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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Stream of Consciousness

Here’s where my love of literature comes into play. If you have ever had the pleasure of reading anything written by Virginia Woolf or Jeanette Winterson, then you know what stream of conscious looks like on paper. Both ladies processed what they were writing as they wrote, letting thoughts flow freely from their head through their arms and onto paper.

This same thing is what happens when you’re running on the road. Notsomuch trails because you have to concentrate on where your feet are going so as to dodge roots, trees, bricks, stones, holes, etc. While you’re running any distance, though more so the greater distance than shorter, your mind opens almost as if someone lifted the lid off a steamer. A mile or two into the run, you settle into your pace, you cadence is set and you often zone out. That is the point in which your mind starts floating and your body roams on autopilot. Sure, you’re taking in the visual stimuli around you like the dog walking by, the people smoking on the corner, the cars zooming past or the guy who rides by on his bike and yells, “Y’all should get a bike!” But it’s almost as if you are experiencing these things on an ethereal sense.

Example: on one variation of my usual route, I run behind a Rite Aid and often there are big Mack trucks parked there. If any of you remember Maximum Overdrive, then you’ll understand this next bit. “OMG, there are huge trucks like Maximum Overdrive I wonder if they’re going to try to run me over if I go between them or maybe they’ll open their door and someone will snatch me into the cab lets just hurry up and get on the other side of the trucks hey I wonder if Friend knows about Maximum Overdrive and has watched it as many times as I have I need to remember to ask him and…oh look, I’m passed them now to get over this gate and get to the road…” and it will keep going, skipping around to all sorts of subjects and topics.

Some days, like yoga, I set a specific intention for the run but most are like the above. Running helps clear the mind so it is open to new possibilities and information. After the run, maybe I’ll remember what I was thinking about and maybe I won’t.

I do remember the funny things that stand out, like the guy who rode by and yelled at us to get a bike. Or the deer I saw in someone’s front yard. But mostly, my runs epitomize free thought and word association.

stream of consciousness

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in meditation, runnergirl

 

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You know you’re a runner when…

We’ve all had this discussion with our friends. We’ve all participated in both silly fun versions as well as given serious answers. Here’s mine.

Approximately four and a half years ago in April I started running. I was sort of single again (long obnoxious story), was in my second semester of graduate school and had been walking my dogs for 1-2 hours almost every day and figured I could get it done faster if we ran. So one day when on Dock Street, I started to run. Both dogs seemed to really enjoy the short jog so I decided to come back with only one of them in two days time to see not only which dog would make a better running buddy, but to also try running further.

On Dock Street two days later, my dog Radar and I ran until I couldn’t run anymore, making it further than I had the previous attempt. Not much further, but it will still progress.

Two days after that I ran even further with my dog Clifford*. And before I knew it, within two weeks, I got all the way to Brown’s Island which was almost a full mile from where we started. A couple days later, I not only ran to Brown’s Island, but I ran back to the starting point without stopping.

I remember being so excited that I sent a text message to my friend, also a runner, in all capitals saying something like, “G! I JUST RAN FROM DOCK STREET ALL THE WAY TO BROWN’S ISLAND AND BACK AGAIN!! WITHOUT STOPPING!!”

The shoes I wore then were very worn out, old, chewed from puppies in a few places, but I refused to invest in new shoes, clothes oriron lungs anything until I knew this running thing was going to stick. I believe it was somewhere around August of that same year when I started tracking my runs via Runkeeper because I had finally gotten a smart phone. I joined a virtual running group. I started accompanying my friend G on his Saturday group runs. I began making friends with some of the best people I’ve ever met, many who are still my friend today.

Mapping out routes on www.mapmyrun.com then running said route 6 days a week used to be how I did things. I started with three miles, a month later I graduated to 4 miles, a month later I graduated to five miles…and so on. I remember going to work on my birthday and gleefully proclaiming that I had accidentally run six miles that morning. My co-workers just shook their head then asked how on earth did I “accidentally” run six miles. That was the year I turned 35 and I am now 39.

It was at this point that I decided, huh. I guess I’m a real Runner. I guess I should probably get some shoes. And some shorts. And some tank tops. And now I have an entire drawer in my dresser dedicated only to running clothes. And enough race shirts to make a quilt.

I lost a lot of weight those first six months. I went from a size 12/14 to a size 2/4. I became more concerned about nutrition. I’m still more concerned about nutrition; it’s a constant struggle I have that will follow me into this world of ultra running.

I live and breathe running. It truly provides for me the air in my lungs, a reason to get out of bed every morning as well as what provides an outlet for my anxiety and idiosyncrasies. Running has helped me figure out who I am and what I’m made of; marathons are mostly a head game that test your psychological strength. Ultras are rumored to test both your mental and physical strength. Running has given me the confidence to be my whole true self and to not settle for anything less than what I think I’m worth in any situation.

Running has become my salvation and my way of life, it’s simply what I do.

*Clifford ended up being the better running partner of the two, doing up to ten miles once. But he has metal in two of his legs and one started to get aggravated by all the running so he had to stop. We were both very sad.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2014 in runnergirl, thebeginning

 

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Negative vs Positive

The other day I was presented with a journaling exercise that began with brainstorming about Who I am Right Now. My initial thought was not a happy one; resistance crept in because I’m in a negative head space right now and who wants to confront that? But it has really got me thinking about what I can do to turn my negatives into positives. My beau and I parted ways two weeks ago and I injured myself one week ago by being a stupid stubborn runner. Running has become my way of coping with any and all big life changes. I stole my way of breathing from myself and I’ve been angry ever since.

Today is Day 6 of no running. My dog Chevy is also feeling the angst as he has been shredding things such as an entire box of colored pencils.

The difference between negative thoughts and positive thoughts is the obvious. It’s like asking the difference between sadness/anger and happiness/joy. Negativity can easily creep in, permeating every thought that enters your head, slithering into your blood, muscles and bones. They cause stress, anxiety attacks, a nasty attitude toward your family and friends and maybe even strangers. And honestly, no one wants to be around you when you’re a big grumpy pants. Amiright?

But y’all. Kindness changes everything and that’s what we need to remember.Processed with Cameramatic app.

How have you felt on days you weren’t feeling so good, mentally, and someone did a Random Act of Kindness from which you benefited? Sometimes they’ve brought tears to my eyes. Other times ‘thank you’ doesn’t come close. If those words and actions can help clear away the despondent fog surrounding you like Pig Pen’s dirt cloud, imagine what they can do for someone else? Go ahead, try it. Buy a dozen cookies and leave them in random places for strangers to find. Leave a flower with a note on your neighbor’s doorstep. Snacks on a park bench for a homeless person to find are another good idea. Do these things even when you feel as if you’re having your worst day ever. It makes a difference.

Always remember, things can indeed be better or worse at any given point in your life, those bad happenings sure do suck as you’re going through the meat of it. It’s okay to give yourself permission to “embrace the suck” as I am fond of saying. But what you shouldn’t do is unpack and stay there awhile. The Universe knows what you need when you need it, just be willing to pay attention and have faith.

As for my list, the first two items I wrote down without hesitation were: runner mom and trail runner.

smile

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in RAK

 

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And thus it begins…

Behold, my first ultra, the Seashore Nature Trail 50k.

Y’all will get to go on this journey with me, watching me scrape my knees and other various body parts as I explore the trails near and far, learning to navigate roots, rocks, streams and the like. To prepare for running on the trails for 4+ hours means I need to run on trails for 4+ hours even in training. It also means I need to get out on the road for 30-40 mile runs during peak training weeks.

Nutrition will be key. There are no chubby ultra runners.

Do cupcakes count?

run happy cupcake

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in runnergirl, trailrunnergirl, ultragirl

 

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Ta-da!

beer
This  is my first post on my new blog though I’m hardly new to blogging. My very own special place to talk mostly of running and all that goes with it, to include what I do to recover/prepare for a race which sometimes involves eating delicious food and imbibing of the many craft brews in the city.

My running buddy, Chevy, might show up a time or five as well especially if we’re running trails. They are his absolute favorite place to be.

Right now I am healing from a bruised forefoot that I tried to run on anyway. Runners are a very stubborn bunch and though I knew better, life has been demanding lately that I run so I ignored that voice. Now I am paying for it because I haven’t been able to run since my failed attempt on Sunday. It might be only 3 days to you the non-runner, but to a one who has 50-60 mile weeks, that’s almost a lifetime.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Uncategorized