Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I feel the need to clarify a couple of things for you. It's come to my attention recently that there are some misconceptions out there about me. 

First and foremost, let me be very clear about this fact: unless your definition of the word "good," has nothing to do with speed or technique, I am NOT a good runner!! Only if you consider anyone who puts one foot in front of the other moving in a forward motion a good runner could I ever fall into that category.  In pretty much every way, I am nothing more than a mediocre runner. Which is a pretty entertaining statement considering I write a blog about running.  But, it is a true statement nonetheless. I can't tell you how often people tell me that they don't want to run with me because I am so fast or good. This cracks me up as many of them would probably run circles around me. Somehow, and I think unintentionally, I have misled many of you into thinking that I am some sort of accomplished runner. Again, let me state, I am a mediocre runner at best. Sure, I've never finished a race in last place, but I've also never finished first. On the few occasions I have even come near the top of the pack, I can assure you it has only been a reflection on the size of the race, not the speed of my stride. 

I think if I am going to be very honest with you, even honest with myself, I have probably enjoyed the misconception. Of course a part of me enjoys when people think if me as a good runner. I can't lie and say that I don't wish I was better. Of course I wish I was one of those runners who turns heads and inspires awe as I pass by. Trust me, I am not. To all of those wonderful people out there who have said they could never keep up with me: I am flattered, but you are under the wrong impression. 

Before people think I am being too hard on myself, let me tell you that I am perfectly okay with not being a good runner. I am a proud runner regardless of my speed or skill. Running is not easy for me. I don't do it because I am fast, I do it because it is hard. Very hard. 

Second, when people hear about this blog or find out how often I run, they assume I love running.  Let me clarify that as well, the runs where I feel in love with running while its happening are few and VERY far between. During 90% of my runs, I am counting down the miles until it is over. Running is not always fun while it's happening. In fact, pretty often running is kind of miserable while it's happening. No matter how many miles a week I put in, my lungs are usually on fire and my legs feel like lead (maybe this has something to do with paragraphs two and three of this blog).  While there are lots runners out there who love every step of the long run, I am not one of them (except every now and then.  Every now and then, there are runs that are amazing from the first step to last). 

I do still love running. I just usually love it after it's over.  I love it for the way I feel after accomplishing a particularly long or hard run.  Knowing that I am capable of doing hard things, things that I don't always enjoy, things that I am not good at gives me a pride and confidence that goes well beyond the running trail. 

Something Is Coming

Something is coming.  I promise I haven't forgotten you (because I'm sure you've just been on the edge of your seat for something from me.. HA HA). 
But, I came across this and I just had to share it.  http://storylineblog.com/2014/07/23/you-dont-need-more-talent-or-time/
Do it people.  Write, create, share.  We don't have to be perfect in what we put out there (thank Goodness!), we just need to put it out there.  The more of us who put out our raw, unfiltered selves, the more we can see how truly alike we all are.  If we stop pretending to be something we aren't, and this is really, really hard people (being real, to me, is much harder than being fake), we can be free to become all that we can be.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blocked Blogger

I want to write something. I want to write something witty, exciting, and insightful. I want to inspire and motivate you. I want you to enjoy reading what I've written and to keep coming back to read more. 

And I will. Just not today. And maybe not tomorrow.  Right now, I'm all out of wit, excitement, and insight. I've got nothing to give. But, it will come. And when it does, I promise to put it all down for you to read. 

Until then, know I am thinking of you. I am still running for and with you and I will see you soon. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Signs 5 - A Pictorial

When I started going through my running pictures for this post, I realized how much I've been missing running the city. I have gotten in a rut lately of running the same pre-dawn neighborhood route or pounding it out on the treadmill. Inspiration has been a little lacking on my runs.  They've been more about just getting the run done instead of taking the run in.  I often say that if even just one person is inspired by my blog, I've accomplished what I set out to do. Well, mission accomplished! These pictures have me feeling inspired to get back out there and see more of the signs that I know the Universe has waiting for me. 

Okay, now that I'm ready to run, I need your help. To all of my Houston area friends, where do you run?  Where are your favorite paths?  Where do you feel most inspired running?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tolerance: An Obvious Lesson

Yesterday's run took me past one of my very favorite art installations in all of Houston. 

I wish these pictures could do them justice. There is just something so peaceful and calming about these guys. You should see them at night. They are such an awesome addition to our trail system. 

The name of this art installation is Tolerance. 

Could there be a more obvious lesson?  I didn't even have to try to think of a blog post, this one was just waiting for me along the trail. Tolerance. 

Doesn't the world just need a little (a lot) more tolerance?  Wouldn't that solve so many of our problems?  Isn't intolerance (social, political, religious, sexual, racial, or just in general) really at the heart of most of our unrest?  The unwillingness to accept, consider, or tolerate any views outside of our own has pitted family member against family member, friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, and country against country for all of time. Intolerance has caused so much hurt and violence, yet we can't seem to shake it. 

What if we looked  at what is behind intolerance? What would we find? I think if we looked at the true root cause of intolerance, we'd find some serious fear. The truth is, we are all afraid of the unknown.  Ideas and people who are different from us plain ol' scare the hell out of us. I think it's okay to admit this. In fact, admitting to the fear is what will lead to the release of the fear. For most of us, life starts out pretty homogenous. We are born into a family who, most likely, all look and believe and act in the same as us. That family tends to associate with more people who look and believe and act in the same manner. So, when we are eventually exposed to people who look or believe or act differently, our first inclination is fear. Here is the thing, it's what we do with that fear that becomes so dangerous. When, instead of looking to overcome or understand the fear, we try to cover it up with anger and rejection, we open the door to intolerance and all the ugliness that comes with it.
So, why do we need to become more tolerant?  Well, aside from the obvious and most important answer of peace, tolerance and acceptance of others will make us a better society of humans.  Do you remember when we were little in school and our teachers would put us in "think groups?"  We would get a problem and all have to work together to come up with the very best solution.  Our teacher didn't put us in groups with our friends who were just like us.  She put us in groups of kids with different backgrounds, ideas, and experiences.  And it was because of these differences that we would eventually reach the best solutions.  One person putting out their idea, with the next expanding upon it based on their knowledge and opinions, and the next person taking it even further, and so on.  Well, this is exactly how life is meant to be.  We were all created different so that we could all together become better. 

We have to stop being afraid of our differences and learn to celebrate our differences.  How can do that?  Start focusing on what we do have in common.  We must realize just how much we all have in common in spite of our social, political, religious, sexual, and racial differences.  We are all humans with the same insecurities and fears. We are all capable of knowing true love and excruciating heartbreak.  There is a common that is woven around and connects us all.  The key to tolerance of our differences is the acknowledgement of our sameness. 

I don't know how many times I've said it on this blog, but we are all on this long run together.   

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pool Runnings

Look what arrived for me this week...

That's right, it's an AquaJogger!  I've recently read several blogs from very competitive runners who have used pool running as a form of training. Sometimes runners run in the pool as a way to train through an injury and sometimes they use it as a form of training to prevent injury. I, on the other hand, just bought the AquaJogger as a way to combine my afternoon runs with the fact that our new backyard pool was just completed. Because you know, I need to run, but I want to lay in the pool. 

By the way, the AquaJogger came complete with an instructional booklet and DVD. I did not read or watch either. 

The day it arrived, I put on the belt and jumped in for one full hour of pool running. 

Here are my observations:

1.  I need more practice!  I found that keeping actual running form (chest up, legs down, and arms pumping back and forth) was very difficult. My body's natural inclination in the pool, even with the belt on, is to tread water, which is more like an outward circling of the arms and legs. I would say that of the hour I spent in the pool, half of it was in true running form and the other half was more like treading water. 

2.  My pool might be just a touch to  shallow.   Goodbye toenail polish. I kept dragging my feet along the bottom of the pool. We purposefully designed the pool to be rather shallow (for me because I'm really short and for my husband to be able to play sports like volleyball), but we obviously didn't take pool running into consideration. I think it would have been a little easier to keep good form if I had been in a true deep end. 

3.  Don't expect it to be a workout like road running. Okay, so I did really feel it in my legs. Pretty much as soon as I started, my leg muscles shot to action and really started to burn. I guess water resistance is no joke. And every now and then I would catch myself breathing a little heavily. But overall, after my hour of attempting pool running, I didn't feel like I'd gotten that hard of a workout. Sure, I think there were a few sweat beads on my forehead, but it was nothing like what even a 20 minute run would feel like. I'm sure it will get harder and I will feel like it's a better workout after I really learn how to do it (I guess this means I'm watching the DVD), but I wouldn't say pool running could ever really replace actual running or other hard cardio routines. That said, I do see where it could be great if you're injured.  And, given the option of running in 95 degree heat or submerged in a pool, well....bring on the floaty, foam belt.

Have you ever tried pool running?  Any tips?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth....Nom Nom Nom

Happy Fourth of July!!  
I hope you are all celebrating with friends and family and having a great day. 

In sticking with the previous blog's theme...

Again, I really should have thought twice before starting a blog that features pictures of me post-run.

30 Days Update

Here I am, two thirds of the way through with the 30 day challenges I told you about here. http://longrunlessons.blogspot.com/2014/06/starting-30-day-challengeserrrtomorrow.html So, I thought this would be a good time to catch you up on how it's going. I will take the good news first approach. 

Bar Method Challenge--
Okay, so this has never actually happened to me, but I figure the more I go, the better the odds, right?
You know how they say you don't know how much you love something until it's gone?  Well, my return to Bar Method has worked in the exact opposite of that theory. Being back day after day just reminds me of how much I love it and how much I miss it when I'm not doing it.  I have been going faithfully 5-6 days per week for a few weeks now and it feels awesome. It may sound silly, but I really can feel my muscles coming back to life. I am sure you get sick of me talking about Bar Method (and maybe running for that matter!), but I just love what it does for my body.  Strength training is so important for runners, even though we often forget about it. The Bar Method works and stretches me in all of the right areas for improving running. Now, it's highly unlikely that I will successfully complete the 30 day challenge (I was out of town for all but one class during the first week). I would have to go every day for the next ten straight days, which I promise you, is much harder than it sounds. But, I'm happy with my 30 day results regardless. 

Abs Challenge --
Eh. I've been so-so on this one. And more so-so bad than so-so good.  30% complete in about 60% of the allotted time. 
I started off strong on this challenge. Especially that first week. Having a fitness app right there on your phone makes working out while you travel very convenient, so that first week was great. From there it went downhill. The ab challenge starts out pretty slow. There are only four exercises and in the beginning the reps/times are really low, so I didn't really feel like it was getting the job done. As it goes on, the ab challenge becomes more intense and I can see where by the end you would see some changes. However, it's been hard for me to be motivated to do the ab challenges on top of my daily Bar Method workouts. There really is no reason why I can't fit an extra 5-10 minutes in to do it, but I've been happy with the abs we do in class, so have mostly only been using the app on days when I can't get to Bar. 

The Eating Challenge--
Okay, so this is where the wheels have really come off. I have completed exactly zero days of this meal plan. If I'm going to be totally honest (and I am), I have completed exactly zero of these meals!  I promise I had the best of intentions when I found this plan. It looks easy and filling and with the exception of some seafood dishes, it looked like meals I would like. Yet, there the plan sits, perfectly untouched on my home office desk.  I see it almost every day and almost every day I think, "tomorrow I will go to the store and get everything to start the plan."  Well, that tomorrow has yet to arrive. Life just always seems to get in the way (no excuse, I know).  What I can tell you is that as of the start of this week (the beginning of our 30 day countdown until our big vacation), my husband and I have become more aware of what we eat. Each night we take turns making very healthy dinners. I've even cut down on my cookie consumption at work. You know, down from about three to one. Look folks, I'm never giving up cookies. We can just go ahead and come to terms with that one. Do I know that cutting out the sugar would mean weight would start falling off?  Of course. Am I going to do it?  Nope. That's why I run. Okay, that's only one reason out of about one hundred why I run, but it's a big one. So, back to the 30 day meal plan. It just isn't going to happen. But I am committed to spending the next month making small changes in my diet to facilitate change. Just don't take my cookies away.