Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rock & Roll

A few months ago, I signed up for the Rock n' Roll half marathon here in Denver.  It was supposed to be half marathon #2, was supposed to have another great training round, and help get me back on track physically.

Emphasis on the words "supposed to."

This summer was a killer for the training schedule.  From the get go, I noticed my motivation was not at its peak.  Insert a busy summer of work.  Add on the free time that I did have was spent with friends, traveling and exploring Colorado, and not spent running.

Come September, I made myself a crash course training program - one that I stuck to for the most part, but wasn't enough to make me feel comfortable about the half marathon.

A week before the race, I had a first - the first time I bailed on a race I had signed up for.  I signed up to run Fans on the Field 10K again (as I did last year), but when I woke up on race day, I was not feeling it.

The last week of training was nonexistent.

My runner friend Kristi and I had been keeping tabs on each other's training, or lack thereof, throughout the past few months.  As we got closer, apprehension overcame both of us, so we were both not feeling confident heading into a half marathon.

We pulled a few strings and were able to switch to the half marathon relay.  We both jumped at the chance, feeling lucky not to have to trek the entire 13.1.

Kristi took the first leg, and I took the second.  As much as I hated admitting it, I was not sure I could even do my 5.3 mile leg (Kristi volunteered the 7.8 mile portion).

I met a few of my friends at the starting line, as well as Kristi, and wished them all good luck.  Lots of people in my life were trying to hit new PRs or attempting their first marathon, so they were filled with great energy.  The starting line was filled with the buzz of the ~15,000 participants.  The morning was glowing, and the countdown began.  The elites bolted into downtown, setting their sites on victory.

I hopped onto the shuttle bus, talking with a few of the people doing the second leg, and headed to the transition area at city park.  After watching those same friends run by me looking very strong, I heard the announcer say "Team Lazy" was approaching.  Kristi rocked the first leg, and it was my turn.

I grabbed the official drumstick baton and started running.  In the first half mile, I felt it was going to be a long 5 miles.  My legs started hurting and the breathing became heavy.  I hit mile 8 and mile 9 (my first couple of miles), and something clicked.  I felt strong.  The next couple miles felt easy and free, even though I know it was tough since I hadn't ran that far in a while.  Each band that was playing provided me with a great boost.  I crossed mile 12 and I lit up.  I'm almost home.  As I kept going, I kept speeding up.  More people started lining the streets.  I saw the final mile markers for the marathon and then the half.  I rounded the final corner and saw the finish line.  I took off, running by everyone in my path.

Nike+ Stats for my leg:  5.46 miles - 54:10 - 9:55 pace
Total relay times: 2:23:21 - 10:57 pace - 168/256 relay teams

And one heck of a day for a run!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chipotle It Forward

Yesterday, I took a trip to Chipotle.  A common occurrence, but ended up being a memorable one.

The line was long, which means I usually turn on my heels and walk out the door - impatience taking its toll.  But I REALLY wanted Chipotle.

So I waited.  And waited.  I had a lot of time to just sit in line.  Cue the people watching.  Couples.  Families.  Coworkers.  The typical Chipotle crew.

As I was looking around the restaurant, my focus fell onto one family in particular.  A young couple, probably in their mid-30s, and their two kids.  One about 4.  The other in a high chair.  I watched them interact with each other - feeding the kids, the 4 year old in and out of the chair, clearly restless, and the high chair toddler looking around - in awe of everything.  Pretty much what you would envision any young family spending time at Chipotle during a busy lunch time.  I found myself watching and smiling.

I finally got up to the counter and ordered my burrito, and proceeded to the register.  As I kept walking, I found myself turning around and peeking at this precious family.  And in a moment, impulse took over.  I asked to put some money on a gift card, wrote a note that said "Happy Friday! Enjoy :)"  I then asked the employee to wait about a minute and go give it to that family, and I walked away.  All I hope is that it put a smile on their face.

My challenge to you is to do something similar.  You always hear stories of people paying for other peoples' groceries, leaving random notes, and similar things to brighten someone's day.  But what holds everyone back from doing something like that?  There is no reason to turn away when making a difference in someone's life is only a moment away.  Do the thing that others won't.  Focus on the little moment that will make a huge impact.

Don't think you can make a difference?  Watch this video.  Anyone can.

Pay Chipotle it forward

What have you done to make a difference in a stranger's life?  Share your story...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Crunch Time

To say I've taken this summer off of running is an understatement.

After I ran my half marathon in May, I took some time off.

A lot of time.

I ran the Tough Mudder in June without much training, and it lived up to the name.

I did a race in July in MN, but it was so hot and I had not been running so it wasn't successful.

On July 2nd, I wrote a post mentioning the start of training for my next half marathon, and how I was going to dominate this 12 week program.

That lasted until week 3.  And it was far from domination.

Since July ended, I have been running a couple times... and the word "couple" is close to accurate.  I can count the number of times I ran during the month of August on one hand.  Sometimes life gets in the way of the goals you set, and you become content with not reaching them.

Then I looked at the calendar and it read September.

There, staring me in the face was impending failure, just 3 weeks away from running my second half marathon.

I made a crash course 3 week training program that will get me back into running - probably not prepared to conquer the half marathon, but get comfortable again with running and logging extensive miles.

This is the training I should have been doing all along, but come Sept 22, I will be completing another 13.1 miles.

Although my September has been crazy with work, I have been making the time to put my best foot forward.  Literally.

Mornings, nights, battling sickness, battle being tired, choosing running over that other thing I want to be doing, or simply choosing running over doing nothing...

So wish me luck over the next 2 weeks in hopes that I can get to a point where I can do relatively well.

I'm going to need it!