Day 27 of NaBloPoMo: Daily Writing is Coming to an End!

I have a hard believing that I have been posting almost every night for twenty-seven days for NaBloPoMo (I admit I have missed two, or possibly three).  This is the most frequent posting I have ever attempted, and it really hasn’t been easy.  Getting the time in each day has been a challenge, and usually, I end up in front of my computer, late at night, trying to hit the “Publish” button before the clock turns over to twelve o’clock am on the following day.  And I succeed… about half of the time, the rest are posted a few minutes late.

To my fellow NaBloPoMo-ers, how do you work this event into your day?

Admittedly, I am starting to enjoy the frequency and find it a nice way to wrap up my day.  Sort out all the thoughts and happenings and how I want to think about things is the main point of repeatedly sitting in front of this computer.  I have finally decided that an earlier attempt during the day can be very beneficial.  (and I have yet to start that practice).

Overall, posting this often is like learning to drive a car.  You do not just go out for one lesson at two o’clock pm during the daylight and then finish all other lessons at nine o’clock pm in the dark.  Your attention span, observational skills, and sight will all be impaired just a little due to how tired you are.  As are my blog posts; they’re short, not as well-written, and rushed to meet the deadline.  After this month is done, I know I will need to focus on a plan for blogging at a rate (and time of day) more reasonable for my lifestyle.

I’ll leave you with a running quote that so applies to this subject:

to all, have a good night, and happy running!
~Alaina

It’s Official!

On Monday, I checked my email in-box, and my heart jumped when I read the subject line of an email from my Grampa: “Fwd: St. George Marathon Lotto Results” … The results were in… I didn’t know if I was ready to know whether or not we were chosen, but I had to open the email.

“WooHoo!!!” read the first line.  I knew what that meant.  🙂

We’re in.  I’m excited!  (and maybe just a little nervous)

On October 5th, 2013, I will be running the St. George Marathon with my Grandpa and 7,498 other runners.  My first marathon, and a chance for Grampa to BQ.

I am incredibly lucky for a couple reasons:
1.  I get to run the St. George Marathon! (I was chosen in the lottery and I am healthy enough to train and complete the run)
2. I have the great privilege of running with my Grampa!!!

How many thirty-something girls get to say that!?!

A big shout-out to Grampa and to Mom – Thank You both for being such inspiring athletes.
I hope to keep moving and meeting my goals as you have done throughout your years.

I’m one lucky girl.

And finally, words of wisdom to keep the head level, heart in-tune, and the mind in the joy of the present:

IMG_3394
(Quote from The Zen of Running). Love it! Thank you!

always lovin’ life.
~Alaina

A Reason to Run

“It’s important to remember that each footstrike carries you forward, not backward. And every time you put on your running shoes you are different in some way than you were the day before.”

– John “The Penguin” Bingham, Author and Runner

I recently joined a mass of runners for an group run organized by Portland Running Company (PRC). It was an event I had been looking forward to for three weeks, ever since the email announcement landed in my inbox. A run from their SE store to Peacock Lane for holiday light viewing, returning to the store for hot cocoa and shoe shopping.  What could be more enticing?  I found myself extremely motivated at work, efficiently completing my tasks for the day to leave work on time to get to this event.  I had asked a few friends if they wanted to join me, but in the end made the trek to PRC solo.

When I arrived, the store was packed! I had never seen so many people gathered for a fun, friendly, short, easy group run.  I was ecstatic!  Walking through the door to donate the jackets I brought with me, I was giggling with excitement.  So many people in bright running clothes, fluorescent yellows and reflective stripes, beanies and headlamps, and flashing lights being passed out to clip on to clothing for added safety.  I was surrounded by my people!  Or rather, like-minded persons who appreciate running, safety, and camaraderie.  The anticipation was almost as high as pre-race giddiness, but we were all there for fun without the time chip and anxiety of competition.

Halfway to Peacock Lane I found myself in conversation with another runner, and it made the experience even more enjoyable to share the joy of the lights (as my new friend had never been to Peacock Lane, and I had not visited since my childhood). The run was four miles, which we swore could not have been more than 3 because it was so easy and so much fun.

Holiday House
One of the many homes decked out for the season on Peacock Lane.

Post run, I decided to take advantage of the offered discount for jacket donation, and found myself purchasing a pair of Saucony Kinvara 3, in a brilliant colorway.  I have been running in my Vibram shoes for most of the year (the Komodosport LS or the KSO), and the past few times I have noticed how uncomfortably cold my toes are at the beginning of my run.  I do not wear socks with my barefoot shoes, so the chill of the concrete (most of my runs take place on the sidewalk) seeps right through.  On the Peacock Lane run, I found my feet were cold, and toes were numb, for the first two miles.  Eventually, my toes and feet were warm again, but then quickly the run was over.  For the winter, I have decided some insulation between my foot and the ground may be beneficial, and as I add miles to my training program, switching between barefoot running and running in a moderately minimal shoe sounds appealing.  I took them out for a jaunt this weekend.

Admittedly, after barefoot running, wearing a “real” running shoe feels very different.  I was able to try on several pair of shoes at Portland Running Company, and this Saucony Kinvara felt most light and natural on my foot.  The footbed is accommodating, but not overly wide. There is some midline arch support, but it is not too noticeable as I wear them.  The most surprising part of the shoe I am aware of while running is the heel cup and the top heel edge.  The back of the shoe is taller than the Vibram shoe, and much more structured, therefore I was able to feel it against the back of my achilles.  Overall, I really like these shoes.  Perhaps they are not as minimal as I would like (any suggestions for a real racing flat?), but the Saucony keeps my foot much warmer, ending the search for a shoe to keep my toes from going numb from cold.

And look at them. They are so cool!

New Kicks: Saucony
New Kicks: Saucony Kinvara 3

I have long been looking for a way to become ready for running and train more seriously. I now realize that you can’t “look for a way” to become ready.  It happens. Running is something you simply do, and when you are finally making time for the activity and it is a normal routine to put the shoes on and pound some pavement, that is when you can really begin training.

Last week, I ran four times, logging 15 miles.  I know this is a pretty minimal amount of mileage for a runner, but for me, this is the beginning of a great change.  A great challenge.  I want to run a marathon next year, and I intend to set goals (a.k.a. shorter races along the way), a training schedule, and keep a log to help myself reach this goal.  My grandpa was kind enough to give me a couple of well-loved, and highly recommended books for training purposes:

Tools of the trade.
Tools of the trade.

To start the year of 2013 on the right foot, I am signed up for Portland’s First Run 2013, a 5K at midnight on the 31st. I am hopeful that a couple of friends may join me (wink, wink to all you running buddies out there) to bring in the New Year at a trot, but if not, I am sure I will make new friends out on the course.

Wishing you all joy in running!
~Alaina

Fitness Quest Part 1 (2 for 20 for 22) Complete!

I did it.  I’m done…

For the first time in my life, I can proudly state that I have started a fitness program, of my own design, for myself, and met my goal.  For no other reason than wanting to do something good for myself, which, I have to admit is a pretty darned good reason.  In my recent past, I have signed up with trainers, signed myself up for races and relays, yet never have I been so committed to training or working out as I have been these past 22 days.  Something within me has switched.

Of course, my goal was certainly designed with S.M.A.R.T. criteria, not intentionally, but I wanted to be able to finish this first step and get myself back on track, running with some real, quantifiable frequency.  It was a Specific, simple goal: 2 miles, everyday, Measured easily by completion.  Certainly for me, this goal of two miles was Attainable, as I have stretched my body to 8, 10, and 13 miles previously.  Running two miles does not tax my mind too much, although the body took some time to become accustomed to the rhythm and motion of running after such a long break.  I knew this was Relevant to my overall fitness intentions, and 22 days gave it a trackable Time frame.  S.M.A.R.T. and complete!

I will now move into “Part 2” of fitness training.  Realistically, I plan to do fewer runs per week, giving my body time to repair between workouts, but I intend to increase mileage.  A wise person suggested adding hills and speed workouts, which I know to be typical training methods for distance runners, and I am considering this type of workout regimen.  Speed has always been grueling trial for me; especially overcoming the mental fatigue associated with self-doubt.  I would like to tackle that hurdle, but I do not know if I’m prepared to face those demons alone just yet.

About a year ago, I was running with a group of friends every Saturday.  They continue to this day, out and backs of 8-12 miles each weekend, and I would love to run with them again, but I’m still afraid of attempting that distance, as I haven’t yet built up my stamina.  My primary goal is to increase my distance to achieve 8 mile runs, so I can run with my companions again.

I have a new goal!  I’ll supplement longer runs with some speed training on the track, and hills, and … yep!  I think I have the base of my next phase mapped.  Now, to decide upon a time-frame…

But first things first!  Tomorrow, Saturday, July 7th, No Run!  After 22 days running, with no rest day, I will take tomorrow, also known as the 23rd day, off (although, I may go to yoga, extra stretching is highly advised for runners who might need help relaxing tight muscles).

Thank you all, for your support and feedback.  I’ll let you know my plan for Phase 2 training, soon!

Happy Running, everybody!

Top of the hill mid-way, run #22. . The view, and Me eyes.  🙂

Two for Twenty for Twenty-two days

Over the last year, exercise has become what I refer to as “the thing I used to do all the time,” and satisfaction in the way my body appears, feels, and moves has become increasingly sub-standard in my own perspective.  I am proud to say, I have finally reached the crux where I can no longer tolerate myself.  I have renewed vigor and determination to simply feel good again.

Therefore, as of Friday, June 15th, I made myself this promise: Two miles.  Everyday.

I will run two miles, run for twenty minutes, every day for twenty-two days.  Just over three weeks.  Basic purpose to establish routine and get my body used to moving again.  So far, day four, and for the fourth day in a row, two miles done today.  My calves are tight, achy, and sore from wearing my Vibram five-fingers, and I am taking Epsom Salt baths far more frequently than I ever could have imagined.  I know I need the good influence of these shoes to assist my body back into proper running form again; a year is a long time to go without running (especially for a girl who calls herself a runner!).

I have called myself a runner for the past 4 years, ever since completing my first half marathon.  I have never entered a race with the idea of beating anyone in particular, or even my own time.  Running, in my adult life, has become leisurely, meditative, and solely to boost my mood and burn off steam.  I love it.

So, two for twenty for twenty-two days.  This promise, I make myself.

And once twenty-two days are complete, only goodness knows where this running will lead me. I am so excited to experience how this small promise changes me!