Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Run Down Memory Lane

As I’ve been unpacking and organizing our new home, I recently came across my past running logs.  Honing in on years 2012-2014, I recalled fondly what a great three years’ worth of running I had.  2012 represented my leap into the ultra distance, tackling my first 50 miler at Stonecat.  2013 was my prep year for even farther distances, bringing me into 2014.  2014 was the year of Ghost Train 100.  All of those memories neatly documented in my running logs.  All of those memories now haunting me.

The last two years have found me less and less focused on running.  In fact, I just hadn’t been enjoying it much.  I swore last year was the year I’d return to Ghost Train to improve my time and run it with less pacer support.  But almost from the beginning, I didn’t have the hunger.  The usual badass Lisa wouldn’t have thought twice about heading out in wind/snow/blizzard/locust attack, but not this time.  Eventually, I admitted to myself that I was sorely lacking the mental fortitude needed to train for (let alone complete) a 100 mile run.  So I downgraded my race day distance to 50K, allowing a more manageable distance and the privilege to run with two different friends attempting new distances.

Now that I’m living in Florida, I no longer have any cold weather excuses.  I’m happy to say that, more and more, I WANT to run again, but now I feel like I’m starting over.  This is where the “memory haunting” comes in.  Knowing where I’ve been is something I celebrate often, but boy it’s hard when a 3 mile run feels like torture – both in the legs and the lungs.  Yet, memories remind me that I once gutted through a 100 mile race.  But that’s what happens when you stop running.  It’s part of the process.  So what am I doing about it?

I’m getting out.  And I’m running.  It’s slow, but it’s still running.

Not a morning person, I’m trying really hard to get out at least twice a week before work.  I gain a special viewing of the sunrise, beat the heat, avoid the afternoon thunderstorms, and don’t get caught up in the “shiny object syndrome” of finding other things that just have to be done after work.  Scott’s been a huge inspiration, getting me up and out.  The other inspiration comes in the form of how I feel on those days I get up and out for a run before work - happy.  I’m even feeling inspired to register for a race…

Time sure is flying.  The time is now to get moving again, to enjoy this beautiful SWFL outdoor living, to explore the trails, and to create a 2018 running log that makes the top #3 running years the next time I “run” down memory lane!

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Gifts of Relationships

Last week, I left my job for a new opportunity in a new state.  I’ve been here for almost two years; learned lots and met some great people.  I’ve done this several times during my lifetime and find that leaving the job is the easy part. 

This change also means I’m leaving my running club/family that I’ve grown so close to over the last two years.  This is something I have never done (since this is the first time I have joined a running club), but leaving it (physically) is difficult.  Talk about relationships…running relationships are special.

Leaving relationships behind is so hard.

The last two weeks have included lots of work transition, home purging/packing, going away lunches, going away runs, and lots and lots of gifts!  My "spirited" team surprised me with balloons, cupcakes, a pineapple plant, and a collage of pictures, reflecting all of their "seasons".  Topping that off was a hilarious, yet touching, poem.

My morning commute has sent me straight into Mt. Monadnock's path every morning.  I have stowed away many sunrises, sunsets, and snow peaks into my memories.  

My friends know me well, presenting me with a perfect reminder of this gentle giant, "Mt. Monadnock 3165 Ft".  I can't wait to hang this sign in my new home (no mountains where I'm going!).

Great memory of an evening Super Moon hike up Mt. Monadnock with running friends who became much more than running friends.

Our Scores Running Club family sent us on our adventure with a pair of beach towels that we can't wait to show off on the beach.  

And just before our club run Tuesday night, this beauty: 

Gifts may come in the form of luncheons, cards, plants, and goodies, but the greatest gift of all is the relationships we build and foster and take with us along our journeys.  I'm humbled by the gifts of these relationships.  I will carry them all with me.  Always.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Hug at Hellcat

“Go get Purple….” 

This past weekend, Scott and I jetted off to Jacksonville, FL for a long weekend.  We explored the city and the beaches and found ourselves a trail race to run.  The race, Hellcat 10K/30K/50K, was held on Saturday morning and was comprised of a 10K loop around historic Lee Field in Green Cove Springs.  This is the home of the US Navy’s F6F Hellcat fighter from WWII.  The website described the course as “no roots or rocks” and “runners will go thru scenic cypress swamps with an abundance of wild life to include gators, deer, bear”.

Gators?  Gulp.

There was no elevation to speak of, which also meant the swampy areas were almost level with the trail we ran on.  I kept a watchful eye on anything resembling the aforementioned gators.

6.2 miles of flat, root-less, rock-less trails….easy, right?  Well, normally I would’ve said yes.  What’s not been so normal is that I haven’t been doing all that much running lately.  I figure the desire to jump back in, really run, and register/train for races will return.  It always does.  So for this race, I was purely there to enjoy a destination run and hang out with running peeps in a different state.

Per standard race protocol, I started out on the faster side.  With Scott running alongside, it was natural to try to match his pace.  I kept the pace for a couple miles and started to feel my lack of running around the half way mark – both lungs and legs.  I stayed at a touch slower pace for the next couple miles, praying for it to be over.  Not necessarily the run itself, but the terrible feeling of knowing I can do so much better.  So, I felt all the feelings as I continued kicking my own ass for the final two miles. 

It was at about mile 5 that Scott uttered those words, “Go get Purple”.  Breathless, tired, and sprinkled with discouragement at how I felt, I gasped, “I don’t know if I have it today”.  But of course Scott never heard that since my words were probably drowned out by my lungs screaming in protest.  So I continued running, with a new found focus on “Purple”.  Slowly, I crept up on “Purple” until I was passing her.  Finally entering the finish chute, I stopped my watch, came to a halt, and willed myself to not throw up.

Now, I’m not usually this dramatic when describing a race.  But this was how it truly went down.  Feeling out of shape, wondering if I would finish, and discouraged at even having those thoughts was a huge weight on me.  As I collected my finisher medal, I came to my senses and remembered how grateful I am to be able to run.  

I suddenly spotted “Purple” who finished shortly after I did and approached her, “Hey there, just want to thank you for being my rabbit out there.  You really helped me”.  That’s when “Purple” turned to me and said, “Oh my God, thank you so much for saying that.  Can I hug you?  Seriously, you have no idea what that means to me!”.  So along with my hard fought medal, I was also awarded a sweaty hug from a grateful stranger at Hellcat.

Seems I wasn’t the only one struggling out there. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Today’s canvas

After not running for over a week, I was grateful for Scott’s invitation to run with him along the West River Trail.  We eased into the day, starting our run at about 9am.  Initially, we drove into some rain showers but could see the sun shining ahead of us in Vermont.  We hoped to get us some of that.

And we did!  We got into a nice groove and never saw anyone on the way out.  It was a peaceful way to start the day and I was happy to be running.  The sound of the rushing West River, the brilliant sunshine, and the mild November temperatures provided a perfect canvas for our run.  

We turned around at the four mile mark and that’s when the photographic shenanigans began.  Scott has such a natural way of making the run fun.  I ended up with an additional .5 to my distance because I needed to “run back there and run towards me!” so Scott could get a particular shot.  So our return 4 miles became all about the photography and silliness.  I’ll save you from the many shots taken and just post my favorites:

Monday, November 20, 2017

You get what you give

Tonight, we installed a cheap window shade.  For $5.00, we didn't expect much, nor did we need much.  As we cut and tore and ripped (not part of the plan), we ultimately installed this temporary shade and high fived each other.  We also agreed I would be in charge of any handling of this shade (read: man knows not his own strength).

You get what you pay for.

In running, you get the run you trained for.

And in life, you get what you put into it.  Simple as that.

I describe this past year as chaotic at best.  Not bad, just all over the place.  It was a busy year professionally and personally.  My balance felt not so balanced a lot of the time.  I started to dread my training runs.  Then I started to not do my training runs.  This was not the training I had in mind to prepare for Ghost Train 100 miler. 

My eventual downgrade from the 100 mile distance to a lesser distance was the right step for me and took the pressure off of me.  Though I still needed to dig deep for my newly committed to 30 mile distance, I was fairly certain I could manage the remaining training I needed to complete in order to finish the 30 miles.  Of course, the day of the race brought all the feelings of FOMO, but I never doubted my decision once I made it.

I just hadn’t trained for 100 miles this time.  So how could I expect my body and mind to carry me that distance?

Ghost Train was one month ago and I couldn’t be happier about my experience.  I started my training with a bang and ended on a much quieter note.   I got to run 30 miles with my friend Sue, be a part of her first ultra, and then run Susanne in for her final 10 miles to her 100 mile finish.  

Whether its money spent on cheap shades, effort spent on training runs, or time and energy devoted to the right things and the right people in your life, you get what you put into it.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Don't think

Ever since I began running distances, I’ve found the mental strength as important if not more than the physical strength.  The long run provides a good balance of time and endorphins to help me process, solve problems, and tap into my creativity.  The long run removes the noise and allows me to think.

Many of my longest training runs have incorporated multiple loops where I headed out with a plan to return home, grabbed stashed food and ventured back out for more loops.  What got me out on those multiple loops?  One mantra:

Don’t think.

I’d often say the words aloud, “Don’t think”.  Whether spoken aloud or in my own head, that mantra worked.

Recently, after a long day at work, I gathered up my running clothes and dashed off to change.  Of course, knowing my fellow Scores Running Club friends would be there helped motivate me to dive into the cold darkness.  But once again, I leaned on my old mantra friend:

Don’t think.

Whether it's four miles after work or a forty mile training run, the toughest part is getting out there.  Darkness by 4:30 pm, cold temperatures, snow, ice, (I imagine locusts are next??), all contribute to that lethargic feeling that is winter running. 

As usual, within the first mile or so, none of that matters and I feel good and healthy and happy.  Ironically, because I choose “Don’t think”, my run allows me….

To think.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Squeezing 101

During our breakfast run this past weekend, I chatted a bit with Frank.  Frank has a young daughter who is an absolute spit fire!  Every picture or video he posts shows a little one very enamored with life.  Frank said something along the lines of, “she sure squeezes every bit of life out of every day”.


Not a new concept, but wow.  Live like you’re dying, dance like no one’s watching, and on and on…..  But how do we do that?  How do we channel that inner young child and squeeze every bit of life out of every day?  Most of us are pulled in a variety of directions, whether its work, parenting, school, community, or even play.  We’re all allotted the same 24 hours a day, within the same 7 day period, etc.   There are times when one area becomes busier than another, and sometimes work takes over and “work life balance” takes a back seat.

While this thought was swirling in my brain this morning, I headed out to work on a very foggy morning.  As I approached my favorite part of the drive, I was struck by the eerie, yet beautiful scene the fog laid out for me.  I thought about taking a picture, but a car came up quickly behind me, forcing me to continue on.  I almost shrugged the moment off, and realized I was disappointed at the prospect of missing a really cool photographic opportunity.  At the next available driveway, I turned around to head back and grab the moment. 

Can't decide which one I like better....this one?

......or this one?

As expected, arriving approximately three minutes later to work didn’t shut my company down.  But that three minutes gave me a satisfying feeling of taking time to do something that made me happy.  While Frank’s daughter performs flips and runs circles around him, my version of “squeezing every bit of life out of today” started with a u-turn and a couple of photographs.