I represent all the mothers out there who, like me, have discovered a precious gift in running. I have also discovered that coming in last in a race is not the absolute worst thing in the world! I run for the sheer love of it, for the health benefits of it, and for the positive impact it has on my girls. Welcome to my blog!
December 12, 2007: Jingle Bell Run, AquaJogger
Duluth's first annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5k was last Saturday, 12-08 at 9:30 am. Due to the organizers wanting to keep the course entirely on UMD campus grounds, it was actually about 1/2 mile short of a 5k, but no big deal. When I left home for the race, I had -23 below on my Explorer guage, without wind. My dad meant well when he warned me, "Don't freeze your lungs!" But I had to laugh to myself how it reminded me of the little boy on "A Christmas Story" being warned not to shoot his eye out! I dress very warm and probably over-plan and bring tons of extra stuff, and I've run in the winter a few years now, so my well-intentioned dad did not have to worry about me freezing my lungs. Anyhow, when I got up to Dululth, it had warmed up to about -10 below, which was good. There were only around 30 people I think in all, which was fine with me. I was happy to be part of a small, first time race like ours this last summer. It was for the Arthritis Foundation, so a good cause too. My grandma has terrible arthritis, so this cause has a lot of meaning to me. Many people had bells tied to their shoelaces, or wore them pinned elsewhere. That was really neat to hear as you ran along. The course was mostly on sidewalks around UMD, some slippery spots, had to be careful going down the one hill. I think some ran/walked inside too, but I'm not sure how many. Overall, I think they did a really good job with the race. They had a lot of good food at the end, even Christmas cookies! Because there were only 30 or so of us there, we all got medals, since they had "2007" on them. That made me happy, but I kind of felt like I didn't really deserve it because I am pretty positive I would not have placed in my age group. Well, I am thankful for it regardless! They gave out awesome draw prizes too, the best I have ever seen in a race! Bed and Breakfast stays, huge gift certificates to the Athlete's Foot, nice coffee mugs, and even a new car! Ok, that's not true, just checking if you're awake. But they did have great draw prizes, and really huge Christmas stockings filled with prizes too. I thought the long sleeve cotton shirts were also very nice. Overall I thought it was a very nice and fun race. My girls and the rest of our running group wanted to come, but it didn't work out for anyone else. I know they will all try again next year.
My right outer hip/buttock area was a bit sore, so I am thinking maybe a bursitis from compensating with the healing of the left hip over the past months....I don't know, or sciatic problems? Grrrrr. But I made a decision and went to Duluth Running Co. after the race and bought an AquaJogger, which I have been contemplating for some time now anyway. I do occasional water running workouts at the pool in town, and I have always just used a water noodle under my arms to keep me up in the deep end. Or else I have just used nothing and tried to do running that way, which is harder and less effective I think because you wobble all over. I really think if you do a water workout right, it is very beneficial and of course great for healing because it is impact free. I usually do 30 second bursts of running (in place) as fast as I can, with a 30 second rest, for a total of 30-45 minutes. My way of doing it is more a substitute for a tempo workout I suppose, but I have definitely seen good results and know it has worked to keep me in shape in the past. I went to the pool today to try this thing out. I loved it! I will never go back to the noodle! It worked well and I think I got a pretty good workout for my first time trying to use it. I did about 45 minutes total. You do really have to have it strapped on TIGHT like they say, so that was interesting...nothing like having a big black band strapped super tight across your belly while wearing a swimsuit. Good thing the pool I use is fairly non-populated at the times I go. The AquaJogger came with a CDrom type thing that I have not watched, and an instruction booklet. The booklet was very helpful and also described many other ways you can exercise in the pool with the AquaJogger. Does anyone out there use one of these? Anyone have the Aquafit Barbells or the AquaRunner foot things? I was thinking of getting the barbells for more arm resistance, but don't know how they would be. Well, I think I may be looking into a month pass at the pool to save money, and doing some more cross training for now.
November 29, 2007: Just Chillin'
I had a really enjoyable run today. I was able to run one of my favorite routes, about a 4.5 mile loop. I have to say, I am so happy to be back at running! I can't say enough how I have missed being able to run regularly. Just being out there running, was really, really fantastic. Brrrrr, cold here on the homefront. I had 11 degrees today as I hit the Munger Trail. Again, I surprised myself and did not overdress. I felt really good, plenty warm. My joints felt a little stiff though, which I can't imagine is a good thing, so that tells me that maybe I should have worn more? I did have two layers of running pants on and I did my normal warm up...As I was going to take a drink from my flask in the last 1/2 mile, I realized that my water had become ice crystals frozen to the sides of the plastic flask, and that the cover was completely frozen shut. Winter running in Minnesota, we sure have missed you!
I know some of you out there really do prefer running in this weather, and I can't say I totally blame you...since I started running in the winter for the first time two years ago, I have definitely developed an appreciation for the beauty out there on a cold, snowy day...a calm, cold day with snowflakes gently falling to the ground around you can be like running in a fantasy land. We are all so lucky to be runners here in MN, where we have four distinctly different seasons. Part of what has made running so enjoyable to me over the past 2 1/2 yrs is what I see out there on a run. I love running my same few routes over different seasons. For example, the river that I run over in the summer, gurgles and rushes under the bridge so loudly, I always smile to myself as if it's cheering me on as I cross it's path. Today, that same river is starting to crust up on top with ice sheets, and it seems to be getting less and less enthusiastic as I cross. I love that about running. In all seasons. Even when I run alone, I am not fully alone. I see my trails and paths and routes as "friends" in a weird sort of way. I think runners understand that. I recognize the little changes in a ditch or road or a missing tree by the trail since my last run there. I know the big old crack in the sidewalk that I always have to be mindful of or I will be sent sprawling... I know where the lavender grows in some person's garden along my route, and as I brush past it, I inhale it's calming scent the rest of the way on my run. Even today, as I ran past, I found myself smelling of lavendar as I continued on.
I love to run. I love so much about running! I am not fast. I don't have to be fast. I will never win a first place medal in a big race, and I will run very contentedly knowing that fact. I love so much about every run I go on...the effort that it takes to do it, the sweat, the weather around me, the sound of my feet hitting the ground and my breath coming in steady huffs...I love the "me time" I get when I run. I love the animals and critters I see on my runs. I love how I feel during a run (usually!) and after a run. I love keeping track in my journal how every run has gone, the route, the weather, how I felt...and I love looking back at all the pages upon pages of effort, nature, cross training, races, crazy weather runs, "woo hoo" runs, and even the not so good runs. They all make up my journey. And I am very thankful for my journey as a runner.
November 27, 2007: Gobble Gallop!
November 15, 2007: Ryan Shay Memorial Run Saturday 11-17
I thought this was a great idea, and a way we, the running community, can honor the memory of a fellow runner. Someone (a coach?) had an idea to do a memorial run for Ryan Shay this Saturday, November 17th. They said to do a 5.5 mile run (the point of the Olympic Marathon Trial race he collapsed at), or any distance run or walk in memory and honor of Ryan. They said "our goal is to get as many runners on this planet as possible running this virtual memorial together." You can view peoples' blog entries about this memorial run,
and you can write your own comment to Ryan's family.
If you go to www.runnersworld.com
then in the search box at the top, type in "Ryan Shay memorial runs,"
then go under "2. R. S. Latest News and Links"
then click on "R.S. 5.5 mile memorial run in your hometown, Saturday November 17"
Hope you can find it by this description. I feel that a specific run dedicated to someone is a very personal and meaningful tribute.
November 5, 2007: Marathon Trials
Just an update on what I have read on Ryan Shay (see last blog). Sunday's Duluth News Tribune had an article that said he had an enlarged heart for years, since he was 14. A few years later they found his heart was even more enlarged, but they felt it was because he was a runner. Doctors felt he may have needed a pacemaker at an older age. He was cleared for running this spring by his doctors. An autopsy will be performed.
On a more positive note, I am happy to see that Jason Lehmkuhle of Team USA MN finished 5th. I briefly met him at the 2006 Gearing Up For Grandma's Seminar in Duluth. There were several other runners in the Olympic Trials who also had ties to MN, a few of them previous Garry Bjorklund 1/2 Marathon winners. Congratulations to all who ran on Saturday!