Saturday, February 25, 2012


As I mentioned in my last post, Fredo and I ran 22 miles last weekend.  Brian joined us on his bike around mile 13, while we were on some back roads of DeBary.  Fredo had only run there one other time and was excited about the new sights and smells.  I get worried about Fredo and the amount that he runs with me.  I have no idea how old he is--he is at least 7, because we found him 6 years ago and he was full grown, but the vet at the time thought he was 3 or 4.  I don't believe that he could be 9 or 10 right now, but 8 would make sense.  At mile 15 of that run, he was so excited about his surroundings that he broke stride and started pulling--which he rarely does unless he's spotted a rabbit, squirrel, or some other prey to chase.  This time it was just pure joy of new smells, sights and the point that I had to keep pulling his leash back and telling him to slow down.  At this point, Brian pointed out that Fredo is definitely "purpose-built."  The mixture of whatever dog breeds he is made up of resulted in a short, squat, powerhouse of a long-distance roamer.

Even so, I worry about him because there have been runs where he is tired at the end.  I know this because his normal running position is in front of me to my left.  When he gets tired, he ends up running right next to me or a step behind.  Normally, though, this is on a long run where it's very warm out by the end.  There haven't been many of those this marathon training period, and very few runs where Fredo has shown any signs of being tired.  The problem is, he would never tell me if he gets tired!  To non-dog people, dogs do "talk" to their owners, as long as we're paying attention.  They tell us through behavior and body language how they're feeling and what they want.  But dogs are also stubborn, wonderful creatures that rarely let on when they have a problem.  Especially if that problem would prohibit them from doing something they want--such as running!  Fredo has at times had issues that prevented me from taking him running--a cut on his foot, an eye infection, a sore shoulder--but if he had his way, he would have happily run through the discomfort just for the experience of getting out and running.

I am not purpose-built for running.  I don't have a runner's build, or an efficient runner's gait (although with Crossfit core training it has improved).  But that doesn't stop me from running.  When my mind tries to stop me (I'm too tired, too sore, too busy, etc.) I need to remind myself of the joys that Fredo sees in running.  It's not a chore, it's an adventure, and I need to take advantage of it for as long as I can.  Who knows how much longer Fredo will be able to join me.  I need to cherish the days now while I have this time with him.  There will never again be another Fredo the Wonderdog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The streak is alive...but where are all the other runners?

So the streak is alive!  I have managed to run at least 1 mile every day this year...but I continue to wonder, where are all the other runners?  I know they exist, I have run with them.  Yet in my neighborhood, I rarely encounter another runner.  I know of 6 people in the area who run, but I only see one of them regularly, and that's only if our weekend long-run paths happen to cross.

Like a lot of runners, I tend to stick to the same routes, week after week.  I have some areas I call "add-ons", which are extensions of my normal route if I need to add mileage.  And I hardly ever see any other runners on these routes.  This past weekend I switched up my long run route a bit.  I headed out for 22 miles, just me and Fredo the Wonderdog.  On a prior weekend, I had run with a friend on a route around my town that I had never run before.  I decided to try the route again.  I got a late start (for a long run--6:30), and I didn't see another runner until mile 8!  And these were two runners from a local running club.  At mile 12 I saw another runner--the one guy who lives on my street and I see running now and then.  Even the nature trail, which often has other runners, was sparsely populated.  So where are they?  I hear non-running friends and acquaintances make silly statements when I talk about running--like "I didn't even drive that far this weekend."  But the one that makes me mad is, "I can't run."  Yes you can!  Almost everyone can run.  What they're really saying is that they don't like to run, or it's hard, or they've never really tried it. 

Running isn't easy for most people.  I'm sure it's easy for some, but not for me, and not for most of my running friends.  But there is something about it.  Once you learn how to breathe comfortably, how to relax while running, how to keep putting one foot in front of the realize that your body is capable of so much more than you give it credit for...and when you realize that, you also realize that your mind is stronger than you realize.  In running, the mind often has to be stronger than the body.  The body will keep moving, as long as the mind tells it to.

So maybe the other runners have just not yet realized that they are capable.  Whether it's a walk/run around the block, a jog with the dog or the kids, or a long run of 22 miles with Fredo the Wonderdog, you can do it.  I often have to remind myself of that, but so far, I have managed to convince my body that it can keep going.  Now get out the door and just do it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reason #347 to run in the morning instead of evening

Dogs.  There are more dogs out and about in the evening.  More on that in a bit.

I slept in this morning, and I would guess that 95% of the time that I choose to try to get more sleep rather than get up and run I regret it.  Today was no exception.  I slept fairly well last night, and when I let the dogs out at 5:30 this morning the air was cool, the moon was bright, and I should have gotten out the door for my run.  But I started back at Crossfit this week (Monday evening and Tuesday morning workouts), and I felt sore and tired.  However, I always feel tired in the morning.  It doesn't matter what time I wake up--I am a bad waker-upper...rarely do I feel energized and hop out of bed.  But once I get out the door and around the block on a run, I start to feel that energy, and by mile 1 I usually feel good.  Even on a bad run day I feel good to have gotten out of bed.  Since I missed my run this morning, I knew that would mean fitting in a run after work.  I dislike evening runs--it means having to very carefully watch what and when I eat so I avoid cramps.  It means taking time away from other things that need to get done after work.  And it means that there are more dogs out and about that impede my run. 

If I had gotten up this morning, I would have run 5 miles.  So that's what I had in my head for this afternoon.  I convinced Brian to ride his bike alongside Fredo and I while we ran--and I had no idea if I'd even make it a mile my legs were SO sore from Crossfit.  Weighted walking lunges rear their ugly soreness 36 - 48 hours after completion.  Ow.  As I started the run, my legs were so tight I couldn't even maintain my regular stride.  I didn't know if I could make it more than a mile, but I kept going.  We encountered a couple of dogs out for walks, and then a couple that were not on leashes.  One pit bull mix that luckily didn't attack Fredo, but certainly could have.  And then the second was a big dog playing with some kids--of course no collar, no control over the dog.  He kept following us, and although he didn't act aggressively, Fredo does not like dogs jumping on him, so he could have tried to bite the other dogs.  Anyway...I never have this problem in the mornings.  So, reason #347 to just get up and run: avoid annoying dogs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fitting it all in

The blog has suffered lately, because I just didn't fit it all in.  I wonder how other people find the energy.  It's all about choices and deciding what to focus on with your time.  The last couple of weeks have been a challenge for me in regards to fitting it all in.  Work of course got really busy in January--not the best time to try to maintain a marathon training plan!  But I did manage to keep the running streak alive.

I need to learn how to make better choices to fit things in, though.  After a long day at work (not a normal long day, an election season 12 - 15 hour day), all I wanted to do was sit down and NOT look at a computer.  I also did not want to clean, cook, or do laundry.  So I did none of those things.  I got my morning runs in most of the time, but at other times I took the "easy" way out and simply logged my 1 - 1.6 mile "keep the streak alive" run.  I know that getting outside and running a mile is better than not getting out at all, and that most people understand that during a busy season at work it's difficult to fit everything in.  But other people do it (fit it all in, whatever all might be), so why can't I?

The busy work season is now over for a few months, so it's time to refocus.  I got myself a new pair of running shoes on Saturday, but as of today (Tuesday) have not logged many miles in them.  I completed a 20 mile run Sunday a little bit faster than last week's 20 mile run, which is great.  I'm looking forward to this weekend's "short" run of 14 miles!  And I'm trying to remember that I'm running not just as the means to an end (completing another marathon and maybe qualifying for Boston), but because running itself is an awesome journey that has too many benefits to list.  Sometimes I forget this.  Sometimes I forget that there are other things I need to focus on completing (like housework, paying attention to my husband, my master's thesis!).  So now is the time to fit it all in.  If other people can do it, so can I.