Thursday, May 29, 2008
Why I run
This is why I run:
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
How 'bout that?!
When I last posted, I pondered how I'd run the Bolder Boulder. It was a day of surprises.
First surprise: I was in the mood to race...and not so much to race the clock, but to just see how fast I could go while feeling good. Hopeful goal: break 60 minutes. Dream goal: run my age (56:xx).
Second surprise: I ran the first mile (a downhill mile, very tempting to go too fast) well in control and hit it in a comfortable 9:11. It just so happens that a 9:10 pace would get me across the finish line just under 57 minutes.
Third surprise: After running miles 2 and 3 (uphill miles) in the 9:20s, I started picking up both speed and energy, and mile times dropped for each mile from 4 on.
Shocking surprise: I checked my watch at 9K and discovered that, if I could hammer the last kilometer, I'd sneak in under 57 minutes. AND I DID IT!!!! I've always known that my brain/stubbornness has a whole lot to do with any running success I might have - and it came through again this time. Not only did I concentrate on picking the shortest line along the course from 9k on in, but when I got to the very rude uphill just before the 6 mile mark and my legs started screaming at me, I answered back with "if I can run 1400 miles I can run this friggin' hill" - and so I did. Mind over matter - a delightful phenomenon.
- Bits of speed work add up. I did the occasional workout with the Boulder Road Runners, hill repeats on my own, tempo runs with running partners, and 1 minute pickups tossed into everyday runs. A little something at least once per week...apparently enough to jazz the legs up sufficiently for a 10k.
- Attitude is everything. Arriving at the starting line in the mood to experiment with speed, combined with putting my ego on hold, opened the door wide - and I leapt right on through.
- A little luck goes a long way. The weather was cool with occasional light drizzle. Hard on spectators but a perfect day for a run.
Friday, May 23, 2008
The Bolder Boulder question
A few mornings hence and the Bolder Boulder will fill the streets with runners and spectators. It's quite the gala event. I've not yet decided what approach I will take this year: run? race? run with a friend? see how fast I can run? As I trotted home from my volunteer job, I crossed paths with a fellow Boulder Road Runner who asked what I was shooting for on Monday. I told him I wanted to finish with a smile on my face. He had the better answer when I asked him what his goal was. His response: "I want to be drinking a beer by 8 a.m."
As for racing versus running, my body has still not fully transitioned out of the long-slow-run mode. However, I had a revelation after volunteering at last weekend's Big XII Track & Field Championships (a fantastic meet by the way - info can be found at www.cubuffs.com). Much of my volunteer time was spent at the back of the final straightaway where I had a fabulous view of runners flying down the track...spectacularly chiseled bodies, with soles of their shoes flashing back at me as the runners accelerated toward the finish line.
A few days later, as I was doing 90-second repeats along the South Boulder Creek path, that vision of the soles of the shoes came back to me - and I started pulling my feet through, lifting my heels behind me...not as high as my butt like the gazelles of the Big XII mind you, but certainly off the ground more than the millimeters I had been lifting them all last summer. My goodness, what a difference that makes! Not only does one go faster, one goes further with each footfall as well. Miraculous! My hopes for a potentially fast(ish) Bolder Boulder went from "hah! in your dreams!" to "hmmm! perhaps...maybe...wouldn't entirely rule it out..." Bottom line goal, however, remains Finish With A Smile! It is the 6.2 mile-long Bolder Boulder party after all!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Spending a decade or so with Kendall and the Miller family changed my way of thinking.
Now, I cannot imagine life without my sons, Devon Andrew and Paul Kalen VaughanMiller.
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of life.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
After pretty much coasting of late, I experienced a flurry of activity this past week (perhaps inspired by completing our final project for the CU class I was taking - or perhaps egged on by the realization that almost a year has gone by since The Run started). In any case, the last two items of my post-run to-do's have been checked off the list:
- Submit my four-part series of articles to Marathon & Beyond. (Who knows if they'll want to publish them; fingers are crossed.)
- Send a thank you to Gatorade who provided me with 1400-miles' worth of Riptide Rush for the trip. A palatable enough beverage that I still drink it! Along with my thank you note, I included a link to a Gatorade-related slide show of pictures from the run. The link to the slide show is on the side bar of this blog.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
From slug to cheetah
Two blocks from home, my cell phone rang. 'Twas Joe. "Have you run yet?" "No, well, yes, to the bus and back so, no." "My morning tempo run was canceled due to lightning. Want to go?" My body is rooted in slugdom but my brain feels a spark. My brain replies with a yes. We set a meeting time 15 minutes hence - enough time to adjust my running gear and dash to the rendezvous point.
Quite the tempo run it was. 10 minute warmup after meeting with Joe, then 10 minutes tempo with 5 minute rests (easy running) in between. Times 3. On my hilly fartlek loop. Which, coincidentally, lent itself to offering an uphill on each tempo segment. Ooohlala! Sweat, heavy breathing, legs grinding away. Life pulsed through me once again and the cheetah (or a slow cousin) appeared where once a slug had been. Weeehaww!
Monday, May 05, 2008
Memories and flashbacks
It's been an interesting little spell here of trips down memory lane with flashbacks zipping through.
Just last spring, we drove our motorhome into our driveway for the first time and parked it right underneath those blossoming crab apple boughs. Hedwig looked mighty fine surrounded by pink petals. Last week we took ol' Hedwig in for its annual summerizing. One step inside that motorhome and I'm back in the heartland, waking up to birdsong, stretching out on the bed with ice cloths on my legs, munching down on Great Harvest bread with Justin's nut butter and gathering my energy for another 30 miles.
Running of late is nowhere near what my running was this time last year. However, more and more frequently, I find myself in both the rhythm and state of mind that carried me over all those country roads and trails. And just last week, twice I found myself next to trains - right here in Boulder! In one case, I even had to pause during my run to wait at a train crossing while car after car rumbled by. Those trains were great company during The Run. My little feet would go round-and-round just about in time to the chug of the train...a lovely accompaniment to the run.
Interspersed with my running this spring has been a CU class - and our final project (a group project) was due last week which leads us to Flashback #1 - to my college days - when group project meetings were typically held at night - and, guess what, they still are! I had to bite my tongue to keep from blurting out "but that's almost my bedtime" when they suggested an 8 p.m. meeting. (And after the meeting, when I was headed home, each of my classmates was off to another meeting!) The flashback continued when I arrived back at home and dug back into the project, going to bed after midnight and still getting up at 5:30 a.m. I must say, I'm just not used to those kinds of hours anymore.
Flashback #2 - to my work days. Our group project involved a class presentation and powerpoint. The last few years at work, I did, literally, hundreds of powerpoint presentations. Unlike the almost-all-nighters that I have no desire to become reaccustomed to, I was really hoping that my presentation skills would magically reappear. The first aspect, Dressing For The Presentation, slid on like an old glove...black slacks, button down shirt, black shoes (ok, so they didn't slide on so easily...my feet really really prefer running shoes and crocs). The second aspect, actually doing the presentation, well - our rehearsals were not particularly encouraging, stumbling through, thinking of things too late, low energy, etc., etc. But stand me up and put me in front of the room. Bingo! The powerpoint queen is back ;-) Smooth sailing and fun to be back up there. The rest of the group came through big time as well...'twas a stellar presentation! Then it was home, off with the dress up clothes, on with the shorts & t, and some serious outside time in blooming Boulder!