Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eye of the Tiger

So I don't have a great memory, but while I'm jumping rope today, all I can think of is Rocky and this vision of him jumping rope like a mad man during his training.  It's not the first time I've thought of good old Sylvester Stalone.  During the winter and those cold runs, I thought of him as well running in Russia.  You would think that I'm a big Rocky fan and I'm really not.  The last time I saw these movies was in the 80's and I'm sure that it wasn't really my choice to watch them.  I got a punching bag for Christmas a couple of years ago and I'll still get that out every once in a while.  I used to go to a kickboxing class that I really liked and when they cancelled it, I wanted to do it at home.  Anyway, so back to the jumping rope.  Circumstances made it so that I didn't get to leave the house today and so running was out unless I wanted to get down on the treadmill and that definitely was not going to happen.  So I grabbed my i pod and decided to make the best of it.  I tend to make games out of my workouts and that seems to make them go faster and makes it much more enjoyable.  So I warmed up for 2 songs (double jumps) and then alternated fast songs and single jumping with moderate songs and slower jumping for the first 20 minutes.  Then I did shorter intervals for the next 25 minutes by fast jumping during the chorus and bridges and slower jumping during the verses.  I alternated knees up and kicking back behind me for the last couple of songs and then cooled down.  It ended up being a really fun workout, one I'll do again for sure.  I was interrupted about 30 times by my kids asking me crazy questions that they'd figure out for themselves if I wasn't there.  The phone was also a problem.  Another good reason for me to get out and run.  I get to be alone with basically no interruptions.  I think I mentally need that time each day.  It makes me a better mom and a better human being in general.

I have also been pondering some of the things that Mike talked about in his blog today.  I've been really discouraged about running any races lately.  I've left my new fancy schmancy watch at home for almost a month now.  I just don't seem to be satisfied with any of my race results.  I think part of my problem is that I put in a lot of work and the training runs seem to be so good.  Then the race comes and I bomb out.  I really appreciate all the support and comments from friends and family and Anna and Mike especially.  These seasoned runners can see past these few disappointments and the good that will come eventually.  I lean on their advice a lot.  Thanks!  Anyway... I'm really digressing today... I was visiting with a good friend this week.  She's a bit older than I am, but we think a lot alike and I really respect her.  When she was little they didn't expect her to live.  She had asthma so bad and really could never participate in anything physical.  Her doctor calls her a miracle because she lived past age 8.  Now there's good medication and though she deals with pretty severe arthritis she is always so positive.  She doesn't complain and though she'll be honest with me about how she feels, she's always grateful for what she can do.  Somedays it is very limited.  She tries to stay active and lifts weights and is a healthy eater.  Every time I leave her I am renewed with gratitude for what I am able to do.  It's not anything great but 4 years ago I didn't think I'd ever be able to run again.  It was a devastating thought.  I'd never been athletic through all my school years.  I avoided playing any type of sport.  I just didn't think I'd be good.  I was a good spectator though and I enjoy watching all types of sports.  And now that I'd finally found something that I loved, I felt like it was being taken away.  Being able to run again brought such great joy and appreciation for my body.  I think I've lost some of that this year.  I'm taking for granted the simple action of slipping on some running shoes and hitting the streets.  I want speed and endurance (and I want it right now!) instead of simply being grateful that my body is able to do those things.  It's something so basic and yet I know there are people who physically can't do it.  They can't do what they love to do.  My heart aches for them because I know how they feel.  I think that's one reason I've left the watch at home and why I'm running alone and why I don't have any desires to run any races right now.  I need to get back to why I run in the first place.  I need to be grateful for the simple ability and just be content and happy with the fact that I can run.  I need to remember that running is fun.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Easy Run

I took it easy today and did a walk/run for 4 miles.  I ended with doing lunges at the horse stables.  I gave up riding after I couldn't figure out how the bridle was supposed to be.  It was twisted and I just couldn't get it twisted in the right direction with all the things pointing right. So I just went home and finished lifting weights for my whole body.  I need to be more consistent in doing that.  I've been kind of a slacker lately with my weights and today I could tell.  I'll probably be pretty sore tomorrow.  That's the problem with slacking; it always hurts to get back to where you were.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Long Run

I've been keeping my eye on the weather to see which day was supposed to be the coolest (that's a relative term nowadays) and when I saw that it might be stormy on Monday, I decided that I'd do my long run today.  It started to thunder last night and I was excited in the hopes of a rainy run again.  As I stepped outside this morning though, there was not a cloud in the sky.  Not even one.  Oh well.  I ran 13 miles today.  Miles 10 and 11 were tough because it was really uphill and getting hot but the last two were good.  It's nice to have it over with for the week and now I can concentrate on some cross training activities.  

Friday, July 25, 2008

Horsie Run

My legs were pretty tired this morning, just feeling the effects of the stairs and jump rope, I'm sure.  I only ran 3 miles and then went over and rode Ritz for a while.  She was out in the pasture and came right over to me.  I bridled her out in the pasture and then took off.  It was the fastest and easiest it's ever been for me to get the bridle on.  Bianca is so funny.  She won't let me bridle her (at least without Jill or Janzen there) but then she acts so jealous when I'm out riding Ritz.  Silly horse.  When I walked out of my house this morning and sat down to put on my shoes, I looked up and was blown away by the beauty of the sky.  It was so blue and there were these beautiful clouds that were bright white.  It almost took my breath away.  While running I just could help but look upwards to check out that gorgeous sky.  I didn't take this picture until afterwards, but really, it was something to behold.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Run, Stairs, Run

I decided to run down to the high school track this morning and run stairs.  It's 2 1/2 miles there and back and I did 10 intervals of 1 minute/1 minute on the stairs.  The stairs are a killer workout!  But I know they're so good for my rear end.  I ran stairs religiously 6 years ago and I swear it gave my behind a good shape.  I need it back.  Unfortunately I don't have the drive that I did  6 years ago.  Well I guess it's a different drive.  Slower maybe.  Anyway, my legs felt like lead jell-o on the way home and it was really hot!  The hills were especially tough on the way home.  I stretched really good and am looking forward to a real cool shower instead of trying to hit all the sprinklers along the way.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Run and Jump to the Music!

I dragged myself out of bed earlier than normal this morning so I could head out before it got too hot.  I ran 4 miles and ended with a giant hill that I ran up all the way thanks to my new favorite song blaring in my ears the whole way up.  There's something about concentrating on the beat and keeping my eyes just a little in front of me instead of up the whole hill, that seems to help me with hills.  Now if I could just remember that all the time.  It was a good run.  I jumped rope for 15 miserable minutes and the only thing that made it bearable was Abby doing it with me while listening to Miley Cyrus with her.  I love it when my kids exercise with me.  I still need to get in my upper body weights today but it will have to wait until later tonight.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rainy Run

What great weather for a summer run!  When I started out this morning it was sprinkling a little but by the time I had gone 5 miles, it had started to rain!  Hooray!  It's been a really long time since it's rained and it felt so good.  I ran over to the horses and rode them for a bit really trying to concentrate on those core muscles and my inner thighs.  It was so fun listening to the sound of the rain on the metal roofs.  The thistles are blooming and the Russian Olive trees were beautiful in the rain.  It was a great day to be out.  I felt so good and the weather was perfect so I decided to do another 5 miles after riding and make it my long run.  It's days like this I need to remember when I'm having those not so good days and can't remember why I love to run.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Meet my new training partners!

I thought since I'm spending a bit of my time with the horses, I should introduce them.  Here's the background:  A little more than 15 years ago, Janzen gave up on dating and bought a horse.  There's some property not quite a mile from where we live that rents stables and use of a couple of pastures for really cheap.  They're still there today.  I met him shortly after that and after we got married and he was working and going to school, he just didn't have the time to train her and ride like she needed.  He decided to sell her.

Left to right:  Sassy, Ritz, and Bianca

His mom, who was raised on a farm, offered to buy her and has taken care of her ever since.  Bianca is a really smart horse and is pretty stubborn.  She has pushed Janz out of the stall after he's given her medication and shut the door behind her.  She has learned how to let herself out of her stall and forced grandma to buy bigger and better locks.  She knows how to steal hay from the other horses stalls and is kind of a tease.  She'll bite the other horses out in the pasture while they're minding their own business and she loves to run.  But you put a kid on her and she's the best horse in the world.  She just seems to know that they're more delicate and she is wonderful.
Grandma (Jill) bought another horse shortly thereafter so that two people could ride at once.  Ritz is a bit older than Bianca and is much more mellow.  She has a much smoother ride and is a little thinner around the middle, not so hard to stretch those legs around.  She was a breeding horse and constantly had her babies being taken away from her.  She feels that pain, I think, and doesn't like being separated from the rest of the horses.  She is a really good horse.
Sassy came next, just a couple of years ago and was such a cute baby!  Too bad her stall is next to Biana's and she's been learning tricks from her.  Sassy is a good name for her.  She still likes to buck and is really nervous.  But she just needs to be ridden.  She's shorter than the other horses.  But that's not saying much since the other horses are about 17 hands (5 ft. 8 in.) tall.  Like I said, I have to use the step ladder to get on!  They're all American Saddlebreds.  They're great at endurance and comfort while riding.
Jill bought a trailer that hauls all 3 horses and will take them any where we want to go.  She grew up with horses and loves them.  In fact she thought she was a horse when she was little.  And then pretended she was a horse until she was about 10.  She recently bought a surrey and had Ritz trained to pull it.  That should be really fun.  Jill is so willing to share her love of horses with others.  She has given many of the neighborhood children horseback riding lessons and lets a cute girl who lives close by ride Ritz whenever she wants.  The kids have always loved to ride, but it hasn't been until recently that I've really loved it.  About 4 years ago is when I injured my IT band riding horses with her in the mountains.  I didn't really know what I had done until it was too late and it just about killed my running.  I've been leering about riding ever since then, but I've fixed the problem and riding bareback is the way I like riding the best.  No fuss, just bridle and go!
Jill read about a horse race that's 26 miles long that we're thinking about doing next year.  It would have to be on Sassy because she's the only one without arthritis and she's the youngest.  We don't have much info yet though so we'll see.  It would take a lot of training to get both of us to that point.  I know somewhat about that kind of training!  

So this week was kind of a bust for me as far as exercising went.  I did some major weight training on Monday that kicked my hiney.   Tuesday I ran 5 miles and went to the horses but they were eating and I didn't want to disturb them.  Wednesday I missed running because of a big mess with my credit card (read about that here) but rode the horses for about an hour and 1/2 while Janz worked on some plumbing at the stables.  I rode Bianca this time since Ritz was literally worn out from some neighbor girls the night before.  Then I rode Sassy for a bit with a saddle on.  It was great to be out riding as the sun was going down.  We left the next day for some camping so I got a lot of good walking in and even some hill work from ice blocking down a really steep hill and racing back up it.  No long run this week.  I plan on doing better next week.  

Friday, July 11, 2008

Decision Time

Maybe this is a bad time to do this, since the cold isn't completely gone, but I think I've decided not to run the Top of Utah Marathon this fall.  It's been in the back of my mind that I would do it since I didn't get into St. George and to keep me running through the summer.  But I don't want to run another marathon and just survive it.  I want to feel accomplished at the end and feel like I've trained well and done my best.  Right now, I don't feel like I could follow a training program in this heat.  Call me a wimp but I just can't do it.  I would like to do a couple of half marathons but mentally I'm just not ready for a full yet.  Truth is, I'm scared.  I'm not really a competitive person.  I typically don't run races any faster than I run the distance in training.  I don't get that adrenaline rush that pushes most people.  But I don't like to fail either.  The last two marathons seemed like failures and I'm afraid of another experience like that again.  There's a part of me that says to do another one this year to get over the fear, you know the old get back on the horse thinking.  But the smart part of my brain says that I'm not trained properly so don't set yourself up for it.  I run because I love it.  But lately, I'm running because I've told myself that I'm dedicated to being consistent and not quitting but definitely not for the love.  I don't like that.  So, I've left my watch home for the past two runs.  I didn't want to focus on my time or pace or even distance.  I just wanted to run for the fun of it.  Then I came home and figured out how far I ran.  (So I must care slightly about how far I'm going!)  I ran 4 miles on Wed and ended with riding Ritz.  It was pretty cool because they were out in the pasture and I wasn't sure I could catch her to bridle her.  But she came right over to me and followed me over to the gate.  I was pretty excited that she knows me.  I lifted on Wed too and I'm still pretty sore all over my upper body from that.  I know I need to get back to training my lower half better.  I'm really not getting sore from riding the horses bareback anymore.  I guess I need to go longer.  I went last night too and rode the "baby" horse Sassy.  She was trained last year and as soon as she got back she ripped up her leg and had a long recovery.  She hasn't been ridden only a few times so getting on her was a brave move on my part.  She spooks pretty easily and was scared of her own shadow!  But I rode her bareback for over a half hour and she got better each time around.  I will say that she put on a rodeo show when I first got on her and rared and  bucked!  Good thing Janzen was right there with me.  I held on o.k. but it was pretty scary!  I rode Bianca bareback last night too as it was getting dark so it was pretty short, but she the fastest of the horses and the wildest!  They're so fun and riding is getting to be as big of a release for me as running is.  Monday night I was just so irritated with everything and all I could think about was going for a ride.  After we did, I was good. 
I went for a run today knowing it would be the long one of the week since tomorrow is crazy.   It ended up being 9 miles.  I would have like to have made it a little farther, but oh well.  I'm going to try to keep doing my longs runs so that I won't lose my endurance and to be ready for a 1/2.  Maybe that will help my body get accustomed to running those longer distances and help me be better prepared for next year.  I'm also going to try to incorporate more cross training and just keep moving forward.  That is what we do while running after all, just one more step forward.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Running Rut

I don't know what's wrong with me.  The last two runs I've had have been miserable.  I ran 5 miles on Thursday and it was a struggle the whole time.  My lungs, legs, heart, everything wanted to stop.  It could be that the cold I've been fighting for about a week now was peaking then, but today was just as bad.  I only made it 3 miles and I was lucky to do that.  I think I'm over the hump as far as the cold goes, but it was just a fight to even go out today.  I didn't get a long run in because of the holiday this weekend.  But to be honest, I don't think I would have been able to do one with the way I've been feeling.  It's discouraging knowing that if I don't get up early, it gets too hot to go for very long.  I'm in a rut and hope this too will pass.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Horsie Rides

I got myself up again this morning after sleeping too long yesterday.  It is really hot out there even at 6 a.m.  This morning it was 75 degrees when I left!  I ran a new route today that was 5 miles before I got to the stables.  It was good and the only problem continues to be the muscles around my ankles that seem to warm up very slowly.  I had problems getting the halter on right this morning and had to call my hub to help out.  He was just leaving for work and was able to stop over and figure it out.  It was just all twisted up and I couldn't see how it was supposed to go.  I didn't get sore from Monday's ride, so I decided to go a bit longer today and go a little faster to make myself hold on a little tighter.  Bareback riding is so fun.  Ritz got in the round corral and just wanted to run.  She goes into a lope so easily and smoothly and I love being on her back for the ride.  I did get pretty tired holding on for dear life with my legs and had to make her walk so that I could have a break.  But it was really fun.  Ritz is a beautiful and patient horse and I'm so glad I got to ride her!  Total miles: 6.