Monday, July 27, 2015

The Little Things

Today on my long run, I saw THE BEST thing I've EVER seen on a run. Mind you, I don't say this lightly. Since I began running 8 years ago, I've logged approximately 6,000 miles (I'm guestimating an average of 15 miles a week and rounding down).  I wish I had taken a picture.

It was an insulated lunch bag with a sign on it that said, "Mom runs this town."*

I almost cried-- picturing some teenager proudly making a mid-run treat for Mom and placing it at the perfect spot along the run. Thinking about how Mom would find it and be delighted. Her energy would surge, the treats refresh, and she would finish the run stronger than she began. *sniff

*In my Google search to find a comparable image, I discovered that Moms Run this Town is actually the name of a free women's running group with chapters around the US and Canada. And there's one here locally. Is it wrong that I feel cheated that this love placed along the path was more likely for the women's running group and not dotingly prepared by a child?

Today on my long run, I also saw a little bunny. Actually, it was a trifecta of my favorite critters-- a bunny, a cardinal, and a blue jay, all in the same vicinity.

And then there were the cheerful runners. They seemed to be everywhere today. All big smiles, waves and cheerful hellos.

And then I had my special "I've reached a new high milage milestone" treat-- it tasted like Christmas!
The little thing I've been enjoying lately

And then I saw a former student, a cross country runner, out for his morning run.

And then I found a ring. Really. It's kind of one of those cheap little things that was probably $7.99 at Icing, but I picked it up and wore it home anyway.

Maybe I was delirious from too much sun and not enough fuel. I don't care. I had fun. And it was all because of the little things.

Are you enjoying the little things? Or are you too focused in on the task at hand to even notice the little things? If you're not enjoying the little things, well, then what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Accidental Bucket List

My son keeps reminding me that Saturday is swim practice. For me. He's never taken this much interest in my training; the difference is that my "swim practice" is taking place in the ocean, which means he has a free ride to the fishing pier. He is far more excited about this "swim practice" than I am. I hate swimming. I especially hate swimming in the ocean. Well, actually, I'm terrified of not being able to see my feet when I'm standing in the ocean. It's not sharks-- my bucket list includes diving with sharks-- it's just more a fear of the unknown. 
All this new and different training lately has made me realize something. In the past few years I've done a lot of things that I never dreamed I would. Just things where I think later, "Wow, that was pretty cool. How in the world did that happen to me?!" So, I started thinking that I need to create an Accidental Bucket List-- a list of things I can check off that I've done that I should've put on my Bucket List, but never really thought or planned to put on. So, here goes, 

My Accidental Bucket List:

1. Become a journalist. Ok, I really don't think of myself as a "journalist" (because Stone Phillips- journalist, Katie Couric- journalist). But technically... I write articles, and they are published by someone other than myself.

2. Be a pro athlete for a day. Most people probably haven't heard about the NPGL (National Pro Grid League)-- the sport only debuted last year. It's a little bit school yard relay race and a whole lot CrossFit. But it's really fun to watch and, as I found out last Saturday, really fun to do. The Miami Surge took over Caution CrossFit for a day-- I learned the ins and outs of the GRID races, participated in a movement clinic, and then raced with a team on the GRID. It was exhilarating! And exhausting. And I feel like it was just a tiny glimpse of what these amazing athletes endure in a day. 

3. Meet one of the Fittest People on Earth. At BattleFrog Orlando, earlier this year, I met Shawn Ramirez, the winner of the 2014 CrossFit Games Masters division. If you haven't heard of him, he dominated the CrossFit Open in 2014 and went on to dominate in the Games. He's done the same this year, while becoming the BattleFrog National Youth Program Director and being a husband and father. It was pretty cool to get the opportunity to learn more about the hard work it takes to become one of the best in the world at what he does. 

4. Swim in the ocean. This might seem like a lame thing for me to put on my Accidental Bucket List, but honestly, it's a really BIG deal for me. A REALLY BIG DEAL. Having lived in Florida for 14 years now, I've been IN the ocean hundreds of times, but mostly just barely past my ankles. But I finally did it. I finally put my face in the water, took my feet off the sand and swam (well, I tried to swim, anyway). No fish ate me, and I didn't even drown.

That's all I got for now. I've had mixed feelings writing this. It feels a lot like bragging (but who am I kidding, this whole blog/social media world is all about bragging). Honestly, though sometimes I just can't believe my life. And it's not that it's any more special than yours. I'm so very grateful for where I am today. And none of it is because of me.

So, let's hear it--
What's on your Accidental Bucket List?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The 200th Post. WTM Training Weeks 4 and 5

Here it is! My 200th post. I feel like it should be epic. Full of amazing insight, deep thoughts, profound statements... 

I've got nothing. So, I'll just post my training update. 

Weeks 4 and 5 (17 weeks out):

The name of the game is going long. I’m entering completely uncharted territory for me. The only thing I’m going to be in control of on race day is how ready my body is to handle 24 hours of nonstop movement. Having never done anything like it before, I’m kinda just following my gut. I’m continuing to build mileage, working on a marathon training program, but also trying to be smart about it.

I have this bad habit of getting too enthusiastic about adding mileage, too type A about my training plans that I throw caution to the wind, ignore what my body is screaming at me and complete each run as prescribed. Not this time. I can’t afford an injury, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, etc. If I stick to my plan, I will be ready to run a marathon about 2 months before WTM. Then what?

Instead of following my plan, I’m following my body. Two weeks ago I couldn’t complete my scheduled 14 miler. It was an evening run, something I never do. I went out too fast and probably wasn’t drinking enough water. It was not a failure. I learned A LOT.

Last week instead of moving on according to schedule, I did that 14 mile run. This week, instead of moving up in mileage, I did another 14. The plan is to be comfortable during long distances. I have some weeks to spare, so instead of pushing ahead in the distance, I’m going to camp at each longer distance so that I enjoy the long run and am not constantly getting beat up by the mileage.

I’m also working toward just increasing time on my feet and time doing work. So, after my midweek, middle distance (8 mile) run, I threw my ruck on, packed with a 25 lb plate and walked for an additional 20 minutes. After my workout Wednesday, I sat on the rower and did intervals of rowing and push-ups, while waiting to pick up my son from football practice.

I’m finding more of a rhythm now, mixing longer endurance sessions with strength and shorter CrossFit sessions.

Monday—bench press, cleans and accessory work
Tuesday—speed work run; box squats and accessory work
Wednesday—swim and a series of CrossFit WODs
Thursday—Middle distance run (6 to 8 miles, easy); yoga and stretching
Friday—strict overhead press, dead lifts and accessory work
Saturday—rest day or CrossFit WODs
Sunday—Long run

Adding:
Miles
Hill work
Time spent swimming
Weighted rucking

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Mind of the Long Run

The following thoughts may or may not have actually happened during a long run.

Oh, my gosh. I think I might not make it. My legs are tired. Why do they feel so heavy? Is that a blister? I think that's definitely a blister. 
Mile 1
What a glorious day! I'm so happy to be running. So happy to be alive. Hello, fellow runner! 
Mile 2
I love this song. I love this route. This is going to be a great run. Oh! Look at that bird. And there's a squirrel. This song. THIS is a great song. 
Mile 3
Is it time to fuel up yet? I'm pretty sure I need some calories. Nope. Not yet. How 'bout now? Still no. Uh. Maybe I need a drink. Ok. That's better. No. Not really. How far have I run? How far to go. Oh no. Time for some fuel? 10 minutes. Just 10 more minutes. 
Mile 4
Oh. My. Goodness. This Honey Stinger Waffle tastes like heaven! Where have these been all my life? I will run through 20 miles of fire to eat one of these! How do they get them to taste so good? 
Mile 5
I ate at just the right time. I can feel the energy. This is a great run! I love this route. Oh, hi, Mr. Bicycle Guy! This is a perfect run. I love running! I could run all day.
Mile 6-7
I hate this song. I hate this song too. Why do I have all these crappy songs on my playlist? Is that a blister? I think that's a blister. What are you looking at, Mr. Bicycle Guy? Just keep riding. Why do cyclists always look grumpy? Must be that tiny seat. Dude, I would totally trade you right now.  You run, I'll take that bike. Oh, Lord! Is that a grasshopper? That's totally a grasshopper. The largest one in the history of grasshoppers. Leaf. Just a leaf.  
Mile 8-9
Food! Must. have. food. Why must fuel for runs all be ooey gooey gels? Cheeseburger. Now that's what I need right about now. I guess that might be a little hard to carry. Pizza. That would be much better. Didn't Dean Karnazes once order a pizza and eat it in the middle of a very long run? He runs all night. I guess if I ran all night long, I could eat a whole pizza, too. Did he stop and eat it? Did he carry it? It must have been thin crust. Probably cheese. Although veggies and meat would be good fuel for a long run. Maybe I'll do my next long run at night. Would a piece of pizza fit in my Camelback pocket? 
Mile 10.
Wow! I can't believe I've run this far. Most of my run is done! I'll be home soon. Oh, wow! Look at that giant iguana by that tree. Maybe it will sit still, and I can get a picture. No one's going to believe the size of that thing. Uh. Ok. Log. It's a log. But it totally looked like an iguana from back there. Oh! I love this song. So peppy. It's the perfect run song. I should listen to it again. Oh, but this song is so good, too! What a great playlist. Hello, fellow runner! Sorry about all the sweat. How do other runners manage to smell like they just stepped out of a shower during their runs? Is there some kind of secret super power deodorant I don't know about? I'm pretty sure I don't smell that fresh after a shower. ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER. Must just keep moving forward. I can make it. I can finish this. If I walk now, it's going to take FOREVER to get home. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Shuffle. Shuffle. Count steps. Didn't that one guy on that one podcast say that counting could put you in a Zen mode or something. 1-2-3-4... I hate this song. Hate this song, too. Ouch! Stupid horsefly. Water. Yes, that will help. 1-2-3-4. Stoplight. Oh, thank you, Jesus. Almost home.