Days 106-107 – Cheers to running friends

17 04 2010

I have a great group of mom friends who share my need to run. Ironically, I don’t exactly run with them. I love spending time with them, but I also love running solo — with my music, my thoughts, my own pace, and no pressure. Our camaraderie comes in signing up for races together and through sharing our progress, our dread of the distance and the aches, pains and gains that come with training. Race day — the motivation — is always a great girls day out, usually followed by a hard-earned brunch that lingers into the afternoon hours.

A few of these friends do run together, and I envy that. They hold each other accountable and use running time to catch up and support each other. I am so impressed and inspired by their early morning outings and 5:30 a.m. team workout sessions at the Rec Center. I love being an extended part of their group — even though I stick to my solitary runs.

My friends gathered last night to hear Dimity McDowell, author of Run Like a Mother, read from her new book at the Tattered Cover (and to celebrate Ronda’s birthday!). Dimity chose her chapter on running buddies, which is about the friendships inspired by running. Like great writers’ words often do, her insights — especially read in person with my friends beside me — caused tears to well-up among us and made me think more about my own gang.

In various combinations, my friends have met at the starting and finish lines for 5 sprint triathlons, 2 Denver Marathon relays, 4 Mother’s Day runs and a few Turkey Trots and Iron Girl Runs in between. From the early morning, sleepy carpool to the mimosas that follow, these are some of my favorites times. With our cheesy medals, cute (or not-so-cute) race shirts, and goody bags in hand, we share the pride of met goals — whether we just eeked out the distance or broke a personal speed record.

The Title 9 Mother’s Day Run (a 9.9K) has always been a favorite, because our husbands and kids are at the finish to celebrate and picnic at the Boulder Reservoir. There is a cooler-than-most shirt and necklace to wear proudly (like a BFF charm!). I’m sad none of us are doing that race this year. Just a week before my half marathon and two weeks before the Bolder Boulder for others, we’re opting for sleeping in and breakfast in bed.

Over wine last night after the reading, I realized the races, like our birthdays, are treasured milestones we celebrate. I love my mental scrapbook of years of races — my first 5K in Atlanta, finishing a race in the new Olympic Stadium with my sister, first 10K in Austin, triathlons and relays — all featuring my running friends past and present in the photos!

Today – half the family went up for a final ski day while Zach and I enjoyed a rainy day hanging out in our PJs. I did the FIRM Cardio Sculpt video (in my PJs). Yesterday’s 5-mile run was just a warm-up for trying to hit 11 for the first time EVER tomorrow — possibly in the rain…

And my tribute/countdown song for today: #33 – “I’ll be your friend” (radio mix) by Robert Owens — for dancing or running with your friends!


Day 98 – myTunes

8 04 2010

I ran 7 miles this afternoon in perfect shorts weather. Spontaneously decided to take a route that I usually save for my bike, because it goes right by the confirmed coyote headquarters section of open space and in summer has snakes sprawled across the dirt road.

Intimidating on foot, but I was feeling brave and loved the idea of dirt under my feet for a longer run. Like running on pillows compared to my worn out pavement path. And new scenery — including horses like the ones in this picture — made 7 miles float by. I need to keep mixing up my running map, along with my iTunes (those two words — my iTunes — are so weird to say together, so let’s call it “myTunes.” Wow…I have been writing for clients all day — except for the 69-minute run, and my journalistic abilities are clearly drained!).

So in one chapter of Run Like a Mother, co-author Sarah Bowen Shea talks about her “running neurosis” including that the first song on her iPod is sending her a message that she tries to decode on her run.

I laughed when I read this, because I tend to hit the shuffle button until I’m inspired at any given point in my run — but especially for the first song. I always picture the iPod god (who looks like Steve Jobs, right?) determining the next song and telling me to pick up my pace or chill out. Since I tend to lose and/or break electronics, I have the simple, cheapest iPod Shuffle that doesn’t include playlists. Long story to say that today, the first randomly shuffled song was a great version of “One” in which U2 is joined by Mary J. Blige.

I love U2 (we have tickets for June concert at Invesco Field!), but it’s usually too slow to run to. This version adds some R&B groove — blending Mary’s soulful voice with Bono’s familiar sound at a good warm-up pace. So that’s song #39 in my “Top 40 to 40” countdown that sent me off and running in new directions!

Day 96 – 40 days

6 04 2010

I woke up early this morning to rain pattering on the roof – a great, soothing spring sound that is good for my tulips, but not what you want to hear when you need to get outside for a morning run. By the time I got downstairs, it had turned to SNOW — just when I thought my frozen runs were behind me.

I waited a few hours for the sun to peek through and then the only element I had to face was crazy wind. A friend told me yesterday that April is the windiest month in Colorado. You don’t need a kite to prove it, and I was happy I only had to run 2.6 miles per my trusty half-marathon plan. On my run I was thinking about my dear college friend Roshan (who turned 40 today!) and that it must be close to 40 days until my race and 40th birthday. Turns out it’s exactly 40, so the true countdown begins… in Rick Dees fashion (stay tuned!).

I had fun tonight visiting with another friend, Sylvia, who let me tag along to a reception for her friend Dimity McDowell, co-author of Run Like a Mother. Dimity was so nice — cool to meet her in person after getting to know her through her book! Any mom and/or runner can relate to her brilliant — and hilarious — essays about the highs and lows of running, kids, work and life and how they fit (or don’t fit) together. She and her co-author have a fun blog at that link too, where they are building a community of running moms. (See my family photo under “K is for kickin’ a@# moms.”)

Great catching up with Sylvia, who I haven’t seen in a few years. We talked in the car about birthday milestones and how we’ve approached them. When I met Sylvia 10 years ago, SHE was 40 and I couldn’t believe it. She seemed so young (I was just a spring chicken about to turn 30)… Now, at 50, she’s still just as young and more than keeping up with her teenage son with her energy and outlook. She even trained for a marathon last fall – making it to 20 miles when she, sadly, injured her foot.

We agreed with her mom’s shared wisdom that you never feel on the inside the age you are on the outside…as long as you are healthy and have the right attitude. Thanks Sylvia for sharing your famous friends and your inspiration as you run into the next decade so gracefully!

Day 71 – On to higher ground

12 03 2010

As we pack to head to Grand Lake in the mountains for the weekend, I squeezed in a 4-mile run in welcomed sunny weather.

I leave you with a great looking book and website that my friend Sylvia posted on Facebook. She knows one of the authors who is from Denver… Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity looks like a hilarious blog and book to check out… Happy weekend!