Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thoughts About Prospective Epic Races

So the taper has begun. Fewer miles, slower pace, resting up before my 2 big race days. Chris asked me about my race strategy and I said "I don't know, keep going?" That pretty much sums it up. I don't have any kind of formal plan. I'm not going to analyze it or take it too seriously. I'm going to do the best that I can and smile and stay positive and keep going. And whatever happens, happens.

No worries, be happy.

Or something like that.

Who knows where thoughts come from? I don't. But here they are:

Even when I run solo, I never run alone. To all my homies, I am eternally grateful and continually in awe of you.

I wrote to a friend, "Relax, have fun and do the things that make you happy. Everything else will work itself out." I should take my own advice.

Dear Body, screw the laws of Thermodynamics. On May 15, I need you to be a perpetual motion machine.

New race/life philosophies:
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." (Teddy Roosevelt)
"Everything I do, I do it big." (Wiz Khalifa)

Sometimes I just want someone to hug me and tell me that everything will be alright. Especially if he looks like that hot guy from The Killers. Or is really good at hugs.

Lyric of the moment: "And I won't forget you. At least I'll try. And run, and run tonight. Everything will be alright..."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Better the second time around

Today's 20 mile run was much better than last week. There were pace groups for the first 7 mile loop, then I ran an additional 13 miles with a few guys who are veteran marathoners, some of whom are also running Cleveland. I'm glad there are a lot more Fleet Feet people running Cleveland than I originally thought.

I think the nicer weather definitely helped. It was still windy, but warmer and the rain held off. My legs got tired again around mile 18, but I like to think it's just more awesomeness building up in there. No doubt this race is going to hurt. I just have to focus on the positives and keep on going. My excitement is finally starting to win out over my apprehension. Today was the first time I thought I might actually be able to do this marathon thing. I'm sure going to give it my best try.

I've put in the miles. Now it's time to relax and enjoy it.

Lyric of the moment: "I wouldn't wanna have it any other way. I'm addicted and I just can't get enough..."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Everything all at once

Yesterday, Dangers said I am always happy and quick to see the good in things. I do have a lot to smile about. I have been very fortunate and my life is good. I try to keep a positive attitude, but sometimes, at the end of the day when I finally stop moving, everything else catches up with me and I feel so many emotions all at once.

I'm super nervous yet also excited for my upcoming half marathon and marathon races. I'm worried I won't perform well, but I'm also kind of proud of all the hard work I have done just to get to the starting line. It's been months and months of hill workouts and long runs in all kinds of weather conditions. Regardless of how I finish, I am a stronger runner now than I've ever been before, and hopefully I will keep improving.

I feel simultaneously social and solitary. I've made some awesome new friends, in addition to my super amazing old friends, but sometimes it's a little sad to come home to an empty house. I'm happy to have made a home for myself here, but I can still hear the echoes of my former housemates and all the good times we had. Living here by myself, I feel too small, no matter how many cookies I eat. The older I get, the less I want to do everything alone and the more I want to be around other people.

My life is sort of in transition right now. Some endings, a lot of new beginnings. So it goes. I do so love venturing into uncharted territory, though at times it leaves me feeling a little untethered.

I have to remember that it's all about the journey. At this point, I don't even know what the destination looks like, but I plan to have a lot of fun getting there.

Lyric of the moment: "Though I know I'll never lose affection for people and things that went before, I know I'll often stop and think about them. In my life I love you more..."

Monday, April 18, 2011

When adventure calls, we answer

Thanks to ShmEagans for the photos!
This weekend was the best! It was filled with all kinds of awesome sauce: good runs (my first 20 miler and another 4 the next day!), trying new things (white water rafting at Letchworth with the Colitis Crew), dinner and ice cream sundaes with Jeff, movies, laughing at everything, cuddles with Mike, toaster pastries with heart shaped icing, and good news (Dangers is coming home for a weekend in May!).
I'm tired. I feel like I need another weekend just to recuperate. But it's the best kind of tired. The next few weeks are going to be pretty killer. I can't wait!

When adventure calls, we answer.

Lyric of the moment: "Just sit back and hold on, but hold on tight. Prepare for the best and the fastest ride. And reach out your hand and I'll make you mine..."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

20 miles worth of long distance run

Well I survived my first 20 mile run today. The weather was brutal: cold, rainy and seriously windy. At times it was so windy and the rain was hitting my face so hard it hurt. I'm really hoping that race day will be much nicer. But I guess if I can run in this crap, I can run in anything.

I wore the compression socks, and they seemed to help a little, but my ankles started to hurt at the end. And as soon as I stopped running, I was freezing. I have never been so happy to get home and take a shower.

Most people at Fleet Feet were only running 12 or 14 miles and there were no 9:00 or 9:30 pace group leaders today, but luckily I found someone else who was also doing the 20 mile route. And it turns out he's running the race in Cleveland too. Bonus!

The run really took a lot out of me though. I think I'm going to be pretty useless the rest of the day. On the agenda for tonight: stretch out on the couch, relax and wish someone would come give me a leg massage.

I remember a time when 3 miles used to feel interminable. Now I can run for 3 hours. So even though I'm tired and sorta out of it right now, I feel pretty awesome.

Lyric of the moment: "When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire..."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Love. Run. Read. Ice Cream.

I always feel particularly happy on Fridays. No matter what happens during the week, I wake up feeling psyched on Friday morning, excited about the impending weekend and all the potential adventures that await.

Plus, with the bonus I got at work this week, I have now reached my savings account goal. It's not a lot of money, but it's the most I've ever had, and it makes me want to do a "money in the bank" dance. I like knowing it's there in case I need it, and it's nice to feel like I have options. I may never have a money vault à la Scrooge McDuck, but hopefully I can continue to save, little by little.

I saw an ad in Runner's World that said "Yoga. Love. Run. Ice Cream." Yes! Story of my life! Although I am terrible at yoga, so my life is more like Love. Run. Read. Ice Cream.

I can't remember the last time I ate dessert. I think it's been over a week. The horror! I will have to remedy that post haste. Tonight I'm all about eating and sleeping, for tomorrow I have to run 20 miles. Eeep!

Lyric of the moment: "And in this moment I am happy, happy..."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bad day = good run

What a (insert expletive here) week. Work is exhausting. Some things are unnecessarily complicated. Sometimes I wonder if it's more drama than it's worth.

I thought I would follow my heart. But I forgot that my heart is an idiot.

The upside of crappy days is that they usually lead to good runs. So far this week I did a 6 mile run with Shooter at a little over 8 minute mile pace, a fast 5 miles of hills with Eric and Sheila and a 7 mile run on the treadmill at an average of 8:30 pace.

Still, I can never seem to outrun the feeling of not being good enough. My brain is an idiot too.

But whatever. I'm sure everything will work itself out, as it is prone to do.

Life, for all its ups and downs, does have a fantastic sense of humor. I was running on the treadmill at the gym tonight when Watch-it-Phil walked by and waved at me (apparently he goes to my gym) so of course I immediately thought "sun's out guns out" and started laughing.

Even on bad days, there is always something that makes me laugh. And always people who make me smile.

Lyric of the moment: "Even on a cloudy day I'll keep my eyes fixed on the sun..."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

On going the distance

Things that are fun to do after running 18 miles:
*Taking a long shower
*Drinking a smoothie
*Taking a nap. Or just getting off your feet
*Getting a leg massage
*Going to the movies

Things that are not fun to do after running 18 miles:
*Walking up and down stairs
*Thinking about how there's no way you can run 8 more miles

I was definitely tired after Saturday's 18 mile run. I started to freak out a little because I don't see how I can run 8 more miles on top of that. I have serious doubts about my ability to do this marathon. But I'm still going to try. I have nothing to lose. Even if I totally blow it in Cleveland, there will always be other races.

On the bright side, nothing hurt during the run or afterwards. But my legs felt tired and heavy during the last few miles. I was a little sore yesterday, but today I feel good again. I bought some compression socks today so I will try those out during my next long run and see if that alleviates some of the heaviness.

Lyric of the moment: "I've seen some changes but it's getting better all the time. There's nothing you and I won't do. I'll stop the world and melt with you. The future's open wide..."

Friday, April 8, 2011

One step forward

So my 83 year old boss thinks it's his responsibility to marry me off. He says anyone can get dates but it's hard to find someone for the "long haul through life." He's concerned that if I don't get married and have a family, there will be no one to take care of me when I'm old.

I know he means well, but honestly I hate the idea of someone having to take care of me when I'm old. Of course it would be nice to have a life partner and grow old together, but I don't want that person to end up with the worst of me. I want to give him the best of me. When it gets to the point where I can't live the life I want and do all the things I want, I'm checking out. Maybe I only say this because I'm still young, but I'd rather have a shorter life of higher quality than a prolonged decline.

Anyway, it's Friday and I'm in a good mood regardless of awkward personal conversations at work and foot pain. I have a lot more running and traveling and hanging out with awesome people to do before I get old.

Lyric of the moment: "One foot in and one foot back. But it don’t pay to live like that..."

One step back

My right foot has been hurting off and on. This has started to concern me, hence I am trying to pretend that everything is fine in the hopes that it will go away. Yes, I realize that denial is not a panacea. I'm also going to eat a banana, drink some tart cherry juice, take some Ibuprofen and soak my foot in epsom salts, while trying to convince my foot that it doesn't hurt. There will probably be some swearing involved as well. Seriously body, this is not cool. Please fix yourself. I promise to think more nice thoughts about you and to feed you more vegetables.

Lyric of the moment: "So here I go, it's my shot, feet fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got..."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Funny how it takes a lot of effort to get to effortless

Yesterday's 8 mile run with Shooter and Eric was my favorite kind of run - it was a nice 60 degree day, I felt great, and everything just fell into place. It was running at its most basic - no water bottle, no iPod, no watch, no 3 layers of winter clothing.

I love days like that, where it seems almost effortless. I wish I could find more of that in the rest of my life.

Sometimes I hesitate too much, always one foot in and one foot out. But I don't want to do that anymore. I don't want to think too much or worry too much about the future. I'd rather enjoy the present. I don't know what will happen or where I will end up. But I'm excited to find out.

Lyric of the moment: "I don't want to doubt you, know everything about you. I don't want to sit across the table from you wishing I could run. I want to love you madly, I want to love you now..."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thank you more please

Last night Mike and I went to see Happy Thank You More Please at The Little. It was everything I love in movies - funny, quirky and cute. One of the main characters tells a story about how the key to happiness is gratitude, that with gratitude comes abundance, and you should live your life saying "thank you, more please."

And that's exactly how I feel. I know I'm so lucky to be here and I just want more and more of life.

The other day I read this essay, which I loved, especially this part: "The point of life, I think, is to leave the following status update: “I loved as much as I could, up until the last nanosecond before it was taken away from me.”"
Scenes from a weekend of good times with some of my favorite people: Relaxing nights in with funny TV. A longer run along the lake on a sunny Saturday morning. Wilbur's birthday party. Dinner and a movie. Italian love cake. Breakfast with Meghan at Patti's Pantry. Buying myself a red dress (it fits really well and was on sale for $12, now I just have to find an occasion and the balls to wear it).

Thank you. More please.

Lyric of the moment: "Happiness hit her like a train on a track. Coming towards her, stuck still, no turning back.."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy "I Pity Da Fool" Day

I was drinking Tazo Awake Black Tea, which describes itself as "A breakfast tea of boldness, depth and character, invigorating any time of day," and I decided when I grow up I want to be a Jen of boldness, depth and character, invigorating any time of day. Or Mr. T. Whichever. Happy "I pity da fool" Day! Because it's way cooler than April Fool's Day.

Lyric of the moment: "Well life’s a train that goes from February on day by day. But it’s making a stop on April first. And you will believe in love. And all that it’s supposed to be..."