Posts tagged ‘running’

July 29, 2012

Need for Speed

Am writing this while watching the Olympic hopefuls sail along rainy London streets on their bikes. The women are so fast. I love sports where you go fast, like skiing and biking.

The other day I was riding my bike to work and there was a woman running faster than I was riding on my bike. That was one fast runner.

There’s used to be a myth that only men liked the adrenaline rush of the high-speed chase. But women (and kids) do too. It’s a human instinct to push our physical limits and thrill with the ride. We were born to run.

And now that I’ve admitted my own need for speed, let me post a couple of pictures from my long walk in the Adirondacks.

While I love to run and ride and go fast, it’s easier to snap a pic when you walk and amble and go slow. It’s easier to savor the moment when you slow it all down.

To catch a good photo, you have to pause to frame it. To enjoy a moment, you have to stop and savor it. And any sport that you do outdoors, reminds you to love nature.

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March 22, 2012

Going Running

How do you psych yourself up to go for a run? I tell myself, “Come on, girl. You can do it.” I talk to my body like it were a beloved family horse. “Yes, get moving, Ole Paint. Get out of your easy chair.” (I know that’s a mixed metaphor: horses don’t sit in easy chairs! Hey, it’s my blog. Write your own blog and mix up your own metaphors!)

There are a million reasons NOT to run. Here are a few:

Florida flower1. My feet hurt.

2. I am slow.

3. No one else is running. (Everyone else is going out for breakfast, in fact.)

And here’s why:

1. It will feel good when you’re done.

2. You will see some new things.

3. You will model fitness for your kids.

4. When you’re done, you can have a big breakfast.

Maybe I’ll go wake up one of my kids and see if they want to go with me.

I am writing this from a rocking chair on the porch. The kids and I are on a four-day trip to Siesta Key, Florida. It is our third day and inertia has set in. After a few days of vacay, especially in a warm clime, inertia always sets in. I must beat back inertia as if it were a horse sitting in an easy chair. (That’s a horrible image. But there you have it. As I’ve said, inertia has set in and I am mentally lazy, can’t come up with a better image. I could, if I really tried. But I have to go running.)

Come on, girl. Let’s go.

November 4, 2011

Running on Marathon Weekend

I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, especially those sinew-y runner types getting all psyched up for Sunday’s marathon, but I ran today and I ran at a pace of 12:15 a mile. That’s right, beat that, suckers!

I am definitely in the slow lane. I don’t want to make excuses *much. But I have a foot problem… And I have other problems, but I can’t remember what they are at the moment, because I’m so dang exhausted and hungry for chocolate. But hey, I did it. I did something! I pushed myself away from the computer.

I ran with my friend, Liz, at a secret indoor track near work. And I’m not telling you where it is ’cause then it wouldn’t be secret.

Liz and I agreed that it’s way more fun to run with a friend and we wouldn’t have run without each other.

And I do LOVE going out with friends for breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour, etc., I also LOVE running and working out with friends. So anyone want to join me running someday? Then after our two and a half miles, you can sprint ahead of me like Liz did. That’s right. When you’re in the slow lane, you’re just happy to be in any lane at all.

All those people passing me? I celebrate them! I do! Especially all those runners I’ll see on Sunday afternoon, wearing silver blankets, looking fabulous and exhausted. I salute you!

Now, excuse me, I have to go and hunt for some Halloween chocolate. I think my kids still have some hidden somewhere.

July 6, 2011

Running Without a Soundtrack

The silence running in the country was deafening.

I could not find my head phones. I usually run with ear buds listening to Pandora and the Omar Shariff sound-alike who calculates the distance of my run on my Cardio Trainer app.

I like running to Britney Spears songs like Piece of Me or Pat Benatar’s Hit Me with Your Best Shot. I think, “Yay, world, hit me. Try getting a piece of this.”

I know, I know. I am delirious after just five minutes of running, wondering, Is it time to take that well-deserved water break or walk yet? The music keeps me going.

So running without Britney, Pat or Omar, I felt a twinge of loneliness. The steadiest sound was the scraping labor of my own breath. Then the silence came alive.

running on a country road

There was a cawing of a crow, an old Buick rounding a corner, the wind swishing the hay in the field, and in the mix, my breath.

My breath was just a speck on the country road. Running helps you figure out where you fit in, a small piece in a big picture.

For this epiphany I rewarded myself by slowing down and walking.

May 15, 2011

Loehmann’s Fitting Room

There’s nothing like a visit to Loehmann’s communal fitting room to motivate you to work out!

That’s what I was thinking last night  as I was trying on summer dresses, bras, and, bathing suits in Loehmann’s changing space — you can’t really call it a room. A room implies there are boundaries. And boundaries are in short supply.

At one point the friendly gal beside me reached over to straighten my twisted bra strap. That rattled me. But I laughed, “Gotta get a new sports bra ’cause after looking in the mirrors here, I gotta work out!”

“Oh, nothing new for me — I’ve had weight problems my whole life,” she told me. “I’m shopping for clothes for my new job. My first real job!”

“Congrats! Hey those are cute!” I pointed to her black pants.

That’s an unwritten rule in the communal fitting room — you can compliment an outfit, but  you can’t criticize it. And apparently you can straighten one another’s bra straps.

Although I was embarrassed by every one seeing every part of me, one consolation is that I can see every one too. (Not that I looked. I’m just sayin’!)

I tried to keep my eyes and my body to my little space, trying on four out of the five dresses hanging on the hook. All a bit snug.

I hope it’s not bragging to tell you that on most of my visits to the fitting room, just about every single item looks great on me. But not so last night.

Although the red dress, the last one, worked.

In the cashier line I barely recognized my fitting room mate with her clothes on.

I said, “Hey, I’m getting the red dress!”

“Great!” She smiled, happy for me. There’ s nothing like the banter about purchases and camaraderie between women who’ve been naked together.

“Good luck with your new job!”

“Good night!”

This morning I woke before the family and I ran for 18 minutes. I think I went a mile. Then I picked up bagels.

March 6, 2011

Am Running Today

This is my least favorite part of the day, waking the children. It’s drizzling and it’s Sunday. They’re not excited about today’s 5K at 9 am. A part of me does wonder, Why am I making them and myself run? It’s a huge hassle and I’d rather stay in bed with the New York Times.

I want us to run, because I know we will feel euphoric when we finish. We will have set and then exceeded some small goal. Life rarely offers opportunities to chart your progress.

I remember the first time I took my son ice skating in Central Park. The first time he went around the rink, he fell eight times. The second time around the rink, he fell two times. And after that, he hardly fell at all. That is how it goes. Take them out and let them fall. And soon they will stand and even skate and run on their own. And there’s some pride in that.

Wish me luck in waking my darlings, in finding running shoes, and in getting to the race on time. It’s not easy, but I believe, somehow, it will be worth it. If we just cross the finish line, we will have won.

http://www.nyrr.org/races/2010/r0307x00.asp

February 18, 2011

running helps handle my nightmares

Today at lunch time, I ran with David, my coworker. We ran for 29 minutes, about 2.5 miles. That’s double what I did January 30th, two and a half weeks ago. I love progress.

Yesterday was crazy busy — judging a writing contest, attending a lunch time book club, meeting my daughters’ teachers, watching my son’s swim meet, getting on a conference call, then showing up for my online writing class at 9 pm.

This morning I woke up sweaty. I dreamed I was carrying a baby in one arm and a stack of papers in another. I was crossing from one apartment to another, stepping next to an open elevator shaft. I had that scared-of-heights feeling. I dropped the papers, but not the baby, several stories down. The baby and I watched papers fall slowly, beautifully, like in a movie.

Then I chatted with a friend in my apartment. I left the baby alone in the hallway. I suddenly thought, “I hope the baby girl doesn’t play too close to the air shaft.” Then I thought, “She’ll just have to learn her lesson.”

I think the dream was a way for my unconscious to work out the fact that I carry too much. The dream was a reminder that I need to learn my lesson too. In dreams, we are all the characters and symbols — like, I am the baby, the friend, the air shaft, the sheaf of papers. There are times when my writing, my papers, my parenting, my work, my life gets away from me, falling like the papers down the air shaft. I carry too much.

The only thing I carry when I run is my phone so I can watch my CardioTrainer app and see how far I’ve gone and whether it’s time to go from a run to a walk. See, I’m still doing that 5 minutes of running and then 1 minute of walking routine. It’s good to pace myself.

Now, if I could only figure out how to pace myself in my life outside of running. Is there an app for that?

January 16, 2011

Sunlight Releases Serotonin

I ran today for the first time in a couple of weeks. I felt horrible. I felt overweight and stupid. I couldn’t find my nylon running shirt so I threw a torn   jean jacket over my baggy velour sweatsuit.

I might run better if I felt more stylish. I know that’s ridiculous but there you have it.

I felt out of shape because I only worked out once this week — one lunchtime Pilates class. I skipped my other class, opting to attend the new book club started by my friend Tracy the librarian at the Interchurch Center.

We discussed The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell — really good! And I always love sharing my opinions on a book. My other book club just finished reading Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. Also brilliant.

Any way, when I started in Riverside Park, the sidewalk was hardly cleared. I had to jump over patches of ice and move out of the way of dogs. It was like 30 degrees and windy. I thought, “This is dangerous. I should’ve stayed home with the Times.” (See again, here’s my dilemma — fitness or literature? If only I could read while running.)

But then the sunlight hit me. It’s hard to be grumpy with a face full of sunshine. I felt good. Okay, not stylish, but not pathetic either. I had nobility and purpose in my slow run. I felt proud because I wasn’t totally pathetic. I ran to the end of the 70th Street Pier http://www.riversideparkfund.org/ I remembered running out here in the summer and running on top of this sidewalk art. 

According to my Cardio Trainer app, I ran 1.6 miles in 22 minutes — I know that’s not great, but it’s not nothing.

I think when the sunlight hit, the endorphins kicked in. Or maybe the serotonin — the brain’s natural mood enhancer.

I stopped at a deli on the way home and picked up bagels and blueberries for the family.

October 19, 2010

I did it!

I got up early on Sunday and ran (and walked) my first 5K. Joanna had invited me to join her and we’d run together (and walked together) before. I believe I’ve mentioned that I love working out with friends. Such a great, cheap way to be together, to talk, and to encourage one another.

We were a part of the http://www.rogosin.org/westbankrun/info.php (You can still sponsor me. I had to raise $100.)

The run benefited Rogosin, this kidney disease foundation. My friend Lois at work has been hospitalized with serious kidney problems after a world church meeting in Scotland. So I ran for Lois.

But honestly, it’s like the moral of last week’s episode of Glee. You say you’re helping someone, but you’re really helping yourself. The something in it for me was brunch at the end of the run. I love the West Bank Cafe, the run’s sponsor, on 42nd Street. After signing up, I realized I wouldn’t be able to stay for brunch. I’d have to book up to Charlotte’s soccer game in Central Park upon finishing.

It was a beautiful, clear day and the run was lovely, easy. (I will admit that we were slow). But I just liked getting out there, running along the West Side highway and the Hudson River. There were probably 50 of us.

My goal was simply to finish in less than one hour. I did it! I ran 5K in 41 minutes. That’s 3.1 miles, giving me a 13:17 pace. Next time, I can strive to beat it. I was thinking of Lois when I ran.

I have worked with Lois for a long time, since the early 90s. I think it’s fair to say both she and I can get impassioned, and therefore, occasionally, a little difficult. Yet I have always had a huge and deep-seated respect for Lois. Her intelligence, her wit, her kindness!

She has always fought the good fight and stood up for people who are marginalized — mainly, women and children. And maybe not just stood up for them, but run with them. Walked with them. Befriended them. Because they are us. And there’s something in it for us.

I really should sign up for another 5K, before I lose my mojo. And my goal is sometime, to run the whole way.

September 26, 2010

Running Update

This morning on Twitter, I posted, “Just ran 1.5 miles in 19 mins. Beat that. 😉 #mamavation I am in the#slowlane” And I received several re-tweets and “That’s great!” and “I’m slow too!” comments.

So there! When you admit you’re slow, you’re suddenly popular. Ha! And you always thought the fast girls were the beloved ones!

I haven’t been running much since a few weeks ago I developed some kind of heel spur or heel plantar fasiitis problem. (I’d like to go on and on about it right now, but I know that griping about minor injuries is really annoying so just suffice it to say, I’ve become lazy or  I’m babying myself.)

I have been going to Pilates/Yoga at lunchtime at work and playing an occasional tennis game.

Haven’t been riding my bike to work lately either. I did write in here about how the pedal fell off, didn’t I? See, my bike fell in love with this other bike in the basement (the Gary Fisher bizatch). And she didn’t love him back and somehow my bike just doesn’t feel like going out for a ride any more. He’s buried behind a bunch of other more popular bikes in the bike room collecting dust. I guess my bike has to just go slow, admit it on Twitter, and then he’ll become popular again.

This morning, I felt great after running (except for my heel!). I didn’t run far or fast, but I definitely got to the endorphin-kicking-in phase. I think the endorphins release at exactly the same moment the back of my neck gets sweaty. That is when I tell myself, “Okay, you’ve gone far enough. You can stop now.”

My advice? Go only so far as to break a sweat and then stop at Europan cafe. Carry the spoils home from the battle — the bacon/egg/cheese sandwiches and bagels for the kids. Add your coffee. Sunday morning. Life is good.