Monday, February 21, 2011

Honey Nut Cheerios and Zen Running

It's been a while since I've written, but my life is a little insane these days. I don't really have free time, and when I have anything resembling it, I get work done. Amanda asked me if training was making me lose it or if it was keeping me sane, and it's most definitely what's keeping me sane. I'm commuting four days a week, working as a nanny, and in training. I'm also trying to plan a wedding, spend time with Jake, and be a decent dog-mommy. This past week, I commuted my usual four days, then on Saturday I drove to Boston and back (spending about 12 hours there in between), and on Sunday I drove to and from Concord. While it was a good weekend, it meant six days of serious driving with no reprieve. I had one plan for today: to not leave the house.

Well, to not get in a car. And I completed my mission! But I still needed to get a run in, and the weather was kind of perfect. It was really cold (about 23 degrees, but "feels like 12") and sunny. I decided I was going to run with Knightley today. Have you all met Knightley? He's my ridiculous looking hound mutt.

He also loves to run. He's seriously the fastest dog I've ever met.

His tongue also gets really big. Pretty sure he has the body of a beagle and the tongue of a coon hound.

Yeah, he's pretty freaking adorable.

I've felt really guilty lately because last semester, it was just us. He was the only one waiting for me after a day of classes or student teaching, and I spent all of my free time with him. Overall, he's probably happier now with Jake and Jack living here, because he can hang out with Jack all day long and he has another person to get attention from. However, in the times when he DOES get mommy time, I can tell that he's been missing it. He needs more time with me, and today I decided that I would find that time in the form of running. He was there with me when I first started running in September. He would accompany me on all of my runs, and we would both benefit from the experience. But since I've gotten addicted to the gym (and since winter came to New Hampshire), running with him hasn't been much of an option. I need to start running on the road again, though. It's easy to run on a treadmill, and the hills of New Hampshire are much less gracious, and I need to get my body used to it.

So I put Knightley on his leash, apologized profusely to Jack for not bringing him along, and hit the pavement. Not long into the run, I realized that I never started my watch. I had no idea what time I was starting, and therefore, for the first time in a very long time, wouldn't know my pace. I recently watched the (excellent) movie "The Spirit of the Marathon" and in this, a woman explains that there are two types of runners - Zen runners and everyone else with a watch or Garmin or what have you. I've never been a Zen runner - I like numbers too much. But today I decided that my time really didn't matter at all and to just GO.

Well, quickly I found that Knightley is the perfect pace keeper. Anytime I would run too fast, I'd notice that he was running, too. Like I said earlier - he's a really fast dog and if we was able to run, it meant I was DEFINITELY running too fast. And if he was tugging on me, it meant I was going too slow. Whenever I kind of wanted to walk for a minute, he'd tug and I'd realize that I didn't need to walk. On the downhills I let him decide the pace so we FLEW. I had all sorts of mental images of blowing out a knee, but it made me feel like a little kid and he was thrilled with it so it was hard to care too much (note: I remained unscathed at the end). I also live in a ridiculously gorgeous area of a ridiculously gorgeous state, so running while overlooking the snowy bay is really pretty ideal.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with this run. I think it's easy, with training, to lose sight of why you started all of this in the first place and I definitely rediscovered that today. I do it because I love it.

Other things I love:
- Epsom salt baths. Seriously.
- The opening of "The Spirit of the Marathon" - I've probably watched it twenty times and I always cry.
- Skittles.
- Honey nut cheerios.
- Signing up for a half marathon when I'm TOTALLY not ready for it. But don't worry, I will be.
- Starting to REALLY seriously consider doing a marathon. I never thought I'd even be interested but I'm thinking Atlanta 2012. I'm trying to talk Jeremy (my big bro) into doing it with me. He's a serious Zen runner, and while he'd kick my ass, it would be cool to complete it together (even if not at the same time haha).
- Foam rolling. I'm pretty sure it's a form of Medieval torture, but it really works. My legs have been feeling much better on my longer runs since I started.

Between foam rolling and epsom salts, I was able to run 7.2 miles last Thursday with NO soreness the next day. This isn't b.s. guys, this stuff works. If you're having any issues, DO IT.

Lastly, Knightley tried to act all cool and unaffected by our four mile run, but pictures don't lie. He can't even stay awake to chew his bone. Cuddling with his brother HAS been proven to cure sore muscles. Just sayin'.

What do y'all think of Zen running?

Do you foam roll? (Isn't it AWESOME?)

What's/when's your next race?


  1. I think Zen running is amazing. I don't always get there, but those runs that I do....they make every other mile I've run worth it.

    I'm been considering foam rolling, but haven't invested yet. Between that and the epsom salts, I may be adding to my routine.

    Yay for taking Knightley with you! Great bonding time :) You're going to kill it at your half!

  2. Zen running would be tough for me! I am such a processor! But it's when I am deep in processing something that the miles fly by. My mind doesn't know how to shut off, but if it did, I am sure that my mind would start worrying that it was shut off for too long!

    It's so cool you have an enthusiastic running buddy!

    Next race: tomorrow. 5K in 4 inches. I am hating the winter