26 February 2009

Awareness of Sensations

Running gives me a chance to think. I've often been tempted to get an iPod to feed my musical desires but for some reason I believe it would ruin each run. I need to feel the ground under my feet and rain on my head and wind pushing my face, and I need minimal distractions so I can pay attention to all these amazing sensations. I run to feel. Breathing has become my music.

Sadie and I went out for 20 miles on Saturday and it was exhausting. One of the most mentally tough runs I've been on. But, as always, when I got home knowing that I pushed myself past the point when I wanted to quit I was filled with great satisfaction.

I've had a lot on my mind lately and running has become, now more than ever, a respite from the world. No, that's not it. No, no no - it's not a respite at all. Running has become the purpose. I crave personal awareness. I need to feel attached. I need to be reminded that there is something more beautiful than my desk and computer and phone and tie and button-up shirt. When my laces are tied and I'm out the front door I listen to my feet against the trail and I feel the muscles of my body tensing with each step and I smell the snow and rain and grass and concrete and I hear Sadie running and birds calling and cars in the distance and I'm remembering what it is about life that I love so much.

Yes, running isn't a distraction from the stresses of life -- it's a reason for being alive and aware. The sensations I receive from the simply act of running is an acute reminder that I'm alive. And I like it.

And I'm going to keep running.


15 February 2009

Saturday Stroll

Michelle and Eric came to town to visit their son, Riley, and they sent me an email asking if I could give them a tour of some of the world-class running trails that Pullman has to offer. Coming from the greater Seattle area I know it's not often that they can find a good place to run. Only because I feel so bad for them for living in a runner's wasteland did I agree to their request.

I asked if they preferred hills or flatter hills and Eric mumbled something about 13 marathons/ultramarathons in 13 weeks and said the flatter option sounded fun. Sadie and I met them early at the world famous Chipman Trail for a little Saturday morning stroll in the crisp Palouse air.

Saturday morning on Chipman Trail

Eric's "tired" legs wanted to do some speed work so I spent most of the morning just trying to keep up. It was good for the soul, though. It's fun being around runners who are excited about running. I don't get that much around here despite the world-class natural facilities.

As we said our goodbyes I think I overhead Michelle saying something about "moving to Pullman as soon as they can" because it's so awesome here. :)

My legs are feeling pretty good for where I am in my training right now. I'm just hoping to be ready for the WSU 100k in two months. That's not a lot of time, but it will be fun trying to get ready. It's the journey.

A quick shout-out to my sister for completing her first marathon yesterday! Congrats, Lisa!

Keep running!


07 February 2009

Melting Snow and Aching Legs

With a couple races finally on the horizon I'm back to training. Sadie and I went out for 17.75 very hilly miles this morning. WSU's new golf course has become my favorite winter running wonderland. No traffic. Sadie can run free. Extremely scenic. But hilly hilly hilly. The hills aren't huge but it's nothing but them. There are literally no flat sections on the 18-hole loop. Do the loop a few times and it's a great workout. The snow is melting fast, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's "warm" around here.

Melting snow = muddy Sadie.
17.75 miles = sore legs.

This is the longest run I've been on since late October. It felt pretty good though, and I'm excited about getting myself back into ultramarathon shape. And I can't tell you how excited I am about the South Africa trip. We'll even have a 12-hour layover in London. I've never been to London and I'm hoping we can skip out of the airport for a couple hours for a pint somewhere. The trip will be over 30 hours from start to finish. That may test my endurance more than the 89k run.

Hope all are doing well. Below are some photos from runs this week. Compared with the photos I took from a couple weeks ago you can see how the snow is melting fast. Enjoy.

Keep running!


05 February 2009


A big motivation for my passion to run was an article I read in Runner's World a couple years ago about the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. Often dubbed "The World's Greatest Race," the 89-km run became a dream of mine. My love of traveling helps the motivation. I was all geared up to do it last summer but flights were simply too expensive. So I went to Iceland instead, which, even though flights were cheaper, turned out to be ridiculously expensive too.

I thought it was about time to give myself something to look forward to. I called my sister yesterday and asked if she'd be interested in making another trip with me (she shares my passion for travel) and without hesitation she said yes. Last night we booked the trip.

I'm going to South Africa to run the Comrades Marathon!

Now to the "getting back in shape" portion of this fantasy...

The WSU 100k is in April and should be a nice pre-Comrades run. So, that's the goal: WSU 100k in April and then Comrades in May. Then I'll see what I have left for the rest of the summer.

I'm excited again.

Keep running!