Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Round & Round on the Merry-Go-Round

I love reading blog entries from last year, when I was just beginning my training season for the marathon. I used to spend a lot of time planning out trail routes that would keep me interested and distract me from the distance I was running. The main reason for this : if the route wasn't interesting, I would have a really hard time actually completing the distance I planned. I would map out long loop routes, not only because I wanted to see as much different scenery as possible, but also because, on a loop trail, there's no going back, no shortcuts, no way to run any less distance than what's laid out.

Rockwood Park. Home of the nice little 1.5 mile loop trail packed with short, steep little climbs, nice terrain and pretty views. Its also about 3 minutes from my house. Score. Last year, there was a guy I'd always see at the park; he would be running easily when I arrived; and still calmly trekking around the loop when I'd head out. We'd always wave, that fellow-runner camaraderie alive and well. Mister runner-man was always there, going around and around and around that loop trail. I can do that, I thought. When Lu is in school, I like to be at least sort of close to my car, just in case something happens and I need to go pick her up early. I worry that I'll get a call from her school when I'm in the woods, 6 miles away from my car. Mom of the year, ya'll!  I like the idea of short laps that keep me close to my adorable little VW and my kiddo. So, watching Mister Marathon man at Rockwood gave me an idea for my longer mid-week runs. I can do that.

I headed to Rockwood, aiming for 6 miles while Lu was in school. I couldn't do it. I couldn't sit still that long. It was a monumental task to quiet my mind and calm down enough to go around the same loop 4 times in a row. I tried again. And again. I was successful once or twice, and it was very uncomfortable. I almost always found some reason to stop early or start running sprints to keep my mind occupied, which always resulted in total exhaustion way before my 6-mile goal. So dumb.

After gaining the experience of one full marathon training season, culminating in the marathon and continuing to today, I feel more settled and calm than ever. Yesterday, I did the same 6-mile run at Rockwood: 4 times around the nice little 1.5-mile Orange trail. It was a beautiful day, I had my easy tunes to keep me company, and I actually enjoyed the laps. So weird.

My attitude towards training this time around is very different than it has been in the past. I'm more relaxed, less uptight and more confident in myself and my body. With the 50k in December and two 1/2 Marathons before that, I'll need all the positive energy, determination and confidence I can muster.

Time to hop back on the Merry-Go-Round, I've got another 6-miler to take care of.

One of my favorite not-so-obvious running songs. Zac Brown's Quiet Your Mind.

Enjoy the ride. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Its not about what you've done. Its about what you're doing."

I love my cycle instructor at the YMCA. She plans awesome workouts, doesn't bark at us the whole time and most importantly, picks good music. One song she's hooked on right now is Calvin Harris' "Let's Go." The tune is boppy and fun, perfect for cycling (and running). The lyrics are perfect for getting pumped for a good sweat. There's a great phrase in the song; it goes, "Its not about what you've done, its about what you're doing."

My instructor picked out the song lyric during a particularly tough sprint series the other day, saying it over a few times as we were preparing for the next (of many) sprints. Her goal was to get us zoned in on the sprint we were gearing up for at that moment, not worried about how many sprints we had left and not thinking about how many we'd already done. She's the perfect mixture between cheerleader and drill sergeant; its amazing.

Anyway, I found the song and the quote to be super motivating in the moment (take that, gajillion sprints), and couldn't get it out of my head even after the class was over.

"Its not about what you've DONE. Its about what you're DOING."

Personally, for where I am in my training and running life, the quote is perfect. I've got some great accomplishments under my belt and I'm proud of every one. And, like most people, I also have some bad decisions and rough days behind me. I try not to focus on the bad days, failures and some choices I may regret. I also try not to spend too much time thinking about how great it was that I ran a marathon. So what?

This song is a (poppy, yet deep) reminder not to rest on the laurels of my past accomplishments OR let my mistakes and failures define me, as a runner and a person. I can't focus on what I've done in the past or get too caught up in what might happen in the future. Today is what matters.
What are you doing NOW? How hard can you work today? 
No one is here to see how hard you're working. Except you.

One day at a time, one foot in front of the other.
"Lets go, make no excuses now.
I'm talking here and now, I'm talking here and now. "

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

50k Training- GO!

Days 'til Seashore 50k- 100

Looks like I'm back in the training saddle after a nice long, semi-lazy summer. It was super nice to not be worried about my mileage for a while; I tried to just enjoy each run, going whatever distance felt right that day. My main goals over the summer were:

1. Don't get too fat
2. Don't take more than 3 days off in a row.

I was successful at the 2nd thing. I feel sluggish and weird if I take too many days off anyway, so that wasn't too hard. The first thing, well, let's just say I've got a little extra cushion to show for all those margaritas and nachos. Oh well. I friggin' love margaritas.

Anyway, let's talk calendars. Leading up to the 50k in December, I've got 2 half-marathons lined up to keep me entertained through my training. The Cumberland Multi-Use-Trail 1/2 Marathon is up first, October 5th @ Bear Creek Lake. Then, in November I'll travel to Moab Utah (YIPPEEE!!!) for what's sure to be a super fun and challenging 13.1 miles on the red rocks. Its also a great excuse to visit my awesome old trail-buddy friend who happens to live in the area. I. Can't. Wait!

Those race dates will be here in a hot second, so I better get my tushie in gear.

Bring it.

This week has been a big one around the Baltz house. Lucy started ballet and preschool and I began my first real week of 50k training. My hubby also started a new bowling league (hoo-rah!). Oh, and Lucy has conveniently decided that big kids don't take naps. Now THIS is going to take some getting used to. The house is a wreck, I'm ready for bed at 8pm and the laundry is epic, but other than that, we're in good shape.

Cute little munchkin, off to school!

Yesterday was Lu's first day of preschool and my first day of morning-run bliss. I dropped her off in her new big-girl class and popped over to Rockwood Park for a nice little 5-miler to get the week started off right. The weather was perfect for trail-running. Not too hot or humid, nice little breeze blowing. Oh, YEAH.

 I popped in my headphones (Pandora is the best thing ever), and pulled up my Nike running app. Rock and Roll.

The first song to pop up, Phil Collins Easy Lover. Also known as MY JAM.
Heck YES!

I love running at Rockwood; their orange trail is a nice, hilly 1.5 mi loop. I love running hands-free, so I'll leave my water stashed behind a log and settle in for a few laps around the park. Feeling particularly frisky yesterday, I decided midway through the first loop that I would go for negative splits on each of the 5miles I planned to log. This will keep things interesting! I don't know if it was my sweet music, the weather or the fact that preschool started that day (WHOOPEEE!!!), but I was feeling it. After an awesome run, I still had time to shower, snack and play with my new Ukulele a little before picking up my girl from school. Dang, I love fall.

Friday, September 5, 2014

See Ya'll at the Gym.

I think maybe I've reached my max quota for running in obnoxious heat and humidity for one season.

This week alone, I've run...brace yourself...TWICE...on a treadmill. Inside. With A/C. The shock of the sheer wimpiness of my behavior is almost too much to handle.

I sheepishly pull into my beautiful little YMCA with my "Got Trails?" sticker and my 26.2 magnet (brag much?), only to climb aboard the pansy treadmill next to the rest of the wussy runners who choose fluorescent lighting and free Wi-Fi over the thrill of running in the great outdoors. Pitiful.

Trouble is, I don't really feel that bad about it. I mean, how many unbearably humid, sticky days can even a bad-ass shirtless runner be expected to tolerate?

If you're the outdoorsy type (of course you are, you're reading this), you may remember a blissful little stretch of cool weather here in VA a couple of weeks ago. I like to refer to it as my period of summer-time outdoor running unraveling. It was freakishly cool and crisp (and ahh-mazing) for over a week. That's about how long it took for my body to decide, "Oh great! Fall is here!"

Dream on, shorty.

As you know, we've paid dearly for that tease of fall-like weather that Mother Nature so ruthlessly dangled in front of our faces. Its the first week of Fall, the pool is closed (BOO!) and it feels like a sauna wrapped in an itchy wool sweater out there.

This trail runner has no shame. Ain't no way I'm pushing 60lbs of jogging stroller, picking up the 6 lbs of dog poo that will inevitably be dropped by my K9 running buddy along the way, dodging school buses and UPS trucks, all while playing "I Spy" with my passenger for 6 dang miles today.

Ain't. No. Way.

See ya'll at the gym.