This morning's post 6-miler yumminess. Heaven in a cup.

I think I’ve put off giving a training update because the past two weeks have been for me a big ol’ mix of emotions, both good and bad, kind of like a large bowl of salad that has lots of the stuff in it you love — I’m talking cherry tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese, dried cherries — and then some other things you could do without (do people put anchovies on their salads? That’s about all my brain can come up with at the moment. But you get my point, right?)

On the upside, I took full advantage of my four days off from running last week — a recovery period Lisa likened to simmering like a pot of chili. I booked a 90-minute deep-tissue/relaxation massage — the first time I’d tried this particular kind of rubdown — and loved it. It definitely was a strange feeling being sore later in the day — I actually felt like I’d done a weight-training workout on my shoulders, backs and arms — but the next day I woke up feeling fabulous and eager to  get back out running. The timing of this extended rest time coincided with a flurry of article deadlines, which was nice in that I could focus on the work and not worry about when I’d fit in my runs.

Alright, so the not-so-great part? I realized just how much I rely on running for my sanity. It just so happened that this very same week big changes occurred with both a school carpool I’d come to depend upon heavily AND with my husband’s work. All will be fine, it’s nothing that’s insurmountable, but the fact  that these things happened the very same week I was to be relaxing and taking it easy exercise-wise….well, let’s just say my normally pretty positive attitude took a bit of a beating. In other words, I found myself feeling…restless, maybe that’s the best word. What do you do to calm yourself, to keep that big-picture perspective, when the one thing that absolutely ensures your peace of mind is not an option? I like hot baths as much as the next woman, but for me, nothing beats running to clear my head and bring me back to center.

Thing is, I don’t want to make running my end-all, be-all when it comes to stress-relief. My kids would roll their eyes if they heard me say this (yet again) but I’m big on the “everything in moderation” mantra. At least, I try. I’ve always felt that you put too much stock into any one thing or person to solve/fix/alleviate something in your life, you’re setting yourself up for eventual heartache. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic-sounding, but life experience has taught me as much. Yes, I am as you all know very passionate about running, but my ultimate wish is that this sport is a joy in my life, something that is absolutely fulfilling and satisfying as much as possible, but that doesn’t define who I am. I hope is to keep myself grounded enough that I appreciate all the other things and people in my life in the ways that I should. Guess it’s kind of like not putting all your eggs in one basket. I’ve got to share all the love I’ve got, spread it around.

Also, I want to run for the rest of my life, if at all possible. Which leads me to the training principle and goal I’m thinking on this week (Week 13!):

Principle: Foundation, Base, Building Block — never underestimate the importance
Goal: Safely continue to build your base for a lifetime of running

When we met this week, Lisa asked how my R&R went. I shared its challenges but said that overall, I did fine (thanks to girlfriends, walks around my neighborhood with my family and lots of chocolate). She smiled and told me that was good, that it meant I wasn’t an obsessed runner. Well, not in the bad kind of way anyway. I DID feel good about resting my muscles, I DO understand how our bodies gain strength during recovery. Maybe next time, though, life won’t be so complicated at the same exact time.

But lots of great stuff going on and that’s what I’m focusing on:

  • My longer runs are going well so far. I’m running part of the Bayshore course on Sundays for these, going back to 13 miles this past weekend from the “boiling point” of 14.7 the weekend prior, and aiming for 17 miles — my longest run. ever. — this coming Sunday. My sweet running friend Amy is meeting me at the halfway point of these runs, which makes the second half of the route fly by. I’m also proud of my midweek long run, which is now up to 9 miles. It certainly helps that spring seems to really, truly be here and I am able to run Yak-free and in my beloved baseball cap.
  • I participated in my very first St. Patty’s Day race, a 5k here in Traverse City last weekend. So much fun, for so many reasons. Main one: running with friends, including Kelle who is ramping up her running and just rocked this race. I’m proud of her and happy for her — yeah, I got teary-eyed about it at the finish. I’m like that. We had so much fun dressing up in green clothing and donning shamrock necklaces. Here’s a pic post-race:

    Ann, Kelle & me, celebrating our 5k finish together
  • Girls on the Run, the national program for which I’ve coached locally the past two years, gets underway soon. Helping girls understand and appreciate their inner beauty and strength while training for a 5k is an amazing opportunity I feel so privileged to be a part of, and I’m really looking  forward to my third year doing this at my kids’ elementary school. The season starts up just after spring break, in early April.
  • Fun news saved for last: Looks like I’ll be heading to Boulder, Co. this June to attend the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference. Super excited about this opportunity. I love traveling, love meeting new people, and this conference just sounds amazing: I’ll be meeting up with health & fitness industry peeps, sharing ideas, eating yummy food (Whole Foods is a sponsor) and even exercising — hikes and similar activities are part of the agenda! And I’ll be sharing it all here – can’t wait!

So, how’s everyone else out there in the world?

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