Monday, November 12, 2012

A Guest Post from My Friend Amy K.

This is my friend Amy and her "Goofy" husband Chris:
They are two of our friends who've kindly endured about three years of listening to me and Kris talk nothing but running, and racing and our addiction to endorphins. They are kind and patient people. Which is just one reason why we love them.

Amy is the person who introduced me to the Zombies, Run! game. Yeah, she's the one responsible for starting my obsession!  And now she is using the Zombies, Run! 5k training app to train for her first ever 5k! WOOT! (I have the honor of running the 5k with her).

I am so excited for my friend to join the world of racing and expect her to find the same excitement I do in training for and completing an event.  It's hard and sometimes often it hurts. But we love it and it's too hard to describe why. We just tell our friends they have to do it to understand it. Amy is the first of our friends to try it.  And she's starting to understand it. Read on!

While I was out running today, I think I had an epiphany.

For those of you who don't know, I'm training for my first 5K, which I plan on doing on December 9. I am doing a training program called Zombies, 5K, that is a "couch to 5K" training mixed with zombie chases and an interesting story.

My training today started with a 10 minute warmup, followed by interevals of one minute running, one minute walking, and knee lifts. I was in the middle of the first run, and really miserable. My head was down, I was staring at the ground, gasping for breath, counting the seconds until I could stop running. In fact, I could barely lift my feet up. All I could think was "there's no way I can do this -- there's no way I can go through 5 more weeks of training, and the thought of actually RUNNING a 5K is a joke." And then I started thinking about why I was doing this. Why was I putting myself through this misery?

It's a good question. I've had people assume I was doing this to lose weight. And, while that seems to be a side benefit (as evidenced by my jeans that won't stay on without help), that wasn't my goal. It's not for the physical fitness aspect, either, although that seems to be a prerequisite. At first, I thought I was just doing this because the app was kind of cool, and I figured it would be something to do, but the more I thought about it, that really wasn't it either. And then I realized the real reason I'm out there doing this. I dream about running. Not daydreams, but dreams at night. I regularly dream of running, effortlessly. And it feels GOOD in my dreams. It doesn't hurt, I'm not gasping for air, I'm just running. It feels so good in my dreams, I want that feeling in reality, while I'm awake.

All of this passed through my mind in the time it took me to finish the run, walk for a minute, and do my knee lifts. When it was time to run again, I didn't look down, I raised my head. I didn't count the seconds, I lip-synced to the music that was playing. I didn't grimace in pain and stress, I grinned with joy. And I RAN. At the end of the 60 seconds, yes, I was gasping for air (like always). My muscles screamed at me (like always). But the difference was, I felt good.

My pace was still slow, but I'm okay with that. Approaching it with joy made me realize why there are so many crazy people who do this. I am clearly not built for running. I'm seriously overweight. I've got asthma, and some gnarly arthritis in my knees, but, damn it, I'm going to run.

I'm still not getting those elusive endorphins, though.

Don't worry Amy, the endorphins will come later. :) Run on Girl! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Spooky Halloween Run

First, this is Trooper our "Bat Cat". That was his costume for Halloween. It's too bad we weren't home for the trick or treaters this year because I think they would've really gotten a kick out of him. :)

We weren't home that night because we were out running. 

Kris took Kenai: 

I took Heather: 

Kris and I got a late start. It was good and dark except the moon was almost full. I didn't need a headlamp. But I did wish I had a flasher for Heather. 

So we all started at the same point. But Kris and Kenai took a southern route; Heather and I started running north. There's a bike trail that runs along the boundary of a park. I like running around the park at night. It's quiet and cool; and tonight, it was eerie. 

This was the same trail Heather and I was on when we ran into a skunk! I kept my eyes peeled. As we ran down the path, I noticed the baseball field lights were off. No games tonight. No one else on the path, no one in the park. It was Halloween after all. Everyone was giving candy or getting candy. It was so peaceful. But I was starting to wish I had brought my pepper spray and stun gun. (Yes, usually, when I run at night I run armed).

Now those of you who know me, know I've been playing this running game Zombies, Run! It's a role playing game you play while you are out running. There are character actors and realistic sound effects. And for imaginative people like me, you can just get lost in the game. Oh yeah, and zombies chase you. 

So here I am running in the peace and quiet with my dog. And I start thinking about the zombies. And I remember it's Halloween. And my imagination starts to get active. 

I kept an eye on Heather because she can spot things before I do. She was absolutely unbothered. 
Soon we had to turn off the path and run through some woods to get into the park. This was the spookiest part. The trees make weird shadows and I felt like Heather and I were the only ones around for miles. And like I said, my imagination was having fun!

You know, the only way the zombies get you is either by cornering you some place where there is no exit, or hiding somewhere and surprising you. Otherwise, you can always out run them. 
As I'm mulling this over in my head, we make the turn off into the woods and Heather is still calm as a cucumber. We run through the trees and immediately I see a shadow of a zombie behind a tree to my left! I quickly turn to confront it and... nothing there. I turn back to the trail and I see several shadows to my right. I spin, and... I just see trees. 

It is creepy! But I laugh to myself because there is nothing I'd rather do than run in the peace and quiet with my dog and have my own little "Haunted Run". Besides, the weather was wonderful! Cool and misty with light fog hanging on everything. 

At another point, we run back out of the park and onto a road that runs along the outskirts of a neighborhood. As we ran by I looked down one of the side streets and see the trick or treaters crossing the street back and forth in their cute little costumes. 

We kept running. 

As we were circling back toward our starting point, I realized I needed more mileage. So we made a detour to the airport. There are more trees and a big empty field on the south side. We ran up to the runway fence where we took a break and watch the runway lights while I caught my breath. I let Heather off the leash and let her explore. 

She ran down into a nearby ditch and my imagination saw her running back up with a zombie arm in her mouth. I shook my head and called her. She trotted right up out of the ditch without anything in her mouth and started running right at my side. We ran through the big empty field on our way back to the car, both of us free spirits. Halloween spirits perhaps. :)

We made it back to the car just before Kris and Kenai came running in from the trail we started on. Kris had had just as nice of run as I did. Though he report no zombies on his route. 

The time changed this weekend. I'll be doing most my runs at night. I'll be running with my Zombies, Run! game. I have a feeling I'll be running faster than my average pace though. You know; to keep ahead of the zombies! :)