Glow Run 5K

So a few weekends ago now, my friend Kimber and I drove up to Des Moines to run in the Glow Run 5K with my cousin Jer. I sort of planned it as a pre-Hospital Hill race experience, to encourage me and keep me going. It, uhm, did not go as planned. Basically, we ate a huge meal at a German restaurant before the race, drank a ton of beer, got pretty toasted, had to pee super bad during the middle of the race, cut through an alley and ended up reconnecting with the race at the finish line. A well-run race it was not. However, I did run 3.1 miles at home the next day to soothe my guilty conscience.

Here is my photo essay.
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So apparently a liter is kind of big. IMG_4204

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It took us forever to drink. It was almost painful.

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Finally finished.

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The race started at the Science Center. This created many photo ops.
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So, we started to take this photo and it turned out really bad. We decided just to make it a bad photo, in that case.

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Have you ever gotten out your phone to take a pic and you’ve forgotten it’s in the forward facing mode? Yeah, so have I.

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There were over 12,000 people there. Tasty.IMG_4239

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My “finishers” medal

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On our detour

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IMG_4255That’s me. A Star.

On Running

I have started running. Again. For the third year in a row.

In both 2011 and 2012, I have trained for a 5K, had ambitions of cultivating a running habit, run said 5K (in March and June of those years, respectively), and promptly quit running for the rest of the year.

As such, I am on several mailing/email lists for races and many registration forms come across my fingertips every month yet, I have a 2 race career in as many years. This year, an email to register for The Hospital Hill Run (my June race last year) arrived in my inbox. It was promoting the finishing gift they are giving this year. It was this awesome track jacket.

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I honestly couldn’t resist. I am a sucker for shwag. But as I was considering my registration, a thought flickered. “What about the 10K?” I accidentally said it out loud which was a bit of a mistake as I seemingly spoke it into reality.

I have done two 5Ks. They were not particularly easy for me, but they were finished and as such, I know I can do it. That is apparently a fact that bores me. I know I can finish a 10K but I have not ever finished a 10K and the idea of doing so is apparently so fascinating that I have got to try it. (I say “apparently” because I’m not sure I know this part of my person who is intrigued by athletic challenges. She is a new person I am just now getting introduced to, so I am being careful not to say too much on her behalf.)

I have made the joke that every time I run, it is a miracle of modern science. It feels true. I am tall. I am heavy. I am top-heavy. (Ahem.) Runners are slim and lithe and quick. Runners are antelopes. I would liken myself more to a moose. Tall. Clumsy. Large. (I’m not really trying to be self effacing, but you get the picture.) It just seemed to me that certain people are built to run and others are not. I believed myself to be firmly camped in the latter category.

And then I read Born to Run(I do not think I have properly thanked Rachel for sharing this book with me. It has done much for me. Not as much as the actual Rachel, but a lot.) You should read this book so I won’t give anything away, but suffice it to say that it made me question the notion that anyone would not be built to run. It made me think, “I ought to be running.” 

So I am taking some advice in the book and trying to bring it to life. I just bought a new pair of minimalist running shoes. (I still fell into the Nike trap, mostly because I had a gift card, but I opted for their newest line of Nike Frees.) I am trying to take short strides. I am trying to keep good posture. I am trying to implement a mid-foot strike.

I am also trying to run like Caballo Blanco. He advises the author of Born to Run, Christ McDougall to run “easy, light, smooth, and fast.” To focus first on easy and light. If he runs easy and light, he’ll be running smoothly. If he is running easy, light, and smooth, then fast will follow. During my last run, I chanted a mantra in my head: “Easy. Light. Easy. Light. Easy. Light.” I almost certainly failed to achieve it but it seems like a reasonable place to start.

I borrowed another piece of advice from a sport that stands in rather stark contrast to running, except when it doesn’t: yoga. My favorite yogi far and away is Tara Stiles and I recently downloaded a video of her Strong session. During a particularly grueling 2-minute plank pose (which I have yet to attempt with any seriousness), Tara advises to find the place within in the pose where you can relax. Focus on your forehead. Focus on the backs of your hands. Direct attention to the parts of the body that can relax. I have taken to doing this while running. Some runs I get very winded. Other times my feet and ankles and calves are sore. In those moments I think about my elbows. Or my neck. Or my ears.

By paying attention to what feels good, I worry less about what feels not-so-good. It is certainly not a plan for perfect running, but it is a plan for perseverance and improvement.

My hope is that by challenging myself to a longer distance, and through the necessary increase in time it will take to train, I will become a more regular runner. Through being more deliberate about technique and form, that I will still be running in September instead of quitting after the race in June. Of course the bigger lesson here is that life is inter-disciplinary. What is good in yoga is good in running is good life. Smart diet habits are smart life habits. I am starting to see a much bigger picture here.

Eat and Run

I just finished Eat and Run by Scott Jurek.

The last lines of the book are among the most powerful and I want to share them with you. If you are trying to lose weight, or win a race, or get your degree- every journey matters.

You can be transformed. Not overnight, but over time. Life is not a race. Neither is an ultramarathon, not really, even though it looks like one. There is no finish line. We strive toward a goal, and whether we achieve it or not is important, but it’s not what’s most important. What matters is how we move toward that goal. What’s crucial is the step we’re taking now, the step you’re taking now.

Everyone follows a different path. Eating well and running fee helped me find mine. It can help you find yours. You never know where that path might take you.

-Scott Jurek, Eat and Run 

Progress (2)

three pounds

Pounds Lost This Week: 3
Total Lost: 10
Pounds Left to Goal: 40

This was another victory week. The first week always just feels like the body adjusting back to itself. This feels like real progress. The first week I worked out 6 days. Last week, I rested on Sunday and Wednesday and did just a short walk on Monday. However, I got in a run (I MUST GET NEW SHOES) and a nice long hike which felt great. Today, I bought my first commuter bike so I can start riding to work (weather permitting, hopefully starting soon) and went to my first kickboxing class which I have completely fallen in love with. Who doesn’t want to punch something at the end of their day?

I’m eager to lose another 10 pounds. That will put me around the weight I was when I ran my first 5K and the last time I was successful at losing weight (thanks to another short lived fitness blog.) Once I get past these next 1o pounds? Well, then we’re in business.

Brett and I have always talked about (and sincerely believed) that good health is about making small choices. Get the salad, skip the fries. Park a little father away than necessary. Play outside. But I don’t feel that we’ve been living those choices until now. It feels good to make progress, but it feels even better knowing I’m rewarding my body with good health (thanks Kara!)

A Pledge

Pears poster - Original Illustrated Digital Image for Download
Buy this print here.

So you guys remember this post right? I talked about Paleo and Whole 30 and my awesome healthy friends.

I got a lot of amazing feedback which is exactly what I wanted. I also talked to my personal trainer and Brett and thought quite a bit about it as well.

In response to those conversations, thoughts, and suggestions, I have decided to make the following pledge for February:

Continue reading “A Pledge”

On Hobbies

So this post is a bit of a conglomerate of ideas, but it’s stuff I feel is blog worthy and I just want to put together in one post. They’re all sort of “hobby” related, so there you go.

Firstly, you might know that I really enjoy crocheting. While I’m still completely a beginner, I have a good time doing it and I know I’ve gotten better. I thought I would pass along a resource that I used to learn how to crochet. I read lots of tutorials and saw lots of pictures but the tool that finally helped me get the hang of it? YouTube videos. These YouTube videos to be specific. This woman’s name is Teresa and she has a blog for every video of stitch that is very specific and very easy to follow. She also does full tutorial videos from start to finish of a project. You can follow along, pause the video, rewind, start over. I found it very helpful and I still pull her channel up when I get confused on a pattern!

Secondly, I’ve told you about my fitness fairy Rachel and she suggested we try to do the 2012 Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak. I’m a complete novice but Rachel is super encouraging and always runs at my pace and walks with me even though she could easily keep going. The idea is to run just one mile everyday, from Thanksgiving day through New Years Day. I think this sounds like a fun, completely achievable challenge. Want to join? Here’s a google spreadsheet where we plan to keep track of our progress. Just add your name and log your activity!

Think that running on Christmas Day sounds bonkers? Take your whole family out! Make it a new tradition!

Lastly, that’s it. I only have two things. I know that you’re supposed to have 3 things or more in a list but I only have two. So.