Saturday, January 23, 2010

I might be a dog killer and I know what it feels like to be a mob snitch

I hesitate to say "dog murderer" because I'm not sure if the dog died or not, but if he did it was probably my fault. I was almost to the last mile of my very snowy 10 miler today when this big pile of fur came running up from behind me barking and just about nipping at my heels. I'm usually a little more aware of what's going on around me and I can hear those attack dogs coming for a mile away. I've gotten pretty good at yelling in a very mean voice, "NO! GO HOME!" This approach has worked very well and even the most menacing dog will end up running home. I almost feel a little bad because it must mean that I sound really mean. And I really am a nice person. My kids may say that I got my mean practice from whipping them into shape, but they exaggerate. Anyway..... this big pile of fur came tearing after me at full speed ready to eat my shoes. I may have been a tiny bit distracted with some new music turned up a little too loud. In any case I swear I could feel his hot little breath melting some of the snow on the back of my legs when I turned around to see a big mean mouth filled with teeth, barking at me. I yelled my instinctive response to GO HOME! He turned around with lightening speed to run home...across Main Street...and under the back tire of a car. As it yelped and limped the rest of the way home and its owner was calling to it and probably cursing me, I felt horrible. I know there are leash laws and it wasn't really my fault, but I did scare it right into traffic although that was not the intended place. I can only hope he spreads the news about this mean runner out and about and all the other dogs will stay away from me.
On another note: I think I burned a fair amount of extra calories today because of the cement shoes that I was sporting. My Yak Trax's worked great today on the icy snowy roads. However, as the snow began to pile up on the roads, they also piled up on my shoes. I kept having to shuffle and scrape them off so that I didn't have 3 inches of packed snow on the bottom of my feet. Cement shoes are not a fashion accessory I planned on while running.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crazy little thing called running

It was a warm (30's!) early morning as the sun began to make its appearance against the horizon. The pinks and purple hues indicated that it was gonna be one of those amazing days. All was quiet. Not even the birds were singing but it made it all the more peaceful and serene. All I could hear were the rhythmic sounds of my feet hitting the ground and my breathing. Exhaling on the left, inhaling on the right. No music ringing in my ears this morning. Just the sounds of my own body making music with the beat of the earth as it awakens for the excitement of a new day. Is there really a better way to start the day off?
Even though was snowing (and snowing hard) and I was just about soaked from head to toe, I could almost imagine being on a beach somewhere. Except for the slight temperature change, it is similar in a lot of ways. Running in a couple of inches of freshly fallen wet snow is like running on sand; there's resistance. You can't get lazy or you'll end up tripping over your feet. Sure, there are places that are more packed down and easier to run on, just like at the beach- closer to the water, but where's the fun in that? It's soft and forces you to concentrate on your form. I also love the footprints. You get to make them in the sand and snow. I love to be the first one to make the footprints but I also love seeing others prints. It's fun to realize that I'm not the only one out in the weather. There are other crazies out there. It's part of that running community camaraderie. Even though we don't see each other, there are evidences that we were there.
I love the ocean. There is just something about it that calls to me. I haven't been there for a couple of years and it's beckoning to me. When we last left the ocean, I watched it in the rearview mirror until I couldn't see it anymore. Sappy as it was, there were tears. But this morning as I was finishing my run, I thought about the beach and visualized that water crashing on the shores. I could almost smell that salty, fishy air and hear those waves. And yet, with that wet lovely snow falling on my face in the morning dawn, I was grateful to be where I was at that moment. And I would have missed it all if it wasn't for that crazy little thing called running.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm loving this cold weather running stuff

If I drank alcohol, I'd be raising a very big glass to celebrate the last year! But I guess my glass of diet coke will have to do! It's been an amazing year and I can't believe it's really over. Here's a few of the highlights of last year:
*the Wasatch Back- definitely the funnest race I've ever done. I was also blessed to share that experience in close quarters with 5 other women that I admire and love!
*the Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon- a new PR of 2:00! A great memory shared with Heather and a couple of pairs of wild knee high socks!
*training for the marathon down and up canyons, on country roads, trading stories all along the way with Heather.
*the St. George Marathon- an unpredictable disappointment that will be one of those stepping stones to a great marathon in the future.
*the Turkey trot with my sweet little Abby.
*the Santa Run with Heather and Jodi.
* 962 miles this year! Not bad for running 3 times a week and the first couple of months were pretty pathetic!
*Da ta da da.......I am still running! I have NEVER made it through a year without having to take serious time (months and months) off for an injury or being pregnant or having a new baby. Running in the winter is a whole new experience for me, one I am loving! No starting from scratch again!
*AND if that wasn't enough... I had a birthday and advanced in my age category! Yeah! Now I'm the youngest one in my age group instead of the oldest. I need any little reason to be excited about being older! I'm just one step closer to being able to qualify for Boston! Only 30 more years to go!

As for running in the winter... it has seemed more like January than December. We had record breaking cold temperatures that made it less than comfortable to go outside. However, the treadmill is only good for a certain number of miles (anything less than 6 seems to be my limit) and so out into the cold I went. I've quickly discovered that my outfits need to be layered according to how cold it is. But I'd much rather run in the cold than the heat! I even have 2 different pairs of mittens depending on the temperature. I ran 9 miles in 9 degree weather a couple of weeks ago and by around mile 6 I started to get really cold. I was planning on a longer run but when I discovered that I couldn't talk properly because my face was numb and my fingers were beyond cold, I cut it short and headed home. I got the second pair of mittens that same day. I've been really spoiled with some new running clothing; under armor, a couple of vests, a jacket, and new shoes. I also got some YakTraxs for running on the snow and ice. I've only used them twice, but both times I was so glad I had them on. Now my only question is what to do about my cold nose? Maybe if I knitted I'd come up with something. Maybe a Rudolf looking nose thingy. All I know is that my nose is the only part of me that complains the whole time. So all you cold weather runners out there, what's the solution?
I've been able to keep up my long runs on the weekends. They vary between 9 miles and 13 miles. Though I don't think I've made any gains over the last couple of months, but I don't feel like I've lost anything either. I've been going to a spinning class every Friday and either lifting or doing my video twice a week as well. It's been good for me to have a little cross training mixed in there. Hopefully it will help me stay healthy this year as well.
Oh, and lastly... the snow and cold weather do make for some great sunrises. And I love seeing everything covered in fresh snow. It's simply beautiful. And for your enjoyment... we had some crazy, wet, cold fog a couple of weeks ago that turned our hair and eyelashes into crystalized works of art. Pretty cool, huh!