Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hills, hills, hills

Week 8 consisted of sitting throughout the day and more sitting and eating in the evening.  Hardly any running was completed and I felt so guilty thinking about, possibly, not able to finish the half marathon which is due in a couple of weeks.  So nerve wracking!

I was in Berkeley, CA for our organizations strategic planning for the year.  So much clarity was happening yet, my running was a bit flurry.  I love to run in the rain but I didn't seem to be able to get out on the street to run.  I would look up Bancroft west to the Berkeley campus wondering if it was possible to put in a run.  I'm not use to running on the streets in a city so I did feel a bit nervous and scared.  Until, I realized, I needed to put in another long run before the half marathon showed up on my doorstep.

On Sunday, I donned the layers of clothing and headed out on Bancroft toward the campus.
No vehicles.
A couple walkers

I had googled before hand to make sure I made it to the Fire Trail not realizing how many hills were involved.  Which is a good thing, otherwise I wouldn't have made it out the door.  The landscape was gorgeous and it being at sea level, I had enough oxygen to last me 10 miles throughout 2 hours.  I was the only person out there until I saw feline paw tracks, fear rippled through me.  They were fresh tracks and I lost focus.  I began to focus on the outskirts of the tree line thinking I might get jumped so I picked up a couple of sticks, not sure how that would have helped me but I think it would have.  :)

Until, finally, I ran into a couple of ladies walking.  They instructed me to turn around if I wanted to get back to where I came from so I listened and as I admired the view again, I forgot where I was, just that it was an awesome day for a 10 miler!

Yes, I'm ready to complete the first half marathon in over 7 yrs!!

Run Claudia Run

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Piling on the mileage ...

I've been, mentally, preparing for it all week.  9 miles!  Pile on the mileage!
This week was a very good week by sticking to the training plan, except my long runs had to be adjusted.
So, yesterday, I mapped out the route to complete the 9miles.  There were 3 routes that I considered and I stuck to the one that was more secluded and I'm so happy that I did.  I hadn't run this route since 2004 when I last trained for a half marathon.  Wow!  The many changes in landscape.

There is now an auto mall that sits on this route and a shopping mall.
As I passed the auto mall of Hondas, VW, Jeeps, Toyotas, I thought... hmmmmm.. wouldn't it be great to visit these places and see if any of the dealerships would showcase their energy efficient vehicles at our Green Awareness Days.  That would be great education in itself and marketing for them as well.

My runs, I've noticed, have turned strategic planning on ways to educate our communities about sustainable, green living.   People really just need to become aware of the many ways to live sustainably.

Then, my thoughts went wandered over to the City of Flagstaff electric bus.  Wouldn't it be great to utilize that transportation by picking up people along the way to one of our events?  We could provide snacks and such for the riders and they could donate some cash to our cause.  Wow!  I was on a roll!

But, my body was not acclimated yet.  2 miles into the run, I wanted to turn around.  My shoulders were stiff and my posture was not right.

Come on Claudia
You can do it.
Don't think about the miles
Look around at the beautiful sunrise
You haven't experienced this in a long time
Isn't it nice?

Yes, solo running prepares me mentally on the challenges that I face on a daily basis.  I always think, if I can train my mind and body to complete such a task, as 9miles?, what have I got to complain about.  The wind is at my back now and I can feel the chilly air at the nape of my neck.

3 mile marker and this section of the route is downhill.  As I come into a clearing, I see a herd of deer.  Their heads pop up as they sense my arrival.  I'm far away from them but they see me.  They stand, staring, I'm sure wondering if I'm a hunter.  Oh no, I'm just a crazy solo runner and I yell out.. Hello there deer!  hahaha.. Am I already delusional and I'm only at 4 miles.  The closer I get, they start turning toward the outline of the ponderosa pines.  They trot into the woods and leave me all alone shuffling down the road and guess what!  I"m at the 5 mile marker!

This is where I turn around and head back towards the same route I've come.  O dear, the daunting task of uphills.  I tear open a strawberry banana gu, slurp it down and wash it down with some gatorade!  I hope my tummy remembers this stuff!  By the 6 mile marker, the left knee begins to ache but I'm not thinking about it.  I'm thinking of all the many community members that now approached me to hold one of the Green Awareness Days in their community.

I'm thrilled that people are becoming aware.  Aware of the situations and issues relating to our environment.

I'm thinking a big juicy steak!
Some beer too! haha
Most importantly, a massage to work out the stiffness in my neck

The last 1/2 mile was an incline and I have never worked so hard to keep my legs moving.  This is always the toughest part, knowing the end is near.  I pushed to the stop light at Empire and Hwy 89 wondering if I can cross the street, if I stop... then, its still another 1/2 mile to my home.

It was an excellent day!

Water, Ice, bananas, oranges and hoping for a nice juicy steak later this afternoon!

Until next time, enjoy yourselves and think about doing some exercise, physically or mentally!  It keeps us healthy.


Run Claudia Run

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

unraveling the mindless into being mindful

The temperature...
It's chilly...
It's like 10 degrees! ..
5 miles
4 miles
3 miles
hit the snooze button..
This is how my training is thus far but I'm not giving up.

As I ran my usual loops at the Buffalo Park, I became mindful of my environment.  Looking at the lightest brown roots of the plants as they seemed to shiver in the chilly air yet, the chirping birds in the ponderosa pines make things seem more like Spring is around the corner!
Oh, how I can't wait for spring but quickly I'm reminded again of why the ground is frozen right now as I listen to the crunch of the snow under the soles of rubber that has carried me for miles now.  I go back to when I was having a conversation with my mother about what that crunching under my shoes mean .... Yas nil tees .. she was describing it to me as the crunchiness of winter but I thought of it as ..'Snap, Krackle, Pop' the slogan for the rice krispies cereal.  I smile thinking how quickly my mind shifts back to   this generation of convenience.

In the distance, Doko'oo'sliid, the sacred San Franciso Peaks loom beautifully and I think of our beloved people that have been working against snow making with reclaimed water to bring economic development to this border town.  I don't understand why, even our own Dine' people don't stand up to this desecration of our sacred sites.  I send prayers and positive thoughts to the Save the Peaks Coalition for always speaking out and that I stand with them as well, in spirit and prayer if not in person.

I have learned with this challenge of winter training what it means to fully commit to a plan.  Honestly, I have yet to fully commit because of my lack of confidence in fending off the cold and letting the warmth of my home be my security.

I've made that first step of unraveling the mindless into being mindful...
Commit to a plan!

9 miler, here I come this weekend!  Be ready!  :)