Thursday, May 20

What I Have Learned

Jolee after our run through the hills in Pine.

Sarah post Pine run.

As the race day comes closer and closer, I find myself thinking more and more about running. I eat, sleep, talk, dwell, imagine, ponder, and debate running. Run, run, run, run, run. I have learned so much about running and myself through 1/2 marathon training.

1. Mind over matter. As I push myself to further distances and running during less than pleasant Arizona summer weather, I have realized that when I feel like I can't run any further, I must change my thinking. I find some way to think that I can continue. Like Dori said in Finding Nemo "swimming, swimming, just keep swimming." I think "running, running, just keep running." My mind can completely over power my body and force it to continue to run, even if I think it is impossible. I can keep running!
2. Sunshine, heat, and running are a very bad combination. With the sun getting up way too early in the morning, we have done a complete of runs as it starts to heat up. My ability to run at a nice steady 10-12 minute mile, falls apart with the heat. Sometimes it feels like I am made out of lead. With the heat, if I want my brain to keep functioning, I have to guzzle water constantly. It is only May and I am already looking forward to next winter. Like my grandmother said "you can always put on more clothing if it is cold, but you can only take off so much if it is warm."
3. Runners are mostly if not completely crazy. There is an entire running world that is completely different from the one that "normal" people live in. They have there own social networks. Different rules. Different social norms. They are just a bit competitive (okay maybe more than just a bit). Just read Runner's World magazine and you can see how much people put into being a runner. Whoa dang!
4. Stretching is not nearly as important as I thought it was. I read an article about how stretching just as often causes injury as decreases injury, so I tried skipping my stretch after a run and realized that I am less sore when I skip stretching. In fact, I haven't stretched in months.
5. Running teaches patience. This is especially true when I run a little slower on the long runs. I run, then I run, and then I run some more. Sometimes it feels like I am going to be running FOREVER. But as I patiently run along, I eventually get to the end.
6. A mile is not nearly as long as I used to think it was. For example, on our run this morning, we were planning on running 3 miles. Quick and easy so I could get home, shower, and get to bed (I work tonight). We weren't really thinking about where we were running and we ended up running 4 miles instead of 3 and we didn't realize it until we were about home. During the long runs, the thought "only one mile left" is so wonderful.  It feels like just a tiny bit more and then we are done. Compare this with how we felt at the beginning of training when 1/4 mile was "so long."
7. I hate having dried sweat on my face. I think this is the worst part of running. Oh, the feeling is sooooo awful.
8. Caring chap stick during a run is very important. When my lips get dried out, I feel dehydrated and I will drink more and more water, which leads to a water logged belly and a sloshing run. Talk about making me feel like I am going to puke. By regularly using my chap stick, I drink water more sensibly and my run goes so much more smoothly.
9. Upbeat, fast tempo music is the easiest way to increase running speed. I would put type out my play list, but my MP3 player's batteries died during today's run and I don't have time to get new batteries right now. Any songs by Owl City work great for running. "Hello Seattle" is one of my favorites because it makes me think about race day and I end up getting so excited and then run faster. Go super turbo power!
10. Expensive, good quality running shoes are worth every penny. Less painful, more enjoyable runs all due to  shoes!

I love running and the crazy person than running has turned me into. I am excited to continue to run and see what else I can learn. Signing out for now.

The Swann family after this morning's run.

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