There comes a time in each training season when I start to feel a little bored with running. This week was one of those weeks. Running felt more like something I had to do rather than something I got to do. I’ve always disliked having to do certain things, when schedules and routines become more of a grudge than something to keep me on track, and this feeling tends to surface once I reach the mid-portion of a training plan. I knew the feeling would eventually pass, however, as it always does, so I put my head down and just kept going. That’s what we runners do, after all.
And as I used to tell my fifth grade students when they asked if they had to do their homework: No, the only thing you have to do is die. Everything else is optional. After puzzled silence and my pointed teacher look, they almost always understood exactly what I meant.
This week I kept the mileage about the same as last week because of this coming weekend’s half marathon. Best of all I finally got to run on trails again, though we didn’t run as far as I would have liked. Those long trail runs are in my very near future, though, so I will certainly appreciate being able to put in just enough miles to finish in time for a late breakfast and still have the rest of the day to enjoy.
MON: Rest Day – Pure day of rest. Loveliness!
TUE: Tempo Run – 6 mi, Yoga – 40:00 – Damn that Liz! Today’s tempo run felt like a race, and we kept either an 8:41 or an 8:48 average, depending on whose watch you went by. Since our morning attempt at running was rained out, we met at the lake for a late afternoon run instead, which was a nice change. It was cloudy, chilly, and perfect for a tempo run. I felt guilty for doing absolutely nothing athletic yesterday, so I did a double yoga program of standing poses and twists. I also signed up for the Grasslands trail marathon in Decatur, about 1.5 hrs drive from here, on March 23. I figure it will be good training for Jemez.
WED: Easy Run – 5.3 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Had an upset stomach in the morning, so Liz and I changed our plans and met Bill in the late afternoon for an easy run at the lake. The weather could not have been more perfect for an afternoon run. Liz and I could definitely feel the aftereffects of yesterday’s fast tempo run. Talk about some fatigued legs!
THU: Hill Run – 6 mi – Liz was having some hip flexor pain, and I was having some stomach issues again this morning, so I wound up running solo in the afternoon. I stuck to the hilly path and kept a pretty good pace, and was rewarded with a gorgeous sunset at the finish. My boredom with running continues, so it was tough to run on my own. It was 70 degrees when I started the run, and hard to believe it is still winter.
FRI: Yoga – 40:00 – Left quad a little sore, so I did an extended set of yoga: forward bends and hip openers. I had the thought today that no matter what happens with my running as I get older, I will do yoga for the rest of my life.
SAT: Long Run – 15 mi – It doesn’t get much better than this. 32 degrees, no wind, and a perfect blue sky overhead. Hills at the beginning and end, 15 miles to keep it real, and good friends for laughs and companionship. We are so lucky to get to do this.
SUN: Trail Run – Oak Cliff Nature Preserve – 5.6 mi – It was another stunningly beautiful morning, perfect for a trail run. It warmed up quickly, we had the trails entirely to ourselves, and things just could have not been more perfect. I took an easy fall right after I made fun of Hari’s non-glamorous way of breaking his rib. It was one of those falls where one minute you’re talking and the next you’re staring at the ground, wondering what happened. I chalk it up to instant karma for making fun of Hari. Actually, those stupid little stumps that jut out from the sides of the trail seem to take me down more than anything else. We had some brand new trail runners in our group today and it was fun to see their excitement. Breakfast afterwards at Norma’s more than compensated for any calorie loss and the indignity of falling down, yet again.
Stats for WEEK 6: Run – 38 miles, Yoga – 1:40:00
This week was a good reminder of how running has become such a social event for me through the years. The first few years I ran, I thought I preferred running alone, that it gave me time to work through the stress of teaching full-time. I could listen to music, be alone with my thoughts, and spend time outdoors. These days it’s rare for me to run alone. Running is a social event now, a time to talk with like-minded friends and train for an upcoming race. Running alone has slowly become second only to treadmill running — and that’s the worst type of punishment I can imagine. This week I got to run with all my favorite running friends and share a few beers and meals with them afterwards. And while the rest of the country dug out from a few feet of snow, we continued to enjoy unseasonably fair, spring-like weather.
MON: Yoga – 20:00 – Quads are a little sore from the back to back runs this weekend, so I did some easy yoga.
TUE: Easy Run – 6 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Met Bill and Liz at 6:00am for my earliest run this year. It was foggy and warm (57 deg and 97% humidity) and the lake looked beautiful in the dark. It is surprising how many people run at the lake that early in the morning, each of us passing one another like phantoms, some with flashlights, most gliding silently past. I had forgotten how much I love these early morning runs in the dark. (I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune in the middle of July when I’m forced to run this early every day to beat the heat.)
WED: Tempo Run – 4 mi, Yoga – 20:00, Walk – 3 mi – Met Liz for a tempo run at the lake. We decided to postpone our usual Wednesday hill run until Thursday to give our legs a chance to recover. But of course, we couldn’t help ourselves on today’s “easy” run and still managed to push the pace into the tempo range. It was very warm and humid again and I was glad it was only 4 miles. Came home and did some power yoga, and in the evening met up with the Wednesday night running group and walked 3 miles with Hari, including a half mile run back to Fuzzy’s. I’m so glad Hari is slowly coming back to running. Susan is also running again, though she still has a cast on her hand. We had a huge crowd at Fuzzy’s to not only run, but also to drink local Lakewood beer (and get a free beer glass).
THU: Hill Run – 6 mi – I found myself dreading the hill run when I woke up this morning. It felt kind of like going through childbirth for the second time, where you know what’s coming and you just really don’t feel like going through that again! As always, once I got warmed up and put a few hills under my belt I started to enjoy the run. I am still, however, always happy when that run is over! It was warm and humid yet again, but I was thankful for the cloud cover.
FRI: Yoga – 45:00 – Tried a new kundalini yoga sequence this afternoon. It was different from my usual yoga practice, with lots of deep breathing and slow, extended poses to awaken the energy centers in the spine (chakras). Loved the abs poses to strengthen the core, my weakest area.
SAT: Long Run – 14 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Such a great run this morning. It was overcast, around 50 degrees, and there were just enough hills to keep it interesting. I had a nice breakfast afterwards talking to my friends, and am reminded of how much I enjoy my Saturday long runs with my group of friends. I’ve been keeping a good pace lately, seeing averages I haven’t hit in quite awhile. Left quad and groin felt a little tight towards the end of the run, so I did some hip opener yoga poses to stretch out the area. If it doesn’t rain tonight like it’s supposed to, looking forward to some McKinney trails tomorrow.
SUN: Easy Run – 9 mi – It stormed in the night so we cancelled our trail run. I was disappointed because I didn’t run trails last weekend either, but it was made up for by the fact that I got to run an entire lake loop with my best running bud, Hari, who is well on his way to recovering from his broken rib incident from Christmas. Even though the yoga cured the tightness in my left groin, my legs felt a little stiff from yesterday’s hills and the somewhat faster pace, and I was glad we only ran 9 miles. I am a little shorter than I wanted to be this week in mileage (5 miles) because of the missed trail run, but I can tell my legs need some rest. I’d rather be short on mileage and have fresh legs next week than get the miles in and not feel rested enough — and cause some type of stupid injury.
Stats for WEEK 5: Run – 39 miles, Yoga – 1:45:00, Walk – 3 miles
Spring is definitely in the air with daytime highs in the 60’s and 70’s all week long. It made for some great running conditions. Of course, I’m trying hard to ignore the fact that it’s barely February . . .
Since I began running seven years ago, many of the people I started out with have gone on to accomplish great things in their running. Many have qualified for and run Boston, many regularly place in or win local races, and many are now tearing up the trails and winning trail races. It’s just amazing — and so inspiring — to see how strong some of our running friends have become.
MON: Rest Day – Enjoyed a day of laundry, grocery shopping, rest, and taking my car in for maintenance (but didn’t enjoy the bill). It was 78 degrees today! Crazy.
TUE: Easy Run – 6 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Ran with Liz from the house over to the Katy Trail in the warmest conditions since the fall. Starting temp was 72 with 76% humidity and winds gusting up to 30 mph. It rained twice on us during the run, and the wind was a beast to battle. It’s hard to believe it’s not even February yet. Did a session of power yoga afterwards to counteract some lower back tightness I’ve been feeling the past few mornings when I’ve gotten out of bed. The older I get and the more I run, especially on trails, the more I find I have to work a little harder to keep my core and back strong.
WED: Hill Run – 6 mi – Almost 30 degrees colder today than yesterday’s run and even windier. It was one blustery, gusty run on the hills this morning with Liz and the wind that was always a headwind no matter which direction we faced. We ran up all the “monster” hills in Lakewood (Loving, Sperry, Shook, West Shore) and the cold air triggered my asthma at mile 2. Had to run back to the car and use the inhaler, and it was hard finishing off those last two miles. For some reason, though, I’m a glutton for punishment. I really love running hills. Give me hills over speed work any day. I skipped yoga today because Nicole and I went to see a movie (Silver Linings Playbook) and got busy with other stuff.
THU: Tempo Run – 4 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Speed work is my least favorite workout of all, so when Liz suggested we do a tempo run this morning, after our monster hill run yesterday, I thought she was joking. She wasn’t. I wasn’t happy about it the first mile, and felt like puking at one point, but once we settled into our rhythm it wasn’t so bad. Somehow we pulled off an 8:48 average pace, which is pretty good for this old body. In the end, it made me feel a little less guilty for the Tex-Mex we had for lunch. Followed up the run with twenty minutes of power yoga for flexibility. Rodney Yee yoga DVDs rule!
FRI: Rest Day – Enjoyed a day of total laziness.
SAT: Long Run – 13 mi – I decided to skip a trail run this weekend since most of my trail running partners are down in Huntsville running Rocky Raccoon. I’m kicking myself for not going down to spectate. Here in Dallas it was a beautiful morning for a long run, with 48 degrees at the start and not a cloud in the sky. We started from a different location (Crossroads Diner) and ran down the White Rock Trail to the lake and back. Running on the White Rock Trail is a nice change, even though it’s all concrete, but there were times I expected to see an alligator raise its head from the bogs we passed along the way (supposedly they are occasionally found here).
Most of us in our running group watched the Rocky Raccoon live race results all day and night, following so many of our friends who were running the 50 mile and 100 mile trail races. We’re proud of everyone who ran, but we’re especially proud of Nicole Studer who finished first place female in her very first 100 mile race! She placed first female in her first 50 mile race in Palo Duro back in October, so to see her do so well in her first 100, just a few months after her first 50, was amazing. As someone in our group said: there’s no hiding now, Nicole! Not only is she an inspiration, she is also one of the most humble runners you will ever meet — a true class act.
SUN: Long Run – 13 mi – Met up with a small group of running friends for a great run around the lake. The weather was comparable to yesterday, which means it was perfect for running. The air smelled fresh and it felt like early spring. I was a little sad not to be on the trails on such a gorgeous run, but it was nice to sleep in a little and not have to drive to the trails. I feel so spoiled by having such a beautiful lake to run around so close to my house. Today I was filled with thoughts of Nicole and her amazing win, and of how well everyone ran this weekend.
Here’s to running our best, and to letting that guide us to becoming better people in the world.
Stats for WEEK 4: Run – 42 miles, Yoga – 40:00
It was a very good running week. I managed to get in 38 miles and some solid yoga sessions. The asthma and coughing that have plagued me since early October are also much better, and I’ve enjoyed having my son’s girlfriend stay with us before she flies off to join him in Brazil at the end of the week. Most of all, after the craziness of Christmas, company, our wedding, and illness, it’s nice to settle back into a regular training routine. It helps having great friends to keep you motivated and inspired!
MON: Run – 3 mi – Well, it’s a start. Usually Mondays are my rest day, but since my mileage has been so low, and because the weather was gorgeous, I decided to do an easy 3 miles from the house just before sunset. I was Garmin-free and ran on feel, which I’m trying to do more of. For someone who tends to be a slave to their watch, running without a Garmin is not easy. I loved the freedom of not caring what pace I kept. Legs felt good — lungs not so much — but I made it back home to my inhaler and a cold Texas beer with dinner!
TUE: Pace Run – 4 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Ran with Liz from the spillway for one of my fastest paced runs since Christmas. It feels great to be picking up the pace again.
WED: Hill Run – 6 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Met Liz for a hilly path run on the east side of the lake. Legs felt great and we kept a good pace. I really do love running a hilly path rather than a flat course (which is another reason I love the variety of trail running). Came home and did yoga with Nicole (back bends), then met the WRRC running group for a two mile run/walk for Nicole’s second run ever. She did great once again!
THU: REST DAY – Since Nicole will be leaving us in a week to join Nick in Brazil, we did important girl things to prepare for her trip. We got our nails done, had lunch, went shopping at Target, and bought some things at the grocery store. Living in a foreign country is not easy, and you have to make sure you stock up on American essentials like peanut butter and popcorn to take with you. I’m going to miss having another girl in the house (except for the dogs) when she’s gone.
FRI: Yoga – 20:00 – Did a session of hip openers with Nicole since she’s been having some pain in her groin muscle after running the other night. My coughing is MUCH better, finally!
SAT: Long Run – 12.14 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – It was a refreshingly misty, overcast, cool morning for a run with our largest group ever. When I saw the dog’s muddy footprints in the kitchen and the 91% humidity on the weather channel, I was not feeling exactly stoked about the run, but it turned out to be perfect running conditions. I was still feeling a little grumpy up through mile 9, but I got a second wind afterwards and felt great on the hills coming up off the lake. It was great, as always, to share breakfast and funny stories with my favorite running friends, including Susan, Kurt, and Hari, who came out despite their broken body parts (ring finger, pinky finger, and rib). Came home and did yoga (forward bends), which was just what I needed.
SUN: Trail Run – 10.21 mi – Rowlett Creek Preserve – I was seriously grumpy driving over to this morning’s trail run in Rowlett. I was feeling the two glasses of wine I had at dinner with friends the night before (even if it was followed up by roller skating), and the thick fog surrounding me in pitch darkness didn’t exactly scream Let’s run! Of course, all was forgotten once I got on the trails. The fog kept things cool and refreshing, and it was a completely different experience in the heavy fog. The trail wasn’t exactly muddy, but it was slick enough to cause me concern, especially on the steep downhills. I love my Brooks Pure Grit trail shoes, but they have no grip and are very slippery on wet surfaces. (This will only give me an excuse to purchase another pair of shoes.)
A hearty breakfast of eggs, sausage, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy with good friends you’ve gotten muddy with on the trails was the perfect way to end the week. After keeping my mileage so low this entire month while I was sick, I was a little concerned about doing back-to-back 12/10 milers, but my legs felt great both days. This has been my highest mileage week in over a month, and I’m happy to get back on track with my training.
Stats for WEEK 3: Run – 38 miles, Yoga – 1:20:00
It was a week of some running, some walking, some yoga, and an Insanity workout. Went back to the doctor for the third (and hopefully last) time about the coughing, and still managed to get in a couple of easy runs. Rather than sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I’ve resolved to just be thankful for whatever running I can do. I can freak out about not being ready for Jemez, or about losing all my conditioning, or I can just take things one day at a time and run when I can. For me, the bottom line is just being able to run. I may not be as fast or as strong as I want to be at a particular moment in time, but as long as I can get out and do even a few miles, I’m good with that.
MON: Strength – 20:00, Yoga – 20:00 – It’s getting serious now! Started the morning off with some lower body strength training (squats and lunges, anyone?), followed by twenty minutes of yoga (standing poses). The squats weren’t as bad as I thought they might be — it has been several months since I abandoned strength training — but I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune tomorrow. I’ve decided to add hills to every single run to get ready for Jemez. I love my easy runs around the lake, but they really won’t help me much come May 25 in the mountains.
TUE: Woke up to sleet when I let the dogs out, then fell back asleep and woke up to a blanket of snow. Decided to abandon the run — which wasn’t a hard decision because I am so sore from yesterday’s squats and lunges. Went to see the doctor (again) in the afternoon for the coughing, and he put me on a daily cortisone inhaler and a nasal spray. I really, really, really hope it helps.
WED: No running, no yoga, nothing. Decided to rest to get rid of the cough.
THU: Strength/Core – Insanity Workout – 1:00:00 – Oh. My. God. Did an Insanity workout with my son’s girlfriend, Nicole, and it nearly killed me. The cardio parts weren’t too bad, but everything else was really, really hard. If I did this everyday I would be a machine. I told Nicole if she could do Insanity every day, she could handle running a few times a week.
FRI: Rest – Still coughing, but it’s getting better. More rest.
SAT: Run/Walk – 3 mi – Slept in and skipped the group run since there’s no way I would be able to keep up for 11 miles. Ran with Michael, Nicole, and the dogs later in the neighborhood. It was fantastic weather, and it was also Nicole’s longest run ever. She did GREAT! We’ll make a runner out of her yet.
SUN: Long Run – 9 mi – I had already decided to run a lake loop all by myself today in the gorgeous spring-like weather, but was so happy when Bill texted and asked if I wanted to run/walk a loop with him. The lake was packed with cyclists, families, runners, roller bladers, and little kids on new Christmas bikes. It was a wonderfully leisurely jaunt around the lake with one of my favorite friends. Since we almost always run at the lake early in the morning, it was so different to see it on a Sunday afternoon. It was the perfect way to end a week. Best of all: my coughing seems to be improving. Keeping my fingers crossed that I’m on the mend.
Stats for WEEK 2: Run – 12 miles, Yoga – 20:00, Insanity – 1:00:00
I had such high hopes for getting back on track this week and was looking forward to my first week of official training for the Jemez 50K. Things didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted, but I was able to get in some great running by the end of the week. Sore muscles from Sunday’s trail run, a migraine, and lots of rain derailed my plans for the first part of the week, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. I still only ran three days this week, but am determined to get back on a regular workout schedule next week. Winter temperatures are on the menu for the entire week — and I couldn’t be happier about that!
MON: REST DAY – Yoga – 20:00 – OUCH. Woke up this morning to calves that felt as sore as if I had run a hilly marathon. This was very unexpected. I know we kept up a good pace during yesterday’s trail run in Grapevine, and we ran up every single hill, but geez, my legs are really sore. As in, too sore to run tomorrow. Michael says being sick for nine days was like a taper, and a fast, hilly trail run at the end of 16 miles midweek was the equivalent of a race. Therefore, really sore legs. I guess what’s the most surprising is that I rarely have sore calves, so I’m going to claim running up the hills and taking no walk breaks after time off from running as the main culprits. I thought I was listening to my body, but have to admit that my legs did feel very tired by the last few miles of the run. D’oh, rookie mistakes! Did yoga (Standing Poses) to loosen up the legs, but it didn’t really help all that much. Time for the compression sleeves . . .
TUE: Yoga – 20:00 – My calves are still so sore that there’s no way I can run today. I am one grumpy woman because of it. I was looking forward to my first official week of training for Jemez, and here I’m having to miss the very first run on the training plan! Not happy at all. Yoga (Twists) helped some, but the cold, rainy day matches my mood. I’ve always taken pride in knowing when to back off and rest when I need to, but I know that these sore muscles are my own fault. I should have started back more conservatively than I did, after being sick for nine days. Grrr.
WED: Rainy Rest Day – Still too sore to run. Rained all day again. Decided to take a full rest day and hopefully I’ll be able to run tomorrow. This is not how I wanted to start my first week of training.
THU: Rest Day – Made plans to meet Liz for a run this morning and woke up with a migraine. Feeling very frustrated.
FRI: Run – 6.13 mi, Yoga – 40:00 – Finally able to run today for the first time all week. Liz and I ran on the Katy Trail on a day with spring-like weather. Unbelievably, my calves still felt a little tight when I ran. My conditioning seems fine, and we kept our regular pace and I wasn’t out of breath, but the time off seems to have affected my muscles and tendons more than anything else. Oh well, I just need to have patience in ramping back up to my former mileage. Did forty minutes of yoga later in the day (back bends and forward bends) to try and get back into a regular yoga practice. I think I’ve missed yoga more than I’ve missed running.
SAT: Long Run – 10 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – After yesterday’s high temp of 71 degrees, couldn’t believe when I woke up at 6:00am and it was still 68 degrees! It was supposed to be 58, so I made sure to wear shorts and a short sleeved tech shirt for the run. Not only was it warm, but the streets were wet from fog, and the humidity was 93% when we started running at 7:00am. Now I know where the expression “pea soup” comes from. The short and simple of it: it was a tough run. Nothing makes a run tougher for me than high humidity (except maybe a strong wind), and I think most of us feel that way. Nevertheless, we had tons of new faces show up for our group run, which was awesome to see. After more rain this morning, a major cold front is supposed to roll in later today, and it looks like next week will be perfect for running. With all the rain we’ve had this week, though, it looks like a trail run tomorrow is out of the question. Yoga after the run (hip openers) was just what I needed. As the cold front rolled in, more rain, including hail, graced our thirsty gardens.
SUN: Long Run – 10 mi – Woke up with another headache, horrible asthma, and 30 degree colder temps than yesterday. With a stiff 25 mph wind from the north, the wind chill factor was 23 deg. BRRRRRR. Since we got almost three inches of rain this week, no one felt like slogging through a trail full of mud. Liz and I started from her house and ran a loop around the lake. The entire west side of the lake was head first into the wind. Liz, who struggled in yesterday’s warm humid temps, said she preferred today’s cold wind. She said at least it made her want to keep moving. I didn’t want to complain too much because at least it wasn’t 120 gazillion degrees like in the summer, and I promised I would love every single moment of running this winter, but I didn’t find the cold headwind at all pleasant. Having a throbbing headache didn’t help.
Thank God for hot showers, Extra Strength Excedrin, asthma inhalers, and friends who push me on tough runs.
Stats for WEEK 1: Run – 26.1 miles, Yoga – 1:40:00
I don’t recognize the woman I’ve turned into this summer. I look in the mirror and see a faintly familiar face reflected there, but it can’t be me. Who is this dedicated night owl who gets up at 4:30am to run ridiculous miles in the Texas summer heat? I hardly know myself anymore.
Two mornings in a row I’ve set the alarm for 4:20am. The first time was for a run followed by a core/strength workout, the second for a ten mile run at the lake. The runs and workouts are not surprising, only the time on the clock.
But then again, who gets up at 4:30am for a core workout?
Anyone can change. Even me.
I’m always amazed that other people are out and about at 5:15am when I drive the ten minutes to the lake. Do people really have jobs that early in the morning? I park my car in the dark parking lot and worry about the car getting broken into while I’m gone.
My friends arrive and we spray ourselves with DEET-laced mosquito repellent, a new necessity because of West Nile. Setting our Garmins, we trudge down the hill, legs slow and stiff at first, then fluid and smooth as we run along the edge of the water.
Sometimes the conversation flows, and can veer off into a myriad of diverse topics. Other times we run silently, alone with our own thoughts, sharing a common bond of friendship and movement.
After these early morning runs the traffic is heavy and flows ten miles per hour faster. People tailgate, anxious to get to work. I’m feeling relaxed and satisfied from the run, and take a slower route through the neighborhood.
I pull into my driveway and the porch light is still on. Michael sleeps, and I feel a fleeting sense of regret that I got up so early.
The run has me pumped, and I contemplate doing some yoga before I shower. I need to use up all this energy before the inevitable mid-afternoon wave of sleepiness hits me.
I used to do all my runs alone. I thought I loved it. Sometimes I would listen to music. Mostly I listened to the birds and my thoughts.
Now it’s practically a requirement that I run with someone else. Running alone is not half as much fun when I have only myself to keep me company.
Change is good.
My Summer Survival Action Plan is in full swing. With temperatures already in the mid 90’s, and high humidity, it’s time to hit the road running. Literally.
Saturday’s group run took us on the northern section of the White Rock Creek Trail. The entire length of the trail is approximately seven miles, and we’ve run the southern section quite a few times in the past few years. This was the first time most of us had run the northern part.
It was very humid, but the cloud cover kept the temperatures nice and low. The 6:30am start also helped. Soon, the intense heat will force us to start even earlier.
Most of us are between races and are taking it easy with shorter mileage until we start training for our fall races. My training officially begins this week. Yikes!
The northern part of the trail was a nice change. I enjoyed running on a path where I never had to worry about cars. It was also nice to see flowing water in the creek, a result of rain earlier in the week. It will be dry as a bone in a few weeks.
Some sections were shady, some not so much, and except for some cyclists and a few runners not part of our group, we had the trail almost all to ourselves.
I’ve known people who’ve seen bobcats on this section of the trail, but all we saw were bunnies. (I have yet to see a bobcat anywhere in Dallas, or even in the wild. Once our campground in Canyonlands NP in Utah was abuzz with numerous bobcat sightings, but we never saw it. Several friends have seen them at White Rock Lake.)
The nicest thing about Saturday’s run was running with old friends who have since moved on to triathlons and other running groups. One of these friends was Kurt, a runner young enough to be my son who calls me “Running Mom.” He had just moved to Dallas when the group I was pacing met him at White Rock Lake one Saturday morning about four years ago. He had stopped at a water fountain and asked if he could tag along with us on the rest of our run. He ran about six more miles with us to the finish, huffing and puffing, impressing all of us since he had just recently taken up running.
He does anything but huff and puff these days. He’s a lean, mean athletic machine–and a great conversationalist on a run.
And that’s what it’s really all about, isn’t it? Running, talking, laughing, and being there for each other. I love that I can run with people twenty years younger than myself and it makes no difference. Out on the trail we’re all just runners, enjoying the experience–together.
My friend Liz can’t run because of a sore ankle. It’s been sore for weeks. She even ran a marathon on her bum leg, after getting it checked out by a doctor to make sure it wasn’t a stress fracture.
Now she’s walking. Like most of my running friends, Liz is stubborn. She texted the other day that she had been walking to stay in shape, and that she had just walked seven miles. Seven miles! Like most of my running friends, she’s also an overachiever.
I asked if I could keep her company on one of her long walks at the lake. Even with an injury, I was pretty sure Liz would walk me into the ground.
I wasn’t wrong. The past two days have been extremely windy, and this morning it was overcast and humid. Despite the wind and humidity, she never let up. I secretly struggled to keep the pace.
I was so glad I was walking and not running. Running into a strong head wind is not one of my favorite things.
I love to walk. If I lived in the mountains or someplace more scenic than Dallas (and it doesn’t take much to be more scenic than Dallas), I might not even run anymore. I would take off into the hills and hike to my heart’s content.
This is a lie, of course. I’m pretty sure I’d still run, even if it meant switching to hilly trails.
In the meantime, we have White Rock Lake. Even though I’ve been partying and playing hookey (high school), driving, walking, and running around this same lake since I was a kid, it’s still one of the best parts of Dallas. Though we curse the monotony of the nine mile, flat, paved path that encircles it, it’s been a huge part of our training.
As runners, we tend to look down on walking and forget that it’s great cross training. We hate having to walk during a run or race. For many of us it’s a sign of weakness. But it has its place, and being injured or walking after a challenging run the day before, it can be a nice change from running.
Especially if you walk with Liz.
9/17/11 – 16 MILES
Saturday’s long run was a humid mess of moistness. The temperature started out at 73 degrees, but with the humidity at 78% it didn’t seem all that cool. The worst was the way the air felt so thick. I could tell what a difference it made after our weeks of humidity in the teens.
Bill surprised Heather and me with an autographed copy of a new running book by Adam Goucher (aka Mr. Kara Goucher) and Tim Catalano called Running the Edge. We squealed like little girls and couldn’t wait to get home and read it. I seriously considered ditching the long run so I could start reading the book.
Before I could think twice, we were off, headed towards our usual route down to the lake. The mornings are definitely darker now, and I thought about remembering to wear light colored clothing from now on. We ran along the lake for a couple of miles, then headed up out of Lakewood. Heather, who battled a cold all week and was running under the influence of Sudafed, said we were running too fast for the start, and she was right. We paid the price the last few miles. They were torture.
After Lakewood, it was a new route through familiar neighborhoods: M Streets, Katy Trail, and Highland Park (where the police were obligingly parked and watching us from their black SUV to make sure we stayed on their sidewalks). We continued around the country club, through University Park, through SMU campus, past the Katy Trail for water, then back up the dreaded hill at Longview, then Anita, to Fuzzy’s.
The humidity was brutal and the route felt like we were always running uphill, but it was nevertheless nice to run a new route. I was so glad to be done. Why aren’t these long runs getting any easier?????
Heather, Bill, and I all decided that next week we are going to start off much slower and then pick up the speed as we go along. We’ve been saying this from the beginning . . .
Afterwards, over tacos and beer, Chris pulled out his boxes and we all purchased and tried on our new WRRC (White Rock Running Co-op)/RUN FREE tech shirts. It will be way cool to wear them in the future. The club is slowly growing, and that’s a good thing.
*** Just now looking at the weather stats for Saturday, I noticed the humidity level actually went up from 78% to 85% by the end of our run. One more reason, perhaps, why the run was so difficult . . .
Stats: 16 miles @ 9:40 pace