Storm after storm has hit Portland in the last couple of weeks. There has been constant rain, intermittent with snow, and so I have been driven to the gym for my running and workouts. Last night I was there a little late and I don't know for some reason the running was easier....The treadmills are on the top floor, which is lined with windows, and I could see my reflection in them. My reflection was marred by all of the rain against the glass. I was shadowy at best. Still I found the sound of treadmill more than a little comforting. It was rhythmic, like a pacemaker....the consummate sound of a manmade heartbeat.
I ran in two parts yesterday. First at the golf course and then at the track. At the track I listened to the music my roommate put on my mp3 player. He likes dark, smooth, easy music, that kind of reminds me of getting fucked up and falling in love all at the same time. Anyways i was listening to this song that I posted up above when it began to snow. It was really cold, but I don't know it was incredibly beautiful. It was dark out, but the track was lit by flood lights, and all of this snow just glittered and caught the light as it fell. It was kind post apocalyptic.
I was all alone with my music, on the empty track, with the lights left on. I guess I felt strange..... Singular...... Vulnerable, and maybe a little sad. It got so cold, I didn't want to run anymore. Afterwards I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as I sat in the car with the heater on. It was just a good moment, even if it was just a little lonely.
This is my 5k time. And truthfully my goal was to get under 27 minutes, and this I did so I am happy. Especially since a couple of weeks ago I couldn't have even run a mile. I am so excited to add some mileage to my workout and to rebuild my miles. After I am done with this post I am thinking that I will try and hit the gym and up my mileage. I have a little bit of a cold and truthfully I don't want to run outside. I am hoping that tonight I can hit up 5 miles!!!!!
On my 2 mile run outside of Cottage Grove
Anyways....... On Friday I drove from Portland to Ashland which is about 279 miles away. About 100 miles outside of Gresham, where I live, I stopped and went for a baby 2 mile run to stretch my legs out. Oregon never ceases to amaze me, you have so many different climates. The part of Oregon I am in right now is rainy and grey during this time of year. Still it is beautiful and I love running the roads here. You know every person that I encountered on this run moved over for me and waved. How cool is that...... On a side note, I seriously love my blue headband and purple windbreaker!!!!
I arrived in Ashland around 7:00 and settled into my friend, Sam's guest room. She has this beautiful farm house in the hills of Southern Oregon. It kind of reminds me of the grecian coast. I mean Southern Oregon is incredibly fertile. Most of her neighbors have farms, orchards and vineyards. It was easy to fall asleep, and I slept deeply. In the morning we went to the race which was 45 minutes away in Rogue River.
It was a pretty small race. The weather was horrible, and only us hardcore nuts seemed to have showed up. I felt so grateful to have a friend who was willing to get up super early, drive me to my race and cheer for me in the snow and cold. There is nothing like finishing a race and having someone cheering for you. It is corny, but if you have that, you already have won.
The first part of the race was uphill and the second part was downhill. I should have had a better time, but I expended all of my energy too quickly. It was a little disappointing, but this is my first 5k and I just need to start the process of shaving off the time. So next time I will aim for 25 minutes, and hopefully I will just get better and better.
Here are some pictures that Sam took:
On a side note: I didn't run yesterday..Driving home a day after the race really took it out of me, so this week I need to step it up.....
This diner is in my opinion is the best combination of carbs, fiber, and protein that a vegetarian like me can have.
Diced Bell Pepper
Salt and Pepper
Take Humus and spread it evenly over the Pita patties, then cover with shredded Mozzarella, and add toppings like the tomatoes, bell peppers and spinach. When all of the toppings have been added sprinkle a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper on top. Other toppings might include artichoke hearts, broccoli, etc.
Heat the oven to 3:50 and only heat until mozzarella is completely melted.
I ran around Gresham today. It was actually my first time on pavement since I injured myself. I was disappointed that towards the end of my run I was sore. I was hoping to go a long slow 5 miles but that just didn't happen....It was frustrating. How long is it going to take until I am back to 100%?
This weekend I have a quick 5k in Medford and I am so excited. I will get too see some old friends, and run a race that is not too long but not to short. I am so excited!!!!! However, I am a little dissapointed because originally I was planning on this race being my second half marathon, but I am not ready. Today proved that. I mean there are parts of me that are ready, but the part of me, my bursa, is not ready. I need to go back to the trails and the track, be kind, and patient....AND PRAY>>>>
One thing I am praying for is that the weather will be ok. My friend who I am visiting down there says that bad weather is coming in that could be worse than my 13.1 miles. Supposedly there might be snow, rain, wind and low temperatures. Right now it is 70 degrees down there, but that is supposed to change maybe. Hopefully we will get one more day of good weather before the storm hits.
Yesterday was valentines day. I am ambivalent about valentines day because my husband is deployed to Afghanistan for a year and holidays like this make me feel very alone. Its hard but on days like that you have to recommit to yourself, celebrate your strength and ability to be alone. So on Valentines day I recommitted to my workout plans, my running, and my fitness/nutrition goals.
I returned to the gym, and cross trained. I ran 4 miles on the treadmill, and I lifted weights intermittently with the running. It was good to really sweat again. Today i am really sore in my center. Hopefully today I can get in a long slow run. But not too long. My goal is to up my mileage just a tiny bit.
So I hit the track again and it was good.....I mean it felt good. Not as effortless as running a trail, but my body really stretched out lengthened and breathed. It was a quick 4 miles that left my heart pounding in my chest. I love that feeling of over exertion. Where you just feel undone. It feels good to be getting back on track. Now I just need to slow it down and increase my milage.
Today I saw the light. In exercise you have hills and you have plateaus. I am on the edge, and I can feel it in my speed, the lightness of my feet, and the effortlessness of my stride. At first my injury really upset me. It made me angry at my body. This is something everybody faces. No one is exempt, and its as if in order to achieve a higher level in the sport you first have to pay for it. Running, tests your commitment by throwing these little curve balls.
Today I traveled to Oregon City and ran 4 miles along the Clackamas River Trail. This is by far one of my favorite places to run. It is just this incredible path that stretches along the river for miles on end. It was one of those days where it was cold, but with no rain. In Portland you learn to appreciate the sunshine, and today was bright. I can't even describe how beautiful it was. It was like the sunlight caught every particle in the air and these particles just glittered.
For me Oregon City has a lot of bad memories. In the past when I would drive by Oregon City I would cringe inside, and try and pass by it quickly. I could almost see the girl I was standing along the side of the road, who hated her body, relied on others for validations and struggled to be happy. Running here is very therapeutic because running allows me to reclaim this space and my power in this space. That sounds corny, but bare with me. Running empowers you; it makes you feel strong, and competent. In a place/city where I felt lost, I am now powerful. This is my favorite thing about running. It allows you to redefine yourself as an individual capable of enduring great adversity. When I run, I am the person I want to be..
On a lighter note, I can really feel myself getting ready to make a lot of progress, and I am excited for this to happen.
My running posts have hit a lull. And I feel so guilty about it because truthfully my writing fortifies my running and vice versa. There are so many things that I need to do to get this blog up to date, like count my miles, update my race schedule, my blogs mileage and update my workout log.
Right now my focus has been to get my mileage back up while not hurting/rehurting my knee. To be honest there is still a little pain involved in this process. What is really strange is that my joints now pop. Never, ever before in my life have my joints popped like this. You can hear the sick cracking sound they make and oh how I wince. Its not painful, it actually feels good, but it just is strange.
In other news I have found a trail that wraps around a golf course and is on super soft earth. Its kind of a strange trail, but it gives me a workout. It really makes me sweat, because their is a lot of give in the ground, and there is not a whole lot of even ground, so I am either running up hill or down hill. Its a two mile trail, but it really feels a lot longer than that.
I took yesterday off, and it is strange how just one day of exercise feels like an eternity. More to come tonight.
Went 4 miles on the eliptical today and it was wonderful. Not that elipticals are wonderful. In fact they suck. They really, really really, really suck! I mean its like running in slow motion. BUT here is the good part I did it and it didn't feel painful. I mean it felt a little tight towards the end, and I am icing it right now, but it truly felt ok. This is a small victory. Hopefully tommorow I will feel even better.
Our bodies are incredible. I think sometimes I forget that. This last week I have felt really ungrateful, and frustrated….. And you know what? I am only hurting myself more by not appreciating this wonderful body that I have been given. Only a year and half ago I couldn’t run a full mile. 4years ago I was a good 35lbs heavier. Isn’t the transformation we are capable of just jaw dropping wonderful?
Yesterday, I read an article about Dean Karnazes, perhaps the fittest man alive. He is famous for running 50 marathons, in 50 days, in 50 states. What??????? Seriously, how incredible is that? Like I said, the human body is amazing. It is humbling to see what limits we can push ourselves to. I think that is why I am falling in love with the running community, because it is filled with people who are always asking “How far can I go?” This is a quality that constitutes real character
In this article in Runners World, Dean Karnazes says “We runners don’t need a lot. It is not what we have but what we enjoy that constitutes our abundance”. How beautiful is that? The last couple days I have taken it really easy, which has been really hard, but today when I hit the track, hopefully it will feel better. If it doesn’t I am going to be humble, and kind, and try again tomorrow.
You have to crawl before you can walk. OR.....as one of my old swimming coaches used to say, "you have to go slow before you can go fast". This is what I keep telling myself in regards to my body. Right now my biggest problem is myself. I am battling my own pride, and machismo. I started this journey and damn't I want to finish it. am battling myself. Tonight I went for my run, and yeah my leg is feeling a hell of a lot better, but a mile into it I could feel the soreness begin to itch at the back of my knee cap. Walking away from a run makes me feel like a failure. Waiting for my knee to heal is like waiting for water to boil. This one step back is turning into 2 steps back.
Being injured has forced me to cross train more than I normally would. The other day I went to my Yoga class. After working and motivating myself, it is really nice to go a class and have someone else push you. My instructor is this short Indian man, who is incredibly centered and who carries himself similar to how a dancer would. At the end of his class I am always reduced to a sweaty exhausted mess. I like that a lot.
Yoga is good for meditation, because it helps me visualize and put my intentions for the future out there. The last pose of every class is savasana (the dead man's pose) where you lay on your back and seal your practice. I always imagine myself as a snake shedding its skin, and beginning anew. Lately I spend this time placing my intent on my running. I imagine my body being lean and long. I imagine my legs reaching out in front of me and my heartbeat being soft and content. I imagine my lungs as incredible vessels filling and distributing my body with energy.
Maybe all of this is pointless, but I really believe that placing my intent on my body is a very good way of preparing myself for training.