Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Looking ahead

They say an idle mind is a dangerous thing. An idle runner's mind is even more dangerous. Between bottle feeding, changing diapers and attempts to be a helpful around the house, I've been scheming over the coming running season. I have never actually completed a season without an injury wrecking my plans, but there is good reason to think that regular strength training has improved my chances of having a good year. Here's hoping.


July 4th - Firecracker 5k
Since my training for the next few weeks will be limited to 5 - 8k runs, I thought I'd work a bit on my 5k PR. I haven't run an official 5k in well over a year, when I PR'd at just above 23 minutes. I know I'm faster than that now and woud like to get under 21 minutes on this fairly flat course through downtown Tulsa.

July 15th - Christa Vos Duathalon
5km run, 30 km bike, 5 km run right in my backyard along the river. Not sure what to expect with this one since I am pretty slow on a bike, and refuse to buy triathlon pants, but it should be a fun day all the same.

September 29th - Flatrock 25k
I've always wanted to run this race along the North shore of the beautiful and rugged (for Kansas) Elk City Lake. I won't be ready for the 50k at that point and will focus on running the 25k well.

October 20th - Pumpkin Holler 50k
This is the Trail Zombie's race out near Tahlequah. I feel like I've run the course just from reading descriptions on his blog. In many respects, this race seems to be the ideal entry 50k for me. The course is non- technical, on mostly dirt and gravel roads through the scenic JT Nickel Preserve, with just enough hills to keep it interesting.

Nov. 4th - Turkey and Taturs 25k
Last year I finished at 2:43, despite some major bonking in the second half of the run. I would like to improve on that time, but I'm not sure if I'll be fully recovered from Pumpkin Holler at that point.


I would eventually like to do my own century ride, maybe from Tulsa to McCallister, probably after Turkey and Taturs.

Overly ambitious? Probably. Expect revisions once my body begins to give some feedback.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What a newborn will do to your running

We were warned that a newborn consumes most of your time and energy, and they were right. It’s worth every exhausting moment, however, and it has actually improved my running.

How could that be, you ask? Well at an emotional level, the sheer act of getting out the door in a quiet moment feels like a miracle. The fact that I have absolutely no idea when I will be able to get out again keeps me humble and grateful just to be running.  

Also, because long runs are not possible these days, my training has become more efficient. I push harder in the small windows I have, incorporating intervals and incline repeats, two things I tended to avoid like the plague before. In a similar way, I no longer have the luxury of choosing the time of day or conditions for running. Before Sophie, I wasted a lot of time dragging my feet, waiting (or stalling) for the “optimal” conditions to go out for a run. But now, beggars can’t be choosers, and I have make the most out of my run regardless of how hot it is, when I ate my last meal, how late it is, etc. I’m learning to adapt, which can only make me stronger.

With that said, I am so looking forward to getting out for long run trail run when the opportunity arises. Turkey mountain once again feels like an outdoor mecca instead of the place in Tulsa to go trail running on the weekends.

Today is the Western States 100, one of the few sporting events I take the time to follow. Decent coverage via twitter is to be found here. A fairly deep field this year, especially on the women's side. My picks for the win are Timothy Olson and Liza Howard: not becuase they are favored, but becuase I follow their blogs and both seem fairly down- to- earth parents.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Strawberry Moon

The due date comes and goes. I slip out into the night under a nearly full moon for a short run along the river.  At the 41st street plaza figures dance in the moonlight to beating drums. I let the rhythm drive me forward. The heat of the day lingers and the gentle breeze offers little respite at my pace. Distant lights reflect from shallow channels between dark, rocky flats. I want to go out there. Hopping from slab to slab, I make my way to the middle of the river bed and find a space to ponder the future. So much uncertainty, so much ambiguity, and yet I am at peace and give thanks for many blessings.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday morning

It was a typical, soon to be not so typical, Saturday morning. While M slept in, I headed out for a long run with the plan of meeting up with her at Mod's Crepe house to refuel. While I love to run for its own sake, it sure is satisfying to have a destination to aim for, even if it is for an indulgence. Took my time getting there, however, meandering amongst the swanky neighborhoods of mid-town and stopping in at a few yard sales.

My plan was to run for two and a half hours, rather than keep track of the mileage. I  reached downtown earlier than expected, and so continued North to explore the Brady district, then returned downtown via the "center of the universe."

One of my first memories of Tulsa is visiting this spot. If you stand in the circle, your voice echos off the surrounding concrete. Native Tulsan's of my generation seem quite proud of the place. Its a place to take your out- of- town friends when its late and you have nothing to do.

Crepes, strong coffee and NPR for the recovery.

If you recognize the importance of strength training for running and biking, but like me, dislike the routine of home work outs, might I suggest investing in a berenstain push mower. Great exercise for the arms and your actually doing something useful.

And when your done, you can relax with a cold one and feel like you've earned it. Tallgrass Brewing's Halcyon is my favorite wheat beer, hands down. You have the slightly tart grains, followed by citrus and grassy hops. Well balanced and refreshing.