Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Mysteries of an Internal Compass

The Mysteries of an Internal Compass

This afternoon on my walk, er, stroll, actually, I went sans music.
I heard squirrels scurrying away in the underbrush.
I discovered my "hawk" was actually a mockingbird 
masquerading as a blue-jay most likely.
I heard numerous planes overhead, but due to the cloud cover, couldn't spot them.
And I heard geese.

I have long held a fascination with geese and their navigational skills.
I have not researched and investigated due to the fact I enjoy the magic of not knowing.
I couldn't see them, but could tell by their calls they were circling.
Perhaps the dense cloud cover confuses their internal compasses as well.

I have a love/hate relationship with my internal compass.
It's often called the Still, Small Voice, referring to the Holy Spirit indwelling Christian believers.
Others call it the gut, intuition, soul, heart of hearts, and any other numerous names.
To-may-to, to-mah-to.  To me it's one in the same.

The questions I should ask myself is, do I ask of it and do I listen to it?
If I will retreat to the quiet stillness of my thinking spot and ask, it WILL answer.
This is a great opportunity.  Is it a great opportunity for me?
This relationship/friendship has possibilities.  Should I invest my time/energy?
Should I or shouldn't I?
It always answers in truth.

Do I like the answer?
Ha, ha!  Most of the time if I have to retreat and ask, I want my desire, not the truth.
 Sometimes I'm searching for guidance, looking for reassurance I'm on the right track.
Other times I want permission and justification for the wrong track.
Why don't I listen more?

It has never once led me astray.
Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes no. Sometimes wait. 
Sometimes it just laughs at me.
I often run astray by not asking and ignoring the niggling feeling that I should be asking.
The knowing I'm on the wrong path and either enjoying my folly or scared to turn around.
The confidence that I'm in the right place at the right time or
in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or even more confusing, 
the right place at the wrong time.

Cultivating an understanding of my internal compass is a journey I'm currently undertaking.
I have mixed reviews thus far.
It's calling for me to end some relationships.
It's calling for me to proceed towards others.
However, when I listen, it always calls for me to act.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

All They Needed Were Ribbons

This morning, my back yard looked like a scene from a Disney movie.
All that was missing were ribbons for the birds.
I counted 4 gray squirrels, 3 red squirrels, and
our resident black squirrel.

There were doves, cardinals, blue jays, and
what I lovingly refer to as "little yellow birds."
There were others that were so camouflaged I
could only see them when they moved.

Throughout the day we had a fox and a deer
join the mix.  The sun was shining and 
the sky was a brilliant blue.
It was cold and crisp and just what a late fall morning should be.

I stood at my kitchen window for the longest just watching.
I enjoyed my morning tea, until it eventually grew cold.
I need more of these days.
They make my truly enjoy my deep woods life.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

My First 5K!

My First 5k!

My Ode to Katie!
I have a wonderful friend who has been an encouragement and cheerleader to me since we became friends.  She's the reason I started running this summer.
She's the reason I'm still walking after Doc said "No running."
(Hope he doesn't see this and fuss at me...although my knees will tell the tale tomorrow...)

We had planned to do a half-marathon in November.
Plans have since changed, but not before I started training.
I found a couch to 21K training program and started August 31.
As of Thursday, I've logged 100 intentional miles on the track and my gravel road.
I walk between 3 and 5 miles every Tuesday and Thursday.
Saturdays I add a mile.  I started at 4.  Last week I did 9.
It varies distance with a rest week.  This week I was to do 6.  Next week 10.
Although our race place changed, my goal is to do 13 on Halloween.

Today was the Crossett vs. Hamburg Rivalry Run.
(See the Ashley County Rivalry Run Facebook page or Rivalryrun.net for more details.)
Katie talked me into it.
Katie talked me into the tutu.
Katie caught up with me at the end because my pace took me off at the start with Lynn Parker.
Katie could have run it twice in the time it took me to walk it.
(Admittedly, my mile/minute ratio was off, but I still did pretty darn good.)
She caught up with me during the last block when Lynn and I started to jog.
We decided to stretch it out into a sprint....and here's picture proof!

It felt amazing...and my knees haven't complained yet.
We capped off the day with the award ceremony.
She won second in her age category.  I'm so proud of her.
She gave her trophy to me - because she's proud of me.
She wanted me to have it to commemorate my first 5K.
I will display it with pride and never forget sharing today with her.
And she's right, I kinda have the racing bug now.

I've promised to do the Mississippi  River Half with her in February.
I also promised the full monty of the Little Rock Marathon in March. 
She promises medals, t-shirts, and lots of swanky bling.
She's trying to talk me into the Warrior Dash.
I'm all for walking flat surfaces.  Not sure I can handle obstacles too.
But who knows.  I never thought I'd have done a 5K, much less 3x that last weekend.

Connie was with us all day too,
She cheered from the rodeo grounds with the cheerleaders.
She snapped the "finish line" pix.
She joined us for a grease & carb loaded celebratory breakfast at Huddle House afterwards.
Heck, she even drove!  I felt like a princess!
Next year, she's going to walk with me...I'm issuing the challenge.

It's great to have friends.
It's even better to have great friends who are in the trenches with you.
Thick and thin, good days and bad, lunch, coffee, and beyond, they are my go-to girls.
Katie and Connie - my life is so much more enriched with you two in it.
Melinda, next year you're coming too.  No more side-lining!
Love you guys to the moon and back!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Half-Marathon, Week 2, Day 2

Hanging 'em Up

All good things must come to an end.
Darn it.
First things first.
I made it through the increase of Week 2, Day 2!

I knew when I jogged my first round it was going to be tough.
My knees have been giving me grief.
This morning they weren't as swollen as they have been.
But, impact is impact and it wasn't pretty.

I didn't break any land speed records.
I did manage to run 7 rounds, about 14 minutes.
I did it without my morning tea and electrolytes.
(Fasting for blood work.)  It was good.

My doc (also a former runner) and I discussed things.
Due to my family history and current situation,
he said, no more running.
Walk, swim, elliptical.  No running.

My knees are popping and grinding and filled with fluid.
(There is no way I can sneak up on anyone.  They'd hear me coming.)
The next step is an orthopedic and surgery.
No, thank you.  I think I'll just use the elliptical.

I am very disappointed.  
I was looking forward to a new challenge, and a new me.
My cheerleaders said - no problem, we'll walk a marathon.
It'll give us more time to talk along the way.

I love these women.
They encourage and support me.
I'm going to take today to be sad, 
then I'm going to encourage and support me.

This blog commitment was first about running.
Now, I'm going to focus on the other things.
I'm enjoying writing and creating and expressing myself.
So, stay tuned to see what I discover next!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Half-Marathon Training - Week 2, Day 1

Like a SEAL in the Surf...

This is evidence I did something!
No, it wasn't just walk back and forth
in front of my mailbox.  
Weekend rains made the gravel spongy.
Don't know that it was any softer on my knees.
The rain certainly did not help the humidity.
But, it gave me visible evidence of my labors this morning.

Week 2 has started.
I'm excited.  I'm scared.
I have 87 year old knees.
Getting those checked Wednesday,
provided I live through Day 2 of Week 2.
That's the day we up the ante.

Week 1 and part of week 2 involves a sequence.
Run 1 minute, walk 2 minutes.
It's just enough recovery time.
I'm challenging myself to see how far I can go in a minute.
This week we begin the transition to run 2, walk 2.
I know I can run 2.

Today was gratifying in a way.
It was a bit easier.
No, not easier, but I'm getting stronger.
It was still tough.
But it wasn't as tough as Saturday.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

13.1 - End of Week 1 Training


This is so very, very true, as I'm learning.
I finished my Week 1 Couch to 21K training today.
It was increments of run 1 minute, walk 2, for 3 miles.
Did it in 45 minutes, which is a 15 minute mile.
Not too bad for a beginner.

What else I've learned this week:

1.  Appropriate clothes and shoes are a must.
I bought "official" workout clothes yesterday.
They are snug fitting and easier to move in.
The quick dry, wicking fabric really helps.
I refuse to be self-conscious wearing them because 
I'm training for a freaking marathon.
The weight will come off...

2.  Appropriate music is a must:
Here's my current playlist:

Hey Mama - Nicki Minaj
Honey, I'm Good - Andy Grammer
Sheppard - Geronimo
Counting Stars - OneRepublic
Best I Ever Had - Gavin DeGraw
Drive By - Train
St. Elmo's Fire Theme Song - John Parr
Blank Space - Taylor Swift
Don't - Ed Sheeran
On Top of the World - Imagine Dragons
I Lived - OneRepublic
Rose Tattoo - Dropkick Murphys

Some were chosen for the beat.
Some were chosen because the lyrics make me smile.
Some were chosen because the lyrics encourage me.
The Murphys are mandatory for all workout playlists. 

3.  Here's a list of my cheerleaders and what they've said:
Katie - it doesn't get easier, you get stronger.
Romona - chew gum, it helps keep your mouth moist.
Dawn - military cadence chants help you breathe right.
Connie - pick up the pace and keep going!
Melinda - knowing she's training too helps!

Thanks to all of them for making this first week a success.

Here's what else I've learned:
I bought an elliptical to avoid heat & bugs...
then I agreed to a marathon.  What was I thinking?
Rest days and no-exercise days are schedule for a reason.
Running only on Mon., Wed., and Sat. will take getting used to.
Horseflies are apparently immune to Deep Woods Off.
Everything sunburns but my legs, where I WANT color.
Found some organic hydration powder that is awesome.
In 19 weeks I'll be able to run a 21K race.
In 19 weeks I'll be able to run 13.1 miles.
Wow.  I can't wait!!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Half-Marathon Training, Week 1 Continued


I am not going to die.
It was touch and go for a while.
Ellipticals are wonderful, but good old-fashioned
walking/jogging uses different muscles.

Here's what I've learned since Monday:

1.  Good shoes are a must.  Invested in these yesterday:

 I was hoping to get a "pretty" pair, you know, colorful.
After research, these were the right ones for me.
Black is slimming and goes with everything...right?

2.  Appropriate workout clothes are a must.
I literally ran out of my shorts this morning.
That was an "effing awesome" feeling...
I caught them before I frightened the wildlife.
Can't wait for my payday shopping trip!!!

3.  Running on a freshly grated road is not fun.
I liken it to the SEALS running on the beach in Coronado.
(Seeing that is on my bucket list.)

You get zero traction and it works your tail off.
I'm no G.I. Jane, but I could probably chase one of these guys.
(What I'd do if I caught one is for another post...!)

4.  After workout stretches are a must.  
Also learned this the hard way.
It's taken me two days to limber back up.
Found a "yoga every runner should do" site.
Downward Dog was super good to my legs this morning.

5.  After stretching, meditation is a must.
I had company this morning.  
She talked to me a bit before settling
 to do her own version of kitty yoga.

I love the app, Calm.
 I use the 10 minute guided meditation with
the Celestial Sunbeams scene.
The music reminds me of Pachelbel's Canon in D.

My morning workout is done.
I have an enormous sense of accomplishment.
I feel great.
I'm ready to tackle the rest of my day.
I think I'll start with a good book.

Monday, June 8, 2015



13.1 = 21K = a Half Marathon.
WHAT was I thinking?

Yes, I agreed to run a half-marathon sometime the next school year.
I have a cheerleader/coach who is fabulous.
She is running 4000 miles across the US this summer 
as part of a cancer awareness group.
(It's the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.)

We have coffee every afternoon during the school year.
I've heard her talk about training and running and gear.
I saw her elation when she ran her first half-marathon.
I've watched her become addicted to races and thought - what the heck?

So, I found a program to take me from couch to 21K in 20 weeks.
(It's from this site:  womensrunning.competitor.com)
I found an app that sets my time for me and plays my music.
(It's called Gymboss and it's free.)

I hit the road just after 7 a.m. this morning.
It felt wonderful!  I ran a minute and walked two...ten times.
Thanks to my elliptical my thighs and hiney were fantastic.
My calves protested after the first 1/4 mile.  Different muscles.

My tried and trusty shoes gave me a blister after mile 1.
A blister!  What's up with that?
(I've had them for 4+ years that I can remember.)
They are getting retired and replaced tomorrow.

While walking I keep track of nature for entertainment.  
There were some wins and losses.
I saved 3 night-crawlers from death on the hot, sandy road.
I saw 2 crushed frogs.
I saw this awesome snail/slug/bit of slime.
He's about 2 1/2 inches long.

I finished my "challenge" hot, sweaty, and elated.
Morning meditation on the patio helped with cool down.
A cold shower, breakfast quesadilla, and icy water helped my mood.
My muscles are tired.
My body aches.
Thank goodness I don't have to do it again until Wednesday.
But you know what?  I did it.
And I will do it again and again and again...
until I can do all 13.1 miles!