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Spirit

Mountain

(Best read if listening to Pickwick…or Wheeler Brothers.)

A whirlwind week. An overwhelming amount of work. An 18 hour Friday. But, today is Saturday. And I’m sitting here reveling in the aftermath of an incredible morning.

It all started with the sunrise. Why? Because I’m never in bed still when the sun rises. Not this morning. This morning, I was in bed. Awake. Taking my time watching the sun come through the curtains. And things just got better from there.

Shoes laced. Sunglasses poised to greet the morning in all of its brilliance. A gentle breeze. Warm air. The sound of silence. I was in no hurry. I knew I wanted to take a road less traveled. Limited human interaction. Nothing but nature.

My thoughts wandered. My soul connected with the earth; my spirit. The simple was exquisite. The warm dirt smelled of freedom. The mountains glittered with warmth as sunbeams bounced off of snow capped peaks.

Maybe it’s because Pickwick had my beat. Maybe it’s because I finally gave in to the world that awaited me to visit. Maybe, it’s just…because.

So, I ran.

Hells Yeah

Image

Today was “long run” day, and as much as I wanted to run hills (since this is what I’ve been telling myself all week long I would do) I was really dreading getting out and actually doing the hill work. I started bargaining with myself, “Well, I’ll just do 8 today and then do an easy run tomorrow”, and “I should just do both days easy”. You know how the story goes. I couldn’t make up my mind where I wanted to go, in which direction, or how many miles. I knew I ultimately wanted to get a long run out of it, but just didn’t have the gumption to be on the road for a few hours.

Finally, I told myself I should start in the direction of the “hills” and see how things go. The sun started peaking through the clouds and there was just enough breeze to not get overheated in all of my core gear. It felt great. It felt steady. And, it felt like I should do the workout I had planned on for that week. I decided what better way to make sure I did the whole run than to take and out and back route. If I didn’t finish all of the hills then I could always call my husband to pick me up.

I got to the halfway point literally at the end of the hill route and thought the area looked somewhat familiar in the distance. It did. I had actually run to the next town. Huh. Who knew? I turned around knowing that the hardest part was ahead since now my legs were tired from the first half of the run, and I still had to run those same hills in order to get back home. I told myself to just take it one mile at a time. Before I knew it, I had crested the last of the dreaded hills and knew I was home free, even with three miles left on my route.

I’m glad I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone. I almost let my head get the best of me this morning. Now, I’m enjoying some hot tea, football, a dark and rainy afternoon, and a quiet house because the toddler kindly asked me to put him down for his nap. I worked hard for this moment. And now, I rest.

The "Hells"

The “Hells”

My other love...

My other love…

I’ve been toying with the idea of training for another race. I’ve always enjoyed running, but training for Boston over last winter really took its toll. I swore I’d never train over the winter again, but here I am in October with temps in the 30’s and I have the itch to train. Something is clearly wrong with me.

I have missed my long run Saturdays which might sound strange to some, but nothing beats the feeling of accomplishing something that few take on…and usually before most are even rolling out of bed. I have to admit I’m a bit uncertain as to what winter training brings with it this year, but I figured what’s there to lose? I’ll pick a race, plan my training schedule, and adjust as necessary. I don’t know about you, but once I’ve made up my mind there’s no looking back.

So, what are you going to train for next? Maybe you’ve never run a race or trained for anything. What’s stopping you? Find a local 5k and announce it to your friends and family. I guarantee once you tell people you’ll have that voice in your head on those mornings you don’t want to get out of bed and go for a run. And if you can’t find a reason to do it for yourself, do it for someone else. Help raise money for a local charity or help to support an event for good cause.

I’m determined to keep moving as long as my legs will take me. I may not be as fast as I have been in the past, but I have the heart to keep trying. After a 16 mile run this morning, I know that my heart’s in it. Is yours?

Distance: 16.10 mi
Time: 2:19:58
Avg Pace: 8:42 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 128 ft
Calories: 1,686 C
Split
Time
Distance
Avg Pace
Summary 2:19:58.0 16.10 8:42
1 9:05.7 1.00 9:06
2 9:10.6 1.00 9:11
3 8:36.9 1.00 8:37
4 8:45.5 1.00 8:45
5 8:43.2 1.00 8:43
6 8:49.4 1.00 8:49
7 8:45.2 1.00 8:45
8 8:44.0 1.00 8:44
9 8:46.7 1.00 8:47
10 8:47.1 1.00 8:47
11 8:47.8 1.00 8:48
12 8:38.0 1.00 8:38
13 8:30.0 1.00 8:30
14 8:23.2 1.00 8:23
15 8:22.0 1.00 8:22
16 8:16.7 1.00 8:17
17 :46.1 0.10 7:49

Capital Hill Run

 My oldest son, standing in front of the National Archives in D.C.


My oldest son, standing in front of the National Archives in D.C.

Traveling to a new city always brings with it a challenge to scope out the best running trails. City running is so much different than running in farm country. This country girl is not used to running with traffic, pedestrian crossings, honking horns, and heavy foot traffic. To top it off, this week I had to travel to D.C. and previous experience has shown that this is a very busy city. I could have hidden in the hotel and used the two-treadmill exercise room, with squeaky, shaky equipment, but instead I decided to ask the locals where the best running routes were. I figured I’m not the only runner in D.C., and come to find out I was right. After doing a little research and taking a stroll the evening before my first run in D.C. I felt I was ready as ever. After all, it wasn’t like I was going out into a landscape of sinking sand or had to figure out how to walk on water. All I needed was some ground.

The next morning I woke up, laced up my shoes, and powered up my Garmin. I headed out of the hotel and started running in the general direction I was advised. I wasn’t sure really where I was heading, or even how far I’d get before I ran into a wall of people, heavy traffic, or some crazy D.C. event. I wasn’t even sure where the streets led but realized the best way to learn about a city is by pounding the pavement. After about two miles I came across some familiar territory; the Mall and the Capital of D.C. It felt oddly strange to be running on the Mall and around the Lincoln Monument, both places I had visited many times as a child and in my youth. I felt like a citizen of D.C. – as if I belonged in the city. I felt comfortable and safe as I saw dozens, if not hundreds of other runners. I wrapped back around the back side of the White House just as the guards were changing shifts and within minutes had several dozens of police officers surrounding my route. Here I was afraid to run alone in D.C. in the dark and on a new route. Suddenly, I felt safer there than I do in my small farm town in Colorado.

It was a busy day, preceded by a busy week. There’s always a lot going on, but compound that with planning travels and kids, and you get one tired girl. I’ve been wanting to write all week, but the days just kept slipping by. So now, as my chauffeur (a.k.a. husband) drives us home from work I finally take a deep breath and decompress from the week, lost in the transient music of Kings of Leon. All that’s missing is a nice glass of red to accompany the private world I’m in.

I sit mindlessly thinking of nothing and everything at the same time. All the while twirling my hair which I tend to do when I’m tired, but don’t notice until my husband says “You must be tired”. A quite drive home. Enough time to be lost in thought, and enough time to meditate on the sporadic moments of peace I find intermingled with my days.

I’m okay with being tired. I know I’m tired because I woke up early to crank out an eight mile run, just to see what my race pace might look like. Then, I made breakfast for my family, shuffled the kids off to school, and worked my tail off in a job I love. So I’m okay with being tired. I’d much rather be tired than bored or complacent. My reward is knowing that I’ve given all of myself to everything that I do, and that nice cup of hot tea in the morning sun after a good night’s rest.

My Post-Run Quiet Time

My Post-Run Quiet Time

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

Holy Schnikes!

I literally just posted a blog and was informed by my ever-updating blog source that I had just posted my 65th blog! You poor souls. You had no idea you’d be reading mindless material 65 posts later, did you? Ha! Well, hopefully I can provide some beneficial information…and maybe a few laughs along the way. Most importantly, I just want you to know you’re not alone in your daily challenges to find time to exercise and ways to live a healthier lifestyle.

The Fan

Life is meant to be enjoyed, but you can’t enjoy life to the fullest if you’re always sick, feel run down, lack energy or motivation, or are consumed by stress. Right? So let’s face it. As much as you wish it would just come naturally to make smart decisions about food, and to exercise and get enough rest (I’m guilty), it is never quite as easy as it seems. We struggle for several reasons. Maybe it’s because you don’t have a clue how to exercise or what kind of exercise you should even start doing. The important thing is to just get moving.

Start with walking. Join a gym, or try some classes. You might like some things and completely hate others. If you don’t try though, you’ll never know. Here’s another important message…ask questions! You are not the first kid on the block. Take advantage of people you know who have “been there done that”. Learn from others and take everything with a grain of salt. Fill your mental library with knowledge from multiple resources, then pull the information that is most relevant to your lifestyle, fitness level, health, and overall goals. Lastly, find your cheerleader. This could be a spouse or significant other, a child, parent, friend, or even a co-worker. Find that person who will support your goals and lifestyle, and who will cheer you on through the toughest days, but who will also tell you when to suck it up.

Most importantly, take it one day at a time. Focus on the positive changes, and set out to be an example for others.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.”

A Kid in a Candy Store

I have no idea where my children get their sweet tooth.

Literally, a kid in a candy store. My kid.

Hi. My name is Luciana, and I’m a sugar addict. I’m okay admitting it. I love sugar. I love chocolate. I love cookies and cakes and buttercream frosting…I’m killing you, aren’t I?

Hi. My name is Luciana, and I’m a runner. I’m okay admitting it. I love getting up before the sun and hearing my own heartbeat, feeling my muscles warm up, and pushing myself further each day. I love doing what others are afraid to do. I love going out thinking “Man, I could use another hour of sleep”, and coming back an hour later with one of my best runs. I love buying new running shoes and trying out the newest workouts and gadgets. I love registering for races. I love the after-race huddle with friends and family. I love getting lost on long runs, and at the same time finding new paths.

Turns out, I love running more than sugar. Huh…who knew?

The Dark Side

(a good substitute for your sweet tooth moment)

1/2 C Honey

1 C  Cacao Powder

1 T Vanilla

1/2 C Melted Coconut Oil

1/2 C Raw Coconut Flakes

1/4 C Coconut Flour

You can add ANYTHING to this your little heart desires. How about some toasted hazelnuts or pecans? Oats? Puffed Rice Cereal? Add more or less honey depending on your preference.  Roll into little balls or cut into squares.

The more organic and natural you can make it, the better it will treat your body.

On a side note, these are awesome frozen little treats too.

Happy Running – Happy Eating!

Simple Pleasures

So, it comes down to this. The only chance to blog is when I’m waiting for my son at the dentist office. I’ve been thinking about you for a while though. It’s been too long. Life gets busy – too many distractions and “have to’s” on the list each day. As with any woman though, there’s always more than enough going on in my head to always have something to blog about (lucky you). The problem is, there’s too much going on inside of my head that I can’t decide what to write about first!

I opted to focus on what I enjoy the most (coffee and wine) – no wait, that’s not this blog. Running? I love it, but it isn’t my life. Then, I came across this picture and it sums it all up for me. Seeing my kids play in nature.

Yes I run because I love it, but I want to be an example to my children. I cook because it calms my soul and it’s my responsibility as the Mama to nourish their minds, souls, and bellies. I clean because I can shift my focus from a messy, disorganized life, to time with my children and my husband. Through all of these things I can teach them the value of teamwork, and the reward of a job well done.

We’re always looking for ways to get better at something, and it never seems that we’re quite satisfied in our lives at this exact moment. So, as I get back to blogging about the basics I challenge you to take a break, find a quiet place, and take a deep breath.

Simple Pleasures

Simple Pleasures

Jude 1:2  ~ “May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.”

Mind

This morning’s run brought with it a milder morning in the dead of Colorado Winter, as well as a strange encounter with a friendly neighbor. I was smack in the middle of a hard tempo workout, with eyes set and mind focused on pace and form that it wasn’t until I was crossing the road did I look up and lo’ and behold there was a man standing in the road with his dog. I was caught a bit off guard (note to self), but still acknowledged him with a hearty “Good morning”. As a female runner you’re always cautioned about running in the dark…alone…on back country roads…(I made the Corridor Newspaper for this one). The man replied with a “Good morning”, quickly followed by “You know, walking is easier”.

You know when you have so much to say you just don’t know where to begin? After collecting my thoughts all I said to myself with a smile was, “Yeah, but Boston’s more fun”. Who cares what’s easy? That’s what we do and what society has trained us to be like ever since I can recall. Let’s make things easier with our fast food joints, our remote controls, and our no-lose mentality. Let’s not let ourselves discover failure, heaven forbid we allow our children to fail. Yes, I said allow them to fail. If they don’t know what it feels like to fail, they’ll never know what it feels like to succeed. They’ll also never know what it feels like to work through failure and to learn to seek help and guidance from others.

Take a step back. Look at your life and determine where you want to do more than just “take it easy”. What do you really want to excel in? What is it that you wish you could do and have never accomplished?

My challenge to you is to not simply take it easy. Are you up for it? After all, we are created in His image.

I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. ~ Psalm 139:14

Old Victory Road

0001OI

Last weekend’s long run was a hilly 12 miles at an easy pace. Even though we live on the eastern plains of Colorado there are definitely hills to be found. Most however, are on the back dirt roads (win, win). I thought I would challenge myself beyond my normally hilly route and try one of the back roads that I knew was nothing but a collage of ups and downs. Eight miles in and I was re-thinking my over zealous strategy, but stuck to my guns none the less.

Preparing for races includes not just the running itself, it also includes resting, good nutrition, and the mental training and knowledge that you can overcome any obstacle come race day based on past training runs and confidence in your abilities. When you can do it in training, you can conceptually do it on race day. Knowing that I’ve run in the heat and survived, or in bitter cold temps and have kept my legs moving, run into the gustiest of headwinds, or through the sheer exhaustion of a long training run; once I’ve pushed myself through it I have undoubtedly proven to myself that I am indeed capable of doing it again.

Toward the end of last weekend’s long run, though exhausted from the extremely hilly route, I felt victorious…literally. As I rounded the corner to head back home I looked at the sign that belonged to the road whose hills I owned that morning. Old Victory Road is its name. Fitting. I smiled to myself, waved goodbye until next time, and told myself come Boston in April, Heartbreak Hill will be my bitch.

Achieve your victory.