Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Playing In The Dirt

I've decided if I have any prayer of running FlatRock this year I really need to hit the trail a little more. I also hate running in the morning. If I run on the trail it's shaded and I can wait until after work. Right now I can do that anyway. It will get too hot for that soon.

I wasn't going to run at all Monday but for some reason all I could think about was the trail. I decided to just go with it and drove out to the lake. I took a portion of the Table Mound hiking trail that is 4 miles out and back. Well, you have to run a little bit of the road at the tunaround. When I got to the turnaround I started to run on the road a little. Up to the left is an area where bathrooms used to be. I decided to run up around that area. When I got up there I saw a trail that I didn't know about. It said it was a mile long and I didn't have time to run the whole thing but wanted to check it out. Here is what I found:

You just want to run across, right? Alas, I didn't have time. I decided I was definitely coming back the next day. I finished my run and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was just a really fun run.

On Tuesday I went out again planning to do 5 miles. I must have done something wrong on the new trail though because it was less than half a mile long. It is a loop (I think) and I must have missed something. Actually, on the website for the lake it says the trail is 2/3 of a mile and on 2 different signs it says 1 mile. Since it wasn't even 2/3 I'm not sure what happened. Also, on the website it says it has 2 bridges and I only saw one.  

Tuesday's run wasn't as fun. I was tired from Monday and had also done a boot camp workout that morning. I probably should have skipped the trail run, but I really wanted to check out the new trail. It was actually a lot harder than I expected it to be! It was more technical and the part I ran had a lot of uphills.

Some more pics
I went down right here because I could see a mark on the tree. I don't think I should have. I think it's where I went  wrong. I think maybe when the trail circles back it comes close to itself. I saw the marking and thought I should go that way. I have a terrible sense of direction! I shouldn't run by myself.
 Right here you go through the rocks
Here is the sign that alleges the trail is 1 mile. It isn't the only one!

I finished the run, but only because I had to in order to get back to my car. No way for anyone to come pick me up. It wasn't as fun as Monday though. I ended up with a little over 4.5 miles, which isn't too bad. It was also hotter Tuesday and I didn't anticipate my water needs very well and ran out of water. Note to self: When it is 85 and humid I am going to drink a lot!!

Saturday we have no plans and I can run as long as I want so I'm going to do part of the FlatRock course. I'm going to start at the trailhead by the lake and go to Oak Ridge. I think it's around 9 miles. First though I'm meeting someone in Independence to run 2 miles. It will get me nice and warmed up! I'm sure it's going to be a very tough run, but heck, I have all day and a pretty view on most of the trail. I can stop and rest as much as I want. I know, I shouldn't stop and rest. I'm trying to stop caring about what I should do and instead do what I want to do. So far I'm enjoying it. I think sometimes runners get too caught up in the "right" way to do something. I'm trying to be more relaxed.

In the meantime, Ryan said he would run 3 miles with me in the morning! We'll see what happens when I wake him up at 6:30. I suspect he will change his mind.

Oh yeah, the title of my post. I get so dirty on the trail! It's funny because I really hate dirt but for some reason it doesn't bother me when I'm running. It's just so much more fun to be on the trail than the road that I'm willing to get a little dirty.

Happy Running!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Running and Motherhood

This was supposed to be a Mother's Day post, but I was seriously lacking motivation to do anything on Sunday.

I know a lot of people that say they want to run but they just can't because of their kids. Either the kids are too busy or they feel guilty, or they can't find a babysitter or whatever. I think a lot of these women are just making excuses, but a lot of them probably truly can't find a way to make it happen. I think the overwhelming reason more women don't take up something like running is guilt. They think it's not ok to take time for themselves when they could be spending all of their free time with their kids. I personally think I'm a better mother because I'm a runner. I'm happier, less stressed and in better shape. On Sunday Ryan asked me to play catch with him. That turned into me wearing catchers gear while he pitched to me. For the record, it was scary. He throws hard. Also, I looked stupid. But you know what? Ryan was happy, so it was worth it. Three years ago I wouldn't have even played catch with him, let alone actually catching while he pitches. First, I wouldn't have wanted to. I was out of shape and stuff like that wasn't in the least bit fun. Second, I probably wouldn't have been able to. Getting up and down out of a catchers stance isn't the easiest thing I've ever done. Because I'm in good shape I can do these things.

There have been times since I started running that I have missed an activity the boys were participating in because I was running. I may have registered for a race and then they had a game rescheduled for that day. I don't feel guilty about doing that. I would and should feel bad if I missed every football game to go to a race, but one or two isn't going to hurt anyone. My kids don't need me to be with them all the time and I certainly don't need to be with them all the time. We are all much happier if we spend time apart occasionally.

I thought I would share how I'm able to make running work while also being a Mom. Hopefully someone gets some good tips.

1. Run really early or really late. Go before the kids get up or after they go to bed. Dark? Get a headlamp. Yes, I've done it. Did I look stupid with the headlamp on? Absolutely. Do I run while everyone else is still snuggled in their beds? Yes I do. Do I enjoy doing that? No, I don't. I hate running early. HATE IT! But wanting to run is more overwhelming than my desire to turn off the alarm, so I do it. And you feel amazing after a morning run! Plus, I hate to undo all of that hard work by eating junk all day so I tend to eat better if I run in the morning.

2. Take them with you. Babies and toddlers can go in a jogging stroller. Older kids can run with you or ride a bike. My kids are too old for the stroller, but they have both ran with me and they both ride their bikes with me sometimes. Well, more like chase me on their bikes. I like to take Ryan with me when I need to run faster. He runs faster than me so I have to go faster to keep up. If he rides his bike he has brought along a stopwatch and tells me to speed up if I need to. Funny kid. Adam will ride circles around me asking "can't you go any faster? I'm really ready to go home."

3. Get a babysitter. If you have someone that will watch them for 30 minutes while you run, great. If not, try to find someone. If you can afford it, pay someone. There is no shame in paying a babysitter to exercise. People do it at the gym all the time. Why not for running? Even better, find another mom that wants to start exercising and trade. You work out for an hour while she watches the kids and then you switch.

4. Take advantage of their activities. Your daughter has softball practice? Drop her off, run, come back and pick her up. Dance class? Piano lessons? I'm sure in some cases you need to stay for those things but not always. I get in a lot of walks or runs while my kids are busy doing their own thing.

I've been very blessed that I can almost always make a run work. I have older kids and that helps tremendously. I also have a great family that will watch my kids if I need them too. My husband is very supportive and so are his parents. I also have a really great work schedule that allows me to run in the morning after the kids go to school and before I start working. Also, I get off before the kids get home so I can squeeze in a run then when I need to.

You know what? Sometimes I disappoint my kids. They want me to do something with them and I run instead. I wouldn't ever miss anything big, but I know that I can push Adam in the swing after I get home from a run. It won't kill him to wait for me. I also show up to places sweaty and in running clothes sometimes. Adam doesn't care about that, but I think it embarrasses Rick and Ryan to no end. Especially when I'm wearing tights. (Waterboy, are you reading this? No tights in Safeway!!)

My point is, where there is a will there is a way. I know some people will argue that point. That's ok. I'm sure there are people who just cannot make it work. More often people use kids as an excuse. For a long time I thought I should feel guilty about running. I thought something was wrong with me because I didn't. I bet there are people who look at me and the time I spend away from my family and do think I'm selfish and a bad mother. Those people can kiss my butt.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful ladies out there, whether you run or not!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fun in the mud!

First, I ran 7 miles! I know, pathetic, right? What can I say. I'm working my way back slowly. I'm happy with this.

So yesterday was my 7 mile run. Well, a 2 and a 5, broken up by a little driving from one location to the next. I'm still counting it as 7 though. First I met my friend Kathy (who, btw, is awesome) at 5:30 am! to run 2 miles. We did it and it went well. Then I drove out to the lake to put in some miles on the trail. My intention was to run 7 miles there, but only got 5. More on that in a minute.

So my 2 mile run was in the cemetary in Independence. It was still dark when we ran and as it got light you could see fog around the graves and stuff. Kind of creepy, but cool too. We were about 1.5 miles into it when I heard something running up behind us really fast. As I'm turning around I see this dog coming full speed at us. I yelled "Holy Sh!t!" and Kathy turned around. She screamed. The dog sniffed a little then turned around and ran away. Freaked us out! I'm not entirely thrilled that the dogs owner was in the cemetary walking with the dog without a leash. He never did yell at the dog to come back either. Anyway, we finished the run and then she had to leave quickly to get home for stuff she planned before she decided to run. Or, to be accurate, before she gave in to my annoying texts to come run with me.

I drove out to the Elk City lake. I wanted to do part of the trail that Flat Rock is on and drove to Oak Ridge where you can run back towards the lake or towards Elk City. We've had a lot of rain and even pretty bad flooding this week, but I wan't too worried about it. I knew I might have to wade through a little water at a couple of creek crossings, but there are usually rocks you can sort of hop scotch over on. My plan was to park my car and run to the end of the trail, which is actually only about 2 miles from my house. Rick was going to pick me up and drive me back to my car. That didn't happen. A little over a mile into it I came to a spot that was so flooded I couldn't find the trail for a few minutes. To cross the water I probably would have been knee-thigh deep. Nasty flood water mind you. With lots of stuff floating. I found a way around it and decided to keep going. Stubborn a little? I haven't been able to run on the trail for months.  I wasn't going to let a little water stop me. I ran another mile and a half or so and the trail disappeard into water again. This time there is no way I could find another way. The trail runs along the river and it is so far out of it's banks I could barely see to the other side. No clue where the trail was. I called Rick to tell him the change of plans, which was me just running back to my car. He said "DO NOT TRY TO CROSS!" Ummmm, duh. No problem. There is no way on earth I'm touching that water. Plus, I assume it would have been over my head. And no clue what's under it. Just a bad, bad, bad idea. I was extremely disappointed, but I turned around and went back. About half a mile from my car I called the Keli Mart and ordered some biscuits and gravy. Don't you love technology? They always run out and I was afraid that by the time I was done, in my car and to there they would be out. I just told them who I was and that I was still running and I didn't care if it got cold, just don't give it away!

Besides the water problem the bugs were horrendous. Mosquitos and who knows what else. I felt like I was being pelted by them. Also, it was 70 degrees, which isn't bad, but 94% humidity! I've never been so wet with clothes on. I really don't think my clothes would have been more wet if I had swam in them. Also, it was muddy. My shoes were caked with mud. I had mud all over my legs. When I got back to my car (brand new, remember? Still all clean and shiny) I just took the shoes off and placed them gently upside down so that I wouldn't get mud all over my car. The problem is that I had ordered food. When I got there to pick it up I see a new sign on the door that said "No Shoes, No shirt, No service." Uh Oh. I poked my head in and said, "Umm, I just got off the trail and my shoes are horrible, can I please come in?" Obviously I know everyone that works there, small town. Mickey cracked up laughing and said of course I can come in. I got my powerade and biscuits and gravy and went home. When I walked in Rick quickly questioned when I was taking a shower. I don't think I've ever been so gross in my life.

All the water, mud, bugs, whatever aside, it was awesome. I haven't run on the trail for a really long time. It was freaking hard, but it was great. My pace was an average of 15 something per mile, which is pretty decent for me on that trail. It's extremely technical, and I'm extremely out of shape. :) I ran quite a bit of it though, only walking on the really tough parts. I think I could have done it faster without all of the mud. Sadly, I have a feeling it will be flooded for a while. They aren't letting a ton of water out of the lake because people downriver of us are already flooded too, so it would just make their situation worse. I do think some sort of sign on the trail would be helpful. I assume they know that when the lake is at a certain level it's going to be buried in flood water.

I will probably run a few miles on Monday, but then I have to take the rest of the week off for a medical thing. No, not injured! That's why I went ahead and did more miles today than I normally would have. I knew I had a week off in the near future to rest up from anything I overdo today.

I'm really pretty happy with my running these days. Mostly it's just boring. I just get out there and get it done. I had someone run another day with me this week too. She's just starting and isn't quite up to where I am, but I have a feeling if she really sets her mind to it she could be. We ran together for a while, then she walked in our local cemetary for a bit, then when I got back there we walked back to my house together. It's fun to have company sometimes, but I don't think I'd want company on every run.

Happy Running!