Sunday, July 29, 2012

Coming Soon…

Chicago Marathon 2013_Brick Wall with Yellow Paint

You may not have caught the conversation in the comments of this post, but the rumors are true: I am planning to run a marathon in 2013.  The Chicago Marathon, in fact!  Thank goodness it’s not until 2013, so I have some time to wrap my mind around this insanity.

I’m pretty excited, as Raquelita and Chrissy are on board to run this one with me, along with a bunch of other running bloggers.  Actually, they are the reason I want to run this race.  I’ve never met either of them in person, but I read their blogs daily (or nearly so) and we regularly trade comments back and forth.  I feel a kinship and a connection with them, and I’m pretty stoked to meet them both.  The chance to experience a marathon with my favorite blogging friends is not an opportunity I can pass up. 

It’s a little scary to commit to something in 2013 because I don’t know where I’ll be living in a year.  On the other hand, it’s satisfying to take control and say to myself, “Dammit!  We’re doing this!”  After all, a person can only stand so much uncertainty in her life.  Now, I realize that anything can happen during marathon training—injuries, burnout, demands from other areas of life, family emergencies.  So I’m just going to cross my fingers and train smart in the hopes of avoiding those misfortunes.

Speaking of training, I’ve got a secret weapon on my side.  My friend Trainer Tom is totally excited to sketch out a training plan for me.  His face practically lit up when I told him I was going to run Chicago—it was adorable.  We haven’t talked seriously about training yet, but we’ll get there.  In the meantime, I’ve been eyeing the beginner marathon training schedule in the Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running.  I like it because it has you running four days a week, which is about the max that I think I could handle.  I really like and need recovery days—my body is happier with some cross-training and yoga to complement all that running.  I also like that it has you run by time, which is what I do.  Finally, in the training plan, there are six runs longer than two hours.  That’s still pretty daunting for someone who has never run longer than 13.1 miles in a single day, but six extra-long runs seems…crazy but feasible over the course of a long training season.  The longest run is 3 hours 30 minutes, which translates to 21 miles at a 10:00/mile pace.

21 miles.  Yeah.  I’m not there yet.  But I’ll get there, one step at a time.  [Cue the Journey song: Don’t stop believing!]

I’m excited and terrified by the marathon.  The distance, the prospect of doing really long runs in August…possibly in Texas.  Help! The marathon is not something I believe runners must do to prove something to the world.  But it is a pretty spectacular event, and I won’t lie: the idea of being able to say I ran a marathon is appealing.  I may only run one of them in my life, but that’s a decision I can make after I’ve run my first one.

Friends, see you in Chicago in 2013.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Half-Marathon Fever and Race Volunteering

BCS Marathon JPEG_cropped

{Image: Screen shot from the BCS Marathon website}

Registration for the BCS (Bryan/College Station) Marathon and Half-Marathon opened this week, and two people told me yesterday that they registered for the half-marathon.  Which got me thinking…

Do I want to run a December half-marathon?  Hmm…

On the Yes side of the scale, I have been running this summer.  The December race day means I’d have four solid months to build my base up to the half distance.  Also, I love half-marathons!  To my mind, it is the perfect long-distance race.

On the No side of the scale, the race is expensive—$55 and up, depending on when you register(ed).  Given the uncertain state of my employment status in the fall, I don’t feel comfortable paying so much money for a race.  After all, if I want to run that morning, I can do it for free!  And I know I’ll be training in the fall because I still want to run a half in the winter or spring.  The other item on the No side of the scale is that if I don’t run the race, I can volunteer for it!  My friend Christy and I volunteered for the inaugural BCS Marathon in 2011, and it was a lot of fun.  We had to get up super-early (after being out super-late—party animals are we!), wear funny costumes, and hand out grapes, candy, and beverages to the marathoners.  It was my first experience as a race volunteer, and it felt good to be part of the running and racing community on the sidelines.  I know from my own races how nice it is to see friendly faces out there on the course.  It was my pleasure to give back, to make someone else’s race a little more fun.

I think I’m going to stick to the sidelines for this one.  Hopefully I’ll get to cheer on my friends Tonya and Trainer Tom as they run the half.  I’ll hand out candy again, yelling, “Fiber or no fiber?” to the runners who get to choose between fruit and candy.  I’ll get to be part of the magic of race day while saving my pennies.  Then after the race, I’ll head out for my own run, happy to have the chance to be both a runner and a cheerleader on the same day.

Just for fun, here are two photos from last year’s BCS Marathon.  You can see our aid station had a doctor theme, even though I’m pretty sure most of us are not that kind of doctor.

Sunrise at the Marathon 

Most of Us Are Not _That_ Kind of Doctor

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hello, Flexibility

Yoga Mat

Week of July 22, 2012:

Monday: Yoga

Tuesday: Bike ride for groceries

Wednesday: Morning run (20 minutes)

Thursday: More yoga!

Friday: Morning run (20 minutes)

I almost called this post “Good-bye, Flexibility,” because I have noticed lately that 1) my flexibility is getting worse, and 2) I have not been doing my yoga.  Or at least prior to this week, I was not doing my yoga.  I do stretch after runs and I usually do a little bit of yoga/stretching before bed, but I think all the running and biking was starting to take its toll on my back and legs.  Touching my toes was getting harder!

By some miracle, this week I managed to fit two yoga sessions into my evenings.  Two!  The yoga was, as always, wonderful and relaxing.  I seem to be in a better frame of mind to enjoy yoga now that I’m feeling more peaceful about my personal life.  It’s ironic that at a time when I should have been relying on yoga to comfort me, I wanted motion and distraction: running and biking, anything to trick myself into moving forward (both physically and metaphorically).  It wasn’t that yoga wasn’t working for me; it’s that I just didn’t want it.  This week I wanted it, and it was right where I left it: on my yoga mat.

Happy weekend, everyone.  Namaste.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pssst…Thank you.

Pretty Pink Flowers

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that these flowers are gorgeous.  They’re just part of the landscaping around my apartment, but wow!  The color!  The geometry!  I think I took this photo in the evening, in the fading light, but I can’t recall…

I spent some time thinking about my feelings on posting that photo of myself the other day and your comments on it.  First, I wanted to say thank you for the nice things you said!  You are so kind and supportive.  Second, I wonder if my reaction to my own appearance is indicative of something larger about my sense of self and my expectations.  I don’t talk about it much, but I am a perfectionist.  I have this visceral belief that perfection is possible and that if I can be perfect, then I will be immune to all criticism and invulnerable to any bad things life might throw at me.  This belief is not rational on many levels, but it exists, deep in my psyche.

Your comments reminded me that ideally, we see the good in others before we see the flaws.  Even better, the good we see in others overshadows their weaknesses.  I wish I could feel that way about myself.  I think I spend too much time thinking about the ways in which I fall short of my own perfectionistic desires—I don’t work hard enough, my science isn’t good enough, I’m too whiny, I have trouble completing things, I’m too emotional, I’m not nice enough…blah blah blah.  The list could go on forever.  FOREVER!  Like every person, I am a complex set of traits and habits, some of which are charming and some of which are irritating.  But I am who I am, and at the same time, I am trying to be better than who I am right now.  Now that is a paradox: to be satisfied with yourself and your life while striving to improve it.  No wonder we’re all achievement junkies!

2012 has been kicking my ass.  There is no doubt about that.  I could be really destroyed by all the bad stuff that’s been happening (namely, funding issues/job insecurity and the end of my romance with Matt), but I am fighting tooth and nail to make it to a happier place.  One set of directions to that happier place is to remember that it’s not all bad, that there are always glimmers of hope in the bad days.  In other words, when I look at a picture of myself, I want to see my strong arms and legs, not my stocky midsection.  When I think about myself, I want to see someone who is smart, competent, and kind, someone who believes in her own self-worth and the value of her contributions to the world.  Like I said earlier, I am happy with my body.  I’m striving to be happy with my life, misfortunes be damned.

I believe that you reap what you sow.  In other words, the way that you act in the world will come back to you in various ways.  I suppose it’s sort of like karma.  But the point is that it reminds me to choose the bigger life: to act with honesty and integrity, even when shitty things happen.  It’s hard, this business of being a good person even when the Universe seems to be out to get you.  I deserve a Nicest Ex-Girlfriend in the World Award and a Most Persistent Postdoc Award for my good behavior even in the face of bad odds.  But since nobody out there is going to give me those awards, I am hereby acknowledging my own fortitude and my own capacity for optimism.

Do you hear that, 2012?  I am not done with you yet.  We’ve still got five months to go, and I intend to come out on top.  So bring it!  I might be wearing a midriff-bearing top, and I don’t care if you think it makes me look pudgy.  I’m still going to kick your ass.  While looking fabulous in my new running skirt, of course!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Perfect Skirt, a Sloggy Run

New Running Skirt

Week of July 15, 2012:

Thursday: Off (out to dinner with the girls)

Friday: Short morning run (20 minutes)

Saturday: Bike commute to work + grocery shopping

Total minutes run this week: 80.

Week of July 22, 2012:

Sunday: Long run! (40 minutes)

I am taking a deep breath and showing you my new running skirt.  While I love the skirt (LOVE it!), the photo above is neither focused nor very flattering to me, but whatever.  I have never claimed that my belly is photogenic, and here you can see it peeking out.  I think it’s entirely possible to be happy with your body and yet not thrilled with every single part.  That’s how I feel about my midsection.  I have a short torso, and that fact will never, ever change.  No amount of dieting, exercise, self-hatred, or denial will alter that aspect of my figure.  While I embrace the whole of my appearance, I will always be a little self-conscious about my belly.  Maybe some self-consciousness is a good thing—perhaps it keeps us humble?

Anyway, let’s talk about this skirt!  I am absolutely in love with it.  I found it at Target; it’s the C9 line by Champion.  My skirt is a simple black number, with little shorts underneath.  Running in it is an absolute joy: the shorts do not ride up at all, and the skirt just floats along with me.  Everything stays snug and comfortable, and I think the fabric has some of that sweat-wicking technology too.  My skirt was $15 on sale this month at Target, so if you’re interested, I recommend it.  I’ve run in it several times too, so my review is a more thorough assessment than a single run.

The sweat-wicking came in handy, as today’s run was done in almost 100% humidity—the overcast sky was sprinkling on me during my run.  I chose a new route today, an out-and-back over to Veterans Park, which is the start and end site of the Armadillo Dash every year.  It was fun to visit the park where I’ve ended three of my four half-marathons; I have a lot of good memories attached to that place now.  My run was a good one, though I’ll confess that it was a hard one too.  The humidity was pretty oppressive, and I felt tired about halfway through my 40-minute long run.  It wasn’t too hot (by Texas standards, at least), but I was glad to finish it.  The walk home was nice, though—a 10-minute stroll accompanied by that post-run happy feeling.

How is your weekend?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Positive Notes

Big Texas Sky

Week of July 8, 2012:

Saturday: Short bike ride + slow evening walk (no yoga today—oops)

Week of July 15, 2012:

Sunday: Long run (40 steamy minutes)

Monday: Bike ride for groceries

Tuesday: Off (evening party for work)

Wednesday: Short morning run (20 minutes) 

Good morning!  This week is crazy busy for me, but I wanted to stop by to say hi.  I am most pleased to report that I may be slowly, ever so slowly, becoming a morning runner.  I’ve been getting up earlier for the last week and a half, and several times I’ve headed out for a run before work.  On most workdays (Monday-Friday), I head into work as early as possible to get my experiments going for the day.  But yesterday, for example, I didn’t have behavior to run, so instead I went running.  It was a short run—just 20 minutes or 2-ish miles plus some walking, but it felt great to get out there and start the day on such a positive note.

My hope is that I can keep up this momentum for the rest of the summer.  I need all the positive vibes I can get right now, and running is a great way to keep moving forward, literally and metaphorically.

Happy day to you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Making the Big Time!

BREAKING NEWS: This blog has hit the big time!  Feels Like Flying has climbed into the first page of hits was in the first page of hits in a Google search for “feels like flying.”  Currently it’s on the second page, in the 12th position overall.



Also, this.  Purty.  (Hi!  Check out my two-tone toes.)


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pondering a Runner’s Budget

Do you keep a budget?  I do, and it brings me great peace of mind.  I highly recommend it!  More specifically, do you maintain a budget category for your running?  I’ve been thinking about this lately, for two reasons.  1)  I ran two races this year, which is one more than I usually do.  I’m very frugal about parting with my cash for races, even though I enjoy them.  I don’t feel that I’ve been serious enough about my training to warrant more than one race a year, which is my annual Armadillo Dash Half-Marathon.  2)  My friend Tom, who is a very serious runner*, has been making suggestions to me about running in lighter-weight shoes.  He thinks I might not need a stability shoe and that I’d feel faster in a lighter shoe.  He might be right, but I am happy and injury-free in my current Brooks.  Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

New Shoes from the Side

Anyway, I was curious to see how much I’d spent on running this year in the form of gear and races.  Here are the numbers, if you share my curiosity:

* New shoes (Brooks Adrenaline) + FREE t-shirt: $119.08

* Armadillo Dash Half-Marathon race fee: $38.61

* New watch: $31

* Running undergarments: $43

* Solstice Run 10K race fee: $42.95

* Running skirt (I’m super-excited about this one!): $15 (on sale!)

(For the watch, undergarments, and running skirt, I rounded up a tad to include tax.)

TOTAL: $ 289.64

(Or approximately $50/month)

You can see that the most expensive items are my shoes (more than one-third of the budget!) and my two races (coming close to another one-third of the budget).  I’d argue that those items are pretty essential: the shoes for healthy, injury-free running and the races for the fun and motivation they provide.

As for the gear, I think we can all agree that running gear is fun.  Having stuff you enjoy wearing or using is a perk and another motivator—I am way too frugal to buy stuff and not use it, so every time I invest in my running, it adds some fuel to my running fire, so to speak.  I’m actually pretty low-tech as far as runners go—I don’t have a Garmin or a heart-rate monitor (though I have used one before, on loan from a friend), and so far I feel content without the extra technology.  I might invest in a Garmin at some point, though.  I can see its utility in learning to pace yourself and get faster.

For now, I’m not anticipating too much more running-related spending for the year.  I don’t have any races on the docket, and I just bought a bunch of new stuff, so that should last a while.  Also, I’m not sure how much longer I will be in my current job, so I’m keeping an eye on my spending.  I am hoping to stay in my postdoc position for a few more years, but funding issues loom large.  I’m glad that on an everyday level, running is a cheap sport, so I won’t have to give it up even if I’m between jobs for a while!

Do you know how much you spend on running each year?  Do you consciously budget for running-related expenses? 

* As in, he ran the Boston Marathon this year.  And yet, despite his speed, it’s so nice to talk to him about running!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It Will Get Easier

By morning…

Me and Flowers

…and by evening.

Evening Clouds

Week of July 8, 2012:

Monday: Long run in the evening (40 minutes)

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Short run (20 minutes)  + bike ride

Thursday: Off

Friday: Short run in the morning (12 minutes)

Total minutes run this week: 72.

It’s been raining on and off here all week, and I kid you not: every run I did was either during or right after a burst of rain.  It was nice to run without the oppressive Texas heat, though of course it was quite humid—another running challenge!

My main running goal for the next few weeks is to build endurance, slowly and safely.  I completed 72 minutes of running, thus hitting my goal right on target.  Running is hard for me these days—I lack much endurance, and summer running in Texas makes everyone slower.  But I feel like if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, it will get easier.

Today I’m planning to bike for groceries and do some yoga.  I’ve really had one hell of a week, in more than one way, and I plan to do calming, restorative things today: washing dishes, cleaning, cooking, finishing an episode of True Blood that I’ve started twice now without being able to complete it.  But right now, it’s 6:01 AM, and I’m tired enough to crawl back into bed to see if I can sleep some more.  I’m usually a really good sleeper, but this week has taken its toll on me.

Happy Saturday, friends.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wear It on Your Heart

I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo lately.  Then I remember that I’m not really a tattoo kind of girl—not yet, anyway.  The tattoo I think about getting is something like “13.1” to celebrate my love for the half-marathon distance, the race that rekindled my love for running.  At this time in my life, I can’t imagine not training for a half each year.  Going through that training cycle and running those miles with strength and confidence is being carved into my sense of self, and it only makes sense that I might write it on my skin as well.

But here’s the truth, and please don’t hate me: I’m not a fan of the tattoo aesthetic.  I’m probably in the minority here, and seriously, to each her own decisions about her body, but I’m just not into ink on the skin.  Instead, I’m thinking about having a pendant made with this design:


I know this sounds like a grammar mistake, but you get it, right?  13.1 miles for the half-marathon distance, and Feels Like Flying for this blog, which has helped me realize my running dreams.  The heart is self-explanatory.

I think I will look into commissioning this design from someone, either a jewelry store at the mall or an artisan with an on-line shop.  If you have any recommendations, send them my way!

Happy day, speedsters!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

SPI Belts: Your Thoughts?

Hi, everyone.  Pardon this extra post today, but I wanted to ask all of you, my three loyal readers, your thoughts on the SPI belt (Small Personal Item belt).  Do you have one?  Do you use it?  Do you like it?  Most importantly, does it stay in place when you run?

{Image from here}

I’m thinking about buying two of them, one for me and one for my sister.  Any reviews you care to share would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you and good night!

Full Speed Ahead…or Maybe Not

Front Tire

Saturday Outfit_The Bottom Half

June 2012 Star Chart Completed

A few quick notes on my star chart above: here you can see the evidence that I struggle to run three days a week.  Doh!  And the week of June 24 is mostly goose eggs because I was on vacation and the exercise I did get was walking, which is not a category on my chart.  

Week of July 1, 2012:

Thursday: Short run after work (25 minutes easy)

Friday: Yoga (Morning Flow #1—whoa, this was a good session)

Saturday: Biking for groceries

Week of July 8, 2012:

Sunday: Bike commute + grocery shopping (again!  I know…)

I’ve been back from my epic ten-day vacation for a week now, and I think that maybe, just maybe, I’m finally back in the game.  Last week, I had a really hard time putting myself back to work—between the exhaustion of traveling for ten hours, the luxury of not thinking about work for ten days, and the 4th of July holiday (which I chose to spend at home, thinking I wanted the time to relax and refocus), last week felt hard but lacking in productivity.  I know why it feels like I didn’t get anything done—it’s because science work is largely a result of momentum.  You put in the effort to get something going, the project starts picking up speed, and then results start rolling into Excel.  Because of my break, my current experiments are at Stage 1: put in the effort to get something going.

I’m trying to be patient with myself, but I also know I’ve got to find my focus.  With that in mind, I went into the lab today, a Sunday, to test some animals for behavior and collect flies for a Wednesday assay.  I didn’t get a lot of animals tested, nor did I collect a lot for behavior later this week, but I got a few in each category.  More importantly, I feel ready to hit the ground running tomorrow morning, and that is a good feeling.

I did not run this weekend for two reasons.  1)  My back was quite stiff and sore on Saturday morning, probably from Friday night’s yoga.  2)  I biked to the lab on Sunday and ran some errands, so I’m going to save this week’s miles for later this week.  Which brings me to my next topic: weekly mileage.  My plan is to follow the 10% rule about not increasing your running more than 10% each week.  Last week I ran 65 minutes, so this week I’m aiming to run 72 minutes.  Those minutes will be broken down into a 40-minute “long” run and either a 32-minute run or two shorter runs.  My friend Tom (Trainer Tom, he of the free training advice a few weeks ago) is talking about going to the track for some speedwork, so maybe I’ll do that with him.  But I want to be really careful not to overtrain right now—I’m feeling good about this summer’s running, but I’m afraid I may be overestimating my own fitness.  I’m going to be cautious about my running minutes and do plenty of cross-training in the form of biking and yoga.

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I Heart Summer Running in Texas: Link Love

Fence with Sunburst

Fern-like Thingies

This summer, I am determined to conquer my fear of summer running in Texas.  The heat and humidity are formidable around these parts, but the benefits of running outside loom large.  I want to enter the fall/winter running season with strong legs and a great base to support me during my next half-marathon training cycle.  With those thoughts in mind, I’ve rounded up a few fun posts to inspire me and any of you to not let the heat get the best of you.

* I like these two posts from Amanda of ChemE Runner: Summer Running in Austin: Part 1 and  Summer Running in Austin: Part 2.  It’s good to be reminded that while summer running is tough, it does have its rewards.  (Also, check out this super-cute post about Amanda’s dual-race weekend, during which she ran a 5K with her boyfriend and their two dogs!  She is adorable…and a pretty hardcore runner.  I love it.)

* The Idiot’s Guide to Summer Running in Texas is self-explanatory.

* Our own Chrissy wrote a good post reminding us to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and not to freak out about running slowly: Summer Fun Running.

Got any links to add to this list?  Feel free to leave a comment!  And happy running, as always.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Running Fun: Podcasts!

Hello again!  Do you guys listen to any running podcasts?  I found one a few weeks ago, and now I’m hooked: The Extra Mile Podcast.  The gist of the show is that listeners call in to talk about their training, racing, injuries, running gear, and all things related to running.  In that sense, it’s really a listener-created show, which is groovy.  The host, Kevin, offers an update on his own life and training in the introduction (usually done during his lunch-break run, from what I can tell).  At the end, he summarizes any questions or concerns brought up during the show, such as advice about injuries and questions about gear.

It took me some time to get used to listening to Kevin and some listeners recording their podcast contribution while running—all that heavy breathing reminds me of sex, because I am a pervert.  But I’ve sort of gotten over that, and in any case, it’s so much fun to listen to everyone’s stories.  I’m most inspired by the extremes: the hardcore runners with very serious training plans (such as Stuart in southern California) and the beginners who are overjoyed to learn that they, too, can run and love it.  The newbies make me feel so proud to be a runner, to be a member of a sport that opens its arms to welcome anyone who wants to lace up their sneakers and MOVE.  And running is such a rewarding sport for beginners because they often see results quickly: gains in endurance and speed, gains in muscle mass, loss of weight.  All of that from such a simple endeavor—it’s humbling.

Do you have a favorite podcast about running?  Do share!  I love finding new podcasts.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Running is…Independence

Stars and Stripes

Week of July 1, 2012:

Tuesday: Evening bike ride for groceries

Wednesday: Morning run!

Happy Independence Day to all my American friends!  Weirdly enough, I took today off from being in the lab, mostly because I needed a breather at home after all the travel and jumping back into work on Monday.  Today I’m cooking, blogging, doing laundry, cleaning (maybe…), and hopefully doing some academic reading.  But the most exciting thing I did today was run.

I’m trying to keep up my new habit of earlier morning runs on days when I’m not at work.  Today I was up around 7 AM and out the door by 8.  I clocked 40 minutes of running, and my goal was to run easy but upbeat.  In other words, I was running at a very comfortable pace, but I didn’t want to slip into a slog, which would have been all too easy considering the heat and humidity.  (Let’s just say both are bad today, which is to say that it’s a typical July day in Texas.)

I love that I got a good run into my morning on Independence Day.  I know I wax poetic a lot about running even as I struggle to fit three runs into my week—I’m a running paradox, I know.  But truly, running has set me free over the past year or so.  It’s given me some freedom from all the other anxieties about my life, the stress and the heartbreak and the frustration of not knowing and not being in control of things.  To know that if I just put in the miles, I will be rewarded is a powerful feeling.  In the spirit of optimism and independence, here are my summer running goals for the rest of the summer.

1)  Maintain the base.  For me, a base is being able to run 60-70 minutes comfortably.  I would like to be fit enough in September to be able to do this.

2)  Get a little faster. Just a little.  I love speedwork because I love the feeling of running faster.  To keep things exciting, I’m going to try to do a little speedwork each week, whether it’s some all-out sprinting at the end of a work-out (say, 20-60 seconds 2-3 times), a few pick-me-ups in a longer run, or even a timed mile or two.  There’s an approximately 1-mile loop at my favorite park, and I’m entertaining the idea of running it to see how fast I can do it and then to see if I can perhaps use that ~1-mile distance as a test of my speed later in the summer.  We’ll see.  Mostly this goal of speedwork is to remind me to have fun with my running.  Running faster is one of those things that really sets me free and gives me joy.

3)  Run 3 times a week.  As I said above, I struggle with this.  Between work, errands by bike, cooking, and having some fun with my friends, I often don’t complete that third day of running each week.  Lately, I’ve been finding that if I tell myself, “Hey, if you leave now, you’ll be done in half an hour!” it’s easier to get out the door.  (Wine helps too.)  My goal is to do two short runs during the week (probably no longer than 40 minutes each) and one longer run on the weekends (ranging from 40-70 minutes).  Fortunately, I don’t run frequently enough or hard enough to have been injured in recent years, so there is definitely an upside to my laziness.  I’m such an optimist!

What are your summer fitness goals, friends?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Speed of the City

Train in Motion

Chicago in Summer Splendor

Week of June 17, 2012:

Thursday: Off (traveling!)

Friday: Easy pre-race shake-out run (~20 minutes)

Saturday: Solstice Run 10K!

Week of June 25, 2012:

Sunday: Off (but with lots of slow walks, with and without kids)

Monday: Easy shake-out run (~20 minutes around the neighborhood)

Tuesday: Off (off chasing small children, that is!)

Wednesday: Two walks with kids + chaperoning the little ones at the park

Thursday: Travel + too much walking in Chicago

Friday: Speed-walking in Chicago with Ammie and later with Adam

Saturday: More speed-walking!

Week of July 1, 2012:

Sunday: Travel (off)

Monday: Yoga (Gentle Hatha)

Whew!  I apologize for the overwhelming list of days and activities in this post.  Suffice to say, I stayed active during my vacation, even though I took a week off of running.  Or perhaps more accurately, I should say that I spent more time running after small children and speed-walking with friends in Chicago.

I consider myself to be in good shape, but man, my friends showed me that hoofing it around a city ought to be considered a sport itself.  Their speed was overwhelming, and I worked hard to keep up with them.  I’ve grown used to the easy pace of Texas, where we walk slowly and live easily.  Chicago, by comparison, is exciting, fast, and challenging.  I’m sure that when I lived in Evanston, I was quite the speed-walker myself, but that was the old me.  The new me runs and bikes quickly but walks slowly.  I wonder if my slow-walking ways are more about a shift in my mental game, a way of cultivating patience.  As a graduate student, I had to hustle to keep up with everything—maybe I felt like I had to hurry.  Now, I feel more reluctant to let anyone rush me.  I want to move through life at my own pace, whether it’s running a race or taking a slow photo-walk around the neighborhood.  Even in my cooking, sometimes I whip up a quick snack or meal, and other times I want to tuck something in the oven to bake slowly, filling the apartment with its delicious scent.

I suppose what I’m saying is that the speed at which we move through life may be a metaphor for our current needs.  I’m happier with a slower pace these days, though I certainly have my moments when I’m hustling.  But if I’m hustling all the time, I feel like life is rushing by me as I rush through it.  And that’s just not how I want to live.