Monday, March 10, 2014

Weekend of running..the fun and challenging kind

 Do not neglect the FUN RUN!!

Many runners find themselves sucked into a harsh training mode, which could squeeze the fun out of running. There have been plenty of times, during a weekly run and a race, when I would audibly say I hated running. I wondered why I was doing it too many times to admit. I know, I know - it's unimaginable. I had to take some time to think about why I run. We all have a WHY for anything we do, for any decision we make! What is your why?!

A rainbow of dye!
Saturday's Run or Dye 5k at Raymond James stadium started out with long lines at the runner check-in booth, but as soon as we received our sling bag race packets with goodies and dye we quickly forgot about the lines. I ran this fun race with my brother, Aaron, and the first half mile of the 2.5 mile 5k course accompanied by his daughter Lena. Even though we did not get our 3.1 miles in that morning we had a blast getting pelted by packets of dye as we stopped to walk through the dye stations. The more color we could get thrown on us the more fun we were having. I smiled the whole time and at the end I remembered my WHY for running. It may be different for others, but I enjoy running - hearing my rhythmic breath (labored or easy) and foot falls, both in the same beat. It is like hearing a heart beat of a loved one, it soothes me to hear feet padding along the course. I like meeting new people and chatting with them as if I have known them for years. I like how running with someone almost instantaneously strips away my inhibitions and allows for a honest, open relationship. I could go on and on, but now is the time for YOU to think of your why...complete this sentence, paragraph, or essay inserting whatever you do (running, parenting, eating healthy, biking, teaching, etc.):
 I enjoy __________ because...

Enjoy your surroundings!!

Great prep for the race I did on Sunday, the Long Play half marathon on the Croom mountain biking trails in the Withlacotchee State Forrest. For those of you who have not been trail running, TRY IT! Now back to your regularly scheduled blog.  I registered for the Long Play last year and had car trouble on race morning (at 4am) when leaving my house. I was able to get the registration deferred and run it this year, thanks to Tampa Races director. Packet pickup was easy, real restrooms - not port-o-potties, helpful volunteers, and lots of familiar faces to me.

Blazing into the finish
The Croom "hills" brought out my beast! Pushed up the hills, then turned to look from the top each time at what I just conquered and enjoy the view. I have mentioned in past posts that I run with no music and this run was just another reminder of why. I love the sound of nature and the crunch of my feet on the gravel, dried leaves, and twigs with the underlying melody of the breeze blowing through the tall pines. I must have been in some sort of zone because time flew by quickly. However, it could have been partly because I ran with my friend, Jodi for most of the course.

Jodi hugs!
I came in as the 7th female and 23rd overall with an official time of 2:04:56, which was fast enough to win my age group division. Every runner received an LP for a finisher's medal (for those of you who are too young to remember those, they are records to be played on a turn table). The race director called my name not long after I finished and gave me a race tech shirt as my age group award. However, the best finisher's gift from that morning was a HUGE hug from my sweet Jodi!!

During the drive home, I spent some time thinking about the challenging course and how I felt throughout the race. I realized that focusing on enjoying the scenery and conquering those hills was the reason I stayed positive and finished with a smile on my face!!

Have fun and enjoy the road or trail!!

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