Today I had a date with my Kindle on the beach while Brad did some free diving. As he made his way to the water, he was greeted by some friends. I’m thankful for encounters like this:
See ya tomorrow.
Half Marathon training week 5 has come and gone! We are officially halfway to race day. So sorry that I didn’t post a schedule last week. I was too busy running! That’s no excuse. There may be at least one person who reads this blog and tries to keep up with the training schedule. To that loyal runner and reader, I apologize. Let’s get back on track here in week 6! But first, some great highlights from the past week and a half.
I ran 10 miles!!!! 10.5 to be exact. I could not believe it when Saturday approached and I looked at the training calendar. How did we already make it to the double-digit runs? Time has flown by and yet, Brad and I have not let the training schedule fly by with it. We’ve been scrupulous this year, following every training mile to a tee, and it’s paying off. The added miles are getting easier, the pace is slowly quickening. (Slowly quickening? Jumbo shrimp? Whatever it makes sense to me.)
So there I am on Saturday morning, knowing what challenge lies ahead of me. I intend to get up early and hit the pavement so as not to encounter that evil midday sun. We all know how that goes. But I wake up at 8:00 am with a cat snuggling on my belly and come on, I simply cannot move him. It would be cruel!
So I close my eyes for a few more minutes and before I know it, it’s 11:00am. Looks like it’s going to be a midday run whether I like it or not. I pray for marine layer, or at least a cool breeze. I get up and make a plan for the day.
11:00 – 12:00 slowly get up and get dressed
12:00 – 1:00 fuel up. Lots of carbs and water.
1:00 – 2:00 take a walk down Main Street and burn off some of the carbs so as to avoid a sideache during run.
2:00 – 4:00 RUN!
Steps 1 – 3 go off without a hitch. 2:00 approaches and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about the impending workout. Like I said, I have notoriously mixed results on these long training runs and today I will be in trouble if I get sick. Brad is out of town so there will be no one to come rescue me if I collapse on the sidewalk in heat exhaustion. I make a couple of promises to myself and I’m certain it’s these promises that make for such a successful run.
1) Don’t worry about speed. Go as slow as you need to, especially in the beginning. Don’t. Worry.
2) Don’t be an idiot. If you start to feel sick or weird, just stop and walk home. Don’t. Be. An. Idiot.
These things may sound obvious but to my stubborn brain they are not. I have before run to the brink of hospitalization so I need to actively remind myself that it’s simply not worth it. What I fear most about running long distances is not that I will get sick or die, it’s that I won’t be able to finish. Kind of twisted, isn’t it? In giving myself permission to fail, and to not finish, I feel the anxiety about the mileage ahead quickly evaporate and I take off on my run, fearlessly.
I want to take you through every moment, but I know I can’t capture them. What I’ll say is this, every moment was full. I ran for two solid hours and I’ve never felt so present and grateful for time. I often spend my running time daydreaming. Not so much on these 10 miles. Or rather, it was a different kind of daydreaming. Rather than imagining far off lands and distant dreams, I was inspired by the land around me. I didn’t listen to any music or podcasts. Didn’t have my ear buds in at all. Just ran in the moment listening to the world around me, occassionally talking to myself, and taking in the beautiful California landscape.
I started this blog because I originally wanted to write about running and travel. I love to travel. My favorite way to explore a new place is to run in it. It gets in your blood that way. When you run you inhale so much oxygen into your system and your brain releases so many happy endorphins that I believe you literally breathe in the world around you in a deeper way when you run through it as opposed to drive or even walk. I looked out at the sea I ran next to and it looked more beautiful to me than the day before. I looked up at the blue sky and felt the sun seep into my skin. (My spf covered skin. Wear sun screen!) I felt the sea breeze blow across my face and was incredibly grateful for its cool kiss. I let myself off the hook for running fast and I freed myself from the fear of getting sick, and in return I got the most exhilarating two hours to myself that I will draw upon whenever I feel overwhelmed or anxious. I’ll remember back to that Saturday run that it was just me and my breath and the pavement and the sky.
I finished strong. Achy and THIRSTY, to be sure, but strong. 10.5 miles of presence. 10.5 miles of bliss.
Some survival tips for a long run. Before I left for breakfast I filled both of my belt bottles with water and stuck them in the freezer. That way I was ensured ice cold water for almost the entire 10 miles. I know there are trainers out there who will caution against drinking ice water when you’re exerting so much energy. It can be a shock to the system but it’s also a lifesaver if you start to overheat. For me, I’m all about ice water. I also made sure to wear my hat which kept the midday sun out of my eyes and off my scalp. And last but not least, sun screen. So crucial. The last thing you want is burned skin after a long hard run. First because it’s just plain bad for you. Cancer anyone!? Second because your body is going to be so heated after your workout and burned skin will make it that much harder for your body temp to come down. Not to mention how uncomfortable you’ll be. Don’t think twice. Just wear screen.
At the end of this post I’ll list the training schedule for both the Half Marathon runners and those on the Couch-to-5k™ program for this week. But first, I wanted to share some photos with you. This is why I love where I live. Look where I get to run!
And here’s the schedule for this week:
Family Fun Run 5k
Do you have a blissful running moment to share? Write them in the comments below and inspire us all!
I firmly believe that a great run leads to a great day. That’s just one more reason why I prefer to run in the morning. It sets the tone for everything that’s to come. This morning’s run gives evidence to this claim.
I woke up feeling groggy and frustrated. My alarm clock didn’t go off because my stupid phone decides to turn off for absolutely no reason every once in awhile and won’t start again unless you physically remove and replace the battery, so my alarm didn’t go off when it should have. This meant I could still run, but not early enough that I would be able to take the bus to work, which meant I would have to drive and lose my fantastic parking spot for the weekend. These are the concerns you think about when you live in a Los Angeles beach community during the summer. Parking is everything.
I decided to run nonetheless. What started out as a sluggish first 2 miles was made bearable by the gorgeous morning weather and the cheery disposition of my running partner. I really couldn’t complain. Then things really turned around completely when we looked out at the sea and saw a huge pod of dolphins running right next to us very close to shore. I see dolphins practically every time we walk out to the beach yet it’s still always a magical sight to behold. There’s just something about dolphins; knowing how smart they are, and the types of communities they build together and live in. They are crazy cool animals. I always want to swim out and join them. I didn’t however. This morning I was satisfied with running beside them.
The video doesn’t do them justice. There were many more and they were much closer than they appear. Sorry for the shakiness. I forgot to stop running while taking the video 🙂
With luck from the dolphins, it’s been a great day. Big relief came through on a project at work. Success! Sold some more items in my Etsy store. Yay! AND, I finally got my new wallet that I ordered a couple of weeks ago. I really adored my last wallet that I got in the Land a few years ago. I’ve tried for weeks to find an exact replacement but they just don’t make these anymore. I held onto it for too long methinks:
It’s just so darn cute. Though I will miss my Mad Tea Party, I’m quite fond of my new one. It’s sophisticated, yet whimsical.
Now I’m heading off to the theatre to kick off closing weekend of The Crucible. Just an all-around great great day. I don’t usually write “this is what happened to me today” posts. Generally I find them rather uninteresting. Today, however, compels me to write. Today was a relatively insignificant day full of significantly lovely moments. Nothing huge happened. I didn’t win the lottery, get married, or get pregnant. But I’ll remember today nonetheless. Days like this make up a good life.
Amazing what running with the dolphins can do.
Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Somehow it isn’t. Somehow I carry on with these lofty ideas that I’ll cut my time by 15 minutes this year, judging by my progress, by sheer will alone. The truth is if I want to excel I have to fracking speed up! This translates into all areas of my life. I tell myself I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to get my reel done, I’m going to get representation, I’m going to have a career. What I repeatedly overlook is that you have to actually do the work it takes to get those things. Willing them will not make them so. Maybe it’s enough for some people but I can tell that I’m just not that lucky. I have to do the work. I’m going to use the opportunity to run faster at this year’s Disneyland Half Marathon as an opportunity to kick my butt into high gear, and put my money where my mouth is, in ALL areas of my life. First, time to speed up.
I owe this minor revelation partly to myself, and partly to my friend Chris who I ran with this morning. We ran 4 miles and he is naturally quite a bit faster than me so it was a great challenge. Forced me to pick up the pace. When we were done I was telling him my plans to cut down my half marathon time by 15 minutes this year. He quickly replied “and how many weeks do you have?”
“9 weeks,” I told him.
“You better start speeding up.”
“I have time,” I reassured
myself him. Then it dawned on me, he’s totally right. I BETTER start speeding up. I always tell myself that I have time but then I fall into my comfort zone and enjoy my leisurely 11 minute mile. True progress involves being in a constant state of slight discomfort. I’m far too comfortable. I’m going to wake up tomorrow and it’s going to be September 1st and time will have run out. I can’t just wish for progress to happen, I have to run faster. Again, sounds obvious, but this was an aha moment.
He then proceeded to break it down for me in mathematical terms. Essentially I’m going to focus one short run a week on cutting my time by at least 5 – 10 minutes. If I can do that then slowly but surely as my runs get longer it should even out and I will cut significant time off my total half marathon. I have to do this.
The other factor that’s really going to start speeding things up is the loss of the weight. I had an aha moment regarding this yesterday as well. Brad was showing me his brand new scuba diving weights he’d just bought. They are two pounds each. He threw one my way and as I caught it, my whole arm fell to the floor with the weight of the catch. I was amazed at how heavy two measly little pounds felt. The lightbulb went off. Holy crap. If I ran with this thing in my pocket, I would definitely notice it. I would definitely slow down. The truth is, I AM running with those weights only they’re not in my pocket. They’re on my ass, and my arms, and my thighs. I realized in that moment that if I lost just two pounds off my frame it would make a significant difference. Imagine how 10 pounds would change my speeed! 15! This must happen. This is a key component to speeding up. I can’t run with excess scuba weights in my pockets.
The thing is… I have a need… a need for speed 🙂 I want to be fast like lightning. I want to feel the wind whip through my hair. I want the world around me to feel like a blur. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but I want to finish fast. More than anything though, I want to get out of this horrible habit of wishing for things and not making them come true. It’s not enough to wish. It’s enough to wish AND act. Time to take action.
Plus, you never know when you’re going to be chased by enemy flying saucers through the jungle. When that happens, I want to run like this kid. Talk about running inspiration.
When it’s low tide out on the sand, it’s my favorite place to run. I have not fully embraced the barefoot running trend, but I do enjoy it quite a bit from time to time. Especially through the surf. When I get a little warm in the middle of the workout, I let the waves wash over my feet for instant coolness. It’s heaven.
We just completed our 4 mile run. How about you?
Wish I could come up with some more clever titles for these training entries but I just want to be sure that you’re easily keeping track of the days that are devoted to training. So for now: “Half Marathon Training: Day 4”. For both 5k trainers and half marathon trainers, today marks the last training day of week 1; so if you make it through your workout today, CONGRATULATIONS! You made it through one week! Only 9 more to go 🙂 Here’s what we’ve got:
Half Marathon: run or run/walk 4 miles. Doesn’t matter how long it takes you. Don’t stop ’til you get to 4.
5K: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Contrary to the Half Marathoners, doesn’t matter how FAR you get, just make sure you don’t stop until you finish 20 minutes.
That’s it! We’re heading out right now to get our 4 miles in. Brad and I are running today on the beach. He claims it’s low tide. We’ll see about that….