Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When your head needs a cleaning...

I am not one to really feel like I need to get my head cleaned out after a long day. However, on Monday that was exactly what I needed to do. While the day was good one, it was also busy and had some unexpected twists and turns in which I really did not want to have to do deal with. (For those of you that do not know what I do, I am a substance abuse counselor working with men and women who are incarcerated but living in the community.) I love my job and the people that I work with. I do not love the "surprises" that come along the way. Not to mention that I work for an agency who is contracted by Dept of Corrections so basically I have two employers and sometimes that is overwhelming in itself.

So Monday was one of those days that I needed to get out of my head. How do I do that...I run of course! I got home early evening, donned my running shoes and out the door I went. As I ran down the road, (I live in New Hampshire. We still have snow so the trails were not in my cards.), I felt like I needed something new, something fresh. So I headed to Vermont.

Now before you freak out...don't worry! Vermont is only about a mile from my house. The difference is this-I have never ran over the river to get to Vermont before...EVER. I have lived in my house for 8 years and I have never ran across that bridge. What an amazing and freeing run it was!

I bounded across the big green bridge that spans the Connecticut River between NH and VT and was elated to be going someplace new. Even though I only ran about 2 miles over into VT onto a side street that followed the Wells River and then back to was still new. The sights were new, even the smells were new!

By the time I made it back home my mind felt healed. I felt renewed and fresh and happy! I should run over to Vermont more often! But I don't want it to become "normal". So for now I think I will keep it as a hidden gem across the river.

My run yesterday was not so liberating. My training plan said 6 miles at a 11:34 pace. WHAT!?!?! 11:34?? I don't think I could run that slow at all. So I chose to run a little faster. My route however, is not one I should have taken yesterday. I decided to head up Mt. Gardner Road which is exactly as it sounds. The road goes UP Mt. Gardner. At the top of the "hill" I was spent. I turned around, grumbling, and headed home. Instead of getting my 6 miles I got 4.11.

As my friends least I did SOMETHING. But I am still pretty angry at myself for not pushing through and getting my 6 miles.

Today is for rest...and tomorrow I will conquer that dreaded hill and get my mileage in. For now I need to remember that some days will be good and others will be bad. I need to embrace them BOTH!

Run Free Ya'll!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The road, (or trail), ahead...

For the past few weeks the subject of Spring has been a sore spot for a lot of runners, myself included. I am so incredibly sick and tired of snow it is pathetic. Even as I sit here at my kitchen table, on a SNOW day, drinking a cup of coffee, the day before the First Day of SPRING, I feel as though we might not ever get to see a clear road, or worse yet...a clear trail EVER AGAIN. This is disturbing to me...but what am I suppose to do about it. NOTHING. So instead I sit here and dream of the day when the sun shines once again. Okay...enough of my whining. Onto bigger and better things.

I know I know...I haven't been around for awhile. My dear friend Sarah T. so bluntly reminded me of that on my birthday weekend. Between stuff at home and being severely behind on paperwork for my REAL JOB, this part of my life has fallen behind and for that I am sorry. 

Since I have written last much has happened. For one my race schedule has been narrowed down...or out...however you would like to interpret it. goes...

Mar 9: NHTI Spring Ahead 3 Miler 26:55 2nd Place in my age group
Mar 17: Lebanon Shamrock Shuffle 29:34
Mar 30: Gilmanton 5K
Apr 6: SEA 5K
Apr 14: B.A.A. Boston 5K
Apr 19: NHTI/Delta Dental 5K
Apr 20:Stonyfield EarthDay 5K
May 11: Canterbury Shaker Village XC 5K
May 19: Shires of Vermont Marathon
May 26: Red Hook Memorial 5K Team 2020 VisionQuest
June 1: Over the river and through the woods run for the animals 5K (maybe)
June 2: Covered Bridges Half Marathon (Running for Upper Valley Haven)
July 20: Bill Luti 5 miler
July 27: Bear Brook Trail Marathon
Sept 8: Heads Up Half Marathon
Sept 29: VT50
Oct 26: Ghost Train Rain Trail Ultra

I know there are a lot of 5K's in there. The majority of them are part of a series that happens here in New Hampshire called the Capitol Area Race Series. If you complete 6 out of the 7 races then you get a jacket. You know how much us runners LOVE swag in the form of clothing! The group of people who run it are a lot of fun and it is always a good time. 

Like I said above, my training has been lacking. Between work, home, the weather, etc etc, (I wonder how many other excuses I can come up with?), my time on the road and trails has been limited. I will be kicking it up about ten notches this week though as my schedule has slowed down a bit. 

So I am looking forward to getting back out there the way that I need to and it all starts with me right? Although that is very true I do appreciate all of my runner friends on social media helping me along. It really does truly help. I am motivated by what they do and say and I honestly feel a huge amount of support from them no matter what is happening in my life. But that is the way of the running community isn't it? Every once in awhile we might run, (no pun intended), across another in our community that I would label as a snob. However this does not happen very often. But when it does it can be devastating. 

Much like the field that I work in, (I work with recovering addicts and alcoholics), we all started at the bottom. We all started off by taking that first step out the door, huffing and puffing down the street only to realize that running is a lot harder than it looks. I think that as runners, when we feel like we are having a great day on the trails or roads we need to remember what it was like when we first started. When we forget the hardest of days/runs that got us to where we are today, we become that snobby, push people out of the way, type person. None of us want to become that. Sometime I find myself heading there and I need to remember that first day, gasping for air. That is what keeps running fresh for me. And that is what makes our community so great. We were all at the same place at one point. It is our common thread. 

Okay...enough of the sappy stuff. 

I want to end this with a review on a product that I tried. EnergyBits

I always have problems with my stomach when I run. It doesn't matter what I have tried to eat before I run or how long I have waited after food to lace up the Newtons; I always end up feeling like I ate shards of glass. It is HORRIBLE. Until now.

After some griping and complaining on Twitter about my stomach woes, Jonathan Levitt from EnergyBits contacted me and told me about their product. These "bits" are made up of 100% Spirulina Algae and packed with bunches of protein, amino acids, omega-3, antioxidants, B vitamins and other minerals.

Needless to say I was intrigued mainly because the product seemed to be all natural, and veggie. (I do not eat anything with eyeballs.) With my interest piqued Jonathan sent me a sample. 

The bits came in a small metal container. Perfect for tossing into your gym bag before heading off to a new trail or to a race. Now, I was warned that the taste of these little gems are "acquired", so I knew to not chew them but rather swallow them like a pill. The recommended amount to be used before activity or in the morning, or basically when you want to, is 30 bits. For me that seemed extreme and knowing how my tummy likes to make a mockery out of me, I decided to start off with only 15. 

15 was the perfect number for me. I swallowed 15 bits about 30 minutes before my first race of the year. Okay, cool. Stomach feeling OK. The race began and I was feeling pretty good. Actually, I was feeling fantastic! I even managed the one hill in that race without breaking a sweat or wanting to puke on the runner in front of me. When I can around the quad to the finish line and saw my time I was FLOORED. No way...I DID NOT just run this three miles in 26:55. Not without any stomach pain or anything!!! This had to have been some mistake. Okay...good first try on the bits. 

Last weekend I ran in a local 5K that has significant hills and I HATE. Again, about 30 minutes before the race I swallowed 15 bits. (This time with a banana because the taste is indeed acquired.) I do not think I even noticed the hills this year and I was able to have full  conversations with one of the XC coaches from a local college while running! EnergyBits gave me HUGE energy and NO UPSET STOMACH! I am completely sold on this product. 

Okay all...that's enough from me for one day! Happy running and HURRY SPRING!! See you on the trails!