Tag Archives: Running

5 Miles of Clarity

I am on day 11 of my running streak.  Runnersworld challenged their readers to go on a running streak, running a minimum of 1 mile/day, every day between memorial day and the 4th of July.  Yesterday I ran my furthest so far in the streak at 5 miles.  It was great.  I haven’t ran that far since Norm’s run back early in December.  Since then, I’ve been getting in miles but it’s all been low mileage.  Running on the treadmill and then trying to fit runs in between a million different things… sometimes it is difficult to make yourself go long. 

But what great joy it is when you do go long!  “Long” of course is relative, but when you’ve been running at or below 3 miles, 5 fits.  I had forgotten the release and the peace I feel when out on a long one.  A run where I’m not tracking time or even thinking about time.  I’m not thinking about what I need to do and why I need to hurry and get back home.  A run where my mind is free to run wild along with the rest of my body.  My mind is always going, so it’s great to give it a place where it can go unrestricted.

I can’t help but hear Norm when I’m out running.  It doesn’t matter the distance or who I’m with.  I hear his voice in my head the most during those times.  Over the years, we spent lots of time running together and he was always the first person I shared a running goal or accomplishment with.  He is the one I know would most understand my excitement about those types of things and my desire to get out there.  

I’ve not written a lot in the past six months, and the more I thought about it last night, the more I realized the variety of reasons.  Yes, I’ve been busy.  But who isn’t?  Generally I write so much about things that I’m processing or currently thinking on and I’m doing that all of the time, so I should always have much to write about.  And I’ve had a lot going on.  I’ve had spiritual disappointments and growth.  I’ve had renewed passions and dreams.  I’ve had multiple relationship challenges and growth.  I’ve become a semi-vegetarian and found a new (and fun) challenge of cooking.  In my internship I’ve dealt with insecurity and then a new found confidence.  There is so much more, under and within the layers.  But I realized that for the past six months, though I’ve processed that and more, it’s all been in the background.  It’s all been a little cloudy, there and recognizable, but not as touchable or reachable as is usual for me.  

When something so unexpected and major happens, I believe it’s really mentally difficult for someone to see anything else totally clear.  In addition to that, nothing else seems like it is that big of a deal.  Our priorities are put into perspective and we realize that much of what we concern ourselves with doesn’t really matter.  Some of it does, but our daily struggles become very small when compared to something so huge.

We all know that death is a part of life… and if you have Christian beliefs, that death is a part of the fall of mankind.  That we have renewed life in Christ and that we will rise again with Him.  So, spiritually and theologically, it doesn’t seem like death should leave such an imprint on our lives… but it does.  Because even though we know the outcome, we are left behind in the mean time.  In the blink of an eye, our entire lives change and they change forever.  There is nothing we can do to change it back.  We know in those first few horrible weeks, that we will be happy again and that our life will give us a new normal in time, but it’s never the same as it was.  And I don’t know about you in your experience of loss, but I’d say generally we don’t want the new normal.  We don’t want that to happen because that means our lives have kept going… something I think everyone struggles with after the death of a loved one.  So we mourn the loss of not only a person, but a life with that person and a life that was in part shaped by that person.  We all shape one another’s lives in someway.  At the time of someones death, our memories with that person become set.  We won’t have more holiday stories to remember, more runs or races to plan to attend, more ongoing jokes, etc.  All of those things come to a halt, and we have what we’ve accumulated so far with that individual.  We have that go to on with, and somehow have to find a way to make some sort of peace with that.  

I can hear someone telling me now that we are never without our loved ones after they are gone.  And I believe that.  Our lives do go on, whether we want them to or not, but we carry with us pieces of that person.  But it doesn’t take everything else away; it doesn’t fix everything.  That’s just part of it.  It’s just part of the process, part of the life cycle, part of our journey.  We’ll go through this multiple times in our lives… and I don’t think it gets easier, but we become more aware of what it entails… of what to expect.  

I think it’s beautiful how God can bring clarity and how God can work through things with us.  I think it’s wondrous that He knows all whats going on within our hearts when we may not understand.  

Romans 26b-27 “…for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deepfor words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

All of this from a 5 mile run?  Yes, that and from insight from Him above.  Beautiful clarity, peace, release, thoughtfulness, joy and gratefulness.  All the more reason to keep on running! 



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Indy500 Festival 5K Recap

Back at the office today after a great race weekend and settling in for a busy week ahead!

Last fall, several people in my family decided to run either the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon or the Indy 500 5K (both races on the same day).  As spring progressed this year, a few of the people signed up couldn’t make it and so others stepped in to fill their spots.  Saturday morning my cousin’s Levi and Ashley, Dustin and I all woke early and met downtown Indianapolis to start the 5K.  3/4 of us had originally planned to do the half, but as I posted before stepped back to the 5K.  It was a great run and a totally different experience than I have had before when doing the half.  The 5K runners start an hour before those running the half and so early in the run, we got to run alongside the wheel chair race too.  If you haven’t seen them go, you should check them out sometime.  It was a rough morning getting up so early, but the weather was perfect for the run, bringing some literal and figurative sunshine into our day! 🙂

I told Dustin that we would have to weave around other runners, and he took my statement very serious- clearing the path and darting around all the slower runners or walkers and leaving us in his dust in the first half mile.  Ashley and I decided to split up and she would run with Levi and I would catch up with Dustin and run it out with him.  So that was how the rest of the race went.  We weren’t running it for time or a PR or anything… so my time of 31:27 was okay with me.  The half is definitely a more exciting run… but I know I made the right decision for myself in doing the other this year!


The first three pictures posted are pre-run and the fourth is afterwards…  As much as anyone loves running the race, relaxing afterwards is always a favorite part!

As some of you may remember, I was really excited to get to the runners expo Friday night, and of course it lived up to its potential, minus one thing: I was most looking forward to trying on New Balance’s newest minimus shoe with a 0 heel-t0-toe drop (check them out at http://www.shopnewbalance.com/women/shoes/running/training/WR00CR) and was disappointed to find when I got to the NB booth, that they didn’t have them.  They redeemed themselves though, thanks to a great NB sales associate who let me try on her personal pair, which she had only run in one time.  They just happen to be the right size; it worked out perfectly.  I wish I knew her name so I could give her a public thank you… but this will have to suffice.

I have to look at one more shoe, and then make the final decision between those two in a month or so.

Take a look at my headband I have on in the pictures from this weekend; I got my first one of these two years ago at my first runners expo in Indy, and absolutely love it.  It actually stays on and keeps my hair back throughout my runs.  This year they were buy 4 get 1 one free, so I got 5. 😉

This week will be a busy one- I have to cover 40 hours at work in 4 days because I’m taking Friday off for a wedding I’m in this weekend in Chicago and I am finishing my last few days of a class (hopefully my last one).  So I plan to get in a few runs to keep it regular but nothing too intense.  I’m looking forward to next week on when I can work on continuing building up my base mileage and enjoying my runs.  Also, I get to start pushing my nieces to start running in preparation of the Color Run in July!

One last exciting note: another friend told me today that they wanted to start running.  I LOVE when people decide to start.  It’s SUCH a healthy activity- physically and mentally.

Until next time!

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Bad Runs and Race Curiosity

After deciding to switch to the 5K instead of the half a few days ago, I had a lot of relief and renewed energy and want to run in the mean time.  Last night we did just a few miles (3.5) and it was nice knowing that the pressure to increase mileage is less urgent for the time being.  Yes, I still plan on increasing, but gradually.  It’s not that I can’t add the miles now- but a matter of doing it in a smart way.  Last night’s run was a little rough for me, considering how short it was and how relieved I was.  I wasn’t sure why, except realized later what I imagine the culprits were.

For years now I have suspected I had asthma, not bad enough that I ever turn blue or have to rush to the ER, but to a point of discomfort nonetheless.  Breathing is always the most difficult thing on my runs, and though it gets better the more miles I add-on and the more I use my lungs, it’s still an annoying hindrance.  If you have ever had an injury that stopped you from running when all of your other muscles and your mind just wanted you to GO, you will know the feeling of having one part of your body not coöperate with the rest.  So, since I recently got good health insurance I decided to go get my long-time suspicion checked out.  The Dr. did think it sounded like asthma and gave me an inhaler to use for a month, to see when I would need it and what the best treatment would be.  Like I said, it isn’t life threatening or anything like that and I don’t think there’s a need for any daily medicine, but I have been instructed to take the inhaler 20 minutes before any work out and see how it affects me.  I have done that, and the results have been great.  Yesterday I took it about an hour and twenty minutes before the run, planning to run earlier than I did.  Then, I just am not used to taking it so I didn’t think about it having any sort of effect on the run.  In combination with that, it is spring and my allergies are fully activated this time of the year! On a positive note on the inhaler, it seems that since taking it before my runs I have been able to breathe better not only while running but in other parts of my day.  Anyway, the run wasn’t the worst ever.  And if you’ve run for any amount of time, even just one time, you surely know that sometimes you just have a bad run.  No matter how many miles you can run or how fast you can go, there are going to be times you go out when your muscles will hurt more than normal, when your breathing is more shallow than normal, and when you just feel bad.  That’s okay, because there are always the wonderful runs too… and if you haven’t gotten to one of these yet, keep at it- you’ll get there.

Tonight after work I won’t be running, but instead will be either going to the driving range or attempting to hit a tennis ball.  Ha.  I used to play tennis often with my dad in the spring-fall seasons.  During the school year, he would come pick us up at my mom’s house and often we would go play tennis- or he would try to teach us how to play tennis.  I wanted to join the tennis team in high school but was shy and passed the chance my freshman year.  My sophomore year rolled around and that time I passed because I didn’t want to be the “only new one on the team”, i.e. lacking in confidence.  Boo. Either way, I have always loved tennis and I love that my dad taught me early on in life as it’s been something I’ve carried with me and played with a variety of people and times in life.  I did not play tennis at all last year though, so am way out of practice.  It will be good to get at it again.  Golf however, is a sport I am completely new at.  I have always wanted to learn and have never found someone who would teach me, but lucky me, Dustin loves playing.  I now have my own set of clubs, shoes and a glove and I feel like a pro… until I start swinging ;).  He’s teaching me technique, which let me tell you, is much more difficult than it looks.  When people say golf is one of the harder sports out there, they are right.  I haven’t even gotten on the green yet.  I am focusing on making contact and hitting the ball while sticking to at least decent form.  I’m glad I have a patient teacher.

I decided to start looking at some races I may want to consider for the rest of the year.  I’m not signing up for any after the Color Run at this point- but I will be within the next few months adding more to my schedule.  Most of these I’m looking at are shorter distances, which is nice because they will keep me motivated but not stressed.  And maybe once I’m done with school and in my internship, I won’t be so overwhelmed with the idea of training for something longer, but I want to wait until I know before I start making any promises… or writing any checks…

Have any of you ran any sort of mud run or obstacle course?  I am considering this one:


I am also interested in doing runs where the money that I am paying will go to an important and needed cause so am looking at a few difference cancer research runs.

I’m looking at a Christmas run called the Jingle Bell run- the proceeds go to the Arthritis Foundation:

And another I’m interested in doing… a run through a winery with a commemorative wine glass for finishing the course and wine tasting after (I like wine, of course after hyrdating with much water… it’s a 5K/5 Mile… so I don’t think it would be a safety issue.  I always think it’s crazy when people do those beer runs- half and full marathons- why not just skimp on water for three days in the desert?) Also, this one goes to a good cause:


Are any of you planning to do any races?  I know some of you have mentioned signing up.  What types and distances are you looking at?

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Change in the Plan

Well, I possibly shouldn’t have written yesterday’s post until today.  Last night Dustin and I ran as planned and in training for the half coming up (2 weeks) and both came to terms with how unready we were.  Yes, we could do it and finish, definitely.  But we started talking about the possibility of stepping back to the 5K if possible.  I wasn’t sure if we’d be allowed to anyway, and so we decided that if we could we would, but if not we were both sticking it out for the half.  Know that we COULD finish the half, but that we would feel better about doing the 5K and would probably be able to continue building after the race that way.  To be honest, I was afraid that we would finish the half and we would be so sore from not being ready, that we wouldn’t run for the next month and then set ourselves back further.  OR worse, one or both of us would end up getting injured in upping our mileage so quick.  So when I checked and found out that we could indeed do the 5K with no major changes, but just by showing up at the 5K starting line… the decision was made.

So back to when I said originally about knowing yourself, and being okay with starting where you need to start… this is a perfect example.  I don’t have to feel guilty about switching the distance; there’s no shame in choosing what’s best for your life and body at the time (as long as it still involves remaining active!).  So it is official.  To be honest, I felt a little shameful admitting it to other people, but that is my issue- and so I am telling myself the same thing I am telling anyone who is reading this part of the entry!

I have 3.5 weeks until I am done with all my class work for my Masters degree and can take the summer off before starting my internship hours… and I have 2.5 weeks until the race.  I have 4.5 weeks until I am in a friend’s wedding in Chicago… where I will be giving a toast at a fancy wedding- which I’m excited about, but am completely unprepared for the toast at this point.  I also have two long research papers and one final to finish, among many other smaller assignments in my last 3.5 weeks of school.  I have stressed since January, about all of this… fitting it all in and feeling good about it.  And to piggy back off of my entry on my other blog (http://ajh922.wordpress.com/) I wrote yesterday, sometimes we have to make decisions that are healthy for us… even if they aren’t what we wish we could do.  Of course we wish we could do it all, perfectly.  But who am I kidding?  We don’t expect it from one another, why would we expect that from ourselves?  It’s just silly, and sets us up for disappointment and the failure that we may run from or fear so much.

Having said that, don’t misunderstand me.  I am not saying we should not challenge ourselves to a higher standard or goals… we most definitely should.  And we should expect to reach them… but we also should know when we are being rational and when we are not. 🙂

On to another note…

It is just about time for me to buy a new pair of running shoes.  I’m deciding now whether to get the same pair I have now, which I love more than I have EVER loved any running shoes, or to try out a new pair.  I have the New Balance Minimus with Vibram soles.  They are so light and fit my foot so well.  I love how they sound when I hit the ground.  They feel like I’m running barefoot, except with nothing stabbing the bottom of my foot. 🙂 For shoes that are so thin, they have had a long life and are just now to the point where they are worn out (I bought them in August).

So a part of me thinks why go on and try a different pair if I love these so much?? I still need to do some more research on runnersworld.com to see what reviewers are saying, etc.  Anyway… just what is in my mind in the shoe department at this point.

Edit: I just realized New Balance now has three levels of Minimus shoes… I have to check them out!  Interested in seeing them?


Until tomorrow,

Run strong!

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