Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Sound Of Silence...

Snow has arrived in the Bluegrass!!!

Yes...I said it...snow!

How perfect is this?!

I cannot express the feeling of joy that came over me when I looked out my bedroom window this morning and saw my beloved park covered in a beautiful white blanket! It was perfect. Everything was covered in snow..the grass...the trees....the trails... and the skies were that wonderful shade of grey. My park was calling me....and I had to answer the call...there was too much to get out and see...I could not wait a moment longer. After fueling up on my breakfast of choice (coffee), I layered up headed out.

The run was perfect and there was not a soul in sight. The only prints (besides one set of familiar ones at the start) to be found were that of small rabbits and squirrels. For almost an hour, I completely forgot I was in Lexington. I felt isolated and at peace. I can't really say I have had that feeling before during a run. The whole park was dead quiet. The only sound to be heard was my own hard breathing and feet struggling to make a path thru the snow. If I stopped and looked around there was white as far as the eye could see. It was an "odd" feeling. What is weird is that I really liked it. I never really understood how people could want to go into nature and feel totally "lost" until today. Running in the winter is totally different than running during the spring, summer or fall. It is like everything in nature is completely at peace after the snow falls. Nothing is moving...everything is just "still". I am so grateful  that I could run thru Nature's beauty today.

Hydration was not an issue today....nature provided.

The feeling of isolation was so peaceful

The creek I cross made the most wonderful sound

I wish I could have stayed out there longer, but I had physically exhausted myself in a short period of time. The pace was not fast, but I was able to just run around and "investigate" all the trails and paths. They looked totally different than a few days ago. I just smiled as I ran around...sliding and struggling to keep balance. It is probably a good thing that I was all alone, I probably looked like a complete fool :)

I guess this entry today is going to be more picture based than words. I think they will give a better idea of how wonderful this mornings run was. My heart is so happy...and my body is at peace :)  I hope you all have the same feeling right now.

Oh....and have I mentioned how disorganized things have become with all my running gear laying around? I guess this is the sign of good times had:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Opposites Attract?

I am a very outgoing person. I am also a very talkative and curious person. I have no problem finding my way around social gatherings. I treat my friends like family and really don't believe that there is such a thing as a stranger.  I love interacting with people and learning about what makes them tick. Sharing experiences is one of the most exciting things I think you can do with someone and I am game to try any crazy thing you want to do at least once. I am "that person" people always feel comfortable talking to in grocery store lines. There is not a shy bone in my body. It is not a part of who I am.

Then why is it that I only want to run alone? People tell me "you should run with keep you company" or "they will help you increase your pace". I get that...I really do. But for some reason, when I am running I like it to be "just me". I don't want to talk. I see people running together all the time, sharing stories and having good laughs. It looks like fun, but for some reason I just can't bring myself to do it. It really makes no sense. It is not like I am excluded....I am invited all the time by an awesome group of running buddies. And I am always like "yeah, I need to get out there with you!", only to end up taking down a trail or road by myself. Even at the brewery, I tend to take modified routes to avoid all the hustle and bustle of the main group. I literally meet all my alone...come back and meet up with them again...and then have beers and talk the night away.

This is bothering me. Lexington has a great running community...very close knit and active.  I am like the outcast in a community of runners. It is like I am two people (in a "non-mental" sort of way). "Everyday Andrea" loves getting out and mingling..."Runner Andrea" just wants to run alone and be with her own thoughts. As weird as it sounds, I am two opposite people attracted to the same thing...running.  It is really something I have to figure out. It is not like I hate running, I love it...but for some reason I am shy when it comes to being with other runners. WTF?! I am going to have to work on this....always good to have a goal I guess. Give me time though...I don't mean to be rude...I just need to come out of my "running shell". shoes are "loud and unique" why can't I be? I may have to start a support group. I really hope I am not the only one with this issue.

Other than that, the count down for TOPO is officially on. T-minus one month. I am so excited. I am actually using the IRunFar Holiday Challenge of 50 miles as my starting point. The next step is to hit the trails hard when I can and study some maps to compare my current terrain to what I will be up against on January 26th. This is a big deal to me and I am nervous as hell. The distance is no problem....I have been upping my distance and running in preparation, and have a few races in between now and then. Not to mention that my Salomons will be with me every step of the way! We will see how it goes. I would say I am worried about the cold, but hell, if you saw the amount of frozen snot on my would understand why I am not concerned :) . I think I am ready for what the trails can throw at me this winter. Come spring I should be a friggin gazelle...especially since I will be able to feel my butt again after runs :)

In conclusion, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate). Santa was very good to me and I will be like a kid in a candy store when I head to John's Run Walk Shop tomorrow to get some new gear. I know..."this isn't Boulder" but I can give them another chance! I need cold weather gear...some areas just should not get so cold that you loose feeling...LOL. I told you I was outgoing and   treat everyone like friends :)

Oh...and if anyone has any good book recommendations...FB me and let me know. Yes, I read the 50 Shades of Grey series (holy many showers can one couple take in a day) and just finished Eat and Run (awesome running book) and Correr O Morir (I translated I am not sure how much "lost in translation" occurred...but awesome book...way to go 12 years of espanol!) and am now looking for something new. I really don't like fiction, so some non-fiction that will not leave me asleep after the first chapter would be great!

Now the wind is howling and the rain is hitting the windows....making me quite sleepy. Off to dream about the winter's trail running season....where in my dreams I will win every race :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bourbon Chase.....Oh Bourbon Chase.....

Bourbon, Horses, College Basketball, Running.

Those are just a few things in Kentucky that we are "die hard" passionate about.  If you think I am joking, just look around Lexington when Keeneland is racing or during March Madness.  It is like nothing you will ever experience....its a part of our DNA down here. 

Now, go ahead and combine any two of those passions and you are in for a good time. No, take that are in for an amazing weekend that you will probably never forget. For me, that combination is The Bourbon Chase

I would try to describe this to you myself, but I would not do it justice. Take a look below at the websites description and tell me you would not want to do this...

"The Bourbon Chase celebrates the best of Kentucky. It is a 200-mile journey across the Bluegrass State – through our historic bourbon distilleries, across our majestic horse country, and into our enchanting small towns.
Begin your journey at Jim Beam and head east to Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World.
In the quaint city of Bardstown, you pass through Heaven Hill, the largest family-owned distillery in the world. Next, you trek toward the historic and beautiful Maker's Mark distillery.
Exiting the distillery, you head into the heart of central Kentucky, passing some of the state's most historic areas. First, the course takes you near Perryville Battlefield, where a significant Civil War battle took place. Next, you will head south to Stanford, the second oldest city in Kentucky. Then, the course turns for the north as it passes through the middle of the enchanting community of Danville where the state's first constitution was written. Finally, before heading back into distillery country, you run through Harrodsburg. Founded as Fort Harrod in 1774, it was the first permanent settlement west of the Alleghenies.
The unique Spanish Mission-style architecture announces that you have reached Four Rosesdistillery. From here, you come into Lawrenceburg, home of Wild Turkey. Crossing over the Tyrone Bridge, several hundred feet above the Kentucky River, you enter the official gateway to Horse Country. This section of the course, heading toward Woodford Reserve, is undoubtedly the most stunning because of its rolling bluegrass countryside and picturesque horse farms.
From there you head toward the charming community of Midway, home of one of the nation's leading colleges focusing on equine professions. As you wind your way out of Midway and down the delightful scenic back roads of the Bluegrass Region, the course works its way into downtown Lexington. By now, you can smell and hear the finish line celebration that awaits you and your friends at Triangle Park, near the Alltech Brewery & Distillery."
Exciting right?!
It has been in the back of my mind since I saw a leg of it last year. I have been thinking about it non-stop as of recent. I want to do this. I want to be on a team and spend my weekend in a transport van taking turns running the different legs of this 200 mile journey! There is nothing bad about this! I mean, just look at the course:

There will be one thing different this year though. A lottery. Yup...figures...the first year I want to do it and there will be a lottery. I was hoping they would add more than the usual 300 teams of 12 that are allowed in, but at the same time I understand their desire to preserve the integrity of the race. I will take my chances and see if luck is on my side.
Even if my team does not get picked, there are still a few ways I can get in. I can raise and run for charity (which is always a good thing)....or I can wait for injury/drop out which is always inevitable. Every year someone will get injured and will have to drop out. And every year their team has to scramble to find a replacement runner to cover their legs of the race. I saw it a bunch on Facebook last year, but did not think I was ready to "jump on board". Now, I am. I want this to be my year! One way or another I will be in this race! And one of the best parts...yeah, you know I am thinking it...t-shirts. The teams make up t-shirts. This is just too awesome...
But until then I will continue to run in the lovely 28 degrees Lexington is now offering me. As I look out the window, I see the snow covered park and trail behind me and will have to be out there soon. The weather is also reminding me that I need to invest in some true cold weather running gear. I hate to be all bulked up on a run. I need to do some research. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's A Concrete Jungle Out There...

Who is up for some math?! Oh common! We still have a few days before Christmas break, stop complaining.

Alright, here we go. Sharpen your pencils and try this equation...

2 police cruisers + 2 city buses+ 1 oblivious red head + uneven sidewalks + darkness = ???

If you guessed: 1 bloody knee, 1 scraped up hand, and 1 swollen ankle....then you are right! Give yourselves a pat on the pack.

Now, last night was not a trail or park run night. It was my traditional West Sixth Brewery run club night. The weather was nice and warm and traffic was bustling. Apparently so much so that something happened with a city bus at the corner of Broadway and West Sixth. Now I, being on the sidewalks and spending most my time paying attention to my music and feet, failed to notice the police cruisers coming up on my side of the road to park by the bus. By the time I did notice them, I quickly moved to the "inner" sidewalk. The rest is just history....ending in a total wipe out. The funny thing is that I had not even had any beer yet at the brewery. I was still on my way!

If there is one thing I have learned during my running adventures, it is that I am a fast faller. I do it well. My body instinctively gets right back up after wiping out, so you can imagine my surprise when I fell and found myself just sitting on the sidewalk looking around. I took inventory and did the ol' "spit shine" on my hand...determined that my pants would soak up the blood from the knee..and patiently waited for my ankle to blow up like a balloon. The good news is that my ankle seems to have made it thru with just a little swelling. I rolled it on the little ditch between the sidewalk and grass but did not do any major spraining.  (Insert over dramatic picture of slightly sprained ankle)

The entertaining part of the whole thing was that the police officer saw me do it. I think it surprised him and he was left wondering where I came from and what happened. He came over to inquire if I was ok or which I replied "Yeah, I'm good...I am just going to keep running to the BREWERY down the road". I am sure that sounded good. He looked a little puzzled as I ran off...but hey...I had friends and beer waiting for me. I had to suck it up and carry on.

I am a little sore today... but probably being dramatic :)  I think yoga is out as my hand and ankle would probably be pretty uncomfortable in down dog and plank. I may test the ankle out in the park tonight...or I could start Christmas shopping...since I have like no time left for that!

In other news, this blog blew up yesterday after my entry on Kilian Jornet's Summits of My Life movie. Totally unexpected but that is what you get if you don't check your FB privacy settings :)  The string of obscenities and "no, no, no" that came out of my mouth when I checked the dashboard and saw over 8K views instead of my traditional 125 was priceless. I will admit, I was scared shit less. This was something I did more for entertainment and my friends, so it pretty much jacked me up the whole day. Now that I think about it....instead of blaming myself for my embarrassing wipe out on the road...I now blame them...I demand a t-shirt for my pain and suffering :)  Just have someone actually take time to read your words and then tell you they appreciate is really neat. I was like a giddy 5 year old on Christmas morning...although I did spend most the day in the back of my mind praying for no negative comments! So far so good.....


Monday, December 17, 2012

A Fine Line...(And A Fast Run....)

So tonight I finally got to watch the movie I have been impatiently waiting for: (*drum roll*) A Fine Line (Stage 1 of the Summits of My Life series) by Kilian Jornet (directed by Seb Montaz).

I needed it. After this week and all those poor children in CT....I could not take anymore "reality". I am sure many will agree that it has been just too emotional to bear at times....I needed a little escape and I was sure this was the way to do it.

Now, while I am sure most of you just give the ol' "wtf?" when I mention it on here, some actually know what the Summits of My Life is and are just as excited about this as I am. For those who don't here is the quick simple recap:

1. Spanish ski mountaineer and ultra trail runner - Kilian Jornet Burgada
2. Ridiculous mountain climbs, crossings, skiing, etc.
3. Beautiful scenery
4. Total simplistic view on happiness and finding it in life.
5. A 4 year journey/project to accomplish personal goals he has when it comes to some of the best and most beautiful mountains in the world.
6. A constant reminder that you can set your Slackline kit up anywhere and should have it in your car at all times. it? Good.

So, the movie lasted just under an hour. It was in more of a documentary form and included subtitles in English since I believe the original language was either Spanish or Catalan. While I will admit that I am not a fan of subtitles, I appreciated them in this case since you could read the words and still get the emotion in Jornet's voice. Sadly, it was dedicated to Stephane Brosse, one of the greats in the ski community, who was killed while trying to help Jornet reach one of his "summits." It was a touching tribute. It also featured some incredible aerial shots and did a wonderful job of capturing Jornet's natural talent when it comes to both ski mountaineering and trail running and why he does it. For me it fell a little short in capturing Jornet's personality, but he seems on camera to be quite introverted, so that is not surprising. I will say that it had some great interviews with family and friends, and it really makes one admire how and why they live their lives like they do.

All good right?

Well, when it ended I really didn't know what I thought of it. I literally sat there looking at the credits and did not have any real emotional response besides sadness, since I can relate to the raw emotion that comes from losing a friend to death and wondering if you could have done anything more to prevent it. What bothered me was that I did not have a stronger reaction. I mean...I had followed the whole project on social media and I am pretty sure I am his #1 fan in the US and the only one in Kentucky.

Why Andi...Why?!

I thought about it for a few more minutes and then did the only logical thing: I went running. What I failed to notice before I did this was the massive thunderstorm heading my way. I mean..really..thunder and lightening on December 17th? Only in Kentucky. Anyway, so as I got to running I got lost in my thoughts and music. Before I knew it lightening was everywhere and I was forced to head for home in record time. However, as I was sprinting down the hill I noticed my environment and realized why I had the view of the movie as I did...

I live in Kentucky. I run on the trails. We have mountains around here, but they are more for trail running and recreational skiing. I am 31 but pretty sure that I will never have the opportunity to reach the base of Mont Blanc, let alone the summit. I will never have the opportunity to run across the tops...or stop and literally see the world at my feet. Now some may say, "yes, you can do whatever you want!"And I am usually like that....but common....Mont Blanc? There are times when one has to be realistic, as sad as it is.

I can only imagine the body's emotional response to being up that high for the first time. Does one cry at its beauty? Cheer at the victory of making it? Look down and get sick? Would my brain even be able to comprehend something like that? Would I even have the love of it? I would like to think I would....but then again....lets just wait for the group ski trip in Feb and see how my skiing adventures go.

Perhaps if the movie had been all trail running I would be on my 5th viewing tonight...but then there would be no movie because that is not what the project is based on. I got to thinking that perhaps that is why I am like the only person following him who has no mountain in their backyard to play on. That whole area (Europe) takes mountain life to a whole different level, a level perhaps I cannot comprehend as I was not born and raised there.

That is also why he is not an idol or "crack" to me like he is to so many of his fans. He is an incredible runner. I totally respect his view on nature and the way of the universe, and I agree with most of it. But I cannot go into a mountain and get lost every morning skiing before breakfast. I am a mere fan. I have no desire "to be just like him" because to do so would be doing something I cannot see myself ever getting to do (plus, I am just too strong of a personality..I copy no one...others copy me...right? ). I am inspired by him...his talent...his love for the trails in the summer....but even he said in the movie that he had accomplished most of what he wanted to in that sport, so chances of seeing him run are probably pretty slim at this point. He seems like a great guy, good looking, very humble, painfully shy, and many friends we all have. Social media and his sponsors have done a great job of getting that across to his fans and to see this movie come to life is just awesome.

I guess now that I think about it, I feel better about the movie since I have identified what it is that had me staring blankly at the end. It is a dream to someone like me. I am not a big movie person and I can't watch it before my training and go "take on the world". I could not immediately relate since we have no opportunities like that here.

It really was a great movie though. A humble and quiet group of people those mountaineers are. Not like a NY transplant in KY!!! If I ever got to go on one of those adventures I would probably be gagged before we hit the base of the mountain so that others could enjoy the silence....I would scare the hell out of them just on the drive there :)

In conclusion, if you want to download the movie, it is really easy to do. It took me a total of like 10 minutes to download. Like I mentioned before, the aerial shots are breath taking and the camera work is second to none. It will also give you a little insight into a group of people we here in the US rarely hear about. You may not agree with the amount of risk they take, but it is their philosophy and reasons for doing it that really makes you sit back and think "huh....there is more to life then this...". Oh...and the music is amazing...that needs to come out on ITunes so that I too can run to it.

I would love to hear if anyone actually does download it. I can discuss as I will watch it many more times....dreaming of running and probably rolling the whole way down Mont Blanc :) Snow is soft right?! At the rate things are going, I don't know if KY will see any this year....I may forget.

Here is the link again, the page has changed since the movie is now available:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Say "Hello" To A Little Mud...

Saturday was the perfect day for a trail run here in Lexington. Absolutely perfect. I am still giddy just thinking about here we go!

Our feet touched down on the trail at Raven Run around 1:00 p.m. with slight drizzle and a mild 55 degrees. It was cloudy and not a soul around. Mud was everywhere. You could not run 1/4 mile without sliding down some part of the trail or off a wet rock.  While it was not a very fast run, we covered quite a bit of distance and got an amazing workout. In the end, our time was still better than some trail race results at the same distance around here and that was with stopping to scrape mud off our shoes a few times. A proud moment if I do say so myself!

Speaking of "the shoes", you may be wondering how the ol Salomons held up. They did pretty well. The pair I wore have a  "door to trail" classification, so I was not surprised that I slipped more than say someone wearing the La Sportiva Mountain Running shoe.  Mine provided good support and kept my legs fairly I can't complain. I kept out of the water so I did not have the "wet sock, wet feet" issue that can really make running in the rain bothersome. With the conditions of the trails, I really don't think any shoe was going to pass with flying colors. However, I do need to look into taking something with me next time to clean them when they are caked in mud. Sticks just did not do the trick!

Probably the best thing about the run was the views. We stopped a couple times and it was just magical. The world was almost completely silent. All I could hear was the water rushing below and the rain hitting the naked trees. It made a very challenging run on the muscles a very rewarding run on the soul. While some may not think trail running is particularly "interesting" when the leaves and vegetation are gone, I think it is just beautiful for the simple fact that you can see everything. It is an awesome feeling to be standing under these huge to see clear up the ridge or see all the creeks full and see all the animal prints in the mud. For a few hours you really feel "connected" with nature. It is almost like a secret garden. I have mixed feelings about sharing it. One part of me loves that Lexington is not really into the trail running because it means I can kind of keep it to myself. The other part of me wants to share it with others! I guess it is like your favorite gathering place. The last thing you want is to show up and have it be packed because everyone else heard how wonderful it was :)
(I was never very good at sharing as a kid...but I will try now as an adult...I promise.)

Even though I want to keep it all to myself, I do have to recommend it as a great cross training activity to my "road runner" friends.  Personally, I find it to be a totally different run. For one thing, the muscles used seem to be different. The burn you will get just going over simple grade change is fantastic. And forget about the hills...they will kick your butt like no road can! The scenery is second to none. I find that when I am running on the road I tend to get bored. I do not find towns and developments particularly pretty and staring at concrete can get depressing. On the trail there is always something to look at. There is always something going on. Everything there is literally alive. Run past a tree and it is alive...the moss on the rocks...alive. It is just such a neat thing to be a part of. It is like they are all watching you run thru their world...welcoming you....smiling because you are there to visit them. However, I find it is also a place where you need to run with a buddy. It is an environment that demands a very high level of respect. Unlike on the road, there is not a good chance someone will see you if you fall or slip. If you are alone and get injured you are likely to be in the elements for a while. It just makes sense to take someone with you...they can help set a pace or take really great videos/pictures of you being all "pro" on the downhill :)

Moving on, after our run I tracked mud through Starbucks to get my traditional "grande iced syrup...cream....two sugars in the raw" and headed towards Bluegrass Bouldering. It was not open to non-members at the time but I did peek through the windows and it looked pretty neat. I really cannot wait to get in there any try it. I think it will really help with strength conditioning as well as concentration. I know a few of you are waiting for that I will try to make it happen soon.

However, I was able to get into an awesome place I didn't even know existed near by. Ladies and Gentlemen, you seriously need to get your butts and bikes over to Swim Bike Run KY on 320 North Ashland Ave here in Lexington. The place is beyond amazing. If you bike during the winter months or for cross training, then you have to take a look at their Computrainer. They will literally store your bike, set it up in the Computrainer when you are ready, and provide an environment where you can really concentrate on your ride. They also have something called CycleYou which is a cycling class set up in a more "spa" like atmosphere. It is set to music and can also incorporate yoga and weight training like poses to get a full body workout. The store out front also has all your triathlon gear and even the Newton minimalist running shoes. Feel free to check their website out. I did the best description I could and will be hitting up a free seminar they are having for running at the end of the month.

Other than that...tomorrow evening I will be totally useless as Kilian Jornet's first movie in the Summit Of My Life series (A Fine Line) comes available for download and sale. I am beyond excited. Feel free to come watch it with me. If you not not not even blink. If you do I will most likely kick you out. I have been waiting for this for some time. It will be amazing. He is amazing. Please stop rolling your eyes. To see what this man can do in nature...there really are no words. Check it out. You may not get it at all....the whole running waist deep in snow and climbing mountains stuff, but his take on life and what he is looking to get out of it is really touching.

Now go look and watch the little preview! ( comments....just no comments....and you know what I am talking about)

Till next on!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

1,000 Miles? No Problem..You Got It...I Will Take Another Beer Now Please...

Have you ever thought: "Hey! I should challenge my friends to a bet to see who can run 1,000 miles in a year!"? 

That's right. 1,000 miles. 5 friends....$100.00 each....running 1,000 miles...hopefully more. And the best part is we are going to have t-shirts. Lord knows I would not have agreed if we did not have t-shirts.

We are going to kick it off on Jan 1st at the "Resolution Run" New Years Day. The race is at 1:30 and is a 5 miler, so we may also make bets on who will get sick first  :)  I believe the shirts will say something like "995 more to go" and may involve a donkey (as the mascot). I have never been so excited about running in my life. I can hardly wait for the next few weeks. I can just see how ridiculous this is going to be. And you are going to be a part of every mile :) There is a good chance total burn out may occur...but I don't care.

Now you may be asking yourself "Andrea, how are you going to track this?" Good question, I am glad you asked. Map My Run. If you do not have this app you really need to pick it up. It is awesome, and the fun thing is you can form teams and actually record this type of information. Give it a try. You can record your route, time, and distance....or you can opt to have a chick come on and scream at you every mile or so telling you to either speed up for slow down. How is that for motivation? I find it to be annoying as hell...but it gets the job she is allowed to stay.

Another question you may have is "how are you going to train along the way?" running, skiing, bike riding, yoga and indoor rock climbing of course! How else would you cross train during this time? And yes, I did just say indoor rock climbing. I did not know this until the other week, but Lexington has a climbing gym. Bluegrass Bouldering here I come. There will be can count on that. Hopefully my new climbing career will not kill my running career.

OH! And my trail running career takes off on January 26th. I found the TOPO Trail Running Series here in KY. 5-10 mile races on some of the prettiest trails KY has to offer. This is it folks...what I have been waiting for. TOPO is starting what Western States will probably someday end :) I am both nervous and excited. So nervous that I am heading to Red River Gorge this weekend to get some real trails in.

Oh, and before I go...I have a favor to ask. I don't really care what or who you believe in when it comes to prayers and what I am just going to ask that you think of a family at this time.

While I know there are many people who need thoughts and prayers right now, something happened here in Lexington that really hit close to home. Literally...close to home. Lauren Roady was one of the runners running in the CC championship meet I mentioned a blog or so back. She was one of the runners I watched take off thru the fields behind my house. She came here from DC to run. Saturday night she was hit and killed crossing the street downtown. While she was not running then, she was hit in a very familiar spot. She was hit right where I stop and wait for traffic lights every Tuesday night during my "slightly modified" route @ the brewery. I ran by that area this Tuesday night and the incident really has me checking to make sure I know what traffic is doing at every minute. Again, she was not running at the time, but she came to Lexington to do something that I love to do...and it just breaks my heart that this happened. I did not personally know her, but she shared the love for running that many of us have. Just be grateful next time you get to go out and do what you love to do. Some no longer have that wonderful ability.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"Grass-nam Style"

Have you ever run in a park after both rain and a cross country championship?

What you get is a style of running that really does look like the dance they do on the Gangnam Style video. To say it was ridiculous would be an understatement, but it was the best field/trail run in a while and I was only forced to pull out one "KJ" style slide down a muddy slope ( BTW my Salomons look soo cool all muddy and "traily".)

It had been a few days since I had been out in my beloved field and I was as happy as could be. The legs felt good....really sore but good. To make the run even better, I found out that my "Track My Run" app's GPS rocks the house, so I was able to do a little more exploring and not really worry about getting lost in the park.

Oh and lost I got! I had to turn around a few times and at one point I found myself standing in the middle of a wooded trail staring at both "caution" tape and trees. I even passed the grave stone of Ruffian way too early in my run, and am pretty sure I scared the living crap out of an older couple walking the trail when I turned around and shouted "f*** me" after realizing that I was totally on the  wrong side of the park and took off running past them again.

Anyway, it may not have been the most organized of trainings, but it was certainly fun. When I got home I felt pretty good and started planning today's 7 miler. Yeah, I don't really take things easy...

To sum it up, today sucked. sucked a$$. We have been getting quite a bit of rain so I decided to stick to the paved trail today. After a few miles in my legs felt like trees. They literally did not want to move. I guess I needed some r-e-s-t :)

So, with that I did what anyone would do. I held a full conversation with a wonderful lady who was walking her 3 rescue grey hounds up the trail. What awesome animals....and boy are they laid back! At this point in my run I had basically classified it as a "stretching the legs" kind of day, and since I was literally skipping like a 5 year old at one point, I had nothing to loose by getting to know someone new. That is another great thing about getting out and running, you literally meet all kinds of people. Everyone on the trail is a member of the same "community" and I am yet to meet anyone who is rude. I think I will start saying "hi" to more people I come across on my runs.

Actually, I have to start saying "hi" to more people since someone told me that they love reading my blog, but that I don't seem as outgoing in person. Truth is, I am very outgoing in person...I promise. There is really nothing quiet about me, but if I don't know you I am not one to just start introducing myself. That is something I am going to have to work on in the new year I guess. The feedback was made me sit down and think for a minute.

Speaking of my blog, I want to give a huge shout out to everyone who is reading it, both in the US and Europe. It is so humbling to see so many views and to see the statistical map light up with all the different countries. To those overseas, I hope Google Translate does not butcher my blog too much. Who knows what it comes off as saying!

Finally, tomorrow I turn the big 3-2. Yup...32. At this point I really don't have any emotional attachment to my age....half the time I still feel like I am 25. Lord knows I hope I still look it. BUT...I did get the most awesome gift ever....a new pair of Salomons to wear when I am not running on the trail. See below. Not as colorful as my Mission XR1s but they are going to be just as loved and beautiful. I cannot wait...I will stalk the UPS man until they get here :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Run Little Yoga Girl Run!

What is the saying? "Absence makes the heart......" yeah, yeah, yeah....I apologize for the lack of blogs (since I know how eagerly you all wait for them).....I have just been tired. I really can't make up anything better to tell you.

I may have turned into a lazy blogger, but my running has been anything but. I think it is safe to say I bounced right back after being forced to sit under trees and cry. The pace is quickening and the miles are getting easier. But the best thing of all is that I have finally found a way to clear my mind. Yoga. It has only been a few weeks...but going to yoga and then practicing it a few minutes each day has really helped me move to the "next step" in my distance running.

Now, if you know me, you are probably reading this and thinking " is impossible for that girl to relax for even 2 minutes." After all, I am the ultimate thinker. Sometimes I think about what to think about next. I am uncomfortable with silence. For some reason I have always equated that with something going wrong or being awkward. I fill empty spaces with noise..whether it be my own voice, music, or other people. Now that I think about it (no pun intended), this may be why I "wack" out so easily :)

Anyway, so back to yoga. I went to (and blogged about) yoga 2 weeks ago. I went in search of something to do on days when I had to rest and since it was at the best place in the world (West Sixth Brewery) it was a no-brainer. I will admit, I was not very confident, but our teacher  (AnneDean Watkins) is the friggin best out there and she made it fun. But she also spent quite a bit of time having each of us "thank" ourselves and find a little bit of calm and silence. I had never really done that before. I think it is something everyone should do everyday. I mean..when is the last time you actually thanked yourself for doing something for "you"? Now don't get me wrong, yoga is hard work...but it is the kind of work your body thanks you for in return. Take a look could that not be fun!?!?!

What does this have to do with running? Well, now it may be because my core is so sore after it, but my posture has changed for the better. It forces you to stand taller, which slightly changes the stride and I think leads to a better run. I also find myself able to "silence" my mind and just enjoy the run and noises around me. My legs are also responding better. It may be all the stretching and extra attention they are getting, but they seem to be able to last longer without being bothered by lactic acid build up.

I also spend some of my time thanking myself for taking the time to get out there and explore. The world looks so different with each time of day and weather. I find a rainy night to be incredibly peaceful. It is almost magical. So quiet and really makes you get in touch with your "inner animal". When the running starts to get tough, I force myself to smile. You may not think that does anything, but when I am in a straining pose @ yoga class, AnneDean makes us smile. Try it is kind of neat. It is like smiling sends a little message to your body and brain that you can do anything :)

In other news, I also purchased something that should help with my "inner posture" (or so the tag says). Please welcome the newest addition to Andrea's running family:  The Salomon XR 1/2 Zip Midlayer Top (see below). This is a great compresses in all the right places (chest...arms...back) and really allows for a great feeling run. AND...if you decide to wear it as your only layer, you are bound to get some attention on the trail/road...LOL.

Now, keep in mind....if you decide to order this....I think our ladies on the "other side of the pond" may be a little smaller....that or trailrunners/ultrarunners may not tend to have "as much up front". I would recommend ordering another size up. You will still get the tight fit you need for moisture wicking and all that other good stuff....but the "girls" will thank you.  I should mention that when I finally write my letter to them about their insoles! I could be the "new thing" from a marketing stand point....

.....or not :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Big Girls Don't Cry Under Trees...

unless they totally burn out during a run!

Remember the other day when I told you all how much I hated rest days? Yeah, well today my body basically told me whether I liked them or not, I was going to take one.

It all started yesterday when I ran the GOTR 5K for fun. I figured it was some good hills...a good cause...and a good 3 miles to get in on a Saturday morning. The morning was awesome and the turn out was quite large. The route was the same as the Turkey Trot from Thanksgiving, which meant a few really good hills to practice on at Keeneland...which is good since the 1/2 marathon in March is there. I would say there was well over 100 girls there of various elementary school ages. The atmosphere was really exciting, and the mini concert before got everyone ready to run.

Things would have been all good if I had just went to have fun. It would have been great if I had not been so worried about the hills and working on my stride. Oy Vey! Why do I always do this to myself?!

Anyway, have you ever seen a pack of young girls run?  If not, I will sum it up by saying this: stopping at any time to hold hands and skip along is not "frowned upon in this establishment". Now, don't get me wrong...the run was a blast. The girls were having so much fun and the run was probably the most enjoyable one I have done yet. I figure if we all held hands and just skipped along for about a 1/2 mile of our daily runs...we would be a nation of very happy people. These girls have it figured out. Pink and green hair....sparkles....friggin awesome. It was wonderful to see so many girls so confident...Lord knows I could use it sometimes...

Moving on....So during this run I ended up (understandably) running at a slower pace and tried to tweak my stride a little bit. Not a good idea. I felt a little sore after the run but figured it was nothing a hot shower and nap could not fix. Bullshit. Last night I was pretty sure my friggin calf was going to fall off. Not even an hour in a calf compression sleeve could fix it. I tried yoga but Downward Dog almost had me face down on the mat.  After a few beers and a re-run of True Blood I decided that a good night sleep would have me bouncing around come morning.

Again, I call bullshit. I almost hit the ground when I got out of bed this morning. Bending my legs was a challenge and the stairs were the most evil thing I have encountered in quite a while.

Now, in true Andrea fashion, I did the only thing I knew to do. I had my breakfast, which consisted of a cup of coffee and three Tylenol and hit the grass trails for a good run before the rain came. I mean...why not? Surely after about a mile the muscles would warm up and I would be doing airplanes in a field....loving every minute of my run....letting the wind blow me around like a sail boat on the ocean! Me and my Salomons are unstoppable after all.

Wrong! Fast forward to the tree below. See the wind blowing it? Now what you don't see is me laying under the tree crying while taking the picture.

My body had nothing. I can't say my legs hurt because I took off pretty fast and had no trouble. It was my body. My mind wanted to run....I saw the fields and the trees blowing in the wind and wanted to run around it for as long as I could. They were calling to me. I could not get there. I had nothing to give. As much as I tried to push my was not there. My body was literally demanding that I stop. So I did. I stopped and I cried. I was not crying because I was injured or anything. I cried because I could not get to the middle of the park and run. I cried because for the first time, I was not having fun. I could not understand why my body would just not work. Why was I sitting under a tree looking at the trail? Then it hit body needed rest.

As I walked I began to think about how much I had been running the past few weeks. I had become obsessed with doing it....morning....night....sun...rain....I had to be out there. I didn't listen to my body when it asked for a break because that is not how I am programed and as we all know, when left to my own devices...things get a little chaotic. I also thought about my nutrition. Coffee and Tylenol. Really? THAT was going to fuel an awesome morning run? I finished my run with a slow jog. I cried when I got home...and then ate a banana ;)

Fast forward to right now. Here I am...laying in bed....hating the fact that I only ran probably 2 miles today and will take tomorrow off. It may kill me. I will probably be twitching all day. I will probably try to incorporate yoga poses into every moment of my day tomorrow. It will suck, but unless I am  farting rainbows, I will not run tomorrow. We will see how it goes. Dramatic? Why thank you, I think so.

At least I have Tuesday to look forward to. Running with the brewery gang. Then yoga at the brewery on Wed. I guess one day off isn't so bad but we will see.....I figure it is better to listen to my body and take a day off instead of running thru it and ending up injured...forced to take multiple days off....

And yes....I said farting rainbows. Just picture it. It would almost be as awesome as owning a jet pack....which would be the most amazing thing ever!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Meaning Of It All....

Have you ever found that the longer you run the more time you have to think about random things?

I seem to be having this problem. What is bothersome is that this seems to be happening even when I have my music going. I mean...really?!  Who has deep thoughts while listening to Gangnam Style or Barbie Girl?!  I thought music was supposed to keep your mind from destroying your workout!

 *sigh* Just how I roll I guess :)

Anyway,  so last night I took my long run and I thought it was going to be perfect. The sky was clear and you could see quite a few stars. The temperature was dropping, but did not get cold until the end. I was having a really good run and then *bam* for some reason I thought "what if we are all just really animals that evolved from fish-like creatures and that is why we get hiccups?" Followed by "what if there is nothing past this life?" and ending with "surly there has to be something else since energy cannot be created nor destroyed...and we are made up of energy."

I really do not recommend having these thoughts on long runs.

Holy cr*p it totally threw the run off. What made it worse was that I continued to think about it for miles and came up with no answer. I looked around and saw nature and modern technology trying to get a long. I began to wonder if it would be better if we were more "primitive" and didn't depend so much on technology (I say as I am typing on my MacBook). I saw a few people of different sizes and wondered if we would all be better off if we were forced to find our own food and build our on shelters and run from things trying to hurt us. I wondered why we are not "decreasing" in our lives and why would a G*d give us all this ability to create and mess things up all at the same time. I also wondered if all this technology was what is making so many people sick. After realizing that I would be dead if it were not for modern technology, I tried to change the subject in my head....

I went to bed unable to do so. I woke up this morning and took a short warm up run and figured out what may have caused these questions to pop up. "How the Earth Created Man". Yup...friggin History Channel strikes again. But, now that I think about it, they are pretty good questions.

In terms of running, does genetics really play that big a role in how good you are? If you have the motivation, can a regular runner really compete with the elite? If we were forced to fend for ourselves, would we evolve further? Are some of these runners you hear about doing it now and we just have not noticed it? Scientifically, they are so much better than the Average Joe.....but can the Average Joe make themselves better on their own? Should I just shut up now?

Either way, if my mind keeps this up I am screwed. I mean...who wants to run a 1/2 marathon pondering the existence of the universe?

Well....I don't know....and this blog did not answer if you actually made it to the bottom I may have provided you with the "WTF?" moment of your day and nothing else. For that I apologize. I think I need to go for a hike this weekend and "chill".

That is it, but if you have any opinions on the matter, I would love to hear them :)

Oh...and did I ever mention that I don't really care about grammar while I am writing these? Call me lazy (I bet Beth and Bess are screaming at the monitor now!) but I just type as I think. I don't stop and "reflect" in any way. Apparently I save that for my running time :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Is In A Name?

Since starting this blog I have had many people ask me where the title came from. Well, it is pretty simple:

I still feel a little lost without my mother and I think about her a lot when I run.

It has been a little over a year, but not a day goes by where I don't have the instinct to call her or ask for her advice. Even though I had her for 30 years, I still feel like I lost her way too soon. Like she still had so much to teach me and I still had so much to learn. You come into this world with the expectation of outliving your parents. It is nature. Eventually they will grow old and pass on. Perhaps that is what has me so lost. My mother did not grow old....and because of that I still have the fear that I will not get to either. After all, to most little girls, their mother is the epitome of what they want to be when they grow up. As our little feet grow we spend most of our times wishing we could fit into our mothers mother was perfect in my eyes.

A little emotional? I think so. Yesterday was her birthday. She would have been 58. Yesterday was hard. I kind of "drifted" thru the day. It was a rest I did not get out and run, however, for one hour I was able to get it "out of my head" during yoga. It was the first time I did anything like yoga in over 2 years and I think it is something I will continue with each week.

I feel good today. My body is sore and I love that feeling. The sun is out and the temperature is rising. Even though it is almost December, it feels like nature still has quite a bit to get done before the blankets of snow begin to fall. I need to take advantage of this day. I need to get out and run....and just look around....just let my hands touch things as I run by.

I often wonder what my mother would think of my running. She was not much of a runner, but I think she would love hearing about my little adventures. Oh well.  If she was here now I am sure she would tell me to "put my big girl panties on" and go for a run or something. Not a bad idea since it is supposed to get up in the 50s today.

On a happy note, the first in a series of movies I have been waiting for is coming out on December 17th. Just when you thought you had a good comes Kilian Jornet and a movie where he runs on mountains. Yup...not just "up"...or "thru" but "on". It is ridiculous. It is awesome. If for one day I could just *poof* into his body and go on one of those adventures...I would be a very happy girl for a very long time. He actually has a series of videos called "Kilian's Quest" (google it) and they are both motivating and demoralizing at the same Some days you come in from a run and second guess the path in life you see these scenes and places and are like "wow, wish I could do that" . Then you remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side. It looks awesome...but when you are constantly training and traveling for must get exhausting. In some of the videos you can see it....he loves that he is living his dream...but sometimes his face just looks like he may not be happy with all the requirements/demands that come with living his dream..he looks "older" than 25....his dreams are wearing on him....I know the feeling :)

Anyway, I may not get to pursue all my dreams...but I am grateful for them....and my should be too. Tis the season....I guess I have to start decorating :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rest Day?! We Don't Need No Stinkin Rest Day!!

That's right....

Rest day.

I hate them but people tell me I need them. A day to let your muscles repair and get stronger before you head back out to beat them down again. A day to regain mental focus and just enjoy "being off".

Rest days do not work for me. They are horrible. That is that.

So what will I do on my "rest days" you may ask? Wait for  Not just any yoga, yoga in a brewery. Yoga in a brewery with about 50 of your closest friends. And when I say close...I mean you can't spread your arms without taking your neighbors head off close.

It is awesome. Take that is beyond is amazing. In that one hour of yoga I believe I sweated more than I normally do after miles running. My legs feel like they are going to fall off at any minute. They are literally shaking. I think I left my butt back at the brewery. I know I left my pride there. I would say over 50% of the people there were what I would call "friggin pros." They made black stretch pants look good. I loved every minute. I left feeling like a different person. I will be there every week...just like I am at the brewery running every week. I wonder if they will do a neat little shirt?!

Years ago I took pilates classes every week and loved them. This felt the same way. I know it will help improve balance and build the core...which will help with future trips...AND one day...*drum role please* my 400 mile/ 7 day bike trip in the Rockies. Yes, another adventure to add to my list: Bike The Rockies.

Now, how can this be a bad thing? You can have teams of up to 10 people....and for 6-7 days you bike 400 miles in the Rockies. At each stop in town you set up tents....grab a bite and have a good ol time with about 2000 people you have never met before. Nothing can go wrong...this will be wonderful. It is on a friends bucket list...and we may die while doing it but we will be there. Colorado in June/ problem :)

Actually, with winter coming I have been thinking that skiing and bike training may be good to add to the running. I figure it will give the knees and joints a break while keeping the muscles working. Not too shabby.

Tomorrow it is back to the trails/grass. We will see how the post-yoga legs do. Hopefully I will be floating on clouds. If not, there is enough Tylenol to get me thru it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dear Salomon: I Love Your Shoes....Your Insoles Suck :(


Yes...I said it.

As you all know....I am in love with my Salomon Mission shoes....they are pride and joy....I would sleep with them if I could....but their insoles suck....and when I mean "suck"...I mean "tear your feet up with blisters within 2 miles of your running suck". Now these are not your typical blisters...they are the "only on the inside arch of your right foot" blisters due to their "ortho" technology. *sigh*

Now, at first I did the whole "ok, give them a couple of days" approach and would wear them for a mile or so to try to "break them in". I even did the "try them barefoot" to see if they were a shoe that was meant to be worn without socks. For a while they have been doing ok...with the last mile or so starting to "rub their magic" on my arch and leave me changing my stride to not get blisters. However, tonight I had enough...2 miles in and I was starting to feel the burn....that horrible burn when you know your skin is about to blister but you don't want to stop. I gave in....I came home and stuck my Saucony insole into the shoe and *tada* problem solved.

Note to Salomon: Please buy Saucony and put all their insoles in your shoes. Or better yet, invite me to your lab in OR and take a mold of my obviously "misshaped" right foot to fix this problem. Oh well...hopefully this will fix the problem for  the run this weekend.

In other news, the West Sixth Brewery has decided to start another club besides running. Yes...I am starting to do Yoga Brew. That is at a brewery. I figure it will be a good XT day in between runs. I mean, this can't be a bad thing...even for the guys who will be drinking beer while we all do it. It is a win-win. I bet in a few weeks, Wed will be the most popular night down there. Bring 2 mats though...the concrete is ruff :)

Other than that...not much going on....had a bit of a "bug" for a day so that kept me off my feet...then I decided to train 2 times yesterday, which made the run tonight kind of hard. Tomorrow is yoga, so I am sure by tomorrow night I will be bitching about everything in my body hurting. I need some zen...we will see if this does the trick.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Me vs. Me

I hate this struggle. Take tonight for instance...the following is just a little of what I had to deal with while getting my evening run in :)

Mind: What are we doing out here? It is dark...

Me: Shut up

Mind: You know...its 68 degrees in the house...and 30 out here....if we turn around now...

Me: Shut up!

Mind: Your butt cheeks are frozen aren't they?...

Me: *sigh* Yes, I know...

Mind: And you just wiped entirely way too much snot on your are going to want to wash those....

It is nights like this that make me want to scream. It was just yesterday that I was on the grass in the  park...running and exploring. I had a great run. I felt good both during and after.  Tonight...dark...cold...hard sidewalk (due to blisters), frozen nose...too much snot...frozen behind...stiff calves....I mean really?! What happened in 24 hours!

I guess that is the great thing about running. You do a little mental checklist to make sure you are not dying and then you suck it up and go on your way. It is "you vs. you" one else. The challenge is to keep going even when you can't feel your butt....and that is why I love it so much. I love to see how far I can hard I can push myself.

Tomorrow I hope to either make it to the trails or back on the grass....these damn blisters better heal fast...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Back To Where I Love...

It may not seem like much to some, but the park and grass trails behind my house are the best places to run. Sure, you have to keep an eye out for mole holes/tunnels and whatnot, but it seems like for an hour or so the place is as far away from Lexington as you could be. Between all the hills and the equestrian park area (complete with fences, barns and of course, horses) it just does not feel like you are running close to a subdivision at all.

Tonight I was chasing the sun. I got a late start and had to take a short break to turn my socks inside out (still breaking in those Salomons!) in attempt to stop blisters (didn't happen). Due to the blisters I took it slow tonight and got to take in all the wonders around me. I stopped and visited the horses, ran towards a couple interesting things in a field, and just watched the sun set as I ran over a field of hills.  It was a pretty good run after a few days of not running on grass or trail. Like I said yesterday, I think the grass/trail is a much better run than pavement. I feel like a kid just running anyway I want...sometimes arms spread like an airplane...just "being" for a while! It is a nice break....and it ended in a "Black Friday" with the sun setting just as I hit my back porch.

Since I was trying not to destroy my feet with blisters, I got to take a few pictures on my phone. Here they are....Enjoy!!

The first picture is of the park as I was coming over the last hill on my way home. The sun was just about gone and it was just beautiful.

The second picture is my start towards the horses after I pass a few soccer fields closer to the house.

The third is a little creek spot before the second half of my run. I debated whether to clear it or not, but my beautiful shoes are just too clean right now :)  Plus...running with blisters and wet socks all while the temp is dropping? Not tonight!

The fourth and fifth are a few of my favorite spots to run by. One is a dried creek bed that looks like it would be an awesome trail if it did not lead to nowhere. The other is an old tree that always looks so amazing just standing there in the middle of a clear field. I often stop and touch it, amazed by how old it must be and everything it has "experienced" over the years.

The sixth is a memorial to a horse. It is in the middle of the field. I really had to look to find it today...running all over the field until the setting sun actually caused it to "glow" in the grass around it. Seeing this really lets one who is not from KY know what "Horse Country" is all about :)  We love them!!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Be Thankful That You Are Who You Is"....

And to me right now, that is a middle of the pack runner! (*woot woot*)

Today before celebrating Thanksgiving I ran the Thoroughbred Classic 5K. Now, this was the first time I was out running in Keeneland and all I can say is "holy hills!!" I will have to spend quite a bit of time out there before the end of March. However, you could not ask for a better morning run. It was a beautiful day with temps in the 40's when we started and climbing towards 50 at the end.

With my body fueled on 1/2 a Clif Bar and 1/2 bottle of water I started at a pretty good pace. The start was crowded, which slowed down the pace for the first quarter mile or so...but soon everyone got spread out and down to business. What was my "business" you may ask? Cutting my time down by a minute from the Race for the Cure...all while on a hillier, tougher course. I am quite proud. I also got to rock out to some new additions to my play list...including Gangnam Style..Barbie Girl...and Take It Off...I mean really...who could not have fun running with those songs blaring in your ear?!

Another good thing (besides getting in a little workout on THANKSGIVING) is that I got to try out my new Salomons. I say it was good because they did great as far as their performance went....but I can't say breaking in a new pair of shoes during a race is the best strategy. That annoying "pebble in your shoe feeling" at about mile 2....yeah...what they say is true....not a pebble....more like a blister :(  It really didn't matter though...3 miles is not really long enough to start fixing yourself up mid race...however...I am going to have to keep that in mind for the 1/2 marathon.

The best thing about running on Thanksgiving, is once you get home...have some water and really are not ready to stuff yourself with food later in the day. A few bites into dinner and I had the "yeah you are almost full" feeling...which in 20 minutes led to the "thank g*od you stopped eating" feeling. So here I sit...on Thanksgiving...unable to say "oy! I ate so much!". If I can keep this up thru December I am golden.

Tomorrow I hope to make it back to the trails. I did notice today that it is much easier to handle the grade change on the trail or grass instead of road. I don't know why but I get really bored running road races (hence my entering the world of trail). I don't know if park and trail running lets me get a little more "lost" and able to enjoy nature or what. I don't find myself looking around at my surroundings as much when I am on the road (hence the boredom I guess.)  But of course, a cold front is coming in with some rain over the next few hours and it will go from the 60's to the 30's. Just my luck! Perhaps the ol Salomons will have to make another run in the rain in the grassy fields instead of the trails..

OH before I is a pic of the race...not my pic...I was too busy shaving time!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

When You Have Lost Something You Cannot Replace...

Words cannot express how happy I am to have a run tomorrow morning. With Mom gone the holidays are ruff, and to be able to get out there for a little bit and let my mind will be a good thing.

Short entry tonight. I am just too tired. I didn't get a run in today so I feel kind of "blah". It seemed like every time I thought about it, there was something else to do. The fields behind my house were calling to me...I just could not get to them :(  I am looking forward to Friday...heading back to the trails @ Raven Run....with....wait for it...wait for it...*BAM* my new Salomon XR Mission shoes!!!

I got them for an early birthday present and have been fixated on them all evening. Words cannot express how good they feel on my feet. They are "Door to Trail" so I can also wear them on grass and some road, but why would I want to do that when I can get another pair ;)

Wish me luck tomorrow...looking for a PB. To everyone stateside...enjoy Thanksgiving...down here in KY it is going to be in the 60's so hopefully your day will take you outside!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Just Keep Doing What Makes You Happy And Keeps You Healthy...Never stop doing what makes you smile..."

That was the last thing a friend said to me face to face six years ago before he passed. While that time is something I try not to look back on, I often hear those words in my head when I run. Running is one thing that makes me happy and keeps me smiling. I may not be the best at it...but at the end of each run all is right with the world.

I feel the same way about the West Sixth Brewery Run Club. That is where I got my start. That is where I feel the best before and after runs. That is where the small group of people we meet every Tuesday has become like family. It is a place where I am very comfortable and I think I could stay  forever...

Tonight was a great run. It was a new route and the weather was perfect. I paced myself and was the last one from our group back, but I truly enjoyed it. I found myself just looking up at the sky as I ran (although I do not recommend it at night in the fall on sidewalks!).  It may sound odd, but running makes me realize how small we really are in the grand scheme of things. As I run I can't help but notice how lost people are in their own lives. But at the same time I also come face to face with problems in society that leave me feeling uncomfortable.

While running downtown I see a lot of people. I see children in daycares that are open 24 hours, spending the nights away from the parents while they work. I see homeless people pushing their carts down the street, or accepting a simple bag of potatoes from a church donation line. I have to run past these people, and while I often find myself saying "excuse me" or "sorry" or "hi" as I pass them, it leaves my heart heavy that I cannot do anything at that moment. I find myself looking directly into their eyes as I pass. I wonder what they think of me as I keep running with my headphones on. At first I was a little nervous that they may say or try to do something harmful, but it just seems that they are going about their own business, and that makes me sad for some reason. I am not sure why. Perhaps that is why I like running in the park or on the trails. Nature is harsh, but not that harsh. The eyes are the window to the soul...and while as a northerner I rarely make eye contact with people, I find that I can read people and their feelings when I do. Sometimes it is wonderful, sometimes it is exciting, sometimes it is sad...sometimes I do it for no is something I recommend trying. Reading people is a very excited thing...even if you cannot act on it or help at that moment. As a society we need to do that more....and act on it....(if only I had the courage.)

At the same time, seeing all this makes me realize how really "blessed" I am. After each run I have a great group of loved ones and friends waiting for me at the end (most times with beer :) ) Although we all have busy lives, we make time for each other on Tuesday nights. We sit and enjoy some beer and each other  while telling stories and planning new and exciting trips. Never did I think such a wonderful time would come out of going to a brewery and running 3 short miles. It is something small and simple, but perhaps that is where we need to spend most of our time as a society. Not at a brewery, but with friends...doing the small and simple things. I have realized over the past few years that life is very short. At any moment, life can decide that it no longer needs you in it.  A good night of conversation and laughter can really heal the soul. It can keep you happy...healthy and smiling.

In other news, the brewery group are all taking a ski trip in Feb. I am beyond excited....and a little nervous. I can ski...but I can't stop...which can be a problem while skiing. Wish me plan is to at least look cute out on the slopes...or the lodge...or the ambulance...or wherever this little adventure may take me :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Honey, We Are Not In Boulder...."

I could not believe what I just heard....


"I said we are not in Boulder...we do not have any trails around there for that kind of shoe".

I was floored.  A few weeks ago I walked into the run/walk shop downtown and asked the nice kid (I will call him a "kid" since I have crossed the 30 mark and he looked to be still waiting for puberty to hit) if they carried the Salomon brand of trail shoes. I did not think that was an outlandish request, however, his next response was even more hysterical than the first:

"But we do have a pair of Salomon shoes nailed to the wall as a display if you want to see what they look like....they are not for sale."

#$()*%)#$(*%)#($*%)(#$*% NAILED TO THE WALL?!

Needless to say I left that store wishing shin splints on the kid and won't be back.

Now, this exchange happened because I am in desperate need of a trail shoe for my running adventures. I love my road shoes and am extremely loyal to Saucony...but my ankles and feet are killing me. The different grade changes (douche grade) and rocky trails are just too much. I need trail shoes...and I found the shoe I need. Take your time...see their them as much as I do....

Say hello to the Salomon XR Misson trail shoe. Did I mention that I love and need this shoe?! Lucky for me I have found Lexington. My heart is I just need to get them. OH..did I mention I have a birthday coming up? ;)

Anyway, I truly believe that my run at Raven Run this weekend would have been that much better if these babies were on my feet. The run was downhill abilities were straight out of a video (or so I thought...look out Kilian Jornet!) but in the case of this run...what goes down at high speed needs to come up to the parking lot in the end (*groan*).

So I ask you...have you ever wanted to lay down in a field and quit?  Has your body, especially your legs, ever told you that you were crazy and the best thing to do would be to stop...drop...and just wait for someone to pick you up? I had that feeling. The downhill to the Overlook of the Kentucky River was high speed...feet off the ground....hitting each rock and then launching up in the air like an animal. The rush was fantastic...people looked at us like we were out of our minds....but I loved every minute of it. The reward was even overlook of the Kentucky River, resting on the rocks taking in all of nature and its beauty. But as we all know....after a few minutes you have to brush yourself off and head back up the trail..thru the fields and back to where you started. I really wish I did not have to do that. Half way up the rock trails I swear I could not feel my legs. They were shaking so hard that I had to walk for a while. Finally, I did my "Eat and Run" mental check list and decided that I was not going to die and was not I sucked it up...turned up the music and made the long run back to the car. It was an exhausting pain that made you want to just lay down..but at the same time make you wonder if you could do it again. As the wind blew thru my hair driving back down Old Richmond Road I swore I was in heaven!

Those trails were awesome and I cannot wait to do them again. The muscles used were totally different from the typical road running most do....and more intense then the grass trail running I do behind the house. I figure if I can get as much as I can in before the winter...then I will not feel so bad if the weather keeps me from them for the next few months. I hope this is not the case.

Now that I got that under my belt, I have a few road runs to do this week. Tuesday is the 6:30 West Sixth Runners club. I hope to see a few of you down there...I promise you will like it! Wednesday will be a regular long run around either the neighborhood or the grass trails behind the park. THEN..Thanksgiving morning is a 5K at Keeneland!! I can't wait. The one thing I hate about Thanksgiving is how much people eat. I figure, run a 5K before and the urge to consume an insane amount of food will not be there!

I am also going to figure out how to get my running progress linked to this page. Give me time...I think passing legislation may be easier.

Oh...and if you are looking for a hysterical blog to read, might I recommend Dakota Jones blog on this platform. Look for "Living the Dream". He is a young ultrarunner/mountain runner who has the best sense of humor. I almost peed myself reading about their adventures in go carts in San Fran! If you have trouble finding it..just google "Dakota Jones Blog" and it will come up.

Until then...perhaps I need to be in Boulder. At least then I could go in and tell that kid that I was going there....

Till next time :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Our Family Learns To Fight So We Don't Have To Run..."

That was the joke my father told me when I announced proudly that I was going to be an ultrarunner one day.

Now, don't get me wrong. My father is the most supportive person in the world, and if I say I am going to do something...he will be the first one cheering his ass off for me until I do it. But still, if you know my family... "runner" does not come to mind. We just don't do it.

I never ran growing up. Actually, I take that back...I gave cross country one quick try in middle school...and when I say quick...I am not taking about my pace. Other than that...I just went ahead and dated runners. Close enough I guess. However, I had always admired the sport and wanted to give it a try. Growing up I was very active in sports, and as an adult have always been a gym rat. I guess the one thing I have going for me is an addictive personality. When I want to do something...I give it my all until I succeed. Hopefully this will pay off in a few years :)

But before we go any further...I will update you on recent "events".

Over a year ago I lost my mother to breast cancer. No...I take that back...I lost my best friend and mother to the most aggressive f*cking breast cancer some doctors had ever seen. It hit me like nothing else ever has. For a long time (and still sometimes) I am lost...and even worse, I have the fear that I will not get to accomplish everything I want before it is my time to go. See, my parents saved all their "world travel" times for when all the kids were grown and gone. That never happened...they saved and my mom got sick. One of their dreams did not get to come true, and I am determined to never let that happen to me.

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with running. Well, at first I ran for sanity. I ran to run away from all the feelings I had concerning my mothers death. After a while, I wanted to do it so that I could do more....accomplish more in life and collect neat t-shirts. Yes, I said it...collect neat t-shirts. I started running at a local brewery down here in Lexington, KY called West Sixth Brewery.  It was not pretty. A mile felt like eternity. I hated it. I felt stupid and slow as all these sprinters took 3 miles like nothing happened. However, I had my eye on the prize...a nifty little t-shirt after 5 runs. I cool is that? Meet at the then enjoy a beer with family and friends. Perfect Tuesday if you ask me. So, I did it...and 17 weeks and runs later at the brewery I can do quite a bit more than a few miles and if I want...I can wear my neat little t-shirt :)

I have also run in a few 5K's including the MidSummers Night Run and the Race for the Cure (where I learned that if you run and cry your lungs will kind of seize up...leaving you gasping for breath...not recommended). With each run my time and technique has improved...which has given me motivation to try other distances and types of running.

That is where we kind of tie into the whole "ultrarunning" dream. As I was researching trail running I learned that I actually had a customer who is an ultrarunner. Until then, I never knew that people actually ran 50 to 100 miles or more. I was amazed...and intrigued. More research led me to another runner and a manifesto that stopped me in my tracks. There in front of me on the computer was the "Skyrunners Manifesto". With each word the desire to make my running dream come true grew stronger. Google it....sit back and take it all in. It amazed me. I started watching videos and seeing the amazing techniques these runners had mastered...but I also fell in love with the environment in which they were running. It called to me. I wanted to be there. The trails..the mountains...the open areas with no one in sight. I needed to find that. I still need to find that. I have come close in some nature preserves here in Lexington, complete with rock downhills and amazing views at the end....but I need more. I need more and I need to run more. I am at the point now where if I do not run...I feel a little empty at the end of the day.

So, I guess this is where I will begin to share my journey. I am not starting this blog at day 1. I am already on my way. The reason I have started this blog is because of all the wonderful friends and family members who have encouraged me on the way. People have actually asked me to do I will. It will be interesting to look back after my first 50 miler and see where I was each step of the way (even if it is from a hospital :) )

Until then, sit back and enjoy. Currently I am preparing for my first half marathon (13 miles) in March with a few 5K and 10K races before then. It is November in KY and getting I am sure there will be much talk of the cold...the dark...excess snot and not feeling body parts. Enjoy all that too...and come join me if you want. I mostly run alone....but every Tuesday you can find me at West Sixth Brewery. I will talk to you alone with my headphones on during the running portion...and meet back up with you for a beer afterwards. You will have fun...and after 5 runs you get a nifty t-shirt. How many people do you know that have a running shirt from a brewery?

Just please remember...I am just starting this journey an it will be long. In the end my goal is to run in the Western States 100 before I die or hit 40...unless I die while running in it...then that would be OK in my book. I am giving myself 9 years. For once in my life I think people can agree with a time frame like that...I am not rushing things :)