Why I’m Going Streaking

I’ll admit it. I’m in a rut. I’ve been able to string together six months of injury-free running (yay!), but have lost my fire. I still work out. I still run. But lately I’ve also skipped workouts for any number of reasons (too tired, too hot, too cold, don’t feel like getting sweaty, just don’t wanna).

As someone who’s been at this for a while, I know that the first step out the door is often the hardest. I like this challenge because I think the suck it up, it’s only a mile voice can drown out my inner whiner until I’m in the groove and actually feel like moving.

So I will run when I am tired, cold, lazy… and remind myself that I can.

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Music Monday: Pumping Blood

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

One positive of dealing with injuries that keep you from the activities that you love is that it teaches you to appreciate them when you’re able-bodied again. Last week I was struggling during the last mile of an aquathlon, my mental DJ was kind enough to cue up this song.

Hey heart on the road again
Moving on… forward

I remembered that a little over a month ago, I wasn’t able to run at all and how frustrating it is to be sidelined. And while I’m not as fast as I was a couple of years ago, I’ve dropped my time three weeks in a row.

The song Pumping Blood has so much energy, and the lyrics reminder you that your heart is working, you’re alive, and that’s a wonderful thing.

It’s your heart, it’s alive
It’s pumping blood
And the whole wide world is whistling

So, even as the mercury regularly tops 100 degrees out here in desert southwest, I’m grateful to be able to lace up my shoes and head out for a run.

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Stay With You

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

One of the great things about running is the supportive community. I’ve met so many amazing people in running groups, at races, and even through blogging here. The feeling I get from this song reminds me of the joy and freedom I feel on a good run. The lyrics make me think of all of the good running buddies I’ve had over the years, and all of the problems we’ve hashed out on the roads.

Take my hand now
We’ll run forever
I can feel the storm inside you
I’ll stay with you

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

The twenty that wasn’t on the road to Boston

A couple weekends ago, I woke up early, loaded my hydration belt, and headed out for a twenty miler. Even though I prefer shorter races, knowing this was probably my last twenty brought bittersweet feelings. I feel like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to at the marathon distance. It had taken me three attempts to make it to Boston, and I was looking forward to finishing my journey on Boylston Street.

After some horrendous training runs, things were looking up. I felt stronger on my first twenty than I had on some of the fifteen and sixteen milers. I had ran a fairly hilly half marathon in 1:50:37. I felt pretty good about my amended goal of finishing under 4 hours. Four under four. Nothing motivates like a good slogan 🙂

The temperature was supposed to reach the low nineties that day, but it was a crisp fifty-something when I started. I was moving at a steady, comfortable pace, enjoying the fresh air and the antics of the desert birds. I was almost five miles in when I felt a pain in my left calf. I ran for about twenty more steps, stopped to stretch and rub it, and tried again. It still hurt. I knew from experience that continuing to run could turn an irritation into a full-blown injury, so I decided to turn around and walk home.

For someone who’s been at this a while, five miles isn’t that long of a run. It is, however, a fairly long walk. My brain was going haywire. Would my leg heal in time to run the marathon? Would I have to run-walk it? Walk it? What was the cutoff time anyway? Was I asking for serious injury if I even tried? Damn, damn, DAMN! It seemed like any time I started making progress, BOOM, I smashed into some sort of obstacle or injury. Every time someone ran by I wanted to shout, “I’m a runner, too!

My body had betrayed me. I felt like a broken-down jalopy. One of the reasons I love running is that it makes me feel good about myself. Strong. Capable. Fit. But for the past year and half, running has often reminded me what of what I was no longer able to do. What do you do when your workout makes you feel worse?

It was a rare weekend with nothing on my calendar, so after I got home, I did what your average introvert with a pint of ice cream in the freezer would do: stayed inside, cried a bit, and made a serious dent in my DVR backlog. I also scoured the internet for advice about calf strains. Fortunately, this one wasn’t as painful as my last one and it didn’t hurt to walk. Note: There are two spoonfulls of ice cream left. I’m capable of practicing restraint.

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My goal: Be as healthy as a horse

I decided to try everything and the kitchen sink. My boyfriend’s parents brought over some arnica cream and an ice wrap they used on their horses. I used heat treatments. I wore a compression sleeve for a week (even to work). I bought rocking calf stretchers for home and for work. I got massages from Ross and my marathon stick. After a week of not running, I started run-walking. The muscle barked the first couple of times, but the next few were pain free! I continued to teach my cycle and Pump classes, because they didn’t hurt. Maybe, just maybe, I would be able to do this thing.

Monday night, I wanted to see if I could run 5 miles at a 9-minute pace. I was still holding out hope for that sub-4. The first quarter was on target, and then I noticed that I was getting faster. 8:45 pace, then 8:30, 8:15… Nothing crazy – when I’m healthy. I tried slowing down a little after each lap, but ended up accelerating again. After a mile and a half, I felt a twinge. Stop. Walk. I alternated walking and slow jogging for a couple of laps, and called it a night. It didn’t feel awful, but it didn’t feel right, either.

Some people had given me advice not to run at all until the marathon, but I thought running 26.2 miles on an injured leg after three weeks of nothing didn’t sound wise. I was hoping that these test runs would give me some assurance. Maybe I was the foolish one.

Yesterday, my leg felt slightly pulled. It feels better today, but I’m nervous. If I can’t handle 1.5 miles at a moderate pace, how in the hell am I going to run a marathon? If it were any race other than Boston, I’d bow out and pick a race later in the year. But I want this. I earned this entry, and I honestly don’t want to try and qualify again. That unicorn medal will be mine.

So, I am going. I have a new, blue sparkle skirt for the occasion. My boyfriend’s parents will be my dedicated sherpas. I am going to try and run this thing, or at least run-walk it. Still, I can’t help but feel like a fraud. Does a hobbler belong at an event that celebrates excellence?

But Boston is so much more than a race. Today is the two-year anniversary of the day so many people lost their lives and limbs. This is the place where Katherine (registered as K.V.) Switzer kept on running, even though a race official tried to pull her off the course when women weren’t allowed to race. She said, “I knew, if I quit nobody would believe that women had the capacity to run 26 plus miles.” Thousands of women gratefully follow in her footsteps every year.

The city. The history. The crowd support. For 118 years, people have come Boston to test their mettle, and now it’s my turn.

I am humbled. I am proud. I am scared. I am persistent. I am a runner.

Music Monday: Closer To The Edge

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

One of the reasons I love to train is to challenge myself and ultimately improve. There’s a lot of struggle involved, because change doesn’t come easy. Then there are those rare, almost transcendent moments, where it all comes together. You are stronger, faster, lighter. You even feel like a different person.

This song captures that feeling for me. The mood is euphoric, and the lyrics inspire me to keep pushing. Can we ever truly become the ultimate versions of ourselves? I don’t know, but we can get closer to the edge.

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Spin the Black Circle

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

I teach a couple of indoor cycling classes per week, but it’s been a while since I’ve been on a real bike. Ross and I battled the hills, strong winds, and limited oxygen that defines cycling in Flagstaff. When I finally felt like I was finding my groove, Ross started yelling “Spin! Spin! You can go faster than that!” And you know what? I could.

As he continued to tell me to spin, this song popped into my head. It’s about listening to a record, but since a bike tire is also a black circle, I tapped into the relentless energy of the music and Eddie Vedder’s insistence that I

spin, spin…spin the black circle
spin, spin…spin the black, spin the black…
spin, spin…spin the black circle

After 1100 feet of elevation game, it was time to spin down the hill. Weeee!

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I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Ready To Go

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

Some days, you just don’t feel like moving. The couch is comfier than the athletic shoes, and it’s too late/early/hot/cold/humid/whatever anyway. While sometimes it can be physically (and mentally) beneficial to skip a workout, most of the time it’s best to just push through and do it. This is one of my go-to songs to get in the mood to move.

It’s a crack, I’m back yeah standing
On the rooftops having it
Baby I’m ready to go
I’m back and ready to go
From the rooftops shout it out, shout it out

The first step out the door is the hardest, but that last step when you finish feels amazing. Go you!

WARNING: This video gives me a little motion sickness 🙂

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Bleed It Out

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

With the exception of marathons, I don’t race with headphones. My mental DJ keeps me entertained with random choices, but as I approach the finish line, I’ll often put in a request for this one.

I bleed it out
I’ve opened up these scars
I’ll make you face this
I pulled myself so far
I’ll make you face this now

There are few things that feel as awesome – and horrible – as laying it all on the line in competition. I connect with the struggle in the vocals, and the intensity helps me squeeze out every last bit of effort.

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Ten Seconds Before Sunrise

I am stealing an idea from my blogger friend Jenna and trying out a Music Monday feature. She’s a fiction writer who highlights songs that inspire her creatively, and I’m going to share songs that motivate me to move. Music improves your workouts in several ways, and song tempo is less important than whether you personally find it to be motivational.

I’m still in marathon mode and favoring trancy music for my long runs. It’s easy to start too fast, burn through your glycogen stores, and smash head first into the famed Wall.

I might be overly influenced by the song title, but this has the feel of a fresh morning and all of the possibilities it brings. It makes me want run smoothly and relax my body while taking in the surroundings. There are no lyrics, so my mind wanders freely, which is one of the joys of lacing up.

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Walk

I am stealing an idea from my blogger friend Jenna and trying out a Music Monday feature. She’s a fiction writer who highlights songs that inspire her creatively, and I’m going to share songs that motivate me to move. Music improves your workouts in several ways, and song tempo is less important than whether you personally find it to be motivational.

I feel like I’ve arrived late to the Foo Fighters party. I’d known of them for years, was familiar with a couple songs, but didn’t really listen much. Lately it seems like I keep hearing their music, and I am loving it!

Whether we are just starting our fitness journeys, or have been working out for years, we all hit those patches where we feel like we’re not as strong, fast, and fit as we were. Injury, life circumstances, or even boredom derail us from out paths, and it’s easy to give into discouragement. I feel like I’m in the thick of it.

My takeaway from this song is that we all face setbacks: what are we going to do about them?

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

When he practically shouts

I never wanna die
I never wanna die
I’m on my knees
I never wanna die
I’m dancing on my grave
I’m running through the fire

I just want to get out there and go! Speaking of which, it’s time to run 🙂

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.