#Sub60 10k: 19 of 61 – Old shoes.

Sub 60 10k

Tomorrow I run 7 miles.

It will be my third time ever going that distance and I’m sort of excited and sort of nervous about it. Since I’ve accomplished it before, I know I can finish. But foot fatigue worries me.

Several recent runs have been uncomfortable past the 35 minute mark, and although I haven’t figured out why, it’s not a completely new problem. That said, I wore a pair of old running shoes during today’s run to see how they felt. It was a short run, and just shy of the 35-40 minute fatigue mark. I can say they are much more comfortable than my current shoe, and unlike my current shoe, I didn’t even have a hint that pain was imminent. All signs are pointing to a need to revisit my shoes.

I’m going to tackle the 7-miler in my old pinks to see how it goes. I do anticipate some discomfort before I hit 7, but hopefully it’ll be minimal. If that’s the case, I’ll be clear about what to do next.

#Sub60 10k: 18 of 61 – Stepmoms Run

Personal Narrative, Running Buddha, Sub 60 10k
Memorial Day Race
Blue & Lil Blue post 5k

Thursday morning, I ran with the youngest. He’s 11 and likes a good adventure as much as the next kid.

After a strong finish during a recent 5k race, he agreed with his father and I that running would be good summertime pursuit. He’s athletic, with a determined heart, and was undaunted by my description of Thursday’s running plan.

Eleven (almost 12) is that interesting age where some are still open to public kisses from parents, but are pretty sure they’ve got this thing (life) all figured out. Or at least they want you to think so.

As a veteran classroom  teacher turned new stepmom, it’s an interesting tug-of-war watching this play out, even as you know what’s going on. I know how kids generally work. I know where mine is on this or that developmental scale. But I (and every other parent) constantly wonder – am I doing the right thing? Stepmomming while running is no different.

He jogged the warm-up mile with no problem, and then it was high-low intervals on the track. He ran out of steam early (11-year-olds don’t sleep during the summer), so I left him to walk/run at his own pace while I continued mine. I knew from our earlier talk he was fine with this, and yet seeing him on the other side of the track, small and alone in the distance tugged at my heart. Should I sprint over to him to catch up and check in? Should I slow down on the next lap so we can run together?

Laughing while warming up today.
Laughing while warming up today.

Ultimately I stuck to my plan, checking on him and slowing a wee bit when we passed naturally. Each time he assured me he was fine, and on the way home, when I asked once more, he gave me a “knock it off” look. A polite one, a few steps below tween exasperation and eye rolling, but hinting at it all the same.

He didn’t join Blue and I on today’s 3 miler, opting for Saturday sleeping instead. Just as well. Starting this afternoon he has a big weekend-long sleepover with this friends. I’m sure he needed all extra rest he could gather.

Another beautiful day

Spirituality
Cotton candy sunrise at the greenway.
North Georgia cotton candy sunrise.

The skies of north Georgia are beautiful. I admit this freely now. I often stop to photograph daybreak and dawn, sunset, dusk and twilight.

As a Georgia native, there were many things I enjoyed outdoors growing up, but I can’t recall appreciating the sky on the fringes of day.

Florida was a different story. I lived there off and on for many years, and 2009 is the first time I recall pausing at the sight of the setting sun.

Driving across a bridge, I witnessed the huge orb sinking below the horizon. Once bright blue sky, now dotted with clouds and awash in orange and purple and pink, I wanted to pull over in awe. Instead I offered prayers of appreciation. I couldn’t believe my good fortune to live amidst such beauty.

Soon after that I created a habit of being outside for sunrise and sunset whenever possible. Backdrops of water were nice, but not required. I ran at first light, and evenings I journaled, took pictures, or simply witnessed beauty.

One day the sunset was so majestic, I rushed back to my apartment to grab my phone. I absolutely had to to share it with my new guy friend, Blue. Serendipitous moment, as he saw a similarly beautiful sunset 500 miles away. He performed some over the shoulder acrobatics to capture his for me. Our sunset texts arrived moments apart.

Yesterday's midday cloud cover.
Yesterday’s midday cloud cover.

The symbolism of our spontaneous exchange was sweet. But I didn’t picture myself appreciating the Georgia sun quite the same as in Florida.

Soon enough, I moved back to the Peach State and I missed Florida’s beauty for months. I was homesick for its breathtaking views, and I did not have a heart of appreciation for my current circumstances.

Finally I remembered I could seek beauty wherever I was. It was easy to find once I looked.

Within days I gave Mother Nature some credit for the green trees everywhere I looked. Later on I found the many birdsongs quite cheerful. I noticed and enjoyed new fragrances and sounds during my outdoor runs. And yes, the sunrises and sunsets were beautiful after all. Even the midday clouds capture my attention now.

The beauty has always been here. Now my heart can see it.

Stream of Consciousness: Planting

Feminist Thought, Spirituality

A bitter heart is fertile ground for the dream of revenge. It can extend beyond heart and mind, into body, into world. Enact the vengeance, and the recipient may agree, yes, this is justice.

Or she may not.

Her family may agree, or they may not. Her friends may agree, or not.

What if?

The wronged heart, too, grows bitter then. Poison cultivates a new dream of revenge. Imagination and courage dance, a perverse action.

Then.

Pain inflicted on another.

What if…

Newly wounded burn with anger, rot with pain, and poison the ground for a dream.

And so it is, the potential in actions born of bitterness.

With life comes pain. But in pain, do you seek restoration or destruction?

But what of a family, community, or nation? What is in the heart of those who act on behalf others? Does the seed inspire healing and wholeness? Or hurt?

How do you cultivate your heart? What fruits will it bear?

#Sub60: 16 of 61

Sub 60 10k, Temple Building
new brooks
First day in my new Brooks Launch.

Sunday’s long run tested my shoes, my stride and my insoles.

I have an ongoing challenge with shock/fatigue effecting the ball of my right foot. Over the years, I’ve dealt with the symptoms successfully for the most part. In the past two years, it hasn’t flared up at all, so I’d forgotten about it until earlier this month. That was about the time I ran out out my old shoes (500+ miles) and purchased news ones. Somewhere in that transition, my foot reminded me of the way things were.

The new shoes haven’t helped, so I tried new insoles this week. I did a short run with them, but Sunday’s long run was the official new insoles trial. Would my feet hold up for over an hour of running, or would they start to complain?

They complained.

I adjusted my foot strike throughout the run and found some shifts helpful. I realize much of this will be trial and error until I’m ready to go see a specialist. I’m not, yet, so trial and error it is.

Aside from foot fatigue in the last mile, the run was a good one. I kept a steady 11 to 11:45 pace as prescribed, tending toward the lower end of the range. I locked into the pace easily, and found the only real work happened when expected: tackling the one or two hills along the trail. I backed up the pace a little bit to recover, but it was still within my target intensity.

Tomorrow’s run is another easy one, but I’m really looking forward to Thursday’s challenge. It’s speedwork, and I plan to become good friends with  track.

#Sub60: 15 of 61

Sub 60 10k

IMG_8625Last night, I decided today’s run would begin at the park. The park trailhead begins/ends right beside a track, which is perfect for strides at the run’s end.

This area is full of runners and bikers. It seems every other week there’s a 5k/10k and the like. There was one last Saturday, and just to be on the safe side, I checked for this Saturday. Nothing on tap! All clear!

Yet I arrived at the park shortly after 6:15 a.m., greeted by a tell-tale Start banner.

I drove around to investigate. Yes, a race would be underway in little over an hour. And worse, the track served as a staging area. I could be done with the main course before the race began, but the track was off limits, and the track was the only reason I came to the park.

Wasting no time, I headed to my usual spot and got my miles. Three slow miles culminating in three strides. I felt good overall, and it was fun to note how easy it was to lock into my target pace. It’s definitely familiar and comfortable.

Tomorrow’s run is 6 miles steady – 11:00-11:45 target pace. Looking forward to locking in on a pretty spring morning.

#Sub60: 14 of 61

Sub 60 10k

Most of my recent runs have been at conversation pace. My plan sets this as 11:15-11:30 minutes per mile. That’s a comfortable pace, especially once I’ve warmed up.

Blue gifted me a Garmin for my birthday, and I program it as a training partner. It alerts me elapsed distance and/or time, and it signals when I’m not running within a specified target.

Brianna Rollins

Today’s run felt good early. I locked into what seemed to be an 11:00-11:15 pace (a little faster than target). But my Garmin didn’t agree.  In fact, it alerted me several times that I was much too slow. I refused to speed up because I’ve gotten to know just what this range feels like.

I waited for my Garmin to smarten up.

As I approached the first mile marker, it still clocked me at 13 minutes a mile. At the marker, I stopped running and stopped my watch. No surprise – the satellite was wrong. Again. Thanks to my love of routine and familiarity, I know all the mile markers between the trailhead and 2.5 miles. I’d run one mile. Garmin thought it .89. Amount of time? 11 minutes, 3 seconds. I knew I’d locked into 11!

Once I resumed my run, it seemed to track me just fine. I have a theory as to why it was off this morning and last Thursday as well. I’m going to make some adjustments based on the theory, and we’ll see what happens.

Brianna Rollins

A couple of other things to note…I ran with a water bottle today. I don’t really water mid-run for short bouts, but I do for anything 5 miles or longer.

Every Sunday from here on out I have a 5 mile or longer run. I’m preparing now.

Hydration belts constrict my breathing when they’re strapped on tight enough to stay in place. In general, holding a water bottle isn’t ideal, but the right one will be fine.

Today’s was the wrong one. It wasn’t soft enough in my hand and didn’t fit ergonomically. Perhaps more importantly, it was too hard to get water! Mid-stride, there’s no time or energy to undergo strenuous efforts or multiple steps to pull water. So I’ll have to find another one.

My new running shoes feel good overall, but I’m dealing with some foot fatigue. The ball of my right foot gets tired after 35 minutes or so of exercise. This is not a new challenge, and it’s not limited to running, but it has been more noticeable the past couple of weeks (before and after new shoes) and it will make longer runs intolerable. I ran with new insoles today to see if they’d help. I can’t say they did. So for that, back to the drawing board as well.

#Sub60: 13. On location and circumstance

Running Buddha, Sub 60 10k
Right place. Wrong day. Too wet for strides.
Right place. Wrong day. Too wet for strides.

I ran at the wrong place today.

Don’t misunderstand me, it was my usual place, the closest trailhead of two nearby. The overwhelming majority of my runs start from here, but it wasn’t ideal for today.

Unless it’s the middle of a storm, I’ve decided to run rain or shine. Last night, it rained. For a slow or steady run, old faithful doesn’t pose a problem when wet. But today’s run was three slow miles with strides. The strides (sprints) are best done on dry land, or at the very least, on ground with strong traction. Most of the trail is wood, and slick when wet. The other trailhead? Right beside a track.

I realized my mistake within moments of arrival, but it was too late to relocate. The slow three would be fine, but I’d have to take it easy with the strides.

Me, at the end of today's run.
Me, at the end of today’s run.

I ran the first of four strides on concrete, so I took it at a pretty good clip.

The remaining three landed on wet boardwalks. I ran those much slower, more deliberately.

I had the energy to give my best effort at the end. As it turned out, I gave the best I could based on the circumstances.

The truth is, I always have this choice. Circumstances are never stagnant, but I can choose to give my best effort, whatever that means at a moment in time.

#Sub60: 11 and 12 of 61

Sub 60 10k, Temple Building, Zaimu Challenge
Saturday's post-run sunrise
Saturday’s post-run sunrise

Yesterday Blue and I ran two miles and strides. We arrived early to the park, ahead of the 5k racers. We got our two on the greenway and closed out the strides on the track. I wore new running shoes for the occasion, but I didn’t run long enough to see how my feet liked them.

Today’s long run was a 5-miler. An extra rest day Friday and carb loading yesterday proved great choices. I experimented with my pre-run fuel this morning as well, eating a little banana with almond butter before the left. The combination left me feeling energized and strong the entire run. My shoes also worked pretty well, and I’m looking forward to some good miles with them.

Next week I move into more vigorous runs and increased mileage. As it is, last month I set a personal record for most miles run in a month (58.4)! I am traveling to Colorado later this month. It takes me a few days to get used to the altitude, so I’m expecting a few days off then.