Moon rise, sun set

Winter sunsets happen at the same time the moon rises over the hills. I had to stop running just to admire how beautiful it was. On one side of me the clouds floated like an ocean dripping crimson. The other side was a bright bulb moon slightly hidden behind a silver veil.

I have been sick, but this past week I have been doing good getting my body back into the groove of things. I was being hard on myself for not running when I was sick, constantly thinking of the miles I was losing, the muscle I was losing.

Now, there is no being afraid of a marathon. I can’t let myself be intimidated anymore. That feeling was good to kick my butt into training, but now the marathon is less than a month away and I am either ready now or not. There is no room for feelings of worry or fear.

On my 7 1/2 mile run the other night I had two brains. One kept telling me I was tired and I could turn around and head back home at every mile. The other brain decided at every mile I could go just a little farther. That second brain won and I felt strong. It was a peaceful run all alone. I pushed my body to charge the hills. And reminded myself not to feel lazy when I ran down them. You ran up the damn thing Susan, you are allowed to run down now!

On this route I always look forward to seeing my favourite tree. Being cooped up in my house for so long I had not noticed all the leaves had fallen off most of the trees. And my favourite tree with half its body orange and its other half red had withered all its colour and leaves as well.

Running in the winter is a lot different than running in the summer. Everything is cold and new challenges are born. Waking up is not as fun and running seems to be more of a job. The only thing that keeps me going right now is passion.

I realized it is not the marathon that keeps me going. I have gotten sick of “training”. I just go running to run and have fun, not because I feel forced to because of the idea of finishing a marathon. That thought could be the death of my love and passion.

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Winter Blues

After my last post I got sick. Oh go figure.

I have been nurturing a cough that scares away people at my work. I did run a few times after my last post, trying to fight being sick. But, it grabbed me and I honestly don’t want to run until it goes away. If I keep going outside while still feeling ill, I don’t think it will pass.

This is when I decide…and lay to rest my judgement about treadmills…should I just run inside to keep myself in marathon shape? Or can I bounce back from this?

There is more than one month until the big day. January 19 is creeping up and I have faith in myself, but don’t I need to consider my body and it’s abilities?

In the last two or three weeks I have only squeezed in one long run. That is substandard to me, to my body. I need more than that.

That is the winter marathon training blues.

Welcome back

I am welcoming myself back. Back into the world of blogging and in running.

There are days that we feel start us over, on a path with a better perspective. And today is that day for me. Though, I feel I have a lot of those days.

Running has brought me humility and compassion. More than I thought I had before. I had a bad day at work and when I reflect on why, I can only come to the conclusion that it all comes down to my attitude. If I have a shitty attitude then everything around me is going to seem shitty.

I can always start over. Its just another day to learn and to grow.

After not running for a week I feel different. Like life is too easy. HAHA. Perhaps I like pain. No, no that’s not it. I gauge my life by the challenges I have set up for myself.

I ran three miles on Monday, which marked the end of my six days without running. Skipped to Friday (yesterday) for a planned 17.6 mile run on the Oceanside bike trail that parallels the 76 highway. Made it 12 miles. Man oh man that 12 mile point.

~Sigh~

I have been introduced to my own version of a stalemate. I have not been able to get passed 13 miles so far. Yesterday at mile nine my knee…I think or the ligaments in the back of the knee…started to throb with the most pain I have ever, ever felt because of running.

I pushed through all the way until mile 12 and I just could not go any farther. So we hitched a ride 5 miles away from our car from a cool hippie guy from Hawaii.

All day my knee or wherever the pain is stemming from has been on fire. So after work I went on a short three miler and iced it right after. It feels pretty good so far.

Just gotta push through the initial pain to let it get back to normal.

Running Hangover

I planned to run 15 miles.

As the hills grew steep I became discouraged and around mile 10 I stopped. I started to question why I was even running.

Now I have to back the story up…

Nic found a route on MapMyRun.com and I chose not to really look at the map, but to just follow him. When the sun set and my body temperature started to drop I got scared that we were going way off course.

It felt like hours ago when he told me what the half-way point was. Did he know where we were going? He told me all the hills were in the beginning, so in the cold and in the dark and after hours of running, when we hit a steep hill of about a quarter-mile long, I panicked.

My mind started questioning and became worried. So my body could only respond by stopping.

I had a choice to make. Either stay stubborn and angry (at him for no reason) in the cold or suck it up and keep running and stay warm. So I ran.

I ran until Nic practically collapsed. His knee gave out at mile 11. We walked a mile, him limping and me helping his arm stay over my shoulder. All of his weight leaning on me.

We got to a coffee shop…yes, yes it was Starbucks…and called my brother to pick us up, three miles from home.

So close, yet so far as the saying goes. Nic said he felt defeated, but sometimes you have to let the pain win. If you always put the pain to the side, it might get worse and take you out for good.

Eleven miles is still something to be proud of, even if the expectations were higher.

After getting warm with coffee and pumpkin scones my brother arrived.

The next day at work I had the most agonizing headache of my life and had to leave early. It felt as if I got punched in the head and stomach with the Iron Hammer from Zelda. I could not decide if I needed coffee or water.

Going from sweating and burning calories to abruptly stopping in the cold with the sweat cooling and the joints locking, made me sick beyond what I have ever felt.

I thought I did everything right. I was constantly drinking water after getting picked up. I took a warm bath and ate a dinner of carbs and protein. I guess after all the options have been used and you thought you did all the right things, you have to suck it up and deal with the bad times.

Mezamashii

Lake Calavera – endless running routes around and to the lake from my apartment in Vista. This was my first time in this special spot that North County has in the heart of suburbia. I still do not own a pedometer to track my miles, but a great alternative is MapMyRun.com.

With this website you can mark your starting point and ending point. It follows roads, but you can always trace a route that is not defined by roads and the website still tracks the miles. From Point A to Point B and back to the beginning, miles can be tracked. This was a great find to help log miles and reach my goals.

The run from my house to Lake Calavera was my first time running nine miles since my half marathon earlier this year. It felt great to be back. Back to challenging my body and actually feeling tired and worn out by the end. Something to actually feel accomplished about. There are only so many times I can run six miles and still feel accomplished.

During the run I was feeling a little light-headed and needed to stop half-way through. I really wanted to run all the up to steep mountain, but my head got dizzy and I had to sit and slowly sip water. Sometimes I don’t know what is wrong with my body. There are good days and bad with running (and with everything). And that was a hard day because I thought I was hydrated and I thought I ate well, but the dizziness did not stop until after I had to just stop thinking about pain.

My favorite quote from the book “Eat and Run” By Scott Jurek is: “pain only hurts.” Every time I feel woozy I need to repeat that over and over until I finally don’t care about the pain anymore because I know it is just temporary.

A big misconception about running is that it just is not for them. It is too hard and their bodies are not cut out for it and they feel sick. Well so do runners that run everyday! It isn’t always easy. Runners just push through the vomit-striking feelings and swallow it. It only gets “easier” because bodies adapt.

I found the term “Mezamashii” through a video I saw online while reading running articles. It said Mezamashii is defined as: “when running means more.”

That phrase really made my nerves tingle, mostly because the video was done so well and had a profound meaning to it.

People get running confused with obligation, losing weight, being pretty and skinny, with something that is a burden rather than for fun. Running does not need to be these horrible-feeling triggers. Running means something different to people and yet they are connected in some way.

Running means more. And at the same time it does not have to mean anything. It can just be.

I have gotten a lot of people coming up to me at work saying they have seen me running around the neighborhood, seeing as I live right by my place of work. Customers and my coworkers and my friends have all seen me running like a crazy woman around Vista and Oceanside. To me that feels good. I embrace me home and my neighbors recognize me. It feels good. It makes this place feel like home.

I have mentioned this before in my blog; how a place does not feel like a real home until you run around your house and your town. I have moved around a few times to Yellowstone, Death Valley and Las Vegas and not until I ran did those places feel like I really lived there. It makes you connect to your surroundings a lot more.

With that thought, running has always seemed to be a part of my life and I never realized it until the other day I actually thought about it. Wherever I have been in life running has always fit. It fit in with my first-ever semester at Palomar College and it fit with me moving a lot. And that is what makes me think back to “Eat and Run”. Running takes you places. It takes you places in the soul and around the world.

The “P” Mountain

Getting back to basics.

After my internal struggle trying to define myself apart from my relationship while at the same time wanting to share the experience with someone I love, I have re-discovered a piece of myself I felt I was losing.

But nothing is ever lost.

I went to Palomar College to do some homework. After I was done, I once again strapped on my camel-pak and started from Lot 12. I ran up Las Posas and turned right on Borden. Down that street I was enticed by the “P” mountain.

I didn’t know where I was going or how long I was going to run for. I just went. I saw the white, chalky “P” and thought, “hey why not run up that big thing?”

I was not quite able to run up the entire hill, but I hiked it to the top and enjoyed the view of the foggy ocean and a glistening sun reflecting off it.

After catching my breathe I started back down, slowly. I did not realize how steep I was climbing until I almost fell down the rocky mountain. I talked with an older man who was on his way up. He said he saw me running up it.

His daughter hikes a lot and he tries walking the hills around his neighbourhood. He said his daughter hiked Mt. Woodson and asked me what I thought was more difficult.

Mt. Woodson is a beautiful four-mile hike starting from Lake Poway all the way to the potato chip rock. But, the entire way up is a struggle.

The man told me he tries hiking up the mountain on his break from classes at Palomar College. I think that is a great idea for students who don’t know what to do with their time between classes.

I said goodbye once the mountain started flattening out at the base and ran back to Lot 12 from the way I came.

Running. It is who I am. Rooting my spirit within through the movement of my legs.

Sometimes I can veer off my path. But going back to basics is what it is all about. Not thinking, not “training”, not keeping track of miles, just going out and running.

Anza-Borrego Wind Caves

Running free. I felt as close to the earth as I think I ever could. That moment I had a glimpse at what being human is.

For Nic’s birthday we went camping in the Anza-Borrego desert. We drove down a wash and set up camp near the wind caves. The hills went on for seemingly endless miles.

I strapped on the camel-pak and headed for the golden bee-hive mountains with Nic.

Even in mid-day heat I didn’t want to stop. Having a bag of water on my back makes me almost invincible. I don’t need anything else.

It is a life of simplicity that I strive for.

I lost track of miles or time. It was the epitome of freedom. I could run forever. Especially in such a beautiful terrain.

Sharing the experience with Nic was great. I like not having to talk while running. Or my ego to feel the need to keep up with my faster partner.

I always defined myself as the crazy friend who went running anytime, anywhere. And now Nic has adopted a similar lifestyle. This has not stripped me, but there is still a strong need to assert my own self apart from the relationship.

Nic made a great point while we were in the desert camping with our friends. He was explaining that a relationship is like a venn diagram. The two circles have to be complete and only after that, come together and share a small circle together. But we still need to have most of our circle to ourself.