Running bucket list and bucket lust, part I

“Jane” and I can’t get enough of “Chopped” — the cooking competition show on The Food Network where contestants get a basket of mystery ingredients and must compete with themselves and each other to win. We both love the creativity the chefs put in and marvel at how fast they come up with their ideas.

Jane asked me how I think they pull it off. My answer was similar to what I would give if someone asked me how to master running: Lots of patience and lots of practice. When you watch people who are skilled at something — whether it be cooking or running — they can make it look effortless. That’s what years of dedication creates, I believe, a mastery that flows so beautifully it looks second nature.

Lately, I’ve been diligent myself, and that’s one of the reasons I haven’t been writing this blog as often. I haven’t wanted to jinx myself in some way. For the last month I’ve focused on “slow-cooked running” — lots of miles, mostly slower with a sprinkling of speed every week. (Think “simmering” for the fast miles.) It has done wonders for my body, my heart and my psyche. I logged 160 miles of running in January and 41 “Brownie Points, ” my dog walking miles.

Yes, I am counting Brownie Points in my total mileage because I am up with my dog at o’dark early almost every morning and many dark, cold winter evenings. Plus, ultra-runners get to count miles where they keep moving forward, whether it be fast or slow, so I am, too. About 10 weeks ago I was at ground zero with running because of my injury. Logging 201 healthy miles in a month just a few weeks later is an incredible blessing. I am very grateful.

I’ve also had this epiphany in the last few weeks: I’ve driven myself very hard emotionally over the last few years and allowed myself to be hijacked by other people’s else bucket lists and bucket lusts. Bucket lists are the things that are truly in your own soul to do or accomplish versus bucket lusts, which are those dumb things we are susceptible to doing when we cave in to other people’s ideas.

Do you ever feel pressured to keep up with others, even when you know in your heart it might not be such a good idea? Maybe it’s not necessarily with running. Perhaps it’s keeping up with the Joneses or some other area of your life? It doesn’t matter how or why you turn on this pressure cooker within yourself, the result can be the same — destructive.

This is what I was feeling by the end of 2012, so … I’ve sent myself back to “virtual culinary school” to return to what matters most to me. And you know what? It’s been really, really great. I am enjoying my running again very much.

“Train, don’t strain.” Arthur Lydiard

I’ve got more reflections on this subject but this is where I will stop for today. Look for part II in the next few days.

The flavors of a good, happy life and joy with my running are coming back to me.

Yum.

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Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

Mileage today: 7; Mileage for 2013: 208.

P.S. Also, a shout-out to all my Colorado friends who are running the Rocky Raccoon in Texas this weekend: Best of luck and soar like you are on the wings of eagles!!

Christmas mojo for your running

I ran like “Buddy” from the movie, “Elf” today.  Have you ever tried it? It’s a lot of fun. If you haven’t seen the movie, I also recommend it.

We got a white Christmas in Colorado and about four inches of snow. After my family and I opened gifts and had breakfast, me and Brownie (my dog) went for a run. I used my new Yaktrak and wore this new Under Armour shirt Santa left for me under the tree. (It was snugly warm and the colors were candy-cane happy.)

As I broke fresh trail I started singing, “I”m running!! And I’m in the snow!! And I’m running!!”

Brownie sniffed the ground, then looked back at me like I was a big goofball (which I am), but other than that, we were by ourselves. Even if we weren’t, I would not have cared if someone heard me. There are times when it’s good for the soul to run like you don’t care what anyone else thinks. After several weeks of being injured and finally returning to running I am truly grateful to be back.

Runners run for all kinds of reasons — to set goals, to meet PRs, to get fit, to get healthier, to compete against others, to lose weights and a bunch of other things, too, but how often do we run for the pure joy of it like a happy, little kid anticipating Christmas morning?

Last weekend I completed a 10-miler — my first “longer” run since I returned to running after my injury. All the running I’ve done lately has been pain free and my health is good again; my family and I are well; and it was gorgeous day — I could not ask for much more this Christmas.

Running pain free may not sound like much at first, but I can tell you that all the big things I’ve accomplished with my running these past few years have been built on gradual, small steps. Put them together and they add up to a lot.

Run like no one is watching, and ENJOY it, too — that’s how “Buddy” would do it. He would sing, too.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to singing loud for all to hear.” — Quotation from “Elf



I wish you and your families the blessings of the season!!

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“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

Mileage today: 3; Mileage for 2012: 1,302.

Can you change the world a shoe at a time?

I saw this cool story on the Weather Channel today while Brownie and I were getting ready for our morning run.

A tourist snapped a picture of a New York City cop buying shoes and socks for a homeless man. Larry DePrimo, the cop, didn’t know anyone was watching when he did it. That’s why I liked this story. His generosity was real, not contrived, The photograph has gone viral.


Photo credit: New York City Police Department

I also liked it for a number of other reasons.

DePrimo, according to what I’ve read on the web, makes about $48,000 a year living in New York City. The shoes and sock cost him $75.

I liked it because the cop didn’t do it to get on Facebook or Twitter, or to get noticed. He did it because he saw a human being in need and it was in his heart to help.

I liked it because I’m a mom and a runner and a marathoner. Shoes have changed my life in more ways that I can count. I can only imagine what those shoes meant to that homeless man.

That man living on the streets without shoes? He’s someone’s child and I’ve got children of my own. Maybe his parents are still living. Maybe they aren’t. God only knows what circumstances got him there. I would love to hope that if my children were in his position someone like Larry DePrino would come along and offer them kindness and compassion.

What if we all could change this world one shoe at a time?

Call me a Pollyanna if you want. I think that possibility and hope resides within YOU, and ME, and ALL OF US. Larry DePrimo just did something very ordinary yet extraordinary to remind us.

Runners can help others, too, especially when it comes to shoes.

The most obvious way we can help: Donate shoes to causes that support people who need them.

Locally Boulder Running Company collects shoes to benefit One World Running.

Other organizations across the country that do similar work include: Soles4Souls.org; Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe Program; the ShoeBank.org and Shoes4Africa.org.

My kids love this song by Carrie Underwood called “Change.” It’s about not looking the other way when you see misfortune in the world but doing something about it. (I’ve got the song on my iPod, too.) Tarzan calls it “the song he likes by Carrie Underwear.”

I’m signing off today with Carrie “Underwear” to inspire you. Please send me YOUR ideas for changing the world. I will share them.

Now it’s my turn to make a difference.

Go get ’em, Tiger!

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“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

Mileage today: 3.1; Mileage for 2012: 1,252

Running Karma and DOG-ma

Lately Brownie, my new dog, sprints like a crazy bitch when I take her off leash at the dog park.

I can relate. … I was feeling a little bitchy and crazy myself after six weeks of not running before my foot healed. I started to run again a few days ago, and clearly Brownie’s excited about it, too.

Brownie, a mutt/Australian shepherd mix, has taught me a lot about patience and consistency during my time off. Before my injury, Brownie and I would go out running together almost every day, and she’s been a wonderful companion during my recovery. 

We got her from an Australian
shepherd rescue a few months ago. Not too surprising given her background Brownie is
athletic. (Australian shepherds were bred to herd cattle so they are smart and have lots of energy.) She can clear a six-foot fence and run a few miles with me without tiring out too much pretty easily.

I’m also fortunate that Brownie seems to possess a great on-and-off switch. She knows just when to kick into high
gear and just when to kick back. (That’s exactly what Brownie’s doing now
as I write this — resting peacefully at my feet.)


You know that saying about dogs and
owners looking alike? Well, no, Brownie and I don’t use the same groomer, but maybe we should?!


Yes, Brownie mirrors me in many ways, but not when it comes to resting. That’s where she’s got me beat. I suck at it.

We all know you’re supposed to take off after a big season (all the coaches and training plans tell you that you should), but few runners I know do it. And by resting I mean taking time off completely from running and switching things up for awhile like I just did. Elite runners do it all the time. The Kenyans take off a few weeks every year.

Now if you’re like me, I know what you’re thinking. I can’t afford to take off weeks at a time like the Kenyans. I’ll get out of shape and lose my base.

Well, that’s why I’ve always sucked at it, too, until now. The last time I took this much time off was after the birth of “Tarzan,” my son several years ago.

Also, I’m addicted to my endorphins. I suspect you are, too. I can’t lie. It’s been rough giving those up and few other workouts cut it for me there like running does.

My guess is, however, in a few months, I’ll be happy I took time off and probably running stronger — all because I was forced to do it when I didn’t want to. How’s that for irony?

On some days during my time off it killed me not to run, but not Brownie. She was content to keep me company walking. We usually went two to three times a day, about two miles each time. I called those recovery miles “my Brownie points.”

Since we’ve started running again she and I have picked up right where we left off. For her, it’s like we never stopped. She’s got no baggage around it like me. The down time was good for her. She’s sprinting, no problem. Soon I will be, too. I have to remind myself of that and not lose sight of the big picture.

Yes, I can feel that I took time off — I’m not as fit or fast yet as before I stopped, but it will come in time. None of this bothers Brownie so I’m not going to let it bother me either.

I am grateful to be running again pain-free with her at my side.

Yes, Brownie’s taught this old girl a new trick or two, like when it’s time to: “Run!”

And when it’s time to: “Sit! and stay!”

What a good girl she is. Heckuva job Brownie!



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“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!

Mileage today: 3.1; Mileage for 2012 (including Brownie Points): 1,242

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

“Running made me feel like a bird let out of a cage, I loved it that much.” — Priscilla Welch

I can’t wait to feel free and strong like this beautiful guy we saw in Kauai in May. I’m pacing in my cage.

“Should I Stay (the path of recovery) or Should I Go (and start to run again)?”

I’ll get that answer soon. I got an X-ray of my foot yesterday. I will see my podiatrist a week from today.

Please send good thoughts my way.
 
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“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!

“Actively waiting” — running and injuries

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” — Saint Augustine

When I’m feeling down and needing patience — all I have to do is look at my pup. That furry face and those kind eyes embody patience.

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“Actively waiting” — I can’t remember where I read that phrase recently, but it describes exactly how I feel right now. I am waiting on edge.

Just six more days and I can run again. It’s taking all my patience. I hope it pays off …

Today’s post goes out to anyone else out there who’s ever been sidelined by an injury — “actively waiting” to heal.
 
Bicycling and swimming have been good substitutes, but definitely not the same for me. I miss being able to run. The feeling is sort of like having a friend you’re close to move away. You don’t realize the gap left behind until he or she is gone. Until now I’ve taken my health and ability to run without injury for granted. I won’t make that mistake again.

Just six more days and I will “try” to run again. The healing has gone well. The swelling is mostly gone. I am not in pain anymore, but I’m still nervous. Will my foot hurt again? Will all the time I spent not running be for naught? Has it healed enough? What if my injury comes back? What if I have to take more time off? What if I’ve lost all my fitness?

“What if? What if? What if?” Arrrggh — it’s a very frustrating place to be!!!

The only thing I can do, and the only advice I can give you, too, if you’ve experience this is … to take one day at a time. That’s how I’ve survived this injury  … oneday  … at a time.

I plan to return to running slowly and gradually. Wish me luck.

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“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

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Make no mistake — whatever comes my way, I will get up, dust myself off, and try again.

“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

“Frankenfoot” and Halloween carbo-loading

I went to the podiatrist today.

The diagnosis: No visible stress fracture based on X-rays, but the doc still “gave me the boot.”


Meet “Frankenfoot,” my new friend!

“Frankenfoot” and I will be spending the next week together. That’s how long the doc wants me to wear Frankenfoot (a foot splint) to help my recovery. That’s my bad news.

The good news: I’ve been doing everything right to heal my foot (at least, according to the doc). It’s simply taking its time, and he still thinks it’s metatarsal joint inflammation. I can continue to walk (using Frankenfoot), and pool run, swim and stationary bicycle.

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As if not being able to run it wasn’t scary enough — BOO!!

It’s Halloween!! Have you ever eaten too much candy (or anything else?!) and ended feeling like this?!

I have.

When I was a kid, my parents didn’t limit how much sweets we could eat on Halloween night and I can remember some of stomach aches that were doozies.

Halloween is still one of my favorite ways to “carbo-loading.” I love chocolate but try not to keep too much around the house — it’s too much temptation, especially when I work at my computer on days like today. And now that I’m older and wiser, I also believe in moderation.

Some runners work out so they can enjoy certain kinds of foods guilt-free. I’m definitely one of them — a run-to-eat, kind of runner. I don’t think I’m alone.

On the dailymile.com, for example, the site has a statistic where it shows you how many donuts you’ve burned in the course of workouts. In my case I wish it could change it to “number of “Reese Peanut Butter Cups burned.” Those are my favorite treats at Halloween.

What’s your favorite candy or Halloween treat?

Have you burned off a few Reese cups yourself today?

I’m off with “Frankenfoot” and my dog, Brownie, to limp out a few calories right now … I gotta get ready for tonight and those trick-or-treaters.

Happy Halloween!!



Some musical fun in honor of “Frankenfoot” … “When you get to my door … tell them, ‘Boris sent you!’ ”

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“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

Brownie Points Today: 2: Mileage for 2012: 1,159.

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Bear Chase 50K Race Report

What a difference a decade makes!

Here’s what I was doing for the first time in the fall of 2002 …

Yes, that’s my lovely, first born, way back when.

Here’s what I was doing for the first time in the fall of 2012 …


Yes, that’s me finishing my first ultra, the Bear Chase 50K, with my sweet girl  by my side, two weeks ago.

This decade I gave birth to a new part of myself … a resilient part I didn’t existed until I tapped into it.  

Motherhood and marathons share many parallels.
Once you become a parent, you remain a parent until the day you die. It doesn’t matter if your kids are grown and gone; you are forever changed; your children are a part of your soul.

Likewise, endurance running changes you forever, and if you’re lucky you get to do it until the day you die, too.

That’s what I’m shooting for.

Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon wearing a bib number in 1967, once wrote that marathons are a secret weapon in your mental arsenal. 

If that trues, I’d argue that ultra are like imploding a nuclear bomb. Few things can stop you once you’ve set one off in yourself.

When I began 2012, I made a pledge to myself to let go of “my Cinderella complex.”

Although it still challenges me, I fulfilled that promise to myself at Bear Chase.

Somewhere between miles 19 and 23, when I most wanted to quit but choose not to, I tossed out my glass slippers.

I traded up for trail running shoes. I am so grateful.

“Karma” is probably the best word to describe my race at Bear Chase; specifically, a tsunami of good karma that hit me.

It’s been a goal of mine since I ran the Boston Marathon in 2011 to qualify for Marathon Maniacs. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a crazy online club for people who run consecutive marathons. I had never heard of it until a friend of mine did two marathons, two weeks apart and “got into the Insane Asylum.”

Marathon Maniacs was my reason for running two marathon (or marathon-plus) distances this season. And Marathon Maniacs was also my reason for doing it despite an injury I’ve been battling.

A few weeks before the Fox Valley Marathon (Sept. 16) I saw a podiatrist and was diagnosed with metatarsalgia. I talked to my doctor about whether or not I should run my races. He told me that I’d probably get through it and not cause worse damage to my foot but it would be very painful.

And it was.

At the time I saw the doc, I wanted to drop out of both races to heal the injury, and attempted to reverse course. I wrote the Fox Valley race director and requested to change races. He wrote back, stating they had a no-change policy unless you bought a “Weather Flex” policy at the time of registration.

I didn’t so I faced a tough choice. Gut out 26.2 miles or switch races unofficially and take a DNF.

At the time it seemed like a crummy break. Now I see it differently. He did me a favor (good karma). The stubborn part of me went for it, and if I hadn’t I would not have qualified for Marathon Maniacs (my new #5918). I also would have dropped back to half marathon distance at Bear Chase, too. (That race, too, offered multiples distances, and unlike Fox Valley, race officials at Bear Chase were more flexible on changing races.)

My second stroke of good karma at Bear Chase was my friend Paula, who, at the last minute, signed up for the 50K. She and I ended up running together. Paula was my guardian trail angel. Without her, my old Cinderella self might have messed with my head. But because of Paula’s friendship, company and strength, “Cindy” didn’t stand a chance.

Thank you, Paula!!!


The two things I will do better in the future when I do my next 50K (Yes, I want to go back):

1) Run more back-to-back on the weekends to prepare my tired legs more. (I admit, I was a bit under-trained.) AND
2) Practice better fueling, specifically for ultras and that distance.

Bear Chase is a great course — lots of rolling meadows, a few steep climbs, three stream crossings, and a stretch that open and exposed but still beautiful.

The 50K was set up in three segments — a fairly flat 10K in a meadow-like area; and then two loops where you go through meadows and rolling hills; hug the curve of the lake and dam; up Mt. Carbon and then down; through three, knee-high stream crossings; adjacent to the golf course nearby; back on trails and up more hills; and through exposed, open stretches.

The 50K people did that loop (12.5 miles) twice; people running the 50-mile did it four times. It had great race support with stations every 3 miles, and clearly it was a race for runners put on by runners. (Volunteers would grab the packs off your backs; refill them; and help you anyway they could. Big kudos!)

I finished in 7:01, and I’ve already made up my mind. I am going back. I know I can do better and run it faster and stronger.

My injury — elephant foot — was worse after Fox Valley. It was starting to heal about the time I did Bear Chase. It’s still jacked up now but more of Dumbo foot. It’s healing slowly but surely. Yes, I am finally babying it — no more crazy races or distances until it’s completely healed. I am resting and water running for a few weeks to heal it.

It’s time for me have some fun writing and finishing the women’s Boston or Botox profiles, plus add more good things to this blog.

Who knows what the next decade will bring?! I can hardly wait.

 

“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

Mileage for 2012: 1,121


Addendum: I wanted to add just a few more details about how the race technically. The first 10K Paula and I kept a decent pace and even into the next section (first lap of 12.5 miles) I felt strong.

Once we started the second 12.5 lap I started to struggle at the beginning of it. I switched shoes and socks just before we started lap 2 to help my injured foot.  Around Mile 20, Paula turned to me and said, “I will only say this once. Do you want to turn back?”

That’s when I decide to go on, no matter what and I did. I still felt pretty bad, though, through Miles 23 and 24. At the next couple of aid stations, I drank flat Coke, and ate peanut M&Ms and pretzels. As we kept going, the food kicked in and I felt better. (That is how I determined, when I run a 50K again, I will need to practice on tired leg more and fueling more appropriately.)

Crossing that finish was one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time — woohoo!!

Bear Chase 50K — mission completed!!

Today I ran my first ultra — the Bear Chase 50K here in Colorado. I will follow up with a race report in the coming days.

My goal was to run two marathon distances within 14 days of each other.

Mission completed!!


Me with my daughter running across the finish of the Bear Chase 50K.

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“Aging is inevitable but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

Danica’s 10 running answers

Katie O. (RunLongKatie) sent me this challenge today to answer 10 running questions about myself. This idea comes from a friend of hers, author Dimity McDowell — Another Mother Runner.

Here I go …

1. Best run ever: California International Marathon, Dec, 6, 2009. Not only did I qualify for Boston there, I mastered how to “race a marathon.” I never hit the wall and I negative split the second half, finishing the final 10K of the race in approximately 51 minutes. Plus, it was my friend Pam’s 42nd birthday and an awesome girls’ weekend!

2. Three words that describe my running: tenacity, therapeutic, transcendent.

3. My go-to running outfit: “My orange crush” — funky Nike checkered shorts, orange Adidas workout shirt and Nike orange polka-dot running jacket. I feel like a “runner Carrie Bradshaw” in it.

4. Quirky habit while running: I often drink a half of a Coors Lite the night before a big race. It calms my jitters so I can sleep better.

5. Morning/midday/evening: O’dark early … zzzzz ….

6. I won’t run outside when it’s: It’s either 90 degrees or 15 below — although given the extremes, I prefer the cold.

7. Worst injury and how I got over it: I pulled my hamstring twice in three months a couple of years ago. How I got rid of it? Time, rest, ice, and returning to running s-l-o-w-l-y

Second runner-up might be my current “elephant foot” — ugh!!

8. I felt most like a badass mother runner when: This past weekend, completely the Fox Valley Marathon, with the ball of my right foot swollen to baseball size, was kinda badass in its warped way.

9. Next race is: Shhh — Don’t tell my doctor!!

I am signed up to run the Bear Chase 50K — my first ultra — 11 days from now. The verdict is still out as to whether I do it or not …

10. Potential running goal for 2013: I want to break 1 hour, 45 minutes on the half marathon. (It would qualify me in my age group for the New York City Marathon.)

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Lisa at RunWiki, and Christie at Marathon Mama… tag, you’re it!!

I can’t wait to read your running answers, too.

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“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”