Thursday, March 31, 2011

Taking a break.

I keep putting all of this pressure on myself to be fast. It is what has made the last few weeks really frustrating for me. I'm not hitting the pace I want, and no matter how good my run is, I get down on myself about it. I'm tired of it.

So, I'm taking a break. Not from running, but from running fast. I'm still going to wear my Garmin and track my runs, but I'm not going to focus on speed. I want to focus on how I feel. Because to me, running is all about feeling good.

I've had a few runs that have been slower than usual, and they have been my most satisfying runs lately. So, I'm going to take a breath, and enjoy-

the pavement.
a conversation.
a sunrise.
a sunset.
a view.
a song.
the burn in my muscles.
the run.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Runner's High

This morning's 12 mile run was easy and encouraging. EASY! It was exactly what I needed. We took it at a slower pace, I enjoyed spending time with a new running buddy, Holly, and I finished my run feeling like I could have doubled my miles. It was the lift I needed after a long, hard, couple of weeks!

There is an article in the Deseret News today by Dan Hill, the co-founder of the Ragnar Relay Series. It left me inspired, so I thought I would share:

"I've felt for years that there is something deeper to the Ragnar Relay experience than what is obvious. It's as though something in the experience awakens a part of us that lies mostly dormant in our modern world. We live a life that is almost completely void of true physical struggle, unless we seek it out.

For our ancestors long nights of physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation and teamwork may not have been uncommon. Maybe our minds, bodies and souls were programmed to enter these joyful peak-states to help us cope with the struggle. Maybe there is even more to it than that.

Whatever the reason, physical, psychological, spiritual or some combination, I'm convinced that it's real and repeatable. I'm grateful that I've discovered it and equally heartbroken that many people never have." -Dan Hill, Co-Founder of the Ragnar Relay Series
There is nothing better than a long run and a runner's high on a Saturday morning.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Running is hard.

Sometimes I forget that running is supposed to be hard. I'm blessed with a very healthy body that is built for this sport, but even I struggle. Since I got back from the Del Sol race, I've had a really hard time. I've been running in the morning a lot. I love it because I get it done and out of the way, plus I get to have the evenings with my family. However, it kicks my butt. I slow down by about a minute/mile- which is A LOT- and I always feel like I just struggle through my run.

It's very frustrating. I want it to be easy.

Then I think of that very cliche quote that is used in reference to our journey on this Earth- "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."

I grew up in a family with parents that set a good example of hard work. My Dad worked day in and day out at a job that was horrid, but he did it to provide for his family that he loved. It was worth it because he helped us to live a happy life. We were taught to work in the garden, pick up after ourselves, and to treat others were kindness and respect (even when we weren't being treated that way). Although I threw many a tantrum at weeding and cleaning bathrooms, it was worth it because it taught me to be responsible.

They taught me that things don't just come easy, and that I have to work at things to make them happen.

I guess what I'm saying is that running is hard. That's what makes it worth it- because I have to work at it. Even though I'm not getting the results I want right now, it doesn't mean that in a month I won't be able to run under a 7 minute pace for my first leg in the Wasatch Back, or that I won't be able to power up Guardsman nonstop.

I'll get there. I'll keep working at it. It will be worth it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


If you are looking for a running blog that is actually inspiring, you should go here and check out the I stumbled across this blog a few weeks ago and I love it. Not only is she funny, but she's also fast. She may be a girl, but she's probably faster than any of you.

She brought up something in her latest post that I was thinking about during my run yesterday. This something is one of my favorite techniques that I can attribute to all of my greatness and glory- THE DANCE/RUN.

You may see it as I run by myself up Center Street (or even more likely down 1200 S). It's when the tunes are cranked, and the arms are going. I try to throw in a few leaps every now and again to help improve my pace. Know where you'll see it the most? On a Ragnar Relay, baby!

The only question is, can I dance/run all the way up Guardsman's 18% grade for 4 miles without stopping???? I guess we'll see in June.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Super Dale 10K

I now know what it feels like to not hit a goal that you set for a race. Maybe it's because I'm getting to the point that it's going to be very difficult to shave those seconds off? Either way, it was a first for me and I had to not let it get me down while I was on the road.

The wind was awful. So you know I'm not exaggerating, there were broken trees at the high school where the start was because of the wind. I was excited, but I told my friends walking in that for some reason I just wasn't feeling very fast today. I was also fighting a stomach ache (Note to self: A gigantic dinner of delicious crepes and sausage links is NOT a good idea the night before a race!) so I was nervous about that.

We started, and within the first two tenths of a mile I knew that I wasn't going to hit my time goal- the wind was so strong that it felt like someone was pushing me backwards. I'm not every strong, or very big, so I was literally getting blown all over the road. The only plus about it was that the other runners were fighting against the same obstacle.

The first 3 miles were the hardest, then we turned and I was able to sail along with a tail wind or a side wind for a couple of miles, and then the last mile was absolutely killer. I knew when I looked down after running for 4 miles and saw that my average was 8:11/mile that I just had to forget about the time and focus on the fact that there were only 3 men in front of me.

I kept steady and pushed through! I was passed by 2 guys at a half mile to go- I just didn't have the strength to push through the wind like they could. I sprinted at the end to try to beat one of them, but I just didn't catch him. However, I was able to achieve my first goal of placing 1st overall in women! There were only 5 men that finished in front of me- I was very excited about that. I finished the race in 50:03.88 (my Garmin said I ran 6.35 miles) and my average pace was 7:53/mile. I was so glad I could finish with an average under 8!

I've been home for a couple of hours now, and I feel completely wiped out- like I ran a half marathon instead of a 10K. It was tough! At least I can say I have a first place under my belt.
Me, Sariah, and Darcy taking shelter in the car after the race. It was so bad people didn't even stick around at the finish- they just bailed. Do we look windblown?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Super Dale Race Goals

Race Tomorrow!

If you've looked at my races, then you have probably noticed that I've been stuck in a second place rut. Boo! I'm determined to break this tomorrow! I am running in a race for Super Dale- a Wasatch High School senior that was paralyzed while wrestling this year. The proceeds for the race go directly to him for his care. It's local, and it's small (under 200 runners), so I think I have a shot at actually bringing home a 1st place ribbon. I also hope to run the 10K in under a 7:30 pace, which will be a new PR for me. Plus, first place gets a FREE TEAM for the Dirty Dash 5K at Soldier Hollow in June.

It's okay for you to start praying for me now :).

For me, a recipe for a successful (read- WINNING) race is a good playlist. Since Darcy injured her ankle she won't be right by my side this time, so I will actually have to rely on myself. Scary!

Here's what is going to take me to victory tomorrow:

"Forget You" by Cee Lo Green
"Love Like Woe" by The Ready Set
"Disturbia" by Rheanna
"Talk You Down" by The Script
"All The Right Moves" by One Republic
"Dog Days Are Over" by Florence and the Machine
"Sing" by The Glee Cast
"Ain't No Rest For the Wicked" by Caged the Elephant
"One, Two Step" by Ciara
"Back to the Earth" by Rusted Root
**"Hey, Soul Sister" by Train

What do you listen to to get your heart pumping and muscles moving? I'm always on the search for a new song!

**For some reason at every race I've run, this song has been the one that has carried me across the finish line. It will forever be on my running playlist.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Run With Each Other

Running is supposed to be for introverts. You spend hours alone with nothing but your thoughts and the sound of your footprints on the pavement to speak back to you. As an extrovert, this is not the reason I run. Although I like the alone time on occasion, I much prefer to run alongside someone. I'm lucky enough to have multiple running partners; we all have different strengths and are able to push and encourage each other through our various road blocks.

As I was reading Born to Run I came across a quote in the book that summed my thoughts up perfectly. McDougall was talking about Scott Jurek- one of the greatest ultra runners of our day. When Scott began running he was the slowest of his friends and always the last to cross the finish line on his track team. After years of perseverance, he has transformed into an animal- winning the Western States 100 for 7 years in a row. He holds multiple titles and continues to blast the competition in races, but that is not the best thing about him, it's his understanding of the sport:
Scott Jurek and Arnulfo Quimare
"The reason we race isn't so much to beat each other, he understood, but to run with each other. Scott learned that before he had a choice, back when he was trailing Dusty and the boys through the Minnesota woods. He was no good and had no reason to believe he ever would be, but the joy he got from running was the joy of adding his power to the pack. Other runners try to disassociate from fatigue by blasting iPods or imagining the roar of the crowd in Olympic Stadium, but Scott had a simpler method: it's easy to get outside yourself when you're thinking about someone else." (Christopher McDougall, Born to Run, page 253)

I had a great run with Darcy yesterday morning and it had nothing to do with pace or distance or difficulty- it was because we were able to lose ourselves in conversation. Acting as each others therapist caused us to forget about our run, and before we knew it, our 5 miles was over before it even felt like it was getting started.

I love the power of the pack and the strength that comes from making yourself a part of a greater whole. The quote above is true in running, and in life, that "it's easy to get outside yourself when you're thinking about someone else."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gazelle Day

I just finished reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall last night. This book was incredible and super informative. (If you are into running, you should for sure check it out). One of my favorite quotes in the book was by Roger Bannister- the first man to ever break the 4 minute mile. He said:

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. it doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle- when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."

This morning I got up at 5:25AM to run. (Let me be clear- I am not a morning person. I'm especially not a morning person the following Monday after Daylight Savings Time begins). As I ran to meet my partner, Darcy, I was thinking about this quote and how I felt more like a gazelle that was going to get eaten than anything else. We did it though, and we slapped some hills around before I came home and crashed on my living room floor for a couple of hours before my kids woke up. It didn't matter that I was lagging a little, all that mattered was that I did it. I ran my best. (5.54 miles with an 8:44 average).

And now I can watch The Bachelor tonight and snack all I want without a run hanging over my head!

When is your favorite time to run? Do you feel like a lion or a gazelle? Any good running books that you couldn't put down? Chantal or Emily?