Monday, February 28, 2011

See What I Would Have Missed...

Friday night we got a whole lot of snow. We were out for ice cream with some friends and in the 3 hours we spent in the restaurant, it snowed about a foot. It was beautiful, but I was so bummed inside because I knew that I had a 14-16 miler the next morning. Ever since we got that little taste of spring I haven't enjoyed winter much anymore. It's almost like a second winter and it's been a little depressing. I love running in the winter. I like it so much better than the summer. I just do better in the cold than in the heat. But I was so looking forward to shedding my feet of shoes and now I'm stuck back in them. I kept reminding myself that it is still February and it should be expected to snow around here for at least another month.
Anyhow... when I woke up Saturday morning the plows hadn't been around yet and I didn't feel like slushing through a foot of snow to avoid cars so I mentally prepared myself for the treadmill. I grabbed my water and did 8 miles without too much effort and prepared to do the rest when I got a phone call. I had to jump off and when I came up the stairs I was greeted with a totally different scene outside. It was a sunny day. The plows had come by and the roads were clear and even beginning to melt. I quickly changed into long pants, threw on a jacket and hat and headed out. I'm so glad that I did.

In the sun the roads were steaming. It was a cool sight to see the steam swirl on the road ahead of me in the slight breeze. It was almost mystical looking. Almost like a dance. While I couldn't get a picture of that, I did try to capture the beauty of the morning.

This is the lane that leads to some killer hills. I need to start doing those again.

I love this little stretch of road. And I can't wait for spring and summer for this road. It's beautifully smooth asphalt. It will be a great barefoot running road. Plus it's got a little stream that runs along the edge.

These are my mountains. I live at the foot of them and love to see them from far away. I love picking out places that I've hiked to and remembering good times from the past.

Towards the end of this run, I felt tired. I think it was because I woke up later than normal and since I didn't fuel during the run it was about noon before I finished. I saw a couple of bald eagles swooping in the sky at the end of my run. I was watching them and realized that I was wandering out in the road. I quickly got on the sidewalk and realized that I was a little delirious. I have decided it's time for me to start trying things to fuel with during long runs. I've been lucky up until now that I haven't really needed anything but water. I haven't had good success with fueling in the past. Everything seems to upset my stomach. I just hate GU's. I have trouble chewing up beans with the same stomach issues. I've tried raisins but even they've upset me. I've never tried chomps, so I think I'll try that next Saturday. Anyone else have any suggestions? I wonder if it's the sugar or sweetness that I can't do well. This is one thing I need to get figured out before the marathon.

I gave myself a snow bath afterwards. I used my phone and called inside for someone to make me some hot chocolate. My husband came out as cars were driving by and looking at me as though I was weird. He said, "You really have no shame do you?" I guess I don't. It was a beautiful day and a good run. And to think I would have missed it all if I hadn't gotten that phone call.

Monday: 8 mile run outside in gorilla feet
Tuesday: full body weights, 60 minute spin class
Wednesday: 8 mile run outside in Evo's
Thursday: 4 mile run outside in Evo's
Friday: 5 mile barefoot run on treadmill, full body weights
Saturday: 16 mile run in Evo's (8 on treadmill, 8 on roads)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Books, Books, and more Books

I've haven't been a big reader for a number of years. I like to read. It just takes time and I get really disappointed if the book turns out to be a dud. I just don't have time to waste on that. I could be eating, running, watching a movie, or even cleaning my house (gasp) during that time. Combine that with becoming a mom 16 1/2 years ago, and my book repertoire has been concentrated in the children's section. Now don't get me wrong... I love "Suddenly Alligator", "The Giving Tree", "I Love You This Much" and "Go, Dog Go" but I have had a returning longing for a little grown up reading. I made a resolution last year to read at least one book a month. I got a list of suggestions from my cousin who works in a library so I wouldn't be wasting my time. And I loved every single book that I read. Yes, most of them were young adult fiction, but they were still books! I even branched out on my own and found a few keepers all by myself.
Even before this year of reading, I have managed to find time in the past years to read some running books. However, I have found that many of them are like a "how to" book that isn't super fun to read. I need to be entertained. It's sad commentary on myself but so true. And many of them I was just slogging through. I bought "Chi Running" back in 2008 and got stuck with all the spiritual mumbo jumbo and never finished it. I did gain knowledge from it though about running form and still think about aspects of it to this day. I bought "Brain Training for Runners" and got stuck with some of the physiological break downs and never finished it. I think I really need that one and may pick it back up.

I also read "Performance Nutrition for Runners". That was a really worthwhile book and while I don't follow every principal it contained so much useful information from supplements to special diets. It's one I would recommend and will mail to anyone who wants to borrow it. But none of these were entertaining books.

Then last year I read "Born to Run". While it was an extremely informative book, it was a novel. A story. And a really entertaining one at that. I couldn't put it down. I will admit to taking it on a date once to the raised eyebrows of my husband. It was only for the car ride there. I put it away after that. But it seems that since that time I have read some really informative, yet thrilling books on runners. And I think that's the difference. It's about the people. People doing incredible, unimaginable, seemingly impossible things. And I like that. It's inspiring. It makes me wonder what is possible.

So here's a few of the books that I've read that I think you all would really like. And you may have already read them. Tell me if you have and what you thought about them.

While this is a "how to" book, it is extremely interesting. I wish I had found this book when I first started thinking about barefoot running. It takes the reader from "the why" behind barefoot running, to drills that prepare your feet and awaken those unused muscles. It then has a beginner, intermediate, and advanced barefoot runner sections. It also has a great section on minimalist footwear and what to look for. It has concepts, issues, and activities for getting you on the right road to barefoot running without injury. And at the end it has his incredible story of running the Hallucination 100 mile race. Those races enthrall my mind and spirit because they seem so impossible. I love stories about people doing incredible things. I have to remind myself though that once I thought a marathon was impossible. That gives me great hope that possibly someday I might be able to do something like that. Totally inspiring!

"Barefoot Running" by Michael Sandler.
Michael starts his book by telling while training for a 4000 mile coast to coast skate to help children with learning disabilities, he is in an accident that leaves him with a titanium hip and femur. He was told he'd never run again and be lucky to walk. He was lucky to be alive. But he went from crutching, to walking, and then through barefoot running was able to run again. He typically run 10-20 miles a day now. His book is more in depth and offers a slightly different view on barefoot running technique. He also has drills and exercises and talks about nutrition. But he talks about landing on the forefoot which I found caused extra stress to my calves and achilles. Jason talks about landing midfoot with your heel lightly touching the ground the same time as your toes. He also is very specific when it comes your your arms and I found that when I concentrated on the specific angles, that I couldn't relax, which has been the single most important thing that has helped me with my running. Michael overcomes great obstacles including not having an ACL and 10 knee operations. His story is truly inspiring.
"Ultra Marathon Man" by Dean Karnaz.
You simply can not read this story without being amazed and inspired and even a little bit teary. It is the story of how Dean got started in running and eventually in ultra marathons. He describes himself as an ordinary man, but soon into the story (and it is a great story) you realize that his will to do the extraordinary is amazing. It follows his Junior High career, the loss of his little sister, his 15 year break from running and climbing the corporate ladder, and his eventual return to running. The story follows his first ultra, his DNF through Death Valley's Badwater 135 mile race, and his conquering everything in his path. It follows him through a 199 mile relay race as a team of one. Everything about this book is thrilling and inspiring. But what I really love about Dean is his down to earth manner, how humble he is, and what a great dad and husband he seems to be. But the more you get to know about ultra endurance athletes, I think this is a common characteristic.

"50/50" by Dean Karnaz.
A follow up book that gives the mere mortal Dean's lesson he learned while running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. Another example of his giving nature to share his secrets with the rest of the world. I read this through the first time as a pleasurable experience, enjoying each race across the U.S. I loved the people he met and the hardships that he overcame. I am now reading it again, highlighting all the tips. The biggest thing that jumped out at me was a cure for nausea while running. He suggests ginger. Either candied or just straight up ginger. Why didn't I think of this before? It's supposed to help with morning sickness while pregnant. But I didn't think about that connection. This is something I will be carrying with me and trying. I loved every minute of this book.
"Into Thin Air" by John Krakauer
While this is not a running book it is certainly about people doing extraordinary things. It is about a tragic climb to Mount Everest. If you think runner's are crazy... we've got nothing on these idiots. Even after reading it and "experiencing" the summit (for 5 minutes before going back down), I don't get it. It seems like a cold torture that last a couple of weeks and maybe months. But the will to survive and do something that seems impossible is gripping and exciting to read about.

What have you read lately that you can recommend?
I just started "The Running Life" by Donald Buraglio and Michael Dove. I will let you know how that one is when I'm done!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Long Run = DNF

For the first time ever I quit a long run. And as disappointed as I was, I think it was the right thing to do. I had a nice head cold, didn't dress appropriately for the weather, and just plain didn't feel good. I set out hoping for a 12-14 miler. But after the sun disappeared and the cold rain and wind started up, not wearing a hat or gloves or socks took it's toll. I stopped at one point to decided whether I should tough it out and found that I couldn't move my forehead or mouth very well. I also was feeling slightly dizzy. I decided to call it quits. I called my mother in law and she drove out and got me. I sat in the warm tub for a long time sulking. When you feel crappy, it's hard to imagine feeling good. It's hard to remember why I think I can do these things. And it's easier to understand why people quit. I don't like to think of myself as a quitter, which is why it was hard to stop running even though it was hard. I like to think that I am able to push through pain. But on that day, I just didn't feel like punishing my body.
Monday I set out feeling much better and did 8 miles like it was nothing. I know that the mind has a lot of control over the body. But sometimes, listening to what the body is trying to tell us isn't always a bad thing. At least in a training run, right? Hopefully this week turns out much better.

I should wear a hat just to cover up those scrawny bangs. But boy, it was a gorgeous morning.

Now I'll leave you with two of my favorite dishes.

Leftover salmon with orzo pasta, broccoli, Italian dressing, and tomatoes. Seriously, I could eat this every day.

Eggs, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, and wheat tortillas. YUM!

How do you handle bad running days?

What is a favorite thing that you are eating lately?

Monday: 5.5 mile run outside in socks, .5 miles barefoot
Tuesday: 5.5 mile run outside in socks, full body weights, 60 spin class
Wednesday: 5 mile run outside (.5 barefoot the rest in gorilla feet)
Thursday: full body weights, 60 spin class
Friday: 4.5 mile run outside in gorilla feet
Saturday: 9 mile run outside in gorilla feet

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's a Heat Wave!

With temperatures "soaring" at 50 degrees on Monday afternoon, I had been planning all day to do a very short barefoot run. I had already done a 5.5 miler in the morning in my socks but want to start the toughening up process of my feet again. I was giddy. Unfortunately, I ended up taking daughter #2 to the doctor to cast a broken finger after school and then dance car pools started and then dinner and the sun going down was fast approaching. However, I was able to go 1/2 mile in my bare feet and it was awesome. It felt good to feel the asphalt beneath my feet. It even felt good to do feel the rocks under my feet. I went until my feet felt a little raw and then stopped. I wanted to go more, but spring is coming, right? I inspected my feet when I got home and they were no worse for the wear. And by the end of the night they felt back to normal. I kind of wished I had gone farther.

And yes, I did run in my jeans. And no, they're not pajama jeans. I just figured it was going to be short so why change!

Apparently I can't smile very well.
This morning was 45 degrees. I think that 45 degrees morning is different than 45 degrees afternoon when the street has seen the sun for the better part of the day. I barefooted it for another 1/2 mile and finished out the rest of the 5 in my gorilla feet. I think I would have made it farther if it had been a little warmer. I am glad to say that I have no more top of the foot pain. I focussed on easy and light and things went well. I passed my neighbor when I was first starting out as she was taking her son to school. The look she gave me was good. There's nothing like a jaw hanging open and for me to smile and wave in return. You'd think I'd been carrying a bloody animal or something other than just my shoes. I'm sure I'll hear about that later.
Which has gotten me thinking about what I'm going to tell people when they ask me why I'm going barefoot. And maybe some of you are wondering the same thing. I need to remind myself sometimes. I plan on answering that in greater detail in coming posts.
Snow is forecasted for tomorrow. I'm glad for the little reprieve though and it makes me excited for spring.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Top of Foot Pain, Speed Work, and my Real Reason to Run

Do you ever feel like you're torn between two different ways of thinking and you just end up trying to mesh the two together? It doesn't always work very well. It's not like peanut butter and chocolate which are separately good BUT together are even better. I have been back and forth this last week over two schools of thought. One is running for enjoyment, being able to feel relaxed, and easy and light. The other is working on increasing my speed through speed and tempo workouts. I am conflicted in how I want to approach this upcoming marathon. With the training officially started, I've gotten pumped and excited to be on a journey to another finish line. I'm convinced this one will have a much different ending, a good one. One that I can feel some sense of satisfaction and achievement. And I thought I knew how to get there. I had decided to just try and be relaxed and enjoy myself and see what happened. No time goals. Just finish and feel decent.
But then I start reading. I've been so inspired by all of the bloggers out there who are challenging themselves and reaching for new heights. Whether it's in running 3 miles for the first time, completing a hard speed workout, qualifying for Boston or training for their first ultra, it seems everyone is reaching higher. I think that's natural for runners. We're not content with the status quo. We want more. We want to be better than we previously were. I truly believe, and more so each day, that there really aren't limits to what this amazing human body can do.
With that being said, there are some limits to what my body can do without being injured. It's part of running smart so that I can run for a lifetime. And I ignored what I have learned time and time again through bitter heartache. I ran through pain. Thankfully, I'm learning a bit faster and no permanent damage was done. But it was a wake up call to me- again. Two weeks ago I ran my first speed workout in about a year. It felt great. I didn't really know how fast I could go or how long I could sustain it. I did mile repeats and it felt great. However, the next day I noticed some pain in the top of my foot. It wasn't bad though. It ached through my tempo workout on Thursday and some during my 16 miler. Last Tuesday during my next speed workout, it hurt. I had done 2 x 800 meter repeats when I finally listened to my body, kicked off my gorilla feet and just slowed it down and finished out the miles barefoot at an easy pace. But it ached all the rest of the day and through the night. I didn't do anything Wed. In fact, I was a bit scared and slightly bummed that I had been so careless. A stress fracture is the last thing I need. But by Thursday it felt much better. I ran in place cautiously and decided it was good. So I put on my socks and went outside and took it easy. Friday I felt good. So like an idiot, I looked at the training program again and decided to try my scheduled tempo workout. I ran in my socks on the treadmill in case it started hurting, but it was much better. And I nailed that tempo workout. It felt good to hold a pace that was hard. Friday night the foot pain was there. Not bad, but there. Now I never said I was the brightest in the bunch so you can see why I still did my long run on Saturday. And I took my Garmin for the first time since last June. I had looked at the training program and saw the pace and wanted to see if I could do it. My route was not easy. It consisted of 7 x 1.15 miles of uphills and the same downhills. I was focussed on my speed, my arms pumping to the back, and my feet landing properly. I was able to maintain a good pace but it wasn't super easy. During the 5th downhill the top of my foot hurt. I stopped immediately and walked. I started up again slowly and it was o.k. By the 6th uphill portion I was fading. My body felt like it was on a long run. My shoulders, calves, hamstrings, and butt felt tired. I was having to talk myself into finishing strong. But when I got to the last uphill portion something clicked in my brain. I started remembering how good I had felt on a couple of previous long runs. These were runs that I wasn't focussed on speed, where I was concentrating on relaxing everything. These were super enjoyable runs where my body didn't feel tired. Running was fun. So I told myself to stop worrying about speed for this last uphill. I relaxed everything. I tried to pretend I was barefoot. I enjoyed the sun that was out and shining. I tried to smell what was around me- the dirt and almost spring smell that was in the air. Even my breathing relaxed and suddenly everything was better. Just for fun I glanced at my watch and my pace was exactly the same as it had been before.
I really thought about it yesterday. I talked with my good friend, Heather. I have come to the conclusion that I have gotten away from what I originally set out to do. It's not that I don't enjoy challenging my body. Because I do. I liked seeing those numbers. But I am injury prone. I am tired of starting over because I have to take months off. I am learning to run a different way. It's not about speed. It's about enjoying the run. It's about relaxing my body so that I don't injure it. It's about being able to run for the rest of my life. This may not be my fastest marathon. And I will be o.k. with that. I'm not running with my watch anymore. I'm going to run according to how I feel. The speed will come. I know it will. I keep forgetting what I loved about the book Born to Run. Start with easy. Then make it light. Practice making it smooth and by the time you master those, you won't have to worry about speed because it will already be there. That is my new master plan.

Monday: 5 mile run outside in Evo's
Tuesday: 5 mile run on treadmill (3 miles in gorilla feet, 2 miles barefoot), full body weights, cycling class
Thursday: 5 mile run outside(4 miles in socks, 1 mile in gorilla feet), cycling class
Friday: 7 mile run in socks on treadmill, full body weights
Saturday: 15 mile run outside in Evo's

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Barefoot Running Shirt=Very Cool

Krista at Running Naked on Sharp Pointy Stuff is an awesome graphic designer. She is also a barefoot runner. She designed these awesome t-shirts and I knew when I didn't win one that I still had to have one. I got the bamboo kind and I want to wear it non stop. It is so comfy. It is soft and I can already tell it's going to be one of my favorite shirts. Now if they just came in red. I've already put in my request for that!

Ignore the bad picture and focus on the awesome shirt.
I will tell you the only problem that I see wearing this shirt. I feel like to be true to the shirt that I have to be completely barefoot while wearing it. No minimal shoes... no gorilla feet. So until spring comes, I'll be wearing it on my treadmill and to cycling classes. No, I don't cycle barefoot. It's just there's no choice there. Now, if only it could be my marathon shirt. Big sigh. I wish. Thanks, Krista! I can't wait for your future designs. You are so talented!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The winter trail run that tried to kill me.

Despite some crazy swings in temperatures this week, I was able to make the best of it. We had -3 degrees on Tuesday with a howling wind and then Saturday was a balmy 35 degrees and mostly sunny. It was beautiful. I was on the treadmill for the first 3 days. I had planned on Monday and Wednesday for my speed and tempo workouts, but Tuesday's wind made it an easy decision. However, I was really itching to be outside and Thursday and Friday's run were great.
Saturday turned out to be an adventure slash near death experience. I had a long run on tap and Heather was going to run part of it with me. I ran almost 5 before we met up and then we decided to run the trail that I love that's close to our home. I had run it on Christmas Day and it was o.k. and we both just thought it would be fun. We got up there and there was quite a bit more snow than I had anticipated. But we decided to just to go for it.

This is our scared face. Don't make fun.
I had not taken into account the fact that it is a northern facing slope and doesn't see the sun. So while the other side of the mountain has little snow, this side was pretty bad. But with the recent cold temperatures and deer tracks, it was packed down slightly and wasn't too bad. We were both wearing our gorilla gloves (VFF's) and they have zero traction. (I got the o.k. to get some VFF's for trail running. Yeah!) We were sliding around quite a bit. I didn't wear socks and the snow falling in wasn't bad but wasn't great either. I had frozen toes by the end.

We encountered a big fallen down tree that we ended up climbing over and then came upon the various ice falls. There's water that runs year round and with the freezing temperatures, it froze on the trail. The ice on the trail was tricky, but we either went up and around, down and around, or once I just skated gracefully right across the top. It was kind of fun.

Then we came upon this. I saw it and knew we were in trouble. Heather saw it and get out a big, "OH NO!" Shale cliff up above. Shale drop off below ending in the icy river. No snow for traction and though the picture doesn't show it, the ice was not flat, it was rounded on top the whole way across. It was about 8-10 feet until the trail was decent again. We really didn't want to turn back. We tried going above, but kept sliding back down on the shale rock to the trail. It was one of those impossible moments.

I finally decided to just see how far I could get. I held on to a strong icicle to get me to the tree branch and then had to free hand it on the ice for two steps to reach the trail on the other side. It was one of the most nerve racking things I've ever done. Heather crossed in my path. I found a stick for her to hold on to on the last bit (really it wouldn't have done anything...) and once she was safely across we gave each other a quick hug and finished up. That will get the heart rate going.

We laughed about it once we were down and we'll chock it up to another crazy adventure. Hopefully her husband will still let her do things with me. We cruised home so that she could make it to her son's basketball game.

I still had a few more miles to put in so I decided to try and run back up the canyon to get my car at the trail head. (I stopped to take a picture of the ice fall we went over. Nice drop down, huh? Closer view down below. Wonder if anyone saw us from the highway.) 4.5 miles with an altitude gain of 754 feet. I was at 14.5 miles by then but still felt good. So I parked a little ways from home and ran another 2 miles. I knew that I was going to feel this run. But I was glad.
Sidenote: This was the longest run I've done with the gorilla feet. They worked good. I get a blister when I wear them without socks on the inside of my foot but I stuck a band aid there before the run and didn't have any issues. My feet did feel bruised from all the rocks though.

The Saturday's adventure didn't stop there. After I showered, my husband asked me if I wanted to go on a hike with him on the mountain behind our house to see some old childhood spots where he played. I will never pass up a chance to do that. So even though I knew my body was going to pay for it, I pulled my hair back and after I ate a huge lunch and drank about a gallon of water, we set out.

It was beautiful!

The views were great. It was like a mini date and we worked really hard. We were not on trails very much of the time and it seemed like we were going straight up. Another elevation climb of 900 feet. It was mostly rocks. We hiked for about 2 hours and I think we only covered about 4 miles. By the time we were almost home, I was ravenous. I was rewarded with Texas Roadhouse ribs and it was an awesome day. My hamstrings are sore. And I think that Monday's speedwork will be pushed to Tuesday, but it was all worth it.

What was your weekend like?
Do you ever get yourself in sticky situations?
Have a near death experience that you want to share?

Monday: 6.5 mile speed work out in Evo's, full body weights
Tuesday: 4.5 mile run on treadmill (3 miles barefoot, 1.5 in socks)
Wednesday: 6 mile tempo run in Evo's, full body weights
Thursday: 4.5 mile run in Evo's, cycling class
Friday: 4 mile run in gorilla feet
Saturday: 16.5 mile run in gorilla feet (3 miles trail), 4 mile trail hike

Friday, February 4, 2011

Go to your Happy Place

What do you use for inspiration at the end of a marathon or a long hard run? Do you have a special place that you "go to"? During my last marathon, the last 8 miles were torture. I had already thrown up, was having calf cramps and felt like I couldn't go another step. It was not my finest physical or mental moment. My sweet running partner, Heather, was trying to help me by telling me to "go to my happy place". In my depleted mental state I could not think of one single happy place that would help me forget the agony that I felt I was wading through. What a sad commentary on my brain. I have had lots of happy moments in my life, but in that exact moment in time, not one of them would surface. Since that day I have been tucking away in my mind moments and places in time that I can go to. When they happen, I pause and take deep breaths and try to freeze that moment and everything about it, from the way the air smells to what temperature the air is and how it feels on my skin, who I am with, and what physically is making me have those happy feelings. Then I try to take a mental picture and hold it there for as long as I can. I plan on forcing my brain to take over my body this next marathon. And the only way I can think of to do it is to practice. Just like my body needs to train to finish strong, I need to train my brain to be able to finish just as well.
Here's a few of my most recent happy places that I plan to go to when I need a little inspiration.

In October we took a four wheeling trip to the top of a mountain as a date night with Heather and her husband Rob. It was the end of the fall season and the leaves were beautiful. Everything about that night was beautiful.

If I concentrate I can remember the chill of the air, the smell of dirt and pine, and hear the four wheelers humming along. I can remember holding on tight as we sped up the mountain and then me taking the controls and having my husband wrap his arms around my waist as we ascended to the crest of the mountain top.

I can see the views from the top all around us. It was magnificent. I can see the single track trail that went from the top along the ridge to the next mountain range and promising myself that I'd be back someday to run it.

We watched the sun set and then headed down to a campground that we had spotted on the way up to have a campfire hobo dinner.

The thing I will never forget was the night sky. The stars were brilliant. You could clearly see the Milky Way. Heather and I squatted on the side of the mountain before we headed down to take a potty break and overlooked the city lights below and the stars above. It was the prettiest place I've ever squatted before. The ride down was just as great. That will be a happy moment for me as long as I live.

The next happy place happened during September when we took a trip to California. After being in the car for 13 hours, pulling up to the beach and stretching our legs and putting our feet on the sand was heaven.

As we walked towards our dinner (Ruby's diner on Huntington Beach) I hung back for a few paces and watched my family head into the sunset walking barefoot on the beach. It was almost magical. Especially for a Utahn like me. I love the ocean. I love the beach. It speaks to my soul and makes me happy. Being with the people I love the most only enhanced the feeling. I drank it in deeply.

One of my favorite parts was watching the girls chase the waves. It was such freedom compared to the car ride there. I have a 50 second video that I watch over and over to hear their squeals of delight and I can hear the waves. I can feel the sun on me and taste the salty air. That whole trip was a happy place.
I plan on posting more of my happy places and moments to help me solidify those feelings so that in the moments when I need them the most, they'll be there, ready to go. I'm already starting to implement them into my training. During my speed work on Monday, I focussed on the four wheeling trip and it brought a smile to my face even during that last mile.

What do you do in those moments of weakness?
Do you go to a happy place or stay present in the moment?
Do you think visualization is a good running tool?
Do you use a mantra? What do you find works the best for you?
The mantra that seems to work the best for me is "soft, relaxed, smooth, fast, strong." I repeat it over and over and miles seem to pass without me knowing it.