Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring is here!

My running schedule was screwed up today to say the least. I've been fighting a good old fashion cold, which makes running painful at best. After dragging myself to the track and wheezing through a two mile run, I decided to take my dog for a walk around the neighborhood for the rest of my cardio. Upset that I couldn't do the four miles I had planned on, I figured a walk in the sunshine would boost my mood, and my body's Vitamin D!

In the Northwest, it is impossible NOT to take notice when spring arrives. We, as Seattle natives, spend so much of the year under cloudy gray skies surrounded by bleak and bare trees that when even one bud appears on a branch or one patch of sun makes an appearance, we cheer! Although the first day of spring was a few days ago, today I finally saw it with my own eyes and oh what a sight. There are a couple of indicators that point towards spring and today I think I witnessed and took part in all of them.

1. I had to wear sunglasses on my walk because, SHOCK, there was a very bright thing in the sky that neither my eyes or my skin had seen in a while.
2. I wore the token "spring" outfit which consisted of jeans, a short sleeve shirt and a down, puffy vest. Yikes! This outfit can be seen all over the Northwest and although not a fashion statement, I find it very practical. Too chilly to ditch the vest, but warm enough to have the stark white skin on my arms meet the sun's rays.
3. Animals are out and about! Just yesterday, while sitting outside on the deck with my morning coffee, a huge Blue Heron landed in a tree about 20 feet away. The herons frequent our home because of our huge pond stocked with little critters, but they definitely are not seen as often in the winter. It was great to welcome him back!
4. Things are in full bloom! It feels like overnight trees, flowers and shrubs have sprung to life and at any time they will be a rainbow of color.

I came back to the same spot I photographed earlier in the year and the buds I saw pushing up out of the ground are here! I thought they were tulips, but was instead greeted by a sea of daffodils!

Even the donkeys down the street were more eager than normal to greet me at the fence. There are four in all, but these two were more curious than the others. I have walked (or run) by these guys since childhood and I finally took the time today to stop and apprecite them. What funny little characters they are.
So, all in all, a crappy day of running turned into a pretty good spring afternoon. The walk wore me out and my cold is still lingering, but I'm glad I pushed myself into finishing even a two mile run and into appreciating life around the neighborhood. Welcome spring!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Life is a marathon....or maybe just a half.

I turned 30 about a week ago (one of the main reasons I haven't been writing) and between a vacation to Vegas with friends, family bbq's, spa days and nights out on the town celebrating, I pretty much haven't raised my heart rate in a good two weeks. Oh, unless you count the heart palpitations I had in the air due to my irrational fear of flying. :) All in all, I took in 30 with heart, soul and a really positive attitude. I see this new decade as a "do-over" for me or at least a time in my life where I hopefully won't make the same mistakes as I did in my 20's. I know, I know, we learn from our mistakes and hard times just make us stronger, blah, blah, blah. In theory, I understand this, but I'd like the next chapter in my life to be as drama and tragedy free as possible.
I'm off to a great start and I decided to conquer something this year that I've been thinking about doing for nearly a decade. I'm going to run a half marathon. Alright, maybe I should say "I'm going to complete a half marathon" because honestly I don't know if I will be able to keep my legs jogging the whole 13.1 miles or not. I'm not fully confident I won't keel over and die at mile 8 and I fear another injury will keep me from even training for this feat. What I do know is that I am going to sign up for it on Friday (payday) and I will try my darnedest to train, run and finish with all my limbs in tact and a smile on my face.
After finishing my first 10k in Janurary of this year, I realized there are a couple of reasons I like to run and recently, like to compete. I like the fact that I have a goal on the horizon and I love the way it feels when I reach that goal. I enjoy training because it feels less like working out and more like "game" with a reward at the end. And frankly, you can't beat the feeling of crossing a finish line. In first place or in last, it doesn't really matter, the feeling is incredible.
This half marathon has even more importance to me than merely reaching goals. The money raised (and I plan on trying to raise quite a bit) benefits The American Cancer Society. I can't think of a better reason to pound my feet on concrete for over 13 miles than to support and raise funds for an organization that has a hand in the recovery and prevention of a disease that has infultrated my life. I will run for my dad. I will run for the research to keep his cancer from returning and I will run for everyone that has or will suffer from the ugly world of cancer. If that won't keep my legs moving, I don't know what will.
I have over three months to train and I started today with a grueling 3.5 mile run (with several hills) after way too much time off. My knees felt good and I felt strong. If not in body, at least in mind.
Hello 30!!! I welcome you. Just see if you can slow me down!