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Warm Running

March 17, 2010

[the opposite of Cool Runnings?]


Yesterday it was warm.
Warm and sunny.
So I propped open the door to the office and every few hours spent a few minutes standing in sunshine.

It reminded me of the first true spring day in Madison, when students would FLOCK to the parks – our park of choice was usually Vilas, because of it’s proximity to my living quarters, and the free Zoo didn’t hurt either.  Especially because when that first warm day hit, the animals started peaking out into the sunshine, too.

People would be dining up and down state street, gathered around café tables with friends, sharing appetizers and laughter with one another. Library mall was overflowth, hacky sack and Frisbee and the Badger cheerleading squad practicing partner stunts off in the corner.  Walking to class never felt so good, and nor did skipping it to eat frozen yogurt outside of De Ricci with your hall-mates, quite possibly cramming for some sort of upcoming quiz.  People were out and about and you couldn’t help but be filled with the kind of exuberant joy that comes from the first spring day.  It was community.

library_mall_capitol95_1 [/source]

Yesterday it was warm.
Warm and sunny.
So I took to the road trail for the first time of the season. My trail.

8- started running at trail IMG00128

I warmed up at the track for a quarter mile and then ran three easy miles.  And by ran, I mean I did intervals, because it’s true what they say about the treadmil; it spoils you.  I started out a bit too fast on my jogging, and ended up needing to take a bit of a walking break, so I decided just to keep things speedy and add some walking recoveries.  I followed a sort of sporadic interval chase: I ran a quick paced quarter mile, recovered for one minute, sprinted for one minute, recovered for one minute, and repeated 6 times until I reached my 3 mile finish line. 

I’ve ran outside a few times since it officially became 2010, but this run FELT different. Maybe it’s because I was back on the trail that I ran on all summer and fall.  Maybe it’s because the sun was shining and the air was warm.  Maybe it’s because there were many other people joining me- people jogging, playing with puppies, riding bicycles and walking strollers side by side sharing stories and tips and possibly gossip. Waving hello to those you pass jogging in the opposite direction, and smiling at families meandering along together, and feeling that same exuberant joy.  It was community, again.  In a place I often allow myself to feel alone.  The truth is, I’m not alone. I’m surrounded. And THAT leaves me with exuberant joy unlike any other.

As President Bartlett would say, What’s Next?

Up until yesterday, I had only looked into one race/event for 2010 –the Great Strides walk I am participating in Kat’s honor on May 15th. [by the way, THANKS to some fabulous donators, I’m now only $390.00 away from my fundraising goal – please take a moment to go HERE and donate. Remember, every dollar helps! ]

With the warm weather and all, I felt INSPIRED to start looking into races for this year.  I have a few NY races I am interested in running in over the next few months, but I am also looking to run in a few other states. Reminder – I set a goal to participate in a race in all 50 states.  So far I have completed three states [NY, MA, & VT] and am determined to cross off a few more in 2010. 

Here are a few out-of-state races I am looking into:

Wisconsin: I’ll be in Madison at the end of May, & am planning to run the Gibbs Lake Gallop Trail 5K in Evansville.  Any Wisconsinites want to join me? This will be my first trail race and I’m excited for a new challenge!

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh area, late summer.

Texas: Denton/North-Dallas area, SOMETIME. [Hopefully soon. I miss my fam]

Your State: is there a super cool race near you I should look into participating in this year? I’m looking for suggestions on other races!

As for local races, I’m starting to feel an eagerness to increase distances in races.  I’m considering running a 10K sometime in July/August and possibly signing up for the Mohawk River Half Marathon on October 10th.  I’m a bit uneasy about making the leap to longer distances because I still haven’t met all of my 5K goals [for example, finish under 30 minutes] and being a bit Type-A, some part of me feels like I need to cross my 5K goals off my list before I move on to a 5 miler, 10K, 15K, etc…
I know that I shouldn’t rush anything – I am still a fairly new runner and don’t want to burn myself out on it. A few questions for all of you more experienced racers out there:

What distance race did you start training for?
When/How did you decide to move forward to longer distances?What advice do you have for me in increasing my mileage and running longer races?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2010 12:45 pm

    Ok, so just a suggestion, you should have a couple hundred mile run down to Beaumont when you visit Texas. 🙂

    You are doing so awesome, and I am so so proud of you Heather.

  2. March 17, 2010 1:00 pm

    Disney World has several marathons throughout the world. So you could tick off the Florida run on your list AND get to run through Disney World.

    • March 17, 2010 6:43 pm

      oh, my dear. Disney is already on my list of things to do in my lifetime [read: Fitness Bucket List] I plan on Disney being my first marathon (and hope and pray that its a lot warmer when i run than it was this year! burrrrrrr.)

  3. March 17, 2010 4:36 pm

    I don’t like racing. I ran my first race (1/2 marathon) about 2 years after I started seriously running. Just increase your mileage slowly. That’s my advice–and ENJOY IT!
    And we will try to get you to a race in Ohio when you visit 🙂 Also, the area of Pittsburgh where I live is REALLY close to West Virginia, too. …if you’re feeling adventurous!! 🙂
    Now your post has inspired me to go run in the sun and the community!

    • March 17, 2010 6:40 pm

      your first race was a half!?!? that is awesomeness. you are so HARDCORE, my friend.

      Ohio + Penn + WV all in one weekend- THAT would be pretty Hardcore as well. I am down 🙂 [although, if we split them up that means 3 weekends of visits – and i am DOWN with THAT too 🙂 ]

  4. March 17, 2010 6:27 pm

    I agree with Abby – increase slowly. It is definitely not the most fun I’ve had in my life but NOTHING compares to the feeling you get when you realize just how far you come. Plus, crossing a finish line gives bragging rights like no other and produces a sort of swagger.

    I started running last summer. In September for my birthday, I ran a 5K (“5K for my B-day”). In November, I ran a 8K on Thanksgiving morning. In 6-ish weeks I’m running a half marathon. I am pretty much terrified, but the challenge is one I enjoy kicking my own arse at.

    Hal Higdon has some great training plans – I am using one of them now. Methinks you should go check them out, after enjoying every drop of sunshine of course.

    On a side note, I am completely proud of you. Interval training can be more effective than straight running and you ROCKED it. Keep it up!!! xoxo

    • March 17, 2010 6:38 pm

      Thank you dear! I love the “5K for my Birthday!” so you- so me! we are the same in so many ways 🙂

      Check out training plans by Hal is def. on the todo list for this weekend. A few other blunners [bloggers+runners] suggest him as well. Am pretty stoked.

  5. March 18, 2010 8:56 am

    Running longer distances will actually help you improve your 5K time. As your legs get comfortable going further, when it’s “only a 5K” you can push a little harder 🙂

    I went from 5K to 10K to half marathon in a little over a year when I first started. Join a local running club — they probably have beginner and intermediate classes to help you increase your mileage! It’s also nice to have company and make friends in the process 🙂

  6. March 18, 2010 12:18 pm

    The nice spring days have been WONDERFUL this week! Glad that you got a chance to run outside again, with no fear of slipping and falling!

  7. March 20, 2010 10:11 pm

    Let’s see, I did a 10K last April (started training in February), then I trained until October for my first Half. My time was soooo slow. SO slow, but I accomplished a half marathon and that was pretty dang awesome!
    I’m thinking of training for the same Half again on October 10th of this year.
    I’m a turtle slow runner, but I actually really like the half distance, oddly!
    Anyway, my advice is to increase your mileage slowly, and to stretch a lot!
    I love the spring weather, there are so many happy, smiling people out running now! I LOVE IT!


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