Saturday, December 3, 2011

Beth's Running Update

Work it harder, make it better,
do it faster, makes us stronger,
more than ever, never over,
Our work is never over.
Now that don't kill me
Can only make me stronger

Yes, I just quoted Kanye West in my blog. (For my older readers, he's a rapper.) I picked this quote to open this entry because it is on my running playlist and the "What doesn't kill you..." quote was also used by my running partner yesterday morning. (He's a blog reader so...Hello!) More on this run later.

I don't want to turn this into a running blog but it's become a larger part of our lives since we are now only 34 days away from the Disney Half-Marathon so I would imagine that it'll come up a few more times in the next month! My training hit the 200 mile mark this week and I am feeling pretty good about it. It's amazing how something that used to be hard and unsatisfying can become enjoyable. Not that it isn't still hard...because it is, but in a productive kind of way. (I've also learned how much of running is a mental game....for me, even moreso than physical.)

I can't speak for Eddie or the siblings also running a Disney race in January but it's been fun to have a long-range goal this year. Now that we are closer and my mileage is picking up it is starting to feel real...and attainable! It's fun to think back on our first 5K on Memorial Day when some of us couldn't even run the whole thing!

I had a series of successful runs when we were visiting my parents. My first run back up here was not a good one. I got up early to try to do 10 miles and had to fight myself to keep going to get to 7. It was my first really frustrating and "bad" run but as Eddie pointed out, I still got out there and ran 7 miles! Since that "bad" run I did a 4 miler alone and then had an adventure yesterday morning.

*Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the name and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of my running partner, who is a fugitive…or not.*

I mentioned that I ran with someone else during the introduction to this entry. I met Mahoney when I started playing in the Widgerood Kazoo Brigade earlier this year. I was placed next to him and I am very glad. Turns out that besides a stellar kazoo player and Pulitzer-prize winning journalist he's also a runner. We had chatted about running on and off as my training picked up and last month we ran together. (My first 60-minute 6 miler, in fact, which was a big accomplishment for me and a wake-up about what I might be capable of.) We decided to run again since he could push me (because he's too new of a friend to say "Bite me!" to when he is pushing the pace or taking me up big hills) and could teach me a few things.

Yesterday we took off pre-dawn for Garret Mountain Reservation a few towns over. After a little bit of adventure getting there (read: scenic tour of Paterson) we parked the car and took off UP the mountain. (Of course it’s no Everest, but pretty darn hilly.) Once we got to the top we could see a "sweeping vista" (from the website) of Paterson and beyond as the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon. From the Google research I had done prior I knew that I would probably be able to see NYC at some point, which was exciting.

Since Mahoney is familiar with the trail system in the park we picked up a trail for a good part of the run. It was my first trail run and it was pretty interesting and quite different from the neighborhood roads on Ridgewood. It was weird to have to really watch my step, “hurdle” (which for me meant stepping gingerly over) downed trees and figure out how not to tumble down leaf-covered downhill trails. Because we were running on a mountain there was a lot of up and down and my legs were definitely feeling it (and still are). On the plus side, the scenery was pretty great: handful of deer (some pretty close up!), a red-tailed hawk, a plastic bag in a tree that Mahoney thought was a hawk, etc. We also took detour off the trail to hit up to a scenic overlook where we could see the sun coming up over the NYC skyline. (This was the highlight of the run for me.) I had my phone so I snapped a quick picture (and caught my breath a little!) and we kept on.

Sadly you can't really see the skyline in thie photo, but it's there.)

While the run mileage was only 5.65 miles it felt like a heck of a lot more because of the terrain. My legs were burning and I was pretty beat by the end of it but it was a good run. (Hill work is supposed to help strength, which helps with distance.) I quite enjoyed the new running experience (trail) and am thankful for Mahoney for his encouragement and for pushing me to be a better runner.

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