Friday, August 19, 2011

Thoughts from my Run

I figure I come up with some of the most insightful thoughts and best ideas during my runs.  Sadly, like dreams, I can rarely seem to remember them shortly after the run is over, and I can't exactly write them down during the run (I guess I COULD bring a notebook during my treadmill runs...).  Anyways, I'm going to try to recount a couple from today's run.  Believe it or not, I thought up the idea of trying to blog some of my thoughts during the run (ONE idea I remembered!)

So, this one is my thoughts on why I like racing, and what provoked it.  I was talking to one of my friends the other day who likes to run a lot, and he's fast too.  Another friend and I were talking about racing and I asked him if he ever did any races, and he said no, that running is his time to relax, and racing would basically take that away from him.  Good point.  It's interesting that I like to race because I don't actually like running fast very often.  I like long, slow runs where I can talk or think, and just enjoy where I'm at (which is why I hate the treadmill so much), but then I got to thinking...  There's something about racing that is so cool.  About pushing yourself to a level you didn't think you could achieve.

  I'm by no means FAST... I don't win races, and if you put me against a bunch of competitive college-type runners, I wouldn't stand a chance, but I usually come in toward the top of my age group - somewhere between 2nd and 10th place, depending on how many people/how competitive the race is... I usually average around 3rd to 5th place, so I'm a decent runner.  It just always amazes me at how fast I CAN push my body compared to my usual runs.  I mean, anyone who is my friend on dailymile knows that most of my runs aren't a very fast average.  Most fall into the 9 minute to 9:30 minute mile average, while some of the shorter ones are closer to 8-8:30 minute miles, and the longer ones might be close to a ten minute mile average.  On those shorter ones I always ask myself "How in the HELL was able I able to keep that pace for 13.1 miles???"  My last half marathon was at an 8:05 minute mile average.  Okay, that pace itself isn't SUPER fast, but for that distance, it's a decent pace, and for ME to be able to hold it for that long, I was really really surprised.  The same goes with shorter distances, like 5ks.  The pace I hold for those is usually the same pace I run my longer intervals... Okay, it's a bit slower, but nonetheless, I know when I'm on the treadmill running my 5K pace, I question how I was able to hold that for longer than half a mile.  It's such a mental game.  I just keep going, keep my eyes on the person in front of me... and after awhile, I start passing people as I start feeling stronger.  Around mile 11 or so of a longer race, I feel the temptation to slow down, and I might a little, but not for long.  I think that's why I like longer racing, you have to KEEP telling yourself to keep going.  And then at the end, I am surprised again that I was able to do what I was able to do.  And for those of you who don't know, I do listen to music on most of my training runs, but I DON'T listen to music during races.  I like to be able to concentrate on what my body is capable of, and while I might feel the pain a little more, I kinda like it :)    Now, if I could keep from getting injured and run the miles that I used to run (which was almost twice of what I run now, thanks to my constant nagging injuries), I bet I could do even better! Hopefully that will come in time.  

 One thing I do like about the way I run - I'm rarely ever actually training for a specific race, though I do like racing.  I AM trying to increase mileage again, because once again, I'm going to attempt to do a marathon, though when that's going to happen, I'm not really sure!  It will probably need to be sometime in the spring, or I may be able to do one in the fall (November?  I have to see what happens at my new unit!).  I'm doing a 13-mile long run this weekend, so there would be plenty of time to get up to a longer long run!

So that was a long elaboration on that thought!  Alas, I cannot remember the rest of them... *sigh*...  Tonight is going to be the first time I have gone out dancing in quite awhile!  I think the last time was when I was home.  It's my FIRST time going out here other than going out to dinner.  I did go out in Atlanta a month or so ago, but that wasn't in this area with the people I am at my BOLC class with.  

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fortunate to be here

As I was using tap water to fill my water bottle just a few minutes ago, I began to think how lucky we as Americans are.  With all of this debt-crisis going on, I think we may actually be realizing just how lucky we are to have the luxuries we are.  For so many years we have been in such a high position in the world that it's difficult to imagine being anything BUT a super-power with access to pretty much whatever we want.  But let's look at what we DO have - even if we AREN'T the only world superpower anymore:

- Clean drinking water.  How many countries can claim that?  Heck, even in Europe (or at least Germany... the only place I actually lived), the water is just not good.  Americans are all about their bottled water, but we don't even need it.  It's a luxury.  Having clean drinking water is a luxury.

- Public assistance.  People complain about how "socialist" our country is sometimes, but honestly, we aren't if you look at other countries.  Look at Europe where they are taxed huge amounts.  There is most definitely a discrepancy between classes in the United States, but we have opportunities that other countries do not.  How many other countries have citizens who come from poor families who are able to completely change their paths based on ability without paying nearly half of their income on taxes (okay that might be a bit of an exaggeration).

Most importantly we have freedom.  Sure, we may not have complete access to everything we want, but our country is one of very few where people can legally protest what the government is doing without getting into trouble.  I was talking to a friend recently about what would happen in most other countries if their citizens protested their government and their troops the way people in our country do.   And yet... these people still complain about the country.  It's okay though, it's their right.  As long as our citizens realize just how fortunate they really are to have that opportunity.

Of course, these are only the first few things that I thought of at the moment.  There are many, many more reasons to feel lucky that we are citizens of the United States - despite the negative (and really, where can you live that IS perfect?)    What are some other areas that you can think of what we are fortunate in?