This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Walk in the Park

Last week I asked the girls to take two (of our three) dogs for a walk around the lake while I ran it. Those lucky winners were Ricky and Brenna. I decided today I would take Lucy.

We started from the house since the lake is close by. I picked her up when crossing streets. She's not a dog that likes to be picked up. But these are busy streets and I didn't want to take any chances.

There's an apartment complex that has a nice pathway to the lake, which I always take, even though I feel like I'm going to get attacked and go missing. On our way to the path, I noticed a woman with two dogs approaching the path. I thought: please go first. please go first. Lucy is pretty high-strung and, despite being around kids, dogs and a cat, she is still anti-social.

But the nice lady decided to chat and introduce her pup, Hannah, who rolled over and over, excited to meet a new friend. Lucy was on high alert and it probably didn't help that I was too. As we meandered onto the murderous path, Lucy looked very, very timid and was looking at me like: where the hell are you taking me? Do you see how dangerous this path is? But she kept long as she was on the asphalt, which was pretty narrow due to all the leaves. It wasn't too bad walking on the leaves...

Once we got to the lake, she seemed to get her bearings and had a nice bounce in her gait. When we got to the first bridge, I stopped so she could see the ducks. She looked, which was so cute, but then climbed up on me, like, "let's get moving". So we move on. On the second bridge, I stopped to take a picture of her looking at the ducks.

Before we left, I asked her to look at me, hoping she'd climb up so I could get a picture of that. Instead, she did something even better. She posed.

Isn't she adorable? You would never think this dog could growl at you as you nudge your foot, while she's lying at the end of the chair with you. Or that she has a felony record.

I noticed that there were *a lot* of runners. Why? Because it was a gorgeous day. And the weather was perfect. A great day to run. Well, I'm still glad I got my run in yesterday so I could take the dog out for such a long walk (for her). It was Lucy's day: I let her sniff everything she wanted and give the death stare to all the passing dogs.

There is still a lot of ice left in our lake. For those not familiar with Raleigh, OUR LAKES DO NOT ICE UP. This lake is pretty wide too, so to have any ice is pretty strange. This is a nice picture of the lake on one side, where you can see the water line vs. the ice line:

When we got to one end of the lake, you could see the ducks standing on top of the ice:

And a close-up:

I was worried I'd see one stuck in the ice...

Little Lucy was losing steam. But every so often, she'd turn to look at me, which was just adorable. I tried to get a picture of her doing it but this is the best I could do.

I decided not to go the via the murder path back to the hacienda and went up Lynn Road, which is a major roadway. This was a bit daunting for Lucy with all the cars racing by us. Again, she would not move from the center of the sidewalk, also slightly narrowed by leaves. I saw a runner coming towards us and could NOT get her to move towards me. I had to apologize to the runner, who had to scoot by this 15 lb. dog who would not budge.

Just a few feet from the major crossing, Lucy sat down. That is her cue that she's done walking. I picked her up and carried her, crossed the road, and put her back down to see if she would continue. She did. We made it back in one piece (no attack on the murder path). Here's another habit I'd like to keep doing.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Endurance Not Speed

My first post of the new year. It's been awhile. Let's make this a habit.

I love running. The past few years, I still run, just not on a tight schedule as I did when I was racing a lot...with a running coach. Sigh. I miss those days.

I try to explain to CJ, who I 'strongly encourage' (aka force) to do track in the Spring, that just because I love running doesn't mean I go out and _gleefully_ run. I love it but it's hard. It's hard to do and especially, to be motivated to get going. But once I do, I'm still not, like, WOO-HOOing, during the run. But the high at the end...and sometimes, during...yeah, that's a great feeling.

But there's something wonderful about running for me...during the run. I love the cadence. I love how my body feels, even if I'm complaining. I love the mental strength to keep myself going. I love that I _can_ keep going. I love the option to stop whenever I want but the bargaining I do with myself to get to a certain point. I love the focus. It's just a great thing.

I haven't written much about my running mainly because my running hasn't been regular, nor have I been training for anything. Well, technically, I have/should be training for races but I end up not showing up for them. Just money going straight to charity without me participating.

But I hope I don't make that another case with the Rock-n-Roll marathon coming to Raleigh in April. I'm doing the half marathon. I'm not ready to double the desired 13.1 miles. Not on my bucket list (a marathon) although I don't have it out of the question.

Fortunately, a few of my favorite people have signed up too, so I'm not at a loss for (good) peer pressure to get out there and run.

I started my exercise and runs last week. My last run was September 29, where I put in an awesome six mile run, in preparation for a five mile race just a couple weeks away. I didn't show up for the race. And I didn't run again after that.

Since my half is nearing and I've been procrastinating, I started running with my regular running buds, Audrey Podrey and Melisa. We got an easy two miles in one day, I did another two miles in two days later, then put my "long" run in that Sunday with three miles.

This week, I only got one run in during the week - a 'speedy-for-me' with another Melissa, Jenian, and Nancy. So, an unexpected tempo run. :) Melissa, who is also doing the half (as well as Jenian, Melisa, and Nancy), sent me (and others) her training plan and reminded us that we had a *five* mile run this weekend. Hmmm...five miles? I barely got three in last weekend...and while I got three in this past week, it was not easy trying to keep up with speedy Nancy and Melissa.

So I got up, did some stuff (like helping Tim lift a 600 lb. double-oven), then decided: OK. I'll see how far I can get. Looked at the temperature. 28 degrees. WTF?? I am not a fan.

By the time I got my shit on and together, the temperature got to 30 degrees. The run to the lake made me re-think if this was such a good idea. My nose was feeling the effect of the chill and the wind. I wondered if it would get frostbitten.

But I moved on and managed to get to the lake, where the miracle of apartment buildings and trees blocked most of the wind from freezing my nose off. I had the company of Marilyn Manson, Grouplove, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Alex & Sierra, plus my constant counting to 100, to keep my mind occupied as I looped the 2.20 mile lake twice, and then some, to get to five miles.

And that, my friends, made me very happy. I went non-stop and I thought: how the hell did I do that when I could barely get three miles in last week? I had a decent pace - I wasn't going at the speed of a fast walk. And with each mile, I was getting a few seconds faster, except the last one, even though I thought I was faster but it was faster than the average pace for the first three miles.

So, I may not be as fast as I had been during those years of racing, running regularly, with those amazing speed workouts, but the endurance is still there.

Now...if I can just keep up this regiment...and show up for the race.