Anatomy of an early morning run

The alarm went off at 4:45 yesterday morning. Ugh. I had the best laid plans to get out of bed and do my 12-mile long run in preparation for Bataan. I finally got out of bed at 5:00, realizing that I was awake and had a solid 7 hours of sleep, at least. It wasn’t even cold outside so I really had no excuse at all!

I ran down dark streets, some barely lit by lights. By the time my body realized what I was doing, I was almost home. I got in about 9 miles, according to runningahead.com.

I went with my Camelbak as I hate carrying anything in my hands but without music. I couldn’t believe I stomached nine miles with no music and no one to talk to! I ran all over the Northeast, which in itself is not very scenic until the sunlight started reflecting off the mountains.

My rewards for getting up and running early? A beautiful sunrise and fresh coffee when I got home, and at least 1000 calories burned by 7 AM.

I had to work late last night, until 8:15 or so, but surprisingly I found I wasn’t any more tired than if I’d gotten up at 6:30 or later.

This morning I didn’t run, but I did get up when Aaron did and found that I have more energy and motivation to get even little things done, like making the bed! Woohoo. I’m almost glad I didn’t run this morning; it sounded like our house was going to blow over last night! It’s so dusty you can barely see the mountains…

febrero loco y marzo otro poco

Vacation :: good for the soul

I truly believe that sometimes God just wants us to rest. Church and productivity and work are all great things, but sometimes we just need a break, a Sabbath. (Can a Sabbath consist of two weeks of vacation??) We had a great visit to see friends and family in Illinois. Two weeks is the longest Aaron and I have had off work together in over two years! Well, two weeks that were just for relaxing, not moving halfway across the country.

There’s no way I can rehash everything that happened, nor do I want to! It’d take forever! We saw most of the friends and family that we wanted to see; to see everyone is just impossible unless we didn’t want any downtime for ourselves. We stayed with my in-laws, and my parents took us to and from the airport in St. Louis. We spent five days in Chicagoland with Bruce, Katie, our 4-year-old niece Lena and 4-month-old nephew Rand. They affectionately call me “Aunt LizBiz”. We were able to be there for Lena’s birthday party and Rand’s baptism.

We took them to the Brookfield Zoo!
I totally made his hat! Cuteness. 100%.

I got a few runs, which were lovely in the crisp winter-ish air. The Midwest has had a very mild winter. Aaron and I did about 8.5 miles the day after we got back. We realized just how small our hometown is. We wove our way through streets and parks. I love that everything there is so familiar. The Monday we got back from Elgin we ran 16 miles, which was great. We started out at about 7am, which is relatively late for me to start a long run like that. I also ran with my friend Darla and even got up at 4:30 in the morning to go to BodyCombat with her. (I did come home and go back to sleep for awhile.)

We ate. A lot. We went to all the places we wanted: Lou Malnati’s (awesome Chicago deep dish), Double A’s, Steak n Shake, Ernie’s Family Restaurant, Flat Top Grill, Our Inn Place, Avanti’s, Monicals.

In Elgin, all five cousins got their photos taken. Super cute. I love being an aunt to these kids.

I learned how to crochet. I had learned a really long time ago but it never stuck with me. My grandpa refreshed my memory and I’ve been crocheting like crazy! I also got a smartphone, finally. It all started because I accidentally (I swear!) dropped my iPod in the toilet and it was… dead. Drowned. My sister Emily and I switched phones since she didn’t want the smartphone anymore.

What else can I say besides it was a much needed R&R. We had no issues with our flights or baggage and got in Saturday evening. Yesterday we took it easy: went out for breakfast, went grocery shopping, I got a starter and seeds at Lowe’s to *hopefully* grow some herbs and veggies. I expected to feel worn out yesterday; instead I was energized! Soon I’m off to work and hoping that I can stay stress-free for awhile….

Bataan is on!!!

I was hesitant to sign up for this race, no lie. However, since I have the go-ahead from my cardiologist and the funds to pay for it, Bataan is on, people! I asked my awesome runner-Army-wife-kindred-spirit friend Natalie her advice on prepping for 26.2 in just six weeks. I ran 13.1 on January 14, finishing in 2:19, which is really strong for not having formally trained for that race. That wasn’t even a month ago. I’ve kept my mileage light since then… I guess you could say I’ve been half-heartedly training for some 26.2 at some point….

I have some things definitely on my side for Bataan. 1) That I’ve run a “long” distance race recently. 2) That I have marathon training and racing experience. I would never attempt this if I didn’t have both those things. 3) I’m running this race for a bigger purpose than a PR. In fact, I have no time constraint. The average time for Bataan is 7 hours and 43 minutes. A lot of soldiers ruck this race with 35+ lbs on their backs. I’m running it for the bad-ass-ness of the race (and distance! and terrain!) but also to honor those who have served our country in the military.

It’s gonna be a rough race. Like I’ve posted before, it’s sandy, windy, you kinda sorta gain 1300 ft of elevation, and yes, it’s out in the middle of the desert. Hydration and nutrition are super-important. Recovery after the long runs is crucial. Training on hills or hiking on rough terrain is also priority.

Here’s what my training schedule looks like for long runs: no room for missing them!

Week of….

February 12 — 12 miles

February 19 — 16 miles

February 26 — 20 miles

March 4 — 12 miles

March 11 — 16 miles

March 18 — 12 miles

March 25 —  26.2!

 

And during the week…..

Sunday — long run

Monday — cross train/recovery

Tuesday — rest

Wednesday — run

Thursday — hike/run on rough terrain

Friday — run

Saturday – rest

 

I’m committed. I’m registered. The only other issue is transitioning to the Minimus, which can’t be done without caution. So I’ll go slow at it. No promises on wearing those on race day!

And one final thought….

Is it crazy that I’m kind of looking forward to running in the cold Midwestern air??

My 300th post! — Running naked

My fellow runners know what I’m talking about… no music, no Garmin (or other fancy schmancy GPS device)… just you and your footfalls. And the sunrise, or sunset, or busy street, or quiet desert. I’m starting to change my attitude towards running. I trained consistently for distance races for about a year, from a 5K to my first marathon. Since that day last April, my desire to train for a specific time goal pretty much went out the window.

Then we moved to the desert, and also to an elevation of 4000 ft above sea level, compared to Peoria’s 700ish. Running became a chore, and I was frustrated.  Thankfully I pulled myself out of that black hole.

Now I want to run just…. because. Because it makes me feel good. Because it helps me keep up with my husband. Because of how I feel after I’ve completed a race. Because of what it does for me… spiritually, physically and mentally. Friends, there’s no drug like endorphins.

I ran an easy two-miler on Tuesday morning before the sun was even up. It was mostly dark out, no cars on the road besides someone leaving for work, and all I heard was my breathing and feet hitting the ground. I concentrated on my breathing and on my form (slowly incorporating my NB Minimus!). I don’t even know if it was exactly 2 miles.

This morning I dropped Aaron off for work at about 7:30, clad in my Texas “winter” gear (no earband or gloves! holllaaaaa!), and I took off on the cinder trail around his company. The loop I ran is one we’ve run before together. The first time I ran it by myself, it was during afternoon PT time and I was so intimidated! I didn’t even see many soldiers around, and it wasn’t blocked off to civilians or anything, but I just felt so intimidated. Biggs Army Airfield is so spread out on the east side that it seems like in some parts you’re running literally in the middle of the desert and mountains… tumbleweeds and all. I mean, my view wouldn’t make Runner’s World “Rave Run”, but it’s pretty in its own way.

Today I ran about six miles in my Brooks and felt great. The first two were a warm-up, and my body and mind were screaming at me. It was windy and chilly, but I knew with the sun it would warm up fast. By the second time I ran the loop (it’s about 3 miles) I was feeling like I hit my stride. I did run with music, but without the Garmin. That was such a liberating feeling! Too often I’m a slave to my pace and distance and it distracts me from performing my best. The Garmin is a great tool for interval training or tempo runs, but I hardly do any of those outside. It took me about 56 minutes to run about 6 miles.

Both days I’ve run this week, I’ve felt energized and pleased instead of disappointed. I’ve felt ready to face the day instead of groggy in mind and spirit. I don’t feel guilty enjoying certain foods because I know I’m putting in the work before I indulge.

I don’t know how many races I’ll do this year. I don’t even know if I’ll do a marathon (though there’s one on post in November), but I do know that my blog title is more relevant than ever. I can’t wait to go “home” and run some of my typical routes… Prospect, Grandview, Mt. Hawley, Coal Miner’s Park. I think running with those memories will let me see how far I’ve come.

Going “home”

We will be in the Midwest one week from today! I’ve kind of made this a big deal on Facebook and Twitter, but bear with me. It’s the first time I’ve ever lived away from family and I haven’t seen them since July. Mr. Rand, well, I haven’t even met him yet, unless it counts that I knew him while in utero. 🙂

I’m happy that the weather looks good for traveling. We’ll be flying Southwest from El Paso to Dallas to St. Louis, where my parents and one of my sisters will be picking us up. In true Daddy style, he texted me (never ever EVER thought I’d say “Daddy” and “text” in the same sentence!) and asked me if he’s gonna have to bring a semi to haul all our stuff. I’m rolling my eyes because of course he’s not going to have to bring a semi. Haha. When I told him that, he replied with “lmao”. Really, Daddy? Really? How does he even know what “lmao” means?? 😉

After this past week, which was pretty awful, I’m looking forward to relaxing with friends and family. My littlest sister Leah had hip surgery for the second time on Wednesday, and they had to go to Chicago for that. (We’re from 3 hours south of Chicago.) It was outpatient, but my whole family was on edge that day. She was in a horrible car accident two years ago and had a hip surgery then… memories. Ugh. But, she seems to be doing well and is starting physical therapy very soon, which is something she didn’t have with the last one. Looking forward to seeing her! It’s hard to be away for things like that.

We have limited time, unfortunately. We had originally planned to come home the 6th, but we thought it was in our better financial interests for me to work one more week and then fly home the 11th. I’m glad we decided that! We’ll have some spending money, but we definitely can’t be going out to eat 24/7. And we will be borrowing a car from my in-laws (where we’re staying) so we won’t be able to drive all over creation.

We have a lot of family to visit… my grandparents and great-grandparents, his grandparents, our siblings, our parents, and anyone else who wants to see us or have us over. We’re spending a few days in Chicagoland with Aaron’s oldest brother Bruce and his family. I have to get as much of Rand as I can since the next time I see him he’ll probably be over a year old! It’s kind of stinky to be away from our nieces and nephews.. actually, a lot stinky.

Besides Joel, who’s 12, I’ve been there to see them grow up and never went more than a couple months between seeing them. Rand and Lena have a busy weekend as Lena’s 4th birthday party is the 18th and Rand’s baptism is the 19th. Lena’s birthday really isn’t until the 21st, but I’m so thankful that Bruce and Katie have made the effort to make sure we can be there! That really means a lot to us.

I have yet to pack, and I’m hoping the weather stays mild. 45* in Illinois HAS to feel warmer than 45* in Texas, right? I’m excited to run at 700 ft above sea level as opposed to 4,000. I can’t wait to go to Coal Miner’s Park, and Forest Park, and Grandview Drive. I miss the river. Seriously. And bridges that don’t lead to foreign countries. 😉

So now, I’m going to go enjoy the Midwestern meal I’m indulging in tonight of homemade chicken nuggest, oven-baked potato wedges and cornbread. We’ll see you all soon!