Monday, April 26, 2010

Running against the obstacles

So I ran.

And I ran and I ran... but I felt sore and lethargic and felt my calves were gonna explode. I kept up with the group for the first couple of miles and then I started to lose my pace... and the distance between us started to shift farther apart.
And when I finally finished the near 9 mile run, instead of feeling happy, I felt sorta defeated. I didn't wanna be last in my running group.

And I was last.

And maybe if my knee wasn't sore, and my hamstrings weren't giving me any trouble and my ankle felt strong... I would have done better.  And certainly if I ran more during the week, without question, I could have enjoyed a greater run.

I certainly don't run nearly as much as I did this past winter. Some weeks I just run one day. And never more than twice a week. My running buddies are now running while I'm at work. And running alone isn't as fun so I'm running less frequent, and in turn, each run I feel the struggle of it more and more.

Basically, I started to give up in my head. And you can't have that when you are running.

Sorry for the defeated post, but I am guessing we all feel this way at some point.  I feel sad and depressed and overcome.

Wishing for better days.  And they will come.  They do, ya know, and they will.

(By the way... the video I took while running is under a minute and if you watch it,  you can see how beautiful it was out there!)

I am so happy I experienced running in such a breathtaking, beautiful place amongst ferns, wild flowers, flowing rivers and eventually the Pacific Ocean.

Tomorrow I'll run again and see where it takes me. Because I know in my heart, it all begins with that first step and a new mind set.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I ran in a rain storm if that counts!

So i ran this morning. In the chilly rain and mud and wind.

I had all sorts of weird dreams while I slept last night. I dreamt I met Helen Keller on my run. She was doing so well. Or perhaps, I was not doing so well... and that is why we were running together. When she introduced herself to me, I was impressed to meet her and told her she was a house-hold name, but I didn't realize in my dream she was the one who was both blind and deaf. In my dream, i thought she was an awesome runner!

In another dream, I was driving in a flood and my car spun out of control and I was late for the run and as hard as I tried to make it to the start-off gun, I was too late.

Race runs always make me nervous. I spend a lot of time worrying about it as I sleep. But I slept good in between my sleep.  I slept in clean sheets and each time I tossed and turned and rolled over, I thought to myself, "awwww, this is so comfortable..."

It was raining hard when we started out this race. And it was cooler than the weather said it would be. I don't know how cold it was when we started the race, but when I was done running, it had only reached to 42 degrees.

I was excited to run with Heidi and Angie, but because the trails were so thin, they put us on staggered start times... depending on age.  We are such fierce rule followers, I am older than both and started five minutes ahead of them.

(Looking back,  I could kick myself.  What was I thinking!? I shoulda just blew my age off and started running with their age group!!)

I don't know where my head was, but I continued running alone the entire seven miles. And that was sooo not what I wanted to do!!! My dream and desire was to run with them, because ever since our half-marathon run back in early February, I've been running mostly alone and to be honest, I haven't been enjoying it so much. Running hasn't been as fun! I missed my running buddies!!

The race went okay. During the worst stretches, my calves were sooo tight, i thought they were about to burst. i was reduced to a shuffle, stumbling over one rock after another, running up hill.  i prayed for some downhills for they would call into action muscles that were fresh, ones that didn't hurt so badly.  Meanwhile, I kept looking over my shoulder, looking for Heidi and Angie.   

To no avail.

By the time I reached the 7th mile, I sprinted to the finish line. And then I stood there, shivering, and getting drenched in a downpour waiting for Angie and Heidi to reach me. Seven minutes later they were there and we were discussing whether or not we wanted to run back the seven miles we had just ran.

The truth is. I could have run it. And I should have run it. But it was that seven minutes standing there under a terrential downpour, i started to feel myself feeling stiff and cold.. and when Angie said, "Naww... this is good, I'm gonna head home for a hot shower.." .. i hafta say the hot shower felt inviting to me as well and I was set to head there, too.

So I looked at Heidi and told her I was quitting... and she nodded at me and as she turned around and started running back the same course all by herself,  I immediately felt bad for my decision and wanted soo badly to catch up and run alongside her.

But I didn't.

I didn't! 

I just stood here shivering in the cold... and knew I had made up my choice.  To play it safe. Not to risk any further injury.

But you know what? I could have run the 14 miles.

So I sit here and I feel like I sorta let myself down as I know I could have done it! And I should have done it, but I didn't do it. 

So... I'm quiet all day....... reassuring myself that it's all okay.

Running is a funny thing.  It IS competitive. And it IS fierce.
And some days ya feel powerful and on some days you're basically a whimp.

But I learned something today. If I don't ever wanna feel that heaviness I feel in my gut today, I will push myself forward. And I will.

One step at a time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

14-mile race tomorrow in the rain

Heidi called me this morning.

"Shawn, I know you and Angie might be running the relay team as partners tomorrow but I want to run both legs of the race. Do you guys wanna, too?"

To be honest, I had given up the idea of running in this race. I didn't get a confirmation back from Angie that she would run the race with me, and besides, the weather forecast calls for a cold steady rain all day. So I gave it up in my mind.  Didn't want to run seven miles in the rain. Actually felt relieved I didn't hear back from Angie.

As Heidi and I were starting to feel reluctance in running the full 14 miles and maybe run as a relay team together if Angie bails, Angie called Heidi and said, "Yes!"  She was willing to run the entire 14 miles with us. 

Then that settled it. Angie, Heidi and I are going to run both legs of the relay race tomorrow.

And, yes,  i'm ...  nervous!

I know i can do it. But I haven't been running on a consistent basis and I have never run that far before in my life, though it's just a little over a mile further than the half-marathon I ran back in February.

It's up at Annadel State Park and will cover a lot of hills.  Muddy hills. But after wading through the icy stream last weekend, I now know not to run around those puddles but to run through them. And, besides that, with all that rain, my shoes will be water-logged anyway.

I better go see if I have any clean running clothes. And I'll drink plenty of water.  Tomorrow morning is coming quickly.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Wading through icy waters

Early yesterday morning, Kelly, Karen, Angie and I drove up to Hood Mountain to tackle a difficult 10.72 miles up in the hills. Angie and I had never ran there before and we were both eager to experience something new.

What we didn't know then, was what exactly that new experience would be. And, we're both happy we didn't know about it... ahead of time.

And that's walking through frigid icy raging water.... twice!

But, wait. I'm already getting ahead of myself.  Let me start from the beginning.

We started our journey in temps in the low 30s and though i didn't see any patches of snow ... I was told there was still snow from a recent cold front. Angie's legs were covered in goosebumps from the chilly, icy air even while still sitting in the car. It was the kind of cold that when you spoke, you could see your breath.

I was secretly worried when I started off. Could I keep up?

Would I further injure my ankle? When you're cold, you feel everything sore on you. My knee where I hurt it back in January when I fell on a rock is still painful. I worried I'd fall again on the same knee.

I know that when I start to worry about falling, those feelings come from some other place. And yesterday morning, I knew that my fear was not about falling but all about failing.

We were all eager to start running to warm up.  My feet were so numb, I couldn't feel them as they hit the dirt. Karen pulled off her gloves and showed me her purplish-blue fingers. 

Within a mile or so, we all started to warm up and I was feeling good in my run and was curious why Karen and Kelly stopped up ahead when we reached the raging icy cold stream and not run along beside it. 

"Let's lock arms as we cross so the current doesn't carry us down the water fall..."

"Whaa? We're walking through that?"

And, before I was able to wrap my mind around the idea of it all, I reached out and held onto Kelly and Angie and Angie reached over and held onto Karen and locking arms, we took our first steps into the frigid raging water. We sunk in deep at times, sometimes catching each other as we slipped a bit over the rocks beneath us, water reaching upwards to our crotches before we made it to the other side.

It was an amazing experience.

Remember when you were a kid and you were about to get a shot, and you were really nervous and about to cry, but the nurse just magically gave you a shot in such a non-emotional way, doing this distraction thing, that you didn't even know you got the shot, until it was actually all over and you were sucking on your sucker?

That's exactly how it was for me.

"This is what we're gonna do. Lock arms and hold hands and move forward carefully against the stream.."  

It happened so matter-of-fact and so suddenly. Never ever would I have ever considered walking through a raging stream in my $100 pair of running shoes. But I did! And ya know what? They weren't any wetter than when i ran in the rain last Wednesday night during a short 3 mile-run in a downpour with my running group.

(Welll, okay, maybe yesterday they were indeed a bit more water-logged...)

We climbed back up the slippery slope and we were off again.  Slosh-SLOSH-slosh-SLOSH were the sounds of my wet socks inside my shoes. I was surprised (and much relieved) to feel warm and insulated between my wet skin and my running shorts as I ran.

It was mostly all uphill the first half five miles. So steep at times and for such long periods of time, I found myself walking more than running.

I kept repeating to myself, "c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon.." lifting one foot after the other... feeling like a mule carrying a heavy load...  "will this ever get any easier?" 
Kelly says it will. She says these tough uphill runs make you strong.

Seeing views from a place where few people have ever crossed is really quite humbling and overwhelming. And I felt good as well. I stayed on track... kept up with the group as best as I could. I wasn't nearly as slow as I had worried I would be.

What seemed to take forever to reach the top of the mountain, the trails back downhill was quick and it took seemingly no time at all! Nearly back to the car, I heard a roaring sound and remembered the rushing stream.

Taking a deep break and locking arms once again, we crossed the frigid waters, a few feet further up from the waterfall than when we crossed earlier that morning. Karen said, "Doesn't the icy water feel good against your pulled ankle?"

And it did! 

It was like I was icing it while running. Making the most out of situations.

I woke up this morning and I'm glad I had that experience and yes, I do feel sore.
But... it's a good sore.

Like kelly says, "it only makes you strong..."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The friendship between a dog and an orangutan

Watch more National Geographic Channel videos on AOL Video

This video shows the friendship between a dog and an orangutan.  I hope you watch this and that it touches you to your very core.