First Lake Michigan beach day ~ summer is here

You know the kind of sleep where you’ll start to wake up but your eyelids can barely muster an inch of opening? The early-morning sun streams through your window, birds are chirping … and you’re enjoying such deep rest that even with your laid-out running clothes beside your bed, you are just so, so comfortable and relaxed and you start telling yourself how it’s OK — it’s good, actually — to relish this hard-won slumber. Except you also know just how great you’ll feel once you get out on the road.

This was me this morning. Alright, this is me a lot, as anyone who reads this blog likely knows. I’m a woman who likes her sleep, and apparently early-morning sleep is when I achieve that most lovely kind known as REM. (I think?) But I got up! Not only that, I ran a nice and easy hour-long route through my neighborhood roads and trails — all before 7 a.m. My rewards (yes, there were several, aren’t there always?): the peace of just-me trail running; a have-to-stop-and-savor sweeping view of the woods and meadow after a tough climb up what’s known as the big sledding hill; friendly waves exchanged with two fellow runners (both of them dads pushing strollers); uplifting sunshine on my face and a cool breeze at my back (a tailwind at least part of the way); steaming hot cup of coffee upon my return–well, after a visit with the hurts-so-good foam roller and large drink of water and cup of strawberry yogurt.

And here I am, showered and ready to get on with my day at 8 a.m. Why is it I don’t do this more often? OK, yeah, I know…you don’t have to remind me…There are others like me out there, right?

One day at a time.

And over time, the days add up. Before we know it, we have a routine. A schedule we don’t just rely on but actually look forward to. It’s the beginning of a new season, and I’m hoping to make a change that sticks.

This morning’s run felt especially good after a few days off from running–my choice, after three great runs last week, one of which was three miles of pushing myself to see how fast I could go. I was just feeling it. But I think I pushed a tad too hard; my left hamstring, the one that played a role in my IT Band/knee pain earlier this year, felt tender the next day. Wanting to be proactive about this, I’ve set up another appointment with Dan, the sports massage therapist who uses Active Release Technique and helped me during my training for Boston. I’m hopeful he can help work out the kinks.

The rest days this weekend allowed for some great family time, including our first trip of the season to Empire Beach on Lake Michigan–a favorite spot of ours. While there I was reminded of the stand-up paddle boarding I’m anxious to try–there were several people out paddling through the waves and it just looks like so much fun, and I’m sure, a lot of work using your core muscles. It was inspiring. Anyone here try it? I also caught up with a friend who also was at the beach with her family, and discovered she’s swimming twice a week with a friend in Grand Traverse Bay in preparation of a possible triathlon or two this summer. After telling her I’d like to get into triathlons but that swimming is a scarier aspect of it for me, she invited me to join them. I just might do that!

Here’s to a great week of running and getting outside in Michigan, whether you’re training for a fall race (I know some of you are starting your training for the Chicago Marathon) or simply out enjoying the roads and trails.

What is your biggest roadblock to maintaining a regular running schedule?

Are you training for a fall race? Will you do a summer tri?

Can you believe how much a foam roller can hurt?

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