Monday, March 21, 2011

March in like a Lion - out like a Lamb

Today was the start of my second week of running outside trying to master the hills of New Hampshire and it began with a "winter weather advisory." Perfect.  Here was my first big test of becoming a New England runner. I promised myself that once I moved my runs outside, I would not falter if faced with bad weather.  Countless times I have passed runners out on the road in frigid temperatures, snow, rain, and immense heat.  It can't be all that bad if they do it, right?  Bonus for me, my husband and the dog were both available to keep me company today.  This was a huge boost for my motivation.

With snow flakes finding a landing zone on my face and my support team in tow, I found myself thinking about the old weather belief I was taught growing up that if the month of March starts out cold and stormy it will end warm and sunny: in like a lion, out like a lamb.  On a day like today, as I watched my running shoes disappear into the snow covered road, I am hopeful that this classic lore holds true - not just for the weather, but for my running also.  Right now my running is still rough and wild completely lacking the smooth gentle calm of the more experienced runner.  Each day will advance to potentially better weather, and each run will hopefully progress my abilities.  Maybe by the end of the month the huffing and puffing will become the mere exhalation of hard work.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chasing waterfalls

One of the great perks to running outdoors is the unsuspecting little wonders you stumble upon.  Take this waterfall for example.  On a dirt road among the quiet of the snow-filled landscape and not another person in sight is this beautiful gem.  As you near the bend in the road, you can hear the crashing of the water long before you find the source.  Roaring and bubbling, the splashing waters create an uninterrupted steady pattern of endless rhythm. Louder and louder it rumbles like a wall of thunder pounding out the sounds of the world.  Suddenly the sparkling frothy water appears nestled between the granite, timber, and snow and you have to stop.   

Scobie Road

I admit, I chase waterfalls.  Sometimes I go after things that are too big for me, out of my league.  In the end, I might be overwhelmed, exhausted, disappointed or even hurt, but I also might be surprised by what I can accomplish.  Running is my waterfall.  It is a formidable and powerful thing yet graceful and alluring.  Natural runners pound the pavement with sleek powerful movements. When I run, it is work.  I am awkwardly heavy and I struggle to find my rhythm.  The terrain of NH makes it all the more challenging - no matter which way I turn, I am going to face a hill.  As I have now completed a couple of outdoor runs, I know that at the top of the hill is the crest. And even though I will probably encounter another hill before I am ready, I know that I am only getting better and stronger.  I am going to continue chasing waterfalls...  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

211 in 2011

So, I started the year with a running goal: run 211 miles in 2011. Since January 1, I have run 129.2 miles - almost all on the treadmill in our basement. You see, I live in New Hampshire, transplanted from southwest Ohio three years ago. I have not yet adjusted to the winters here in New England, nor the hills. This winter there was snow piled up and over the mailbox! Even without the snow, I have a hard time running on the roads because there really isn't an edge - you are pretty much stuck running on the yellows. Now if the roads were straight and flat like my old routes in OH this wouldn't be a big deal. NH roads are hilly, curvy, and intimidating. So I have spent the better part of 2 and a half months running on what "real" runners call the "dread-mill". I have been using a program on that schedules my runs and distances for me. My longest run has been six miles. It hasn't been so bad. I use some old yaffa blocks (left over from my college days) to set up my Mac and some speakers right in front of the machine and watch my favorite indulgences off while I run. Some of my favorites have been watching "Brad the Bachelor" make another attempt at love and "Biggest Loser" contestants work their butts off. Although I have enjoyed my runs in the confines of the frigid cold basement, it is time to head outdoors. This year I want to become a New England runner. Welcome to my running escapades!