Girls On The Run, motivation

Reinvigorated Running

If I’m being honest, I’ve been pretty disinclined to run lately. I’m sure once I list the reasons, they’ll sound like excuses to you and to me, but the fact remains that I just haven’t been feeling it.

1. Surgery: On Oct. 29, I had another bladder surgery. (If you missed the deets on the first one and want to learn more about mid-urethral sling and/or you’re a woman wondering how to stop peeing while you run, click here.)

2. Thanksgiving: Yes, I realize those events were a month apart but that doesn’t stop me from using Turkey Day as a reason not to run. Once we decided not to do the local Turkey Trots, I just didn’t have much in me to get out there.

3. Rain: We’re in a massive multi-year drought here in California. While it’s a frightening situation, it’s also been a little tough to complain because who really LOVES rain anyway? Well, apparently Mother Nature isn’t loving our dry climate so we’ve gotten some great rain lately. While I love to hear it on the rooftop, I don’t love going out in it. I don’t really mind running in the rain but I’m also not super motivated to do so.

4. Family Drama: We’ve had this in spades lately. Post-Thanksgiving the fall-out from the big day just drained me and I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone putting on running / rain gear and hitting the muddy trail.

And then yesterday happened.

A few weeks ago (2 actually), my gorgeous friend Esmeralda asked on Facebook whether anyone would be willing to be a Running Buddy for her Girls on the Run team. Other mutual friend, Rebekah, and I were both in! Esma was coaching the team at a local elementary school and was looking for volunteers to run along with the girls on her team. If you’re not familiar with GOTR, you should be. GOTR is an awesome nonprofit that brings running to 3rd-5th grade girls. The girls train with local volunteer coaches in their elementary schools for a few months and then finish their season by running in an untimed 5k. Here in the Bay Area, the event took place yesterday in Golden Gate Park in SF.

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Here we are…me, Esmeralda and my girl, Rebekah…strutting our stuff post-race. Can you believe they gave ME a medal? I was amazed – after all, I am the one who was honored to get to be there!

If you can run 3 miles, you can be a Running Buddy and the whole experience is beyond fun. And no, you don’t have to be a mom or even a woman. There were plenty of dudes out there running with the girls. I particularly loved the Daddies running along with their girls carrying pole-mounted GoPros capturing the whole thing. How sweet!

Esmeralda assigned me to a sweet little girl. She is the very quiet middle child in a family of 4 daughters. Her mom couldn’t be there yesterday because she was working but I KNOW she would have made her Mama proud. She ran like a little champ. We chatted a little during our run (I mostly chatted to her and asked her questions, to which she responded with very short answers) but mostly we just stayed together and navigated the enormous crowd of runners. I was in little girl running heaven.

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Here’s my cutie pie…my sweet little running champ. I would love to run with this kiddo again.

It even stopped raining!

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Being out there with all those people and seeing the pride and amazement that those little girls brought to their run, my own running was reinvigorated. When we crossed the finish line, I thought to myself, “Wow, I could have run a lot farther!” And then I remembered – DUH! I ran a full marathon not so long ago…

So this morning, I grabbed my running shoes, pulled out my RUN LESS, RUN FASTER app and got in the car. I was at my mom’s house in Sacramento last night so I thought a run along the American River Parkway trail would be perfect. It slipped my mind that the California International Marathon was happening this morning.

The street I’d need to cross to access the river trail was the main race route. I couldn’t cross it so I parked about 3/4 of a mile from the river trail and did my pre-run stretching while watching the runners pass.

Seeing those sweaty, tired and motivated runners this morning flipped a switch in me.

I hit the trail and ran the 8-miler prescribed in my training plan. It was tough, I won’t lie. Getting back to a running regime when you’ve skipped out on several weeks of consistent running isn’t easy. It is NOT easy.

But I powered through it.

And I remembered what all those 8-10 year old girls I saw yesterday already know. Running is awesome and it makes me feel powerful, capable and strong.

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Longest Run of my Life!

Yesterday I ran 14 miles. That’s the longest distance I’ve ever run. Honestly, stating it like that doesn’t seem like that much. I’ve run 5 half marathons (4 of them last year) and yet, going just a bit farther felt like sweltering hell. Of course, it was nearly 100 degrees by the time I finished. But still, it was tough.

On the bright side, it was absolutely beautiful. As you may already know, we’re staying in my childhood home in Carmichael, California (suburb of Sacramento) while our new house in Walnut Creek gets remodeled this summer. My parents were gracious enough to (a) let us stay here and (b) go away on a 4-week RV trip so we could take over their house without them present (a sweet deal for all involved!). I’m really enjoying the opportunity to run on the American River Parkway Trail, which I grew up on (biking, walking and occasionally even running). Last week, I also got the chance to run near the base of Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek (which is only a mile from our new house!). Here are some snapshots I took during my recent runs. While the weather so far this June has been pretty insufferable, I’m grateful that I’m still able to get out and get some fun runs on my favorite trails!

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Ok, so those last 3 weren’t strictly “running” pictures, nor were they taken in the locales I mentioned. But their still worth sharing. The first one is just a funny pic of my love at the top of the Marin Headlands (north of SF). The second and third shots were taken from the Lands’ End trail in San Francisco. If you’ve never been to that part of SF, you are missing some really beautiful (and apparently dangerous!) vistas.

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Because it has been SO hot lately (104 yesterday!?!), I’ve been trying to run early in the morning. Last week, I ran at 6am in Walnut Creek and was able to catch the sunrise over Mt Diablo. Sunrises are always special to me because I truly don’t prefer to be awake for them. That said, I’m always grateful for the site.

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This beauty was nice enough to let me snap her photo. As you can tell from the resolution, we weren’t that close to one another but I was really impressed to note that she watched me for about a half a minute before wandering on. Seeing wildlife can be a little frightening, but it’s another thing about running that I cherish. 

 

 

 

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This view is simply incredible! I took this one on my way back from my run so the sun was higher in the sky. Seeing the mountain, the golden grasses and the trail laid out before me nearly brought tears to my eyes.

 

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Now we’re getting back to the area where I grew up. This shot was taken on the east side of Lake Natoma in Folsom, California. Lake Natoma is a dammed reservoir that feeds from Folsom Lake and is part of the American River. Much like most of Northern California, it’s full of golden brush, oak trees and beautiful views. During my run yesterday, the Folsom International Triathlon was taking place. It’s become a huge race, including a sprint, an olympic distance and a half iron distance. Watching all those triathletes lug their gear from the parking lot, I trembled with the memory of that WICKED cold water! Woo…even when it’s 100 degrees, 55 degree water is COOOOOLLLLLLDDDD! 

 

 

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I took this pic because I love running on foot bridges. Don’t you? What’s the weather like where you live?