Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Revelations From A Fellow Blogger

Since I've been so heinously terrible about blogging, I'll leave you with a link to someone else's blog post. My pal Rob sent this to me today and it cracked me up.


Definitely read the whole post for a good laugh (beware PG-13 language, Mom), but here are his 4 revelations:

4.  It's not an all or nothing scenario
3.  The clothes actually do something
2.  Runners aren't all lying scumbags
1.  It's true: bodies actually are capable of improvement

I love his references to my favorite scapegoat, gym teachers. Oh, and realizing the joy of finding the perfect running socks.

I also think I enjoyed this so much because, not only have I gone through my own revelations (these 4 included), but I can see that it's the revelations that matter so much in the journey to calling yourself a runner. I've watched some of my friends start and stop, start and continue, start and proceed to fall in love with running. Their success was dependent upon the "a ha" moments. The little victories early on.

Something has to click. It doesn't have to be an Earth-shattering moment, but something little. My important click/revelation was, "Hey, I can do this without dying."

What was your revelation, "a ha" moment or click?


Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Thoughts

Thought One:
Being an adult means having this for dinner at 8:20 p.m. And being okay with it.


Mystery bagel from the freezer (with cream cheese, of course), cucumber slices and pita wedges, and tzatziki to dip them in.

Thought Two:
I found my hamstrings. They were at the gym hiding in the Group Power class. They are clearly happy to be back with me because they're dancing around under my skin right now. I'm thinking they're going to regret all this partying tomorrow and they're going to whine and cry about it all day. I might have to introduce them to my disciplinarian friend, Captain Biofreeze, tonight to help keep them in line.

That is all. Do you have any thoughts to share with the class?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How To Make Staying Active More Difficult

Ten easy steps to making it more difficult to stay active

Steps 1 - 10:
Buy a Wii

Wheeeee! A Wii!


After years of longing and pining and coveting and making responsible financial decisions (right), I finally broke down and did it. I've upgraded from my Sega Genesis. 

Sega Genesis. Yes, I still have it. Yes, it still works perfectly (only child, remember). And yes, it's still awesome.


Minesweeper, the devil.
On a whim last night, after playing Minesweeper on my iPhone for a good half hour (man I'm lame), I got up and went to Best Buy, then Walmart, then back to Best Buy (checking my options) and purchased a Wii. This was at 9 p.m., mind you. I got home, put it together and played until nearly midnight.

Talk about a wild and crazy Saturday night. And, being "fall back" night, it was the longest party night of the year, to boot. I live the fabulous life, obviously.

And thus beginneth the struggle between sitting on my couch playing the New Super Mario Bros and getting off my butt to go to the gym.

New Super Mario Bros. for Wiiiiii!


There's good news though! I tried a step aerobics class this morning at the new gym and ...

IT ... WAS ... FAAAAAH-BULOUS!

I loved it! I loved the music. The instructor was really good. My muscles seemed to remember many of the standard moves from the 10-ish months I spent taking step aerobics at the gym I belonged to before this running business started. And I had F-U-N, fun! I was doing better than some of the folks in the class that had clearly been there a few times. Woot!

Here's a Reebok step just like the ones we use in class. This one has two risers (purple things) under it.


Here's the cool part. I started with just the step (the green part of the picture above) because that's what I used when I took the classes previously. I once tried to use a set of purple risers, but had to remove them halfway through the class. The step alone was pretty intense for me then. And since I hadn't taken a step class in so long, I figured I should get my groove back in the easiest way possible. 

Good choices on my part.

But guess what. From the time I took my last step class till this morning, apparently I've gotten much fitter! Hot damn, running works!

The single step was SUPER easy for me. I was able to regulate my breath so easily, my legs felt really good (they were getting a workout, but certainly not a difficult one), and I know that I could have done the class with a set of risers underneath the step. 

Besides the whole "I used to only be able to run 60 seconds at a time--if that--and now I can run for 10, 15, 20 minutes straight" thing, this has been the most obvious sign of my growth and success over the last, oh, 20 months.

I'm friggin' fit, y'all!

Okay, clearly I'm not as fit as I need to be in order to be a healthy individual, but dude, that's a huge deal! I can SEE this. I can FEEL this. I remember what it was like before and I have seen what it's like after.

Yes, losing 40 pounds (and then putting another 8 back on in the last few months) is a big measurement success, and seeing the different sized clothes in my closet helps me see the before and after, but nothing has been as blatantly obvious to me as today's experience in that step class. Having stopped taking class and starting it again--that's how I can see success.

I know I can't just do step class though. I'm starting to feel at home at the gym. I'm still too intimidated to lift weights with the meatheads though. I know what I'm doing, but those dudes are just--ugh. And the hardcore chicks are intimidating too. I'm giving myself time to get into a groove, to establish habits, and then I'll make my way to the weights. But the treadmill in the "cardio cinema" is great, and the classes are promising (I might even try spinning). 

The battle this winter between the Wii and the gym should be pretty epic. I'm relying on you all to remind me that there is a life outside of my apartment.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Treadmill Fun?

I just did a 35 minute session on the treadmill and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Eh?
Come again?
Please? (Outside of Cincinnati this translates roughly to "come again?")
Come again?

That's right, I said it.

Have I mentioned I joined a gym? And by "joined" I mean "chose to participate in a no-commitment month-to-month plan." Well, I did.

More on all that some other time. Just wanted to announce that crazy "fun on a treadmill" news.

Whoa.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ketchup Blog

I'm way behind on blogging so I'm just going to catch up with a list. (Read the list and you'll be rewarded with pictures at the end.)

  • My third grade teacher, Mrs. Chalk, didn't like ketchup. So if our class needed a "catch-up day" (ketchup day) she liked to call it mayonnaise day.
  • Apparently, I can't spell mayonnaise without help from my computer.
  • Seeing a pattern here ... this might not be such a succinct list after all, given my easily-distracted mood this evening. Ooh shiny ...
  • I'm running a 5K this Friday ... in a Halloween costume. It's the Cincinnati Run Like Hell.
  • It's my friend, Mr. PurulentSmile's first 5K and I'm uber excited for him. He's going to murder it. 
  • Sarah is running it too! Yay!
  • If you're in a donating mood, please consider using my friend Leslie's donation page for the Run Like Hell 5K, which benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Here's the link to her page. She's $160 away from her $500 goal. Oh, and her team (which I'm a part of) is called Marissa's Miracle, named after her daughter. Read Marissa's story on the page I linked above.
  • My costume is almost ready. I'm taking two yards of tulle (the stuff that goes under tutus) to work tomorrow to get help from my crafty coworkers. I'm not crafty. Have I mentioned that? Then I'm getting a bunch of latex gloves from my cousin Thursday. (Have you figured it out yet? I'm guessing no. Hehe...)
  • Tonight I met Caitlin for my last run of the week before the 5K. It went terribly for me.
  • Here's when you know you have a great running buddy: Caitlin looked at me when tonight's run was over and said, "I was hoping you'd have a bad run tonight." Errr...thanks?  =)
  • What Caitlin did was reiterate some advice I gave her a few weeks ago when she ran a 5K and met all of her goals (no puking, no walking, finish in under 40 minutes). She had a bad workout that week and was a little discouraged. I told her it was good because she got the bad run out of her system. See, bad runs usually travel alone. One and done ... for a little while. That one bad run could be REALLY bad and could REALLY discourage you, but it's only going to happen once...unless you let it defeat you.
  • Speaking of the 5K Caitlin did, it was the day after my 30th birthday celebration, so I opted out. (recovery ... whew) But I did go to the run as a spectator, which I love. It was a beautiful day and I had the pleasure of bopping around the course with a fancy-pants camera dangling around my neck to play paparazzi for Caitlin. Super...super...FUN! Pictures below!
  • I love that Caitlin wished a bad run on me. Punk.
  • Caitlin is kicking my a$$ in running, more and more every time I see her. We tried speed intervals not too long ago. I failed miserably. She busted butt. And she may not realize it, but that one speed workout has kicked her normal running speed up a notch or three.
  • In fact, everyone is kicking my a$$ in running. I'm slowing down. I'm not working out as much as I'd like, I've gained a little weight, and I'm just not improving my speed. I could work harder at this.
  • I need to return to the land of losing weight. I've noticed a difference in the amount of effort required now versus when I was 6 pounds lighter.
  • It's getting cold and dark out. I hate standard time. Seriously, someone give me a good reason why we should ever NOT be in daylight saving time. There is NO good reason. It should be all year round.
  • Cold + Dark + Gaining Weight + Boredom Sneaking In = I'm joining a gym. Probably tomorrow after work. The gym down the street has some pretty good annual plans, but better yet, they have EXTREMELY reasonable month-to-month plans. I'm going to try to make nice with the dreadmills (read about my first treadmill experience here). I'm also going to take a body pump class. Basically synchronized lifting with a room full of people.
  • I am extremely proud of my two running buddies. They're doing such a fabulous job and, as I've said, are completely annihilating me in terms of running ability and improvement.
  • I can't spell annihilating either.
  • I'm getting to be a very delinquent blogger, so please follow me on Twitter if you're the Twitter type. If you're not the Twitter type, my tweets show up on the right hand side of my blog page. I'm trying to improve the frequency of my posts there to compensate for my poor blogging habits. Plus, I often re-tweet or quote some really useful and insightful tweets from Runner's World, Women's Health, Eat This Not That, and other Twitter resources.
  • This is a mighty long list, but I think I'm finished for now.
  • This is my first blog post as a thirty-something!
And now pictures...
These are from the Warrior Run.

Caitlin before the race started.

At the start line. (Caitlin is in pink.)

At mile 1. This was the prettiest race course ever. Through a super cute neighborhood with fall leaves everywhere. =)

Finish line! (Caitlin isn't there quite yet.)

There she is! She had to elbow and shove her way through a pack of walkers. Atta girl!

Caitlin's cheering section. Her husband Jesse (pointing toward their hidden child in the stroller, Emalynn). To the left in the red plaid is Jesse's brother Jason. To the left again, creeping over Jason's shoulder, is Kevin, Caitlin's twin brother.

The paparazzi!

And here's a collage of pics from my 30th birthday party. I didn't party like a rockstar as I intended (due in large part to me going "too big, too fast," if you catch my drift. But I got to see most of my most favorite people in the world, no exaggeration here! Thank you for celebrating with me, peeps. Love you all!

Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Roaring Twenties

Tonight I said goodbye to running in my 20s, and I did it with a roar!

Caitlin (and Emalynn) and I pounded out 3 miles on the Little Miami Trail this evening. For some reason, a little less than a mile in, I felt like I wanted to kick it up a bit. And boy howdy did I! I feel like I felt a new stride or something. Could be the new shoes. Could be the perfect running weather. Could be that I was wearing pants instead of shorts and my leg muscles stayed nice and warm. Could be that I was just feeling like getting one last good run in before my 20s are over.

My 30th birthday is Friday and for once I'm thrilled to celebrating my birthday. That's not usually how I roll. Not a big birthday gal. It's not about getting older; I just don't like the forced attention and all that jazz. But last year I vowed that I was doing my 30th "the right way," and that I am. Big party! Woot!

So, farewell my dear 20s. You're the decade that taught me who I am, taught me what's important to me, brought me to my career, and taught me to love running! Cheers to you!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pumped Up Kicks

I got new shoes!!!

Definitely unplanned, total fluke. I had to return a pair of shoes to DSW for my mom and, since I had used a $5 off birthday coupon for the previous purchase, the associate there convinced me to look around so I didn't lose the coupon.

So, straight back to the clearance section I went.

"10 & up" women's shoes? No luck.

"10 & up" men's? Score! The first thing I saw was the exact shoe I've been running in for more than a year now. Mizunos Wave Inspire or some jazz. I was tickled pink at the prospect of getting the same shoes since I know they worked.

Oh, but what's this? There are other running shoes on clearance? Hmmm...

Oooh, black with red? Do they fit? Yep! Are they squishy? Yep! Bounce, bounce ... Run a few steps ... Play with the laces ... Up on my toes ... Look in the mirror.

I liked. I bought. Yay clearance!



Saucony Shadow Genesis


Oh and here's a sampling of the plus-sized activewear section at JCPenney:



Velour track suits, baby!

To give JCPenney credit, they do have a pretty great selection of functional activewear for fluffy women. They even had a track jacket with thumb holes! (ooooooh! aahhhhhh!)



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pounding The Cheez-Its Trail

Brrrr! It's cold out! I actually had to consider how much clothing to put on before running today. Haven't done that in a while. In case you're on the edge of your seat wondering, for the 50-ish degree temps this early afternoon, I opted for shorts and a long sleeved tshirt over my trusty stretchy, "compression" short-sleeved undershirt. Ah, I love that thing! It's so snug and cozy. And as much as I've complained about summer being over, it was nice to get geared up for a run instead of just thinking about how I'm going to avoid heat stroke.

Today I opted for another trip to Lunken for a Week 1 Bridge to 10K run, and I dragged my mom along with me (she walked, of course). I started at the southern end of the loop so I didn't have to worry about the short, crazy-steep hill midway through the run.

Good choice, Becks.

As my elementary and high school classmate (and running guru), Liz, says, Lunken is pancake flat. And that was just what I needed after my shin-wrecking runs of the past two weeks. No shin pain today!

My favorite part of today's run had to be during the second and third legs of my W1 workout. (For those familiar with the course, this was back on the part that runs parallel with Kellogg and then along some of the long backstretch.)

As I was staring at the ground (not the most healthy posture) and pounding away, I started to notice Cheez-Its. At first I thought it would be funny if these few Cheez-Its turned into some kind of "breadcrumb" trail. Then of course I started dreaming up the image of a runner with a baggie of snacks in his pocket. Or maybe a snot-nosed sweet little spawn of satan  toddler, screeching giggling and throwing snacks out of her stroller while her mom pushed her along on her workout.

Dontchya just love kids?

Well, in this case I do love kids, because the daydreaming kept my mind off my running for a little bit. The Cheez-It trail continued for probably about a half-mile, each one deposited maybe 50-100 feet from the other. And only one at a time. Finally, I reached the smashed Cheez-It, marking the end of the trail and, coincidentally, the almost-end of the "out" portion of my out-and-back path.

By the end of my run, I was wobbly-kneed but not dizzy, and I had cycled from freezing to frying and back to freezing again. My ears hurt from the wind and I was prepared for the upcoming nose-dive my body temperature was about to take.

Fortunately, my mom finished her walk just a smidge before me and popped over to the farmer's market next door to buy us an apple a piece. Yum! Then, as is becoming an unfortunate habit of mine following an Armleder or Lunken weekend workout, I stopped at Big Apple Bagels and got an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese. O-M-G. So good.

So, that's that! Good run.

In Run Like Hell news, the former coworker has officially registered for his very first 5K. I'm so stinkin' excited for him! And I'm excited about the event in general.

I picked up a few pieces to my costume yesterday. I'm actually excited about a costume for once in a very long time. I usually despise costumes. My typical explanation of those feelings goes something like this: "I have a hard enough time feeling comfortable in everyday clothes. How can you expect me to be remotely comfortable in a costume?" But, seeing as how this is a running event and everyone will be nasty and sweaty, I can definitely get on board.

PS, are you following me on Twitter yet? If not, I don't blame you.  =)  Nah, I'm actually trying to keep up with posting, including a few reposts of some great articles and quotes from the pages I follow. So, there's an option for you. My Twitter info is somewhere on that ---> side of the page. @MTLRunning

Later!  (feel free to point out typos ... I totally ran out of time to proofread)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Does Icing Your Shins Help?

In a word, yes.

In two words, hell yes.

Proof?

The past few times I've run hills, including Five Mile Trail, I've come home and iced my shins. They felt great. No recovery pain.

Yesterday I ran Five Mile Trail and didn't ice my shins. Today, ouuuucccchhhh!!!

To be fair, I think there's some other stuff going on. Last week I returned to Woodland Mound and started my run downhill. Bad plan. I also didn't ice after that. Bad plan again.

Repetitive running on un-iced and potentially strained shins? Smart.

And I think I need new shoes. Apparently that's one of the leading causes of shin splints. I may be able to do that soon-ish. I'll let you know. :)

What should I do? Probably rest. But I don't wanna! It's perfect running weather and I want to feel good about the Run Like Hell at the end of October.

So I'm going to compromise. Flat trails only this week. And some ice and vigorous post-run shin-rubbing.

Goodness, you know they're bad when you wake up with them, amiright?

Toodles!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, September 26, 2011

Un-Skinny Bob Bop Bop Bop!

Really, this post has nothing to do with that amazing song by the boys of Poison, but it came on the radio on my drive home today and made me laugh. You bet your butt I cranked the volume and sang right along.

Here's the video, in case any of you want to listen and read at the same time:




It's amazing how a good commute home can put you in a good place for an evening run and how a bad commute does just the opposite. (That's what happened to me last week. AWFUL!) Today's ... pretty good.

This un-skinny bop ran a B210K Week 1 workout yesterday at Lunken and it went very well. (Here's an old blog about Lunken, including pics and a lot of complaining.) Aside from not being able to run up or down the super steep and super short hill (probably about 50 feet long but a serious altitude change), I completed the workout as it was written.

Since this evening's weather was so nice, and since I can't run tomorrow, I decided to go out again. I tackled the Five Mile Trail and turned on another B210K Week 1 workout, thinking ahead of time that I might not be able to finish it, but I'd try anyway. You've gotta know your body and your capabilities, right? I knew I was tired from yesterday and I knew that my shins have been a bit testy lately (more like pesky little bastards, actually).

Well, I was spot on. I did the first two sets fully (run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute, repeat), including my start up the top third of the monster hill. I was really hurting by the time I got through those sets. (My shins are hurting like they did when I first started this running business.) So I took a longer walk, then ran a little, then decided to take advantage of a handrail and stopped to stretch my legs and do a little limb shaking. It helped a bit!

I followed the plan for most of the third set, and only part of the fourth and final set. I feel totally fine about it though. I got a workout. I was sweaty. And surprisingly, according to the ever accurate (right...) GPS feature of my B210K app, I did it all at the same pace as my run yesterday. Must be the downhills.

Anyway, as you've been reading, the Run Like Hell is coming up. I'm flipping excited! My friend Sarah decided to join in the fun. I think she's more excited about the opportunity to re-use her amazing Halloween costume from a year or two ago. Here's a hint ...

Image from Amazon.

Regardless, I'm so happy to be running with my Flying Pig partner and with one of my biggest running supporters and former coworker. Oh yeah, and I'm excited about the party after. There are always festivities after runs, but I feel like I'm always rushed away for some reason, either by my own doing or otherwise.

Well, that's all I've got for the evening. Thanks for reading and thanks for hanging with me during this blog dry spell.  =)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Run Like Hell Fundraising

 Good evening, folks!

I promised you more information on the Cincinnati Run Like Hell 5K, and here it is!

I just officially registered for the race and am a part of team Marissa's Miracle. Marissa is Leslie's infant/toddler-ish daughter (I'm really good with babies and stuff, clearly). You can read all about them on Leslie's page here.

I've known Leslie since I was in 9th grade. We were in youth group together. She's a lovely person, so I know this is a great cause. 
One of the best parts of this race is that it's a Halloween run. That means COSTUMES! I had this fabulous costume all planned out based on one of the costume categories. But now they've changed the category a bit and my costume is just silly without a theme. So, unless there's a typo on the website this week and the category was unintentionally changed, it's back to the costume drawing board for me. I will DEFINITELY post pictures.

Another great part? I'm getting to run it with a two of my good friends! (And it's a first race for one of them.) Yay!

So, if you feel moved to donate to the cause, here's a link to my Run Like Hell (Cystic Fibrosis) fundraising page: click here 

Thanks so much! Check back for updates on the run!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Back On A Program To Run Like Hell

Oh, I suppose I am long overdue for an update on actual running, huh? I was just sitting here thinking about how I desperately need to redesign my blog page, but feeling completely overwhelmed by the thought of committing to something. (If any of you have any interest in designing a layout for me, let's chat.)

So, what's been going on?

Well, I feel like I'm back on the horse and loving it, that's what. I rediscovered the joy of being back on a program instead of the "let's see how far I can go" plan. I decided to give Bridge to 10K (B210K) another go, and I friggin' love it. (Click here to read about my first foray into B210K.)

Here's a little refresher on B210K:

Table snapshot from Bridge to 10K site. Click on it to make it bigger.

I've completed Week 1 once, plus one abbreviated day (half of one of the days of W1). I attempted W2D1 earlier this week, but I'm not quite ready for it (I only got through 2 of the 3 rounds).

Despite realizing I couldn't complete W2, I feel great! It didn't phase me at all that I couldn't finish it; I just planned to get back to W1 next time. Ah, I've missed the joys of workout checklists! I just can't believe I went so long without using one of my handy "tell you what to do" apps. No wonder I was in a slump for so long. 

OK, so there's a slight chance the change in weather could have something to do with it. And I'm not obsessing over a book at the moment. And I have a bit of pressure to run at least two weeknights out of the week since I'm helping a coworker get on the running train. (BTW, said coworker even got her mom to join her for W2D1 of Couch to 5K yesterday. Woohoo!) 

The stars are just aligned at the moment.

Which leads me to my next update ...

I'll be running a race I've always wanted to do! One of my favorite newbie runners (I believe he started very shortly after me) has finally committed to running a 5K, and he's chosen the Cincinnati Run Like Hell! And I'm totally joining him. Yay for running at night through the ghetto and a cemetery, and yay for Halloween runs! 

Image from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation site.


I believe I'll be joining the "team" an old friend of mine created in her toddler daughter's name, just to raise awareness. (There will be a website involved with opportunities to donate how you see fit, but no pressure. More on that later.)

And I think I already have a costume idea, but I'm not committing to it until I find the supplies to make it happen. As if running in running clothes isn't difficult enough ...

So, there's that.

On an entirely different note, here's a funny-to-me story ...

I got into a little verbal kerfuffle at the gas station earlier this week because of a moron driver impolite driving behaviors. Wouldn't you know, the jerkface tailgater fella with whom I was kerfuffle-ing thought it would be a good idea to pick on my by way of a certain magnet on the back of my car.

The magnet on the back of my car. Image borrowed from here.

Big stupid dummy Silly boy shouted, "You're a little big to have a 13.1 sticker on your car, aren't you?"

Heh heh ...

I'm going to pretend the kerfuffle ended there. Let's just say I don't take insults as sheepishly as I did when I was a child. Or heck, as sheepishly as I did a few years ago.   (evil grin)

So yay for running! Get to it, folks! This is the BEST time of year to run and there's NO time like NOW to get started.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tweet!

Since I'm failing epically at posting lately, I've decided to create a MoreToLoveRunning Twitter account! 

Tweet!
  
Do I know what to do with it? Not really, but I'm gonna try, darn it!

If you're viewing this entry from my site (instead of a reader), the Follow Me link/picture is over there --> 
below my bio and followers. Otherwise, go to www.twitter.com/mtlrunning to follow the exciting life of an overweight runner. 

Wheee!

Coming soon (assuming I figure out how to do it and what exactly to do with it): Facebook!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Special Post: 9/11 Tribute From The Past

This post has nothing to do with running. Apologies.

But I believe we're all united today in our remembrance of where we were 10 years ago when the U.S. experienced the terror of September 11, 2001. My Facebook friends are posting accounts of what they were doing and how they felt. I did this several years ago in a feature writing class at Xavier. To this day, it's one of my favorite pieces because it immediately takes me back to the day.
Today, I'm a much more emotional person that I was a few years ago when I wrote this. Funny how life does that. Anyway, I teared up several times this morning while watching the memorial and I'm currently glued to the "10 years later" special on CBS. Ten years ago, that wouldn't have happened, as you'll read in this story. Things are different now. Ten years of experience, joys and sorrows, loss, fear, elation and triumph. But -- while documentaries and other people's stories will help me remember the horror of the day -- thanks to this essay, I'll remember how I felt.

So, as usual, this written work is Copyright 2011 MoreToLoveRunning, so don't steal it.

Tuesday Morning Pigeons

I can honestly say that the strangest part of that day was waking up to the sound of bells wafting through the open window of my dorm room.  It was at that time of the morning—when your ears are awake before other parts of your body begins to come alive—when I knew that day was going to be exceptional.

The tragic events happening on the east coast were in no way reflected in the early morning hours on the small, rural campus of Wilmington College.  The bright blue sky and light breeze promised nothing more than a pleasant Tuesday.  However, September 11, 2001 was fated to be more than an ordinary day of the week.  Stranger than the bells that announced the beginning of that day was the difference between my response and the response of many others.

My morning of sleeping in had already been ruined by some errands I planned to run before my Marketing class that afternoon.  The alarm was set for 9 a.m. but the resounding campus carillon bells woke me before my buzzing alarm clock.  The eerie yet beautiful bells usually only played at Christmas, during graduation rituals, and as incoming freshman participated in a welcoming ceremony in August.  Any Wilmington veteran would have noticed the unbefitting September song.

As was suitable to the Quaker heritage of the school, the chiming hymn “Simple Gifts” lured me out from under the warm covers and into the chilly dorm room.    Before I could adjust to the change in temperature, my cell phone sounded for my attention.  “Hey Kiddo, did I wake you?  Have you had the TV on yet?”  My mother’s voice was almost excited, as if she had indeed already had the TV on and had heard extraordinary news.  After a stretch and a yawn, I informed her that although her call had preceded my alarm, she had in fact missed the opportunity to wake her only daughter due to the dissonant bells.

After some motherly coaxing, I shuffled to the television by way of the open window.  When I glimpsed toward the Carillon I had half expected to see a mass of students circled around the noisy bell tower for some unannounced prayer meeting.  I found no such thing.  Actually, besides the bells, the campus was as peaceful as would be expected at an hour when students were usually either in bed or in class.  With my mother still on the phone, I rubbed my heavy eyelids clean and turned on the TV.

“Something hit one of the buildings in New York and Washington too, I think,” she explained.  Still groggy, I fought to understand what she was telling me.  Her vague description produced mental pictures of an ill-fated pigeon bouncing off the window of a high rise building.  I thought such news was unworthy of a morning interruption.  “What channel?” I grumbled sleepily as I groped for the nearby remote control. However, my bitterness faded to curiosity when she replied, “Doesn’t matter—it’s everywhere.”  Now I knew it had to be more than a blindsided pigeon.

When I look back, I can’t believe my lack of surprise or awe in those first few moments.  I listened to the reports long enough to get the gist: airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.  Even after my mom told me that officials expected terrorism as the cause, I felt no deep concern.  It wasn’t here.  It wasn’t me.  The bells perturbed me more.

That strange morning turned into a strange afternoon.  The bells eventually stopped and I eventually moved away from the television and said goodbye to my mother after promising to keep in touch throughout the day.  What now?  I imagine people throughout the United States were asking themselves that same question at that very moment.  After they watched minutes or even hours of riveting news coverage, others may have been frozen to their seats, wondering what would come next.  However, it wasn’t until days later, when I noticed that the news coverage had been ceaseless, that I was in doubt that the world would continue routinely.  Nevertheless, my Tuesday persisted as normal.  I needed to get ready, run my errands, go to class, eat lunch, call a friend, meet for dinner, do a little homework, watch some TV, go to bed, and do it all again tomorrow and the next day.

My disregard and lack of concern didn’t remain the same—nor did it go away.  Instead, it changed — evolved.  Morning bitterness changed to midday curiosity.  Curiosity changed to nostalgia.  Nostalgia changed to cynicism.  Finally, I ended up feeling sorry for those who were hurt and grateful it didn’t affect me.  I didn’t share the deep cuts and scars that were left on the hearts of many of those around me.

I remember having my picture taken that day by a friend who was finishing a photography project.  While I felt a little strange about having no problem smiling for the camera, I was not nearly as distressed as the other girl in the picture.  She had been deeply wounded and argued against posing because she had spent the whole morning crying.  I almost felt guilty because of my lack of hurt.  To this day when I see that black-and-white snapshot I can see the stark difference between us.  Our smiles are equally big, but while my eyes are cheery and squinted against the sun, hers are almost grimacing against the pain.  I didn’t share that with her.

I shared other things though.  I shared the urge to call everyone I know.  Worry followed if someone didn’t answer the phone.  I shared with other grown children away from home the desire to hang on the phone with my mom as long as possible.  For independent college students, those phone calls were a substitute for curling up in mommy’s lap.  I shared those moments where I found myself stopped completely.  I would simply get lost in thought and find myself pondering what had happened — puzzled — and imagining why everyone else was so torn up.  I shared the mixed emotions of relief, a little joy, and even more discomfort with my fellow students when we walked into my Marketing class to be greeted by a sorrowful-looking professor.  “Class is cancelled today—no quiz.”

I never did experience immense fear or deep sorrow for what had happened that fateful Tuesday morning.  I watched those around me fall apart similar to the besieged national landmarks while I felt like the only person in the nation who did not share those feelings.  As far as pigeons go, I was not the pigeon that hit the towering window.  Nor was I in the flock that dodged the window, turned to watch the collision, and landed painfully because of the distraction.  Instead, I was the pigeon that watched from a distant ringing bell tower that Tuesday morning.  I was sorry because so many were hurt by the incident, but I opened my unscathed wings, continued to fly, and was reminded by the chiming melody that this was my simple gift.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Leave Your Tips On The Table, Please!

I'm hoping you all can help me out. Well, help me help someone else out, actually. And really, it'll help LOTS of people. Soooo ... help.

I know I've been slacking drastically when it comes to blogging, but I've actually been running! Up until this past weekend, I was only getting two runs in per week, but I'm back on the program, y'all, and training for a race (more on that at a later date), so I'm all good. 

I've been slacking because I got big-time hooked on the book I was reading and couldn't bring myself to put it down when I should be updating you all on my progress. (For you historical fiction fans out there, or just fans of a really good story, you must read Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. SO GOOD!)

Anyway, back on track ...

Tonight I helped a friend get started on the tried-and-true Couch to 5K (C25K) program. Mr. C25K -- my buddy, my pal, the reason I succeeded in becoming a runner. And I know the reason some of you have become sucked into this torture device we call running.

So, calling all runners! 

New runners, old runners, seasoned runners, expert runners, runners who still don't know what they're doing but know they're getting better at it. And also those of you who have started, stopped, started again or decided to move on to something else. 

I want to hear from everyone. This won't take too long, unless you want it to.

You've been reading this blog for a while now. Okay, so maybe just this one time. Or maybe since I started it last spring. You know I've been up and down and WAY down and everywhere in between. I've learned as I went, read advice, asked for your advice, and shared advice.

Well, now it's your friggin' turn! I want your tips.

Let's help new runners, like the friend I ran with tonight, together! No matter what you think of yourself and your level of expertise when it comes to running, you've got something to offer -- more than you think. So dish it up! Let's hear it!

What one thing, three things, ten things can you offer as advice, wisdom or even just a random musing?

Whether it's something you discovered on your own, read about in a book, magazine or website, saw on this blog, or whatever -- I want to know what helped you. Was it a goal? A mantra? How did you keep yourself going?

What about finding your stride? How did you figure out how fast to run or how slow to run? How big or small your steps should be? How did you conquer breathing issues, if you had them? Leg cramps? Overheating?

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome and how did you do it?

Why did you keep going? What made you want to throw in the towel -- all eight times it happened?

Do you find it helps to read books or magazines about running? Which ones?

I think you've probably heard my number one tip, and I think it's got multiple parts: 
Take it easy on yourself. Don't kill yourself because you think that's what you're supposed to do. Listen to your body and let it dictate how to proceed.

So, for the benefit of this beginner friend, and for the benefit of any other beginners or soon-to-be beginners out there, hit me with your best shot. Leave me one tip, or a list, or an essay. Whatever you like. First thing that comes to your mind.

I know you're all busy, so really, just leave one thing you can think of if you like.

And don't worry if someone else already wrote it. Write it again.

So, whaddaya say? Leave your tips on the table ...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quickie Update: Juilfs To Donatos

In case you were wondering, it takes me about 23 minutes to run half of the track at Juilfs, through the woods and through the fields of Nagel Middle School, and up Nagel Road to get to Donatos on Beechmont. Know your abilities, right?

I started my run this evening (after a shameful handful of days without any) but got a call from a family member I hadn't seen in a long time. Today is sort of a memorial day for them and they make it a point to visit certain restaurants on this day. Anyway, she asked me to join and I agreed but wanted to finish my run first.

So I continued the normal path at Juilfs but thought, wait a tick, I can just run there! I estimated that it'd be about the same amour of time as my workout, give or take, and it was.

Good story.

Whatever. I ran, I got pizza, I visited with family, and I got a ride back to my car. Ha!

Later dudes!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Foggy Saturday At Armleder

I'm a little behind in my posts, and I apologize for that. But I have pictures!

Saturday's run at Armleder wasn't so good. I had a bit of an upset stomach and it kept me from completing even one loop (1.9 miles). I did finish just about a mile before wandering down to the river to get some pictures. Then I walked about a half mile more after the photo shoot.

Saturday was a sunny, warm morning, but when I got close to the park, I found a thick blanket of fog covering the entire Little Miami River valley, including Armleder. It made for some interesting pictures and kept the sun off my head for a little.

Anyway, on to pictures!  (And I'll post about Monday night's run soon.)

All pictures Copyright 2011 MoreToLoveRunning, so don't steal them, because they're just that good.

By the way, check out this blog entry for pictures of Armleder without the fog, just to see the contrast.

 Fog. And birds in a tree. Exciting.

 Fog. And a car. Check out the sun, though! 
It was about 9:30 a.m. and that sun was BLARING on top of Beechmont hill.




 
After my failed run, I took a walk down to the river.
Sadly, there was no Matt Foley living in a van down by the river, but there was this sweet photo opp. "Whoops a daisy."
(Looking south down the bank of the Little Miami)

Down the river. Some remaining fog.



 Up the river. When I first got down there, a kayaker was "docking" and getting out, but I thought I'd avoid being stalker-y and took downstream pics instead. Sorry if I failed you.

Ah, there we go. Some sunlight.




I just love it here! So pretty!








Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just A Picture - Little Miami Scenic Trail

It was real pretty when we was out runnin' last night, y'all. Here's a purdy picture I snapped with my fancy telephone.

Photo Copyright 2011 MoreToLoveRunning

Thank you, Mr. Fisherman, for casting at that very moment. 
(Taken on the Little Miami Scenic Trail overlooking, you guessed it, the Little Miami River.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Traffic, Books And Running, Of Course

Another quickie!

1) I sat in stop-and-go highway traffic for about 50 minutes on the way home. My usual commute home takes 30-35 minutes, and that's on medium/heavy days. And apparently this will be going on for awhile.

2) It's beautiful out. That made traffic almost bearable. Plus I know there are worse routes right now.

3) I'm so excited about running in this beautiful weather, especially since I'm doing it for fun. No training nonsense.

4) I refilled a prescription with the new insurance and it was FREE! Woohoo!!!!

5) My book became available at the library. It's "Fall of Giants" by Ken Follett. New author for me. It's 985 pages and weighs roughly 30 pounds.

6) PHENOMENAL run with Caitlin and Emalynn tonight. 2 miles on the Little Miami Scenic Trail. I only stopped to tie my shoe and then made 2 20-ish-second walk breaks on the return leg.

7) Caitlin is now MY rabbit. Muahahahaha!

Good night!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Weak Week Recap

Hi all, sorry about not posting, but I have been running. I'll just give you a quick recap now and get back to regular programming soon.

I tried running on Wednesday last week at Veterans, but I think a few things kept it from going well. First, last Sunday I tackled the Five Mile Trail and may have had a little too much fun running down the hills. My shins and calves were quite tender last week. Second, I think I laced my shoes too tight. Third, my back was SUPER wonky on Wednesday and I could never really find a balanced stride when I was running. It's weird, I felt like I was lopsided, which, according to what I know about chiropractic stuff, I probably was. Either way, I lasted a solid 15 minutes before giving in and calling it a night. I felt like I was running on stone legs from the knee down. That's not so comfortable.

But I went right out again on Thursday, this time with Caitlin at Miami Meadows. I'm not sure how long we went, but it was good. Caitlin kicked my butt big time, and Emalynn decided that neither of us were going to run much longer when she became very "vocal" about her dislike of the evening's festivities.

Then I hit the road again on Sunday afternoon at Juilfs. I ran for 24 minutes straight, no walking. Yay! That felt good. I even did a little off-path running, just to see how I managed. I like it. It's almost like I was concentrating so hard on not tripping or spraining an ankle that I forgot to be tired. I immediately remembered to be tired when I got back to the paved path. I also remembered I had to pee.

So that's that. The weather is fall-like here in Cincy, and it's making me eager to get down to business. I'm actually excited about it!

Shout out to Mr. Purulent Smile for his major running accomplishment this weekend! Next stop, 5K!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Close Encounters Of The Wild Kind

Today's run post was brought to you by the letters H and W, for Humidity and Wildlife.

I took a midday run on this fine, humid Sunday. The temperature was quite low compared to the 90-100 degree "dome" we've been baking under for the last, I don't know, month? It was somewhere in the 80s and overcast most of the day, so I figured, What the heck, I'll run in the afternoon. One better, I'll do it on the hilly Five Mile Trail

Whoo-wee! My lungs got a workout today!

But I'm glad I went when I did. The Five Mile Trail (read my first blog about it and check out some pictures here) is such a pretty path. It's always so green and lush and fragrant. It was even better after the much needed thunderstorm in the wee hours of this morning.

I tackled the trail from the Newtown Road entrance, giant uphill first. I wasn't out to run hill repeats or anything, so I just took it easy and went as far as I could before resigning to walk the rest of the way up. It's real big, folks. Steep and long. But from the crest of the hill, I ran the whole first leg of the out-and-back, save a brief walk at another mini-monster hill at the end of the leg. I turned, ran down the mini-monster, then let myself walk the uphills and run the crests and downhills for the second leg. All in all, considering my freshness in my return to running and considering the milkshake-thick air, I'm pleased.

Now to the wildlife portion of our programming. Turns out I don't do so well with any kind of wild (read: everything but a domesticated cats or friendly dogs) animal. 

Exhibit A: Yesterday after a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom released a small flock of domesticated/pet white doves. It was a magical moment, so naturally, I screamed and ducked-and-covered --twice-- nearly diving to the ground as the beautiful creatures fluttered about overhead. Fortunately I'm not what the crowd was paying attention to, so I don't think more than 8 people saw what I did. Embarrassing nonetheless.

 Wing-ed spawn of Satan (source)


Exhibit B: I had a standoff with a doe on the trail this afternoon. I was trotting down a hill in the middle of my return leg when I rounded a corner and saw a large brown thing. I thought it was a wild dog and prepared to have to kick and scream and fight for my life, but I almost instantly realized it was a deer. Oh, no problem, it'll run away when it hears me. It heard me, it saw me, it did not run. I coughed, I clapped my hands, I stomped my feet while running. The deer was just standing there. And it didn't have the headlights look either. It had no fear in its beady eyes.  I was, no joke, about 10 feet from it before I realized my plan wasn't working.

 It was *almost* this big. Terrifying. (Source)


Don't get me wrong--I am an animal advocate. I love all creatures and abhor hunting and get sad when I see any animal dead on the road. (Except maybe white doves.) But this was a big animal. And it had hooves. And hooves are hard. I may or may not have visualized this doe, standing on its back legs, hoofing me to death, kind of like a kangaroo with boxing gloves.

In case you needed help visualizing. (Source)


But I'm brave and I don't panic at unreasonable things, so naturally I squealed a little and turned and ran in the opposite direction, flailing my arms (again, just a little) hoping it wasn't chasing me. I think the doe was intimidated by my wicked survival skills and sauntered slowly off the trail and into the woods. I swear it rolled its eyes at me.

Whatevs. So now you know how to get rid of a scary deer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Late Night Parking Lot Run

I just took an impromptu run around the parking lot of my complex. After eating a not-so-light dinner at 6, I felt ready to give it a try at 8:30. Though I keep telling myself to stop trying to run after eating, I can't seem to stop giving it a go.

Well, this time...not bad! I felt a little "heavy" at times, but I totally just ran a full 20 minutes without stopping. I truly can't remember when I did that last.

Yay me!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Another Reason To Love The Oatmeal

While I think oatmeal is a delicious and nutritious breakfast meal, wonderful for pre-run eating, I LOVE The Oatmeal.

Consider yourself warned, many of The Oatmeal's pages include foul (and hilariously used) language.
The artist/author's writing and comics crack me up on a regular basis. They can also be educational. I've used several of his posts to educate my coworkers on the proper use of punctuation. Specifically ...










Then, of course, since I'm notorious for being a bit of a crazy cat lady, I have a special place in my heart for The Oatmeal's cat comics.

But today The Oatmeal posted about his recent ultra marathon (anything over 26.2 miles) experience. First, he runs. Yay! Second, I love that he shared his experience on his website. Third, his bit about runner's trots is amazing. I laughed a lot. 

So, if you're looking for a fun running-related read, check out The Oatmeal's blog about his first 50 mile ultra marathon.