Entries Tagged as 'Run'

FROM THE WEEKEND: HERMIT CRABS + TREE SWINGS

Monday, August 25, 2014

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We’ve enjoyed an uncharacteristically cool summer here on the east coast.  With a drop back week and a high of only 81 degrees, I slept in on Saturday morning and ran my eight miles late in the day.  Sunday was lazy and playful – the perfect way to usher out summer.  Ryan and I spent time at the bay catching hermit crabs and then had dinner at his parents’ house where I tested out their new tree swing [for the grandkids] while the fish was on the grill.  I was reminded on George Sheehan’s words:

 

“To play or not to play? That is the real question…You can have peace without the world, if you opt for death, or the world without peace if you decide for doing and having and achieving. Only in play can you have both. In play you realize simultaneously the supreme importance and the utter insignificance of what you are doing. You accept the paradox of pursuing what is at once essential and inconsequential…Play is where life lives, where the game is the game. At its borders, we slip into heresy, become serious, lose our sense of humor, fail to see the incongruities of everything we hold to be important. Right and wrong become problematical. Money, power, position become ends. The game becomes winning. And we lose the good life and the good things that play provides.”

 

Wishing you a week full of play.

 

[ PS:  If you haven’t read Running & Being, I highly recommend it. ]

LONG RUN: SHOWING UP

Friday, August 22, 2014

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I’ve found myself in a prickly situation recently – entrenched, but not in the position to untangle it.  In my more zen moments I can acknowledge that it is what it is and let it be.

I needed a bit of zen Tuesday night so I plopped down on my yoga mat – a place I haven’t found myself in quite sometime.  This isn’t a class with a soothsayer instructor (you know those yogis who whisper wisdom straight to your soul?), so I had tempered expectations.  My left hamstring has been tight since my long run on Saturday and I knew I could use a few deep breaths.

The instructor opened the class with this:  “You showed up for yourself tonight.

Sitting in lotus pose it hit me:  I’ve been waiting for a referee to show up and mediate this tricky situation – to apply the rules fairly and ultimately validate my position.  But, as my mother always said, “fair, my dear, is a term for the weather.”  And, good heavens, isn’t it exhausting seeking validation?  What a terribly useless pursuit.

I wrote recently about showing up – about the importance of presence and authenticity.  Last night I started thinking about how much easier it is to show up for a friend or an important cause than it is to show up for myself.  We sabotage ourselves with self-doubt, fear, judgment, comparison, the need for validation.  But, what if instead we showed up for ourselves like we (try to) show up for our friends:

  • Not to intervene, but to affirm.
  • Not to problem solve, but to be thoughtfully present.
  • Not in defense of, but on behalf of.
  • Not to judge, but to discern.
  • Not to untangle problems, but to generate space.
  • Not to point fingers, but to make peace.

The yoga instructor’s words stuck with me through the week.  When I didn’t feel like running on Wednesday night, they came to mind.  I went ahead and ran the miles, not because I had to or because I’d be disappointed with myself if I didn’t, but because I really want to run a great marathon this fall.  And showing up for myself meant lacing up and getting out the door.

Showing up for myself means having the wisdom to know where my energy is well spent and where it is not.  It is having the discernment to know when to intervene and when to let go, and the courage to believe that my position needs no outside validation or justification.  Showing up for myself means that the commitment I have to myself to do the best I can where I can with what I have is enough.

What might it mean for you?

LONG RUN: CALM

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

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A friend of mine had to drive over a bridge each morning on the way to high school.  He said that the conditions of the bay in the morning foreshadowed the type of day he would go on to have.  Rough water, rough day.  Calm water, calm day.

The weather has turned and we are getting our first glimpse of winter.  The thermometer hasn’t risen out of the 30s in the past couple of days.   After spending the better part of the last month traveling, this feels rather abrupt.

Last night I layered up and set out for my favorite running trail.  Cold weather is a great motivator to pick up the pace.  The first mile I could feel myself trying to outrun the chill.  I was warm enough on my way back in to stop and watched the sunset.  The water was as calm as I’ve ever seen it – so still it looked like glass.

With the holidays fast approaching, I took this to be a good omen.  Perhaps a calm holiday season is ahead?

While that seems an almost laughable possibility, the water’s stillness was a much needed reminder that it is possible to create my own “all is calm” moments in the midst of holiday (or any manner of) craziness.  So here’s to bundling up, lacing up and getting out the door.

RACE DAY: CHICAGO MARATHON

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

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On Sunday, I had the privilege of lacing up and heading out onto the Chicago Marathon course as a coach of a charity running team.  One of my favorite things about Team In Training is the course support that runners receive.  There are coaches at every mile cheering on runners, hopping in to run with those that are struggling and offering words of encouragement to anyone that needs them.

As I left the hotel Sunday morning and escorted participants to Grant Park, I found myself thinking about what a sacred, vulnerable space marathon miles are.  Individuals find themselves at the starting line for so many reasons — running in remembrance of a loved one, on behalf of a cause that is near and dear, in honor of a personal transformation or in pursuit of a goal that once seemed impossible – and this quest for a marathon finish demands nothing less than a commitment and offering up of our whole selves.  Regardless of pace or finish time, this resolve is something I find to be incredibly beautiful.

On Sunday I hopped in with a first time marathoner near the end of the race.  She was moving forward, but was quite clearly in a lot of pain.  Well into mile 25, I knew she would finish, but as she started talking to me I could tell that she was on the verge of tears.  I reminded her that she was making progress by walking and that in a matter of a few minutes she would complete the race.  She started to cry and told me she didn’t think she could run anymore.  I reassured her that this was her race and she got to finish it on her terms, but regardless of how she got there she would most certainly make it to the finish line.  I was mid-sentence when she took off – she just started running.  She turned over her shoulder to look at me, then pointed and shouted, “My family!”  Sure enough her whole pack was just at the side of the road and she ran over to be greeted by hugs, shouts, tearful cheers and all manner of hoopla.  Then, off she went with a huge grin on her face, running along to complete her first marathon.

We commit, we run, we push, we feel as if we are on the verge of breaking but we are not broken.  We are sustained by the endurance we’ve built, we hold tight to the reasons that led us to the starting line in the first place, we are tucked in by spectators, and we are held up by our pack.  What sacred moments, indeed.

LANDED: CHICAGO

Friday, October 11, 2013

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Ryan has been fixated on the idea of visiting Chicago for five years and I’m happy to report that our initial impressions of the city are living up to his expectations.  So far we have sipped on handcrafted whisky cocktails at a speakeasy, eaten our weight in queso fundido and spent time with dear friends who moved here from Baltimore.

Next up:  The Chicago Marathon!

WORDS 02: FEAR

Friday, September 20, 2013

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I’ve had these words from six time Ironman World Champion, Mark Allen, up in my office for almost a year and each time I read them, I am grateful for the reminder — feel the fear, move through it.

WORDS 01: LETTING GO

Saturday, September 14, 2013

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Runners like words.  We value words of encouragement from spectators as we race, we turn mantras over in our minds as we find strength to climb, many of us write.  So often as I run, a quote or phrase will come to mind and I will spend a few minutes (or miles) considering its application within the context of the miles I’m covering.  Perhaps you do this as well?  I thought it might be fun to start sharing them here, just in case you are looking for some words to carry you through your long run this weekend.

SMALL MOVEMENTS

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

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The truth is I haven’t been running.  Somewhere between a weekend in Boston, a trip to DC, camping in Shenandoah National park and time on the eastern shore, I just stopped.  I had a few great runs during a family vacation in North Carolina, but after that nothing.  If I’m honest, I haven’t wanted to run.  There it is, I said it.

September arrived with the smell of freshly sharpened pencils in the air and I found myself looking for the newness and fresh start that comes with the beginning of the school year.  We had planned to move this month, but with a few big life decisions still unresolved, we’ve decided to stay put for now.  It feels a bit like limbo; not fully integrated in or committed to life where we are, but not yet ready to take the next step.  What I’m really wishing for is some punctuation – a clear movement from here to there – but I’m learning that is so rarely how life works.  Instead, Ryan and I talk and think and wait.  In moments of clarity, I can see the uncertain pieces starting to come together.  I’m not quite sure where things will end up, but I sense movement and unfolding, sort of like clouds on a windy day.  I trust that this process will result in confidence to take the next step.

Until Sunday, I had mistaken my averseness to running for not wanting to be active.  That was a mistake.  It felt good to admit to myself that I simply do not feel like running right now.  There are times to push through and lace up anyways and there are times to let it be.  I felt no need to dissect these feelings and I did not allow myself to self-impose any guilt.  It is what it is.

I did a quick internal check and inquired as to whether there was anything that I did, in fact, want to do.  The answer was yes and so I’ve pursued new forms of movement.  I’ve been walking and taking barre classes.  I feel strength in a way that differs from a post-run high.  Barre classes focus on small movements – little leg lifts and microscopic crunches – undertaken with intention, focus and the hopeful expectation that they are producing results.  These teeny tiny movements make my muscles shake almost uncontrollably and at the end of 60 minutes my legs are wobbly and trembling.

Small movements producing results, that’s what I’m focusing on these days.  Trying to release the need for a defining moment, a sudden possession of enlightenment, a quick answer on our next step.  Right now, there is no clean transition like the first day of school; instead there are small, thoughtful movements and confidence knowing that they will take me where I want to go.  Little by little towards strength and stability and clarity and growth.

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LONG RUN: ACHES

Monday, August 12, 2013

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For my long run Saturday morning I met up with a group of Team In Training folks and we hit the trail in First Landing State Park.  Two other runners were planning to go the same distance, so I folded in with them and despite the heat and humidity (81 degrees at 6:45am!) the miles ticked by fairly quickly.

One of the girls I was running with was having a tough day so we slowed down and walked a few times in the final miles.  Having been sick recently, I was more than happy to take it easy.

Later in the afternoon I was chatting with a few runner friends about our respective long runs that morning.   I noted that I was a bit disappointed that when I plopped down on the couch after my long run my knees didn’t ache.  To the non-runner, I realize this sounds crazy.  But, I really look forward to lying down after a long run and feeling a faint, general ache in my knees. To be clear, this isn’t pain might hint at a potential injury; it’s more of a faint soreness that dissipates within a couple of hours.  I associate the ache with fatigue, with building endurance, with having gone as far as my legs would allow.  I understand the ache as a response from my body that I have worked hard and that I am building endurance.

The next morning a friend texted me a quote from the September issue of Runner’s World:

“The nonrunner’s muscles ache and he gets cranky. 

The runner’s muscles ache and his eyes spin in his head and he says, “Alive, man, alive!”

RACE: ALLEN STONE BRAVEHEART RUN SWIM RUN

Friday, July 26, 2013

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Last Friday evening I popped into my local tri shop to pick up a new pair of goggles.  The store was busy and I noticed that a packet pick up table was set up near the front door.  A gentleman asked if I had come in to pick up my number and when I let him know that I hadn’t, he immediately launched into a lighthearted sales pitch about why I should sign up for a run/swim/run race that would take place the next morning.  He didn’t give up easily, but eventually he gave me a way out of the conversation by letting me know that I could think about it and sign up race morning.  Relieved to have an exit strategy, I said thank you then took a race flyer and left.

I am a good swimmer, but I was scared about the 1k ocean swim.  I’ve only done one real swim so far this summer and it was in the bay without waves…or a current.  I had a serious internal struggle about whether I was feeling the good kind of fear that motivates us to do things outside our comfort zone or whether this was the “come on, Kristin, don’t be an idiot” kind of fear.

In the end, I showed up at the race on Saturday morning and I am so glad that I did.  The Allen Stone Braveheart race began at Neptune’s Park at 31st street in Virginia Beach.  The event benefited the Navy Seal Foundation and the morning started with a ceremony honoring Seals who have been killed since September 11th, 2001.   Participants ran south from 31st street on the beach for one kilometer then we hopped in the water and swam back up to 32nd street.  We laced up and then ran a 5k on boardwalk.

While I haven’t been swimming much this summer, I’ve been running consistently.  Deep down I knew that my body was ready for this race.

There are a lot of reasons to train – to race, to build endurance and strength, to find breath and movement.  But in the end, the reason that I train is to find readiness and the ability to say “yes” — yes to a spontaneous race day, yes to holding steady in the heat, yes to climbing whatever hill life delivers next.

We run in preparation and we train clinging to the hope of finding strength and endurance when we need it.  Sometimes we draw on that strength in response to loss or defeat or hurt.  But every now and then, we draw on that strength and find the ability to say yes to a new challenge and so we hop in the water and we start swimming.

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