Category: running

July Goals (Running-wise)

Like I said yesterday, I’m starting a training plan this week. It’s a half marathon plan that will culminate with a race weekend in mid-October. (Now I need to find the race!)

So for July my running goals are simple:

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As always, the goal is simple but achieving it is not. I chose this early morning bunny picture because a) the bunnies around here are like my running totems and b) getting up early is HARD for me. I am not a morning person and I love my sleep.

Adjustments have to be made to reach goals if they’re any sort of stretch goals at all. So I’ll work on adjusting.

Three days a week of running, here I come! Deliberate strength/cross-training, that too!

I’m almost looking forward to it.

Relaxed and happy

We had a fabulous Independence Day weekend. My sister and her fiancé came to visit for a few days, and it was awesome. We went dress shopping for her wedding dress, shopped our hearts out at the local outlet mall, and had fun at the kids’ swim lessons. Yesterday we spent the morning at the beach and then came home to smoke ribs (Will did, anyway) and celebrate the day. Such a great relaxing weekend!

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This next week is the start of a new, official training season for me! I signed up for the Another Mother Runner 13.FUN challenge/training plan. I’m doing the run/walk option because the last thing I want is to get injured and/or lose more motivation. I’m excited to see how it goes!

Where’s my motivation?

The heat. The humidity. Things that will arrive in Houston in May and probably not leave until October.

On Monday I went out for a run even though I didn’t feel like it. Yay me. Doing something runners do every day. I haven’t run since.

It was 6am and already 80 degrees. The humidity made it feel even warmer, and I was drenched in sweat. This little picture collage was me right after the run, what my weather app said about the conditions, and the double dose of Nuun I drank to try to avoid the summer-run headache I usually get. (Didn’t entirely work.)

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Last summer I made this work. I started running again at the end of July and our summer doesn’t end until October. I just don’t know how I did it. Every morning is a battle between the elements and being exhausted already because of the heat.

I’ve read articles and posts that suggest running later in the day when the humidity is lower. Unfortunately this is Houston. Lower is still pretty humid. I am wary of 90F and 60% humidity being any better than 80F/85%H. Treadmill access requires major schedule rework, and I haven’t had the motivation to make it happen.

Slump? Maybe. Whining? Definitely. Any tips on managing summer doldrums?

Not as easy as they say.

One statement I’ve heard a lot about running:

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“It’s the easiest sport ever! You just put on some running shoes and go outside!”

Totally correct! Except when it’s not. I think it’s a gross over-simplification that breaks down pretty quickly for many people. For me, that could have been correct when I was under 30, single, or newly married.

These days – with three children (toddler up to now first-grader), an awesome husband, and a full-time job away from home – it’s more like this:

20140606-103204-37924347.jpgIs it worth it? Absolutely. Is it easy? No way, and I’m not even talking about the running part of running.

I love reading running blogs, but need to go beyond my usual reads. They’re great women, but they’re mostly child-free and younger than me. I am serious when I say that I love reading their posts and have learned a lot from them. I need to find some peers to round out my reading, you know? I start putting unrealistic expectations on myself otherwise.

I had a conversation online with some other mom friends who are working fitness into their lives in various ways. It is HARD. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom who stays and works at home or if you’re a mom who’s working outside the home. Filling at least three roles (individual, partner, and mother) takes a lot of time and energy. Adding a fourth role – RUNNER – brings in a whole new dimension of strategy.

I run in the early morning or in a gym at the end of the work day. For the early morning, I run outside in our neighborhood. I have had to think through the things that would make me feel safer … reflective gear, light-colored clothing, lower music volume, CONSTANT VIGILANCE (thank you, Professor Moody), sticking to well-lit sidewalks, and timing my run so that I’m running more toward sunrise than not. I totally bailed on running when DST started because it was just too dark. Also never pictured in my post-run photos: the pepper spray I try to remember to carry every time. Not just for humans, but for any dogs whose owners aren’t being smart about them. I’m also thinking about buying a reflective vest type thing to wear when I run early morning. Early mornings work for me because kids are asleep, my husband can shower and start to get ready, and it’s the coolest part of the day here. I hate getting up, but that’s the trade-off I have to make.

I think that’s the big conversation you have to have with your partner and yourself: trade-offs. If we both agree this is something important to do for my mental and physical health, we both have to agree to make space for it somehow and address associated concerns. If the concern is being left alone at a certain time with the kids, what are the alternative plans that don’t result in that and what steps do we take to mitigate additional concerns? If the concern is safety of running location or time, what are the adjustments to be made to meet those concerns? Which primary concern “wins” for both of you so that you agree to make the adjustments for the secondary concern?

Adding in the Runner role requires change. It is NOT the easiest sport ever for me. It requires flexibility from everyone. There is no absolutely perfect solution that requires no change, because no change keeps you in the situation you’re already in. Something always has to give – time, routine, or money for a gym with childcare so mommy can exercise and not lose her head.

The pay-off has been totally worth it. My daughter plays “runner” now, in the middle of being a princess-astronaut-doctor-mom. She went to go have her run “in space” after putting her babies in bed. My oldest son wants to start running with me every week. My toddler already loves the jogging stroller. I don’t want to smack strangers as often as I used to. It’s awesome … it’s just not easy.