I Would Do Anything (to Run)

Jim Steinman’s piano got my run started this morning, circa 5:30 a.m.

In the darkness I smiled to myself.

Pre-dawn, Meatloaf’s vocals are the perfect motivator for me. Especially this song– starting delicately and then building with tension. Perfect for a morning work-out.

I actually did some dynamic stretches today after waking up! Feeling smarter every day. I’ve decided learning (and implementing) stretches is one of my goals for this Tues/Thurs training class. And I got the layers mostly right today, though I could have used another pair of tights! My core, hands and head were toasty, however. And that’s enough for me.

I’m making this work!  Last night I was asleep just after 8:30 p.m. My body is starting to cooperate with me, at long last. Yesterday morning in class I had something like 3.5 hours of sleep because of anxiety about waking up so early. I did okay. But today I was better.

I’ve run this early before, but usually when I couldn’t sleep anyway or because I had plans.

Today I woke up this early out of sheer discipline, and surpassed my goal! Coming down the hill toward by car at the end, I stopped to behold the sunrise. I was in no rush.

God was there with me.

Just after three miles, my knee began to hurt a little. But I’ll ice it and be on with my day.

I feel refreshed and hungry. Time for breakfast and a shower before work!



Knee Pain and Discipline: I Did It!

This morning I ran my fourth consecutive Sunday!

Sunday Runday is now a thing. 🙂

And met up with a new friend from our local running club. Bless technology! Someone else posted last night in the facebook group about running in the morning and we both responded. We had met once at previous group run but didn’t have time to chat. The OP didn’t show but she and I met and had a great time!

I was about seven minutes late because at first I went to the wrong trail entrance on another street. But luckily she’s patient and didn’t bolt. It was the first time I ran with someone who didn’t have a route all planned. We just made some suggestions and tried it out.

It was 28 degrees this morning at 7:30 a.m. I started out with a knit hat and a gaiter, plus a base layer and windbreaker. Light pair of gloves. After the first mile, we looped back to our cars both shed some layers. I got rid of the hat and gaiter. It felt GOOD to be without a hat, feeling the wind on my neck. I feel like I’m getting more robust. My body seems to be acclimating to the cold and I can run comfortably with less layers now.

Right away, my knee pain from yesterday showed up. But I was determined. It was bad enough that I was slow, but having to walk so much of it was mortifying. She wanted to get in 6 miles and so did I. We ended up with 4.24 miles, and she said we could stop.

She ran with me at times and ahead at others, and I was fine either way. I was just grateful she didn’t cut the run short. Although I suppose an injury does deserve some compassion-it probably helped that I didn’t complain and did my best to run as much as possible. She could tell I was trying.

Would I have tried without someone else to consider? Probably not. Woulda gone home.

But that’s the great thing about accountability. Today I learned that having another person to run with not only motivates your pace, but makes you want to be a better runner, period. I didn’t want to get in the way of her goals. There was mutual respect.

Since joining this club I’m discovering that runners are generally reliable people.

I was a little anxious about oversleeping but got plenty of rest and woke up refreshed.

I was glad to make it today after missing the group run yesterday. I felt back on track.

I’m convinced that my knee pain is due to lack of running this week. My knees haven’t been this bad since I ran the Cinco de Miler last year– after seven MONTHS without training beforehand. Except the night prior.

My last attempt was Tuesday morning– for class we were inside the local athletic club on the treadmills. We were told to “dress accordingly” but since I never go to gyms, I was over-dressed. I was so hot indoors on the treadmill all I could think about was feeling gross and over-heated. I definitely held back. Now I’ll know that indoors means a t-shirt, not a base layer. And shorter pants.

Hours later, my knees still throb.

Tomorrow is my rest day, thank God. I’m understanding why we need them now.

But Tuesday I will be back in training, pain or no. Maybe I’ll get some Bengay tonight.

I’m proud of myself for hobbling through this– that was bad ass!! I never brought up quitting. I was open-minded about where she wanted to go. I did the best with what I had.

I discovered this morning that I’d rather be struggling with knee pain, practically hobbling, than cut a run short or ditch it all together.


Because I am a runner.

Unrelenting Blogging, Running and Courage: Six Year Anniversary!

Word Press informed me today it’s my six year anniversary as a blogger.

Hard to believe this chronicle of my life still stands– I attempted to erase it once. Exes had commented, past friends were keeping tabs on me, fellow bloggers encouraged me. Thank you to those who have subscribed, followed, commented and encouraged this unrelenting literary journey! Some have left, but most have stayed.  It’s edifying.

I went through a period of wanting my life without documentation.

My emerging narrative had no focus, I felt it was a waste  of time. But as events unfolded, I found this humble blog to be a refuge.

I would write what I want, without censor or error by editors. Without deadlines.

This journey began as a public vow of accountability during Lent, to uphold my Catholicism and Lenten promises. To challenge me.

Six years ago, I was searching for meaning in a relationship with a man. I thought that was the dream I should chase. I thought my treasure would be in another’s heart– in the reflection of what he loved in me.

Now I have accepted loss in relationships that haven’t lasted. I wrote about some dates, and the struggles to combat loneliness and failed compatibility. But I kept the details away, not wanting to jinx something still evolving, nor preserve details of suitors who did not work out.

Now I have accepted uncertainty and blog when I feel compelled.

I am still restless, but have re-directed my energy. Now the relationship I feed is that with myself– and running is the mechanism driving me forth.

Now I have races and goals for which to train! The joy I find is in surpassing my doubts.

I seek my own approval, reward myself with courage.

I’m making plans without fear.

I’m still Catholic, but now I forgive myself easier. I don’t depend on Lent to hold me accountable to my own promises.

I allow myself to be human, faults and mishaps included. I enjoy Mass but it’s not the center of my life as it once was.

I’ve chosen to build my life around developing a routine of running. I’m struggling with rising early and getting to sleep early enough to maintain that schedule. But already, it’s bringing me peace.

I’ve signed up for training classes for an upcoming race, my first 10k with lots of hills. I’ve joined the local run club in my community. I’ve attended group runs. I’ve enlisted a running buddy to start soon. I’ve purchased running gear necessary. I’m learning to layer properly in differing weather so I can persevere.

I’ve also failed twice this week on something I consider major: I missed my training class Thursday, and slept through a group run this morning.

I’m worried because my next race has a time limit for me to qualify as a finisher– I usually need 1 hour and 30 minutes to run five miles. This race requires 1 hour and fifteen. I felt intimidated— but signed up anyway. Now that fee has been paid! I want that finisher’s medal.

Today as I ran, I pushed myself. I knew I had to wean my mileage and maintain it below a 15 minute mile. And I did, except for two short bouts of walking. I noticed my knees hurting by the end, 3.16 miles. But I don’t normally feel that when I’m running regularly.

Tomorrow morning I’m meeting someone from our running group early. I’ll go faster.

I’ll be the runner I know is within me.

I think I’ve found something special with running.

And it’s in every road, every time I put on my shoes.

Outta My Own Head: Running for Real

I’m struggling with running since I decided to get serious about it.

I signed up for a training class leading up to my first 10k race and also joined a local run club, to motivate me and better prepare.

I noticed that on days when there were group runs, I was stoked! One day last I even ran before AND after work.

These people are hardcore. There is a calendar of scheduled runs and races and they run no matter the elements! I love that. I’ve run in a thunderstorm once years ago, it was hella fun!

Adventure is in my soul, I just need to unleash it.

While it’s awesome to belong to a new organization, it’s also reminding me how much of a beginner I am. It’s good to be surrounded by such accomplished veterans, from whom I can learn so much. But it’s also hard to be the slowest kid in the pack.

Freshman year of high school, I gave up at this point. I gave up because I was the slowest. I also remember it was hell on my lungs. I tried out for a play and never played sports again… until I returned to running as an adult.

But there’s more motivation this time. Also, my body seems more resilient.

It’s not even just about wanting to be healthy and challenge myself physically and emotionally.

There are friendships to be made by doing this. These people are encouraging.

I can ask them all the questions I want. But I have to prove myself, too.

I set ambitious race goals for myself– my next three will all push me in a different way.

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle has a time limit– my first of that type. If I don’t finish in 1 hour and 15 minutes, I don’t count as a finisher. I typically need 1 hour 30 minutes for five miles– the length of this race. (It’s called an 8k.)

But instead of backing out, I doubled-down and registered. I will do it!

Most other members are running this race as well and I’m on a team within the club!

I WANT this. I will make it happen. And hey, I’m Irish! That’s gotta help. 🙂

I’ve received nothing but encouragement. But I can’t psych myself out.

I just haven’t wanted to get up and GO this week. But if I make weather excuses now, it will be no different this summer when it gets humid and hot.

I want to run farther, faster. I want to run with strategy and goals.

The only one who can do that is me.

No one else is going to make me faster. Only I can push myself to run farther.

Until now I’ve just raced to complete them and have fun. But now it’s a new level.

And I need to become accountable to myself– not just a class or a group run.

I will keep going! But I also need to be less harsh on myself.

This is a big lifestyle change for me, transitioning to early morning runs rather than afternoon and evening runs when it’s convenient.

I haven’t missed a class– that’s something.

I also need to learn to eat better, for fuel and so I can achieve my goals.

But one thing at a time!

Getting my feelings out and admitting them IS accountability. I’ll blog myself through it.

Running Milestone: Coldest Run Ever!

I just ran FOUR MILES in 20 degree weather! My phone actually froze and shut down.

It took two pair of running tights, two top base layers, a windbreaker,  wool socks, a gaiter, a lined hat and two pair of gloves. FINALLY, I layered successfully to accommodate my run plans.

I’m elated because twice last week I gave up on runs in warmer temps because of insufficient layers and a cruel wind. I didn’t even last a quarter mile and felt disappointed and frustrated with myself. But this morning, I was warm enough. Without feeling miserable, I was able to relax and just enjoy the run. I could even have conversations.

I’m getting smarter about running!

Today was also my second group run with the local running club I just joined. On both runs, we took a group photo!

Talk about solidarity! Though I’m hovering at a 15 minute mile, no less than four different people came back to check on me and make sure I was okay and didn’t get left behind. Two ran slightly ahead or would go forth and jog back, and the other two stayed by my side the whole time and adjusted their pace to mine. Even if I needed to walk. Both were what I needed at different times–space and camaraderie.

I’m starting to understand the true benefit of a run club. I’ve run with several friends at different races and our own accountability runs together, but until today, only two people have run WITH me the entire time.

Usually the more accomplished and faster the runner, the more pre-occupied they are with hitting their own goals and PR’s (personal records.)  All four people who ran with me today are veterans who can go a long distance. They are just generous people. They made sure that I knew they were *happy to be there with me– that my slow pace just made me a beginner, not a burden.

They all introduced themselves and wanted to get to know me, asking me about my running, etc. A few knew me by name. I felt so included! I didn’t finish the entire run because I have an appointment with my eye doctor this morning and don’t want to be late.

But I will finish the entire long run with the team one day. I will. Oh yes, I will.

Driving to our location this morning, the sunrise was on my left. I felt serene and awake.

Can’t wait till next Saturday!!

One run at a time, I’m changing my life.

Schaudenfruede at the Supermarket

Caught myself tonight  breaking my rule!

I was riveted by a tabloid at Jewel. I’m one of those shameless people who will pull up to an aisle that’s closed, park my cart and read whatever I want without buying it. (But I have bought an incriminating number of these babies in the past, I admit!)

Tabloids are one of my vices.

As I closed it and moved on to check-out in an available aisle, I realized my crime.

What was my point in reading it? There it was. Envy.

Envy and gossip connected, boom.

I read about the Kardashians, Ben and Jen’s impending divorce, I looked at a story analyzing Madonna’s obsession with plastic surgery.

Fame is not what I want. Money, however, yeah. I envy that. What regular person doesn’t?

However, I *never envy the problems that come with that level of money. The exposure.

Did I feel a little self-righteous after seeing that these successful people have struggles just like regular people? Yeah, I did. Truthfully, they probably envy the simplicity of their former lives– when they could shop in peace. When they had quiet moments of anonymity, small moments like I enjoyed tonight.

I am thankful for the privacy of being a regular person.

Good for them, for finding a way to market their skills and become wealthy for it. Good for them for braving marriages and relationships when the entire world is literally analyzing their every outfit, date, and ordinary errand. They deal with much more stress than I anticipate ever having in my life. And they carry on working and living and parenting.

I am swearing off tabloids for the remainder of Lent.







How to Stop Envy

That’s the dilemma I’m trying to solve this Easter season!

I love this song and the lyrics and particularly the video.

Although the lyrics are written in third person, how could this glorious rock classic have been born without some substantial envy? She’s venting about feeling ignored at first, but the overcoming that. Then also talking about the envy others feel toward her– and despite her own fame, she feels jaded.

“You better watch out

What you wish for

It better be worth it

So much to die for”

But the ending stanza is the best–

“You want a part of me?

Well I’m not selling cheap.

No, I’m not selling cheap.”

She refuses to let fame and her fans define her. She’s holding something back for herself– strength, pieces of mystery that are important to her. She knows her worth.

Bad ass!

For myself, I’m just doing a few things to help.

When I catch that feeling niggling at me, I shut it down.

Envy is negative and petty, it’s childish. It fuels gossip.

Though not any type of mindfulness devotee, I am choosing my thoughts.

Instead, I try to counter that thought with something positive about the person provoking my envy. Turn it around– what do I admire about this person, how do they inspire me?

What could they teach me, if I’m open to learn?

Then I affirm myself, so I don’t get trapped in a competitive cycle.

Often envy happens when we perceive ourselves as less-than said person– less accomplished, less intelligent, less attractive, less settled in life, what have you.

For me, anyway.

Now I dismiss the thought and then focus on something constructive. An activity!

If that’s not working, I’ll journal about it. That’s what I’ve got so far! Happy Friday.

How do *you combat those poisonous feelings of envy? Tell me in the comments!