A Good Path

A good path in the early morning is just right for my better runs. Optimum conditions for my best runs are high energy levels, a crisp 42 degrees with sunshine, and a lengthy path.

Most days I will have one or the other. One day the weather will be perfect but my feet feel like bricks. The next run day I feel spry but the weather is warmer than I like. The path is generally the same at my local park.  I take a 2 mile loop a couple of times for a good run. But occasionally I get to run in a different place on a brand new path. Like when we were in Boulder last October and I explored part of the town on the various running trails. Or when I run with a friend and she takes me on a new trail.

I ran a new path this weekend. My goal was 6.2 miles. The conditions were not in my favor. It was a balmy 67 degrees and my energy was low. But I needed this run and I wanted to explore the beauty of the state park we were in. I just wasn’t sure where to start, or which way to go……

So I started running. Almost a mile in I realized the path I was on ended. I turned around, running at a good pace, enjoying my surroundings and saw a trail marker for a hiking trail through the woods. We’d hiked parts of the trail the day before and I remembered there were other trails off that one I wanted to explore. I knew this would slow my pace but I couldn’t resist the urge to be in the woods. The trail was familiar at first but then I realized I wasn’t where I thought I’d be. I finally ran into an open path near the road. My 6.3 mile run took me over hills, near the water, through the shaded woods, into the bright sunlight, beside a golf course and around the park swimming area.

The run was hard.

And it was glorious.

The tough parts were worth the beautiful parts.

“Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
I’m on the right way.”                        Psalm 16:11  MSG

Still Running

I ran in the Worldwide WordPress 5K yesterday. I wish I could say it was a great run.

But it wasn’t. I planned to run 5 1/2 miles but I cut the run short because I felt terrible. My legs hurt. I couldn’t get my breathing right. And my arms even hurt at one point. It was my worst feeling run to date. But I got the 3.1 miles in.

fullsizerender-7Since last year a lot of good things have happened with my running. I run regularly and longer distances and at a faster pace. I ran an 8K in May. I finished a Spartan Race in August and I will run my first 10K in October.

Most importantly I will run tomorrow and I will run my planned 5 1/2 miles. Even if hurts.

Because I want to get better at this.

 

 

 

 

Together

After months of training for a race like I’ve never run before…..I ran the course and finished.

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Photo by Pam Barksdale

And I finished well.

The race was 4.22 miles with 22 obstacles and it was amazing.

It was the teamwork. The encouragement. The ability to do more than I thought I could. It was strangers offering a hand or a knee to help and me offering one in return. It was how I pushed myself. It was conquering fears and obstacles and it was watching others conquer fears and obstacles. It was hard and eye-opening. It was humbling and heart-opening too.

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Photo by Pam Barksdale

Running a Spartan Sprint was a good thing to do on a Saturday morning.

I almost missed it though. In short, a wrong map took us to the wrong place. We turned around and took the right map to the right place and finally arrived at the military base where the race was held. But 100,000 slow moving vehicles were between me and where I needed to be (not really that many but it seemed like it). I jumped out of my husband’s truck, sprinted a mile to the registration tent, picked up my racer’s pack and made it to the starting line in time.

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Photo by Pam Barksdale

This race was more than just a race for me. I learned a great deal about myself and others. I learned the importance of doing new things and taking on challenges but two things really stand out.

Training made a significant difference in my race. And not only my race……but getting to the race in time. I ran the mile to make the race with no problem because I was prepared. I trained with other women every Saturday morning for months leading up to the race but I worked out on my own 5 times a week. Our Saturdays were great but not enough to prepare me adequately. I was consistent and disciplined in my own preparation and it made all the difference in my race…..in my confidence going into it and in how I performed.

The other major lesson learned is that we are better together. The women I trained with were a constant source of encouragement as we prepared for the race. We lifted each other up on our bad days, cheered our victories, and talked down our fears. We held each other accountable.

I made it to the starting line on time because two friends helped me get my gear and chip timer on and made sure I was hydrated before we started.

And  I could not have finished the race well without my racing partners. We stayed together throughout the entire race. 57b90c27a0898a9211ffdb19-oThey pushed me and lifted me (they literally lifted me at one point). We laughed. We strained. We cheered and helped each other. We cheered and helped other racers. We joked at all the mud and we raced with all our hearts.

Together.

The encouragement from these women…..the help, the drive, the smiles and laughter were vital to my race.

Life’s that way, too.

We are better together. We just are.

And being prepared is better than not being prepared. It just is.

Now go.

Try something new and do something hard. And help others do it.

And let them help you.

Because it matters. Live like it matters.

 “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”       Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT

My Groove

Since the move to my new town I’ve lost my running groove. I can’t find the place I want to run…..or like to run. There’s more traffic so I’ve not explored much. My daughter and I crossed the highway Saturday and found a small neighborhood there.

But it’s not my country roads. I think I didn’t know how much I liked the country and the roads there and the quiet there. I didn’t mind running in the dark sometimes because I knew the roads. I knew the people in the houses and dogs in their yards. I didn’t mind the one car or old truck that drove slowly past while I was running.

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My country road

My husband told me last night that I may have to do what I don’t want to do. He reminded me that there are parks and high school tracks in town. And I reminded him that I don’t want to get in my car and drive somewhere to run. I want to step out of my front door and run.

So today I stepped out of my front door and ran. Two miles up and down the dead-end road I live on now. Back and forth….to the highway…..then down to the neighbors……again and again. I ran last week
too, but shorter distances because….well……it got old. This is what the route looks like on my Runkeeper app.

But guimageess what? It was a great run this morning. So I go back and forth on the same road. I’ll get used to the burly boxer barking at me from his back yard and the two little dogs in their fence. I’ll get used to the highway traffic. Maybe I’ll start waving to the traffic as I turn around to run back down to the neighbors. Then wave again when I come back to the highway and again and again. And maybe I’ll cross the highway and run in that neighborhood soon.

All I know, is that I want to run. So I’m gonna run.

And I’ll get my groove back.

 

“The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.”                              Vince Lombardi