Category Archives: Running Buddha

#Sub60 10k: 18 of 61 – Stepmoms Run

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.

#Sub60: 13. On location and circumstance

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.

Running Buddha

A funny thing happened yesterday. While searching for the image to accompany my blog, I suddenly felt “some kind of way.” I’m not sure what that phrase really means (ha), but I felt excitement and a sort of recognition, seeking and finding yet another runner. Not just runners… I’ve been seeking and finding elite track athletes. Women who spend hours a week training their bodies to be efficient and fast. Side note: they’re all fine, too.  Yassss!

Mikele Barber

The feeling surprised me because although I was sprinter in high school, I didn’t really enjoy the work that went into it.

As a kid, I loved racing classmates and neighbors. Sprinting felt like flying, and I could count on being first or really close. But running varsity track wasn’t exactly fun. It was okay to run hills and stairs, jump boxes, pull tires and the like. Yet when it came to the conditioning runs, either long distance or endless sprint repeaters, I hated them.

I avoided running for years after high school because I had such unpleasant memories of conditioning. Occasional school yard races with my elementary students or fellow teachers? Sure. Distance running or any type of training? Hell no.

So I’ve found it surprising to come to running on my own terms and enjoy it. There’s much to love about it including the sights, smells and fresh air outdoors, and the overall feeling of accomplishment and fitness after a strong run. I can set personal goals and work toward them sans stress.

Me, finishing Tuesday's "3 miles and strides."
Me, finishing Tuesday’s “3 miles and strides.”

But this feeling yesterday, this connection or bond with women who work at running was certainly new.  And it fits with my current feelings and approaches to things, so I’m going with it.

During many of my runs, I learn lessons, and sometimes I share them here. Whether I blog about it or not, I’m always growing while running. When I’m absorbing lessons while running, I always think Running Buddha.

With all of this in mind, I plan to document my journey to a sub 60 10k. From the mental and physical discipline, to the workout specifics and rationale, and everything in between. I’m about one week in to a 16-week program, so join me!

Blogs about running lessons will be categorized Running Buddha. Blogs about the program, Sub 60 10k.

7, 8, 9…

In 2014, I began a running plan via my RunKeeper app. It’s a fat burning plan, and alternates intervals with steady runs to increase your fitness level. The app features several such plans for goals like run a 5k (3.1 miles), run a 5k in less than 30 minutes, and so on. Although I don’t enter races, I run 5ks and a rare 10k (6.2 miles), as part of a regular exercise regimen.

While perusing the plans back then, I noticed a 7-mile training run included to build endurance for a 5k. At that point I was a consistent 4-mile runner and 7 miles seemed daunting. It was a little too far outside my comfort zone, and after all, I was just a casual runner. The goal and the fear intrigued me, though. I filed it in the back of my mind to target later and stuck to the simpler fat burning plan.

Fast forward to 2016. One day, more or less due to happenstance than planning, I ran 7 miles! And then I did it again on purpose which was actually harder to do! After 7, the new uncomfortable, too-far-out-there goal I secretly filed away was 10. One day, I’ll run 10 miles. (I have zero or less than zero interest in training for a half or whole marathon, by the way, so don’t get any ideas). Anywho, 10 gives me the same jitters 7 did a couple of years ago, and I had no plans to hit it soon.

Sanya Richards-Ross

This weekend, I signed up for a new training plan via RunKeeper. Based on my current fitness and mental readiness for challenge, I selected a sub 60min 10k. This means running just over 6.2 miles in under an hour. It’s definitely doable, but unlike past running ventures, it will take actual training, rather than casual effort.

Before signing up, I skimmed the plan and noticed an 8-mile run in the mix. I felt the familiar tension, but brushed it off because of the two 7s under my belt. I locked in the plan and completed my first run (4 miles) on Sunday.

But today, while looking at the run calendar to confirm date of said 8-mile run, I blinked, observing there was much more in the offing. This 16-week plan starts off comfortably, but quickly ramps up to regular long runs – something I’ve never done with any consistency. There are two 7-milers on tap, and after a few weeks, not one but two 8-milers, two 9-milers, and shock of all shocks, yes a 10-miler.

I said it was time for a challenge. Wow. Here it is.