thursday, September 27, 2007

My very wise uncle once told me “Emily, never challenge worse” probably while helping me with integrals in calc 2. He also told me never to drink and derive, but that is another story altogether. Tonight I set out to run 5 miles, but my heart just wasn’t in it. It was enjoyable to be outside getting some exercise and the weather was really nice. NOTICE: this story is about to get a tad personal and please excuse my potty mouth. After about 1 mile I really had to go to the bathroom. The nearest ones were about 2.5 miles away. The faster I ran the more I had to go. It was uncomfortable. My heart was tired. I barely made it in time; I mean the bushes were starting to look good, but I thought if people have to pick up after their dogs I suppose I would have to pick up after myself so I tried to think of other things. Ok. Continue running. Still no groove. I started thinking about how Stella got her groove back, but I have never seen anyone who looked remotely like Taye Diggs running around Lake Calhoun. But if I did see him, I think I could run pretty fast after him! So that plan was out anyway. I walked for a bit. (a bit = .15 miles) The Rocky theme came on my iPod and I was off running again. I managed to finish 4.8 miles and was even starting to pick up the pace. But like I said earlier, I must have been tired because my heart was tired. I could just feel it. It was sluggish and didn’t feel like it was keeping up with the rest of my body. I still had at least half a mile to walk home so I didn’t feel bad about not completing 5. Ha! If only I had know. I thought the run was bad. I thought that I was slow and sluggish and hungry but I finished and things couldn’t get any worse now because I was done. When you say things can’t get worse, Worse takes it personally and says “Oh my child, let me show you just how worse it can get”.

First it was sprinkling then it was raining then it was pouring. I started at a full on sprint uphill mind you just to get as close to home as I could. I finally had to take refuge with a biker gang under the canopy of a Super America gas station. Sweat was burning in my eyes as the rain washed it down my face making it impossible to see. I waited there just long enough for my body to cool down and get really cold. When I thought it had let up enough I took off running for the last 3 blocks of home. Turns out it was still raining pretty hard and I was soaked. My shoes were soaking and my feet were sliding around which was no comfort for my already blistered feet. I was shivering and dripping wet by the time I got home. Nothing a hot shower and some Chinese food couldn’t fix. There is something to be said for skipping a run if it is starting to rain. I thought that was just a tired excuse. Most of the time it is I guess, but sometimes you really don’t want to be out there.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Cheese Stands Alone

Three green and speckled frogs, sitting on a speckled log, eating some most delicious bugs. One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool then there were two green speckled frogs. Two green and speckled frog sitting on a specked log, eating some most delicious bugs. One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool then there was one green speckled frog.

Three of us graduated from college and now two have moved away. When the first one went we had one 'last hurrah' after another. In the last hours before the second one left we laughed and joked right up to the end. Neither seemed permanent. There is no goodbye amongst friends.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Book Club

No, I am not joining a book club. But if I did this is the book I would choose and the report I would give. My boyfriend's mom lent me a book she just bought but hadn't read yet. It is called Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I quickly dismissed this book as one I was not interested in because it is a nonfiction book about a divorcee's journey to find herself in 3 countries. I could not have understated the greatness of this book anymore. I totally just oversimplified all that is so fascinating about this book by summing it up in the one sentence above. It is so good (and I'm only on page 40) that there is no way for me to attempt to address and explain all that I find so enjoyable about it. I will try a little harder in a minute though. I also dismissed it because one of the countries she visits is India. I don't like Indian food, don't know much about the culture and have absolutely no interest in learning anything about it. Very ignorant of me I am beginning to realize as I just wrote that last sentence. Anyway, the introduction got me. She started talking math and I had to respect anyone who respect the laws and the beauty of mathematics. How can you not love math with all it's balance and possibilities??? Don't let that scare you though, it's not a major deal just an explanation of the layout of the book.

I think that books are good for the same reasons that comedians are funny. Ever heard anybody say "It's funny because it's true". Nothing is funnier than the truth sometimes because we can all identify with it. I think the same can be true for literature. Already, as a woman, I can identify with so much of what the author is writing about even though I have never traveled internationally nor ever been through a divorce. Even if some of her experiences are at extreme ends of the spectrum we can all identify with feelings and emotions, confusion and questions, happiness and wonder that she goes through on some level or another. It's good because it's true. To some degree we all feel like that sometimes.

The last thing I really enjoy about this book is that I started reading the introduction out loud to my boyfriend on our way back from Iowa. Then I kept reading and we have shared every word thus far and even stopped and shared thoughts about the book and about our lives after every chapter (sometime in between chapters). We have decided to read the whole thing together and to continue the shared enjoyment of the book. I think I like this part best of all. The new topics of conversations it is evoking between us and the learning that we can do from all the good that the other possesses makes me happy. It makes me feel blessed.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mental Illness Part II

The schedule called for 6. I did it. 6.2 actually. And it was the fastest 10K ever! I was the fastest one in the whole run today. So what if I was the only one. I beat 3 months ago me. She was slow. 1:04:41 was the time. It was a good run. My shoes felt good. The blister I have been tying to baby started to rub pretty badly around mile 2 and I had to compensate by changing my stride. This made the outer part of my leg between my knee and ankle ache until I got used to it and the muscle warmed up. I was breathing well. I had a cramp in my right side. That subsided only when the hunger pains started at around 4.5 miles. Water is not very filling. Nor does it add much energy to your body. Who knew? I kept drinking water though, hoping it would fill some of the void. No luck. My stomach was like "Yeah - she's putting something in the mouth....wait for it.....wait for....WHAT THE HELL! This is just water! I've been trixied!!!" The weather was perfect. There were about 20 -30 mph gusts of wind from, I think, every direction I was running. So yeah. The run was great. No sarcasm. So much of running is just a mind game you play with yourself. I had a great run despite some minor setbacks. Sometimes those 'minor' setbacks are impossible mountains to climb with no end in sight. On a good day you can appretiate them for the endurance and strength they build in you. Oh, and I would like to personally thank Janis Joplin singing "Take Another Little Piece of My Heart" for getting me through mile 4.

On top of the record land speed I did the drop and give me 10 strategy at miles 4, 5 and 6. It's not that I so much want to do this or need the break, but I'm already doing something which is difficult for me, if I add a challenge the regular 6 miles seems like a break.

Master of the Toast

Friday is a good day. It began with a new interest. At 7:15 I attended a Toastmasters meeting. Toastmasters is an organization for folks who want to improve on their public speaking skill or get more comfortable speaking to an audience. I think this is something that could give me a edge in the workforce or at least help me present myself better in meetings. I generally feel fine speaking in front of people, but also feel there are areas I can use some practice and feedback. The meetings are at 7:15 every Friday. It requires I be 45 minutes late to work but my boss is ok with that. The meeting followed a very rigid agenda which I thought cheezy at first but quickly realized that with repetition comes habit. The habits being formed were to become at ease with your audience, be respectful, and to stay on task. With every change in the floor leader, each new speaker (and there were several of them) would stand and begin by addressing the Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and Honored Guest Emily (that's me). You get used to it. Oh and at the end you have to pay a nickel for every ah, um and hesitation in speech. I wonder how much a swear words costs there? This is going to be a good thing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mental Illness

The schedule called for 6. I went 3.5. What can I say? I didn't feel it. It was raining. Not the "I enjoy horseback riding on the beach, running in the rain, and cuddling" kind of raining, but "Oh no! It's raining. HARD!" An outside run was out of the question for me. So I went to the gym and eeked out a measly 3.5 in probably 45 minutes or so. Mentally, I just wasn't with it. I think I can list some reasons why my head wasn't in the game today, but don't really want to get into it. The last two weeks have been great as far as running is concerned. For that reason I am not letting tonight's run get me down. So what if I had a bad run. Doesn't mean the next one is going to be bad. Doesn't mean my training is compromised. It means I had A (ONE) bad run. Now that I have accepted responsibility for my actions I also have a few excuses about why I wasn't with it:
  • I was too full from supper
  • It was H-O-T upstairs in the gym
  • I wore bad shorts
  • It was H-O-T
  • And finally, it was hot. I was sweating from my nose. Do you even have sweat glands on your nose??

Mind Games: "I can't work under these conditions! Where's Murray my manager!!!! Murry!!! Explain to my friends and family why I quit. It's like the Amazon rain forest in here. Lance Armstrong wouldn't put up with these conditions! How can I be expected to achieve with less than perfect conditions."

And if we thought like that all the time, nothing would get accomplished. Thank goodness it was just one run.

In other news, belly dancing has moved from the hopper to the schedule. Starting next Tuesday I will be learning the ancient art of middle eastern dance. I don't really know if it is ancient or not. I made that part up. I do know that it requires a lot of stomach muscles even if they don't show through the fat. This is the perfect art for me!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bonus Post

Thought: What if I told you there is a person I have never met and never will meet, but I can't get enough of their life. I want to know what they do everyday, where they are from, what they have planned for the future.... Is that creepy? Am I a stalker? Nope - just an avid blog reader. I guess it's a personal morality issue that I will have to struggle with my entire existance.

And I'm over it. Blogs are motivating and inspirational. Not to mention a good way to stay in touch with friends and hone your creative writing skills. I'm for 'em.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Running Recap

The Beginnings of a Runner
One day during the summer of 2005 I decided I wanted to become a runner, so I started to run. At the end of September that year, friends from work and I ran 2 miles one Friday afternoon as part of Wellness Week at work. And by ran I mean ran, struggled,walked and eventually jogged across the finish line. I was rough! In my defense we were hung over, but still it would have been a challenge. Shortly there after I decided that if I was going to be a runner I needed a goal. Two fiends and I started training for the 2006 Bolder Boulder 10K.

Race History
My first 5K was a practice race for the Bolder Boulder. It was the Colon Cancer 5k. I finished in 35:18. I thought it was amazing. I just ran 3.1 miles!!! The accomplishment fueled my motivation. The Bolder Boulder was so much fun. Just an amazing race. I would recommend it to anyone interested in a fun 10K. There were so many people clapping for me. Well me and the other 50,000 runners. But when you run into the Boulder CU stadium you feel like you are a true athlete. The stands are filled and it seems like people are on their feet just for you. I ran that race the entire way with my dad. I cried when I crossed the finish line because it is something I never thought that I could do. Ever. In high school when we had to run the mile for the Presidential fitness test, I was the girl who took so long they would say "Ok - time's up. Just come on back". It was one of the best feelings of my life.

To Date
In between May 2006 and today, I have run several 5ks, the 2007 Bolder Boulder and many miles in between. There were times when I had to train back up to just make 3 miles, and times when I was knocking seconds off my 5K times. Today I am training for the Twin Cities 10 Mile. So far this has been the most enjoyable, most rewarding training session of my running career. I just finished my my second 10-miler and there are 3 weeks to race day. I regret not starting this blog earlier because I have had some runs where I felt so beat up afterwards, so broken down, but so amazing because I just pushed my body to its limits, that I would have liked to record those feelings. Maybe I'll have to type some historical recaps later on.

Today is Monday. Tomorrow I run 6 miles. I can't wait. Did those words seriously just come out of my mouth? Getting to this point has taken a year and a half. I have never felt about running the way I do now. The runs are still a challange but my attitude now is more like "bring it on".