Thursday, February 19, 2009

Signed up for the Heart Mini-Marathon

I'm signed up for my first "race" of the year, the Heart Mini-Marathon.

It is 15K, 9.3 miles. It's a great race - I've done it once before and happened to catch it on a good weather year that was dry and sunny. We'll see what this year brings!

I have all the races I'd like to do off to the side of the blog for '09. And yes...I've decided to try to do a marathon. (!) It all started from my old friend Sarah - we've discussed how we both are "aspiring" marathoners. She had made a post about whether or not to do one. I told her she should just do it. I was sick of hearing myself saying "someday" and wondered if she felt the same. She agreed. So we're both going to try to do one some time in the fall - probably not the same one, but maybe at the same time so we can share each other's pain! :)

I'm enjoying my runs recently and look forward to spring!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

35º and Sunny... and There Was a Cat

I had a great run from the studio yesterday. I didn't have my watch. I usually have a run that feels fast on days I forget my watch, therefor leaving me not so certain that it was as speedy as it felt. Regardless, it felt great.

It was sunny and cold. I saw a few dogs, a cat, a dead animal (less of it and in a different spot from the last time I was on the trail), a man who looked like a cross between Tom Petty and Johnny Cash, and a lone icicle hanging from a tree branch over the trail. Who says the trail is boring?

Funny thing about the cat. My first thought when I see a stray cat is to be wary of it. I believe this unnatural behavior goes back to a bad experience I had as a child getting off the bus one day. It was a warm, fall afternoon and the corn was still up. I was walking down my driveway (which was long) by myself. I may have even been skipping for joy. But then, I heard something in the corn and saw a cat come out.

It was meowing, loudly... more like a painful yell. I could tell even from it being not very close that it was hurt. I stopped and it started running toward me. But then I got freaked out and didn't want anything to do with it because I thought it was going to attack me. It looked like it had survived a "Will it Blend" Blendtec demo. I just kept walking, trying to ignore it like you do a big, unfriendly dog. It kept coming towards me, and at one point [warning: gross] I noticed I could see the bones in its tail. At this point I lost it and began half running down the driveway while sobbing. I probably thought I was going to die. My mom was standing by the garage and looked at me like I was nuts. I just thought we needed to get into the house as quick as possible before this thing ate us.

So that's my cat story. I think the cat hung out around our back door. When my Dad got home, I believe he took it somewhere and dumped it, because that is what you do in the country. So back on the trail: When I saw this cat, I'm embarrassed to admit I picked up a stick just in case the thing decided to attack.

And I can go camping with no fear of bears.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day

I'm attempting to increase my mileage for the Pig. The "increase" part shouldn't be hard since I was going from sporadic runs of practically nothing! Before the Pig is the Heart Mini 15K (9.3) at the end of March. I've done that race once and it was great. Will be a nice confidence builder for the Pig.

I went a slow, relaxing 5 miles on Valentine's Day... to celebrate my love of running (just kidding). It was a great run - crisp and sunny. It still hurts to breathe deep though. A couple of weeks ago I had a strange kink in my back that escalated to screaming pain and a trip to Urgent Care. So my back/ribs/indeterminable area deep inside my chest was sore again, but it's getting better.

I have no idea what my pace is right now. I'm just trying to get faster. I can't stand running by myself any more and am very determined to be a tolerable pace to run with others!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spring-like Weather in February

Today's forecast was 60º and sunny. Tuesday and Wednesday are also supposed to be near 60º and rainy. It is such a tease.

Unfortunately I didn't get to run in this weather today. Perhaps I'll have a soggy jaunt tomorrow morning. But while I was walking into work today, I had an unexpected flashback to running in Florida.

When we moved to Tampa–for a brief 4 months–it was February. I was looking forward to avoiding the slushy winter of Cincinnati, but was surprised by some chilly mornings when we first got down there. I never had to break out the hat and gloves, but I did wear long sleeves and tights for a couple of days. However, it became "spring" in no time.

We lived on Tampa Bay, or a part of it that was channeled for homes, hotels and apartment buildings to be built along. A quarter mile from our door and you were on the actual bay. I would run along the causeway with the bay on both sides of me. It was my only option, as the other direction was the highway and airport, but I never grew tired of it. When going out from the apartment, off to the right the water started out very shallow. You could see the sand at low tide. Occasionally there would be a small chunk of land off in the distance overgrown with greenery, with many different sea birds flocking around it. I always wanted to get closer to those "islands" and see what they looked like up close. On the left the water was deeper and you could see for miles. Depending on how hazy it was, you could see another bridge in the distance.

The sun was always shining. Early in the morning it wasn't as hazy quite yet. And even at 10:00 in the morning, my fair Ohio skin could get a sun burn after a long run. There were a couple of runs that I saw dolphins. There were a couple of runs I saw slow, calm manatee in the channel along our apartment. I always got so excited and wondered when the novelty would wear off. Small lizards scampered across the paved trail along the causeway, I saw all kinds of different birds that would fly from bush to bush just in front of me, never realizing that I wasn't going to stop interrupting them. Fishermen camped out early in the mornings with their trucks parked half in the sand. A few of my runs went the entire length of the causeway and back. Flat sunny craziness with a hot breeze.

This morning as I walked through Luxottica's huge parking lot toward the building, for some reason it suddenly felt like I was in Tampa. I was startled as the running memories came flooding back so vividly. I clomped along in my uncomfortable heels wishing I was running for the next spot of shade. And then I was interrupted by the sound of Canadian geese honking. I looked up and there were 3 flocks overhead in shaky V formations. I laughed because it sure wasn't the sound of sea gulls or the bay. But I think I should try to pay more attention to what is around me here.