I have an announcement of sorts. No, I’m not running away from the blogging world (or from graduate school…although I do think exercise is a good way of coping with the stress). Rather, I’ve gone from former-runner to current-runner, and today was the first day that running felt good! It’s been about 15 years since I last felt that. I didn’t know until today how much I’ve missed it! It’s a big change for me. A month ago, if you’d asked if I ran, I would have said “not unless something is chasing me.”
I took up running again for a couple of reasons. For all my efforts at habit change, I found myself getting bored if I didn’t vary up my exercise routine. I try to do something active for at least 45 minutes every day – that might be walking, biking, swimming (only in the summer), yoga, Pilates, or my favorite workout of all…dancing! I dance around our living room like a fool. I crank up music and just go to town. One day recently I looked out at our back deck and saw a squirrel with his arms crossed, staring at me, looking anything but impressed. Further proof that squirrels really are mean little critters. Or at least our backyard Hipster squirrel sure is!
On the whole, I have to say that the exercise thing is working for me. I’ve enjoyed it, felt better and more energetic, lost weight, and dramatically increased the distance that I can run. Why is that important?
Because I signed up for this!
It’s a race called Color Me Rad, and it’ll be in Raleigh, NC on October 27th. It’s a race in which people throw colored corn starch at you for five kilometers. Like running through a tie dyed wonderland. I learned about it while reading a post on a favorite blog called Young House Love. One of the bloggers ran the race and posted photos that made it look like a blast:
I was sold after seeing all of his awesome pictures, and when I looked up the race, I found that they were running one in my area in October. In fact, they’re holding them all over the United States. I’m beyond excited, because it just looks like so much fun, and has been inspiring me to run for the last three weeks. I’m up to being able to run about a mile, which doesn’t sound like much, but I could run about a city block three weeks ago, so I’ve come a long way! I like running as exercise for a couple of reasons. First, it gets me outside, into the sunshine, and it’s been one more way to enjoy the glorious fall weather we’ve been having in my part of North Carolina. Second, it’s great for this guy:
He’s my best friend in the world, and running has been a good way to spend time with him and help him get some exercise. Plus, it helps keep his puppy energy level manageable so we don’t have to kill him. Seriously. Much as we’ve grown to love him in the last year (so so much!) since bringing him home from Paws4Ever, and with the acknowledgement that he’s the best behaved pup in the world (he’s sweet, he learns quickly, he never destroys anything – a world of difference from our last dog at this age)…he’s also the smartest dog I’ve ever met, and that’s a mixed blessing. It does mean he’s a great communicator, which works out well for him if not for me. When he’s bored and wants my attention, he knows how to get it in about 2 seconds flat. Usually that’s by either harassing the cats or by standing right beside me in silence until I forget he’s there, and then startling me with this incredibly loud, sudden, high pitched bark that makes me jump about six feet in the air. Then he looks smug. Sneaky bastard. So long as he gets his daily workout, he doesn’t startle me out of my chair. But ever since our neighborhood dog park shut down a month ago, my daily walks with him (30 minutes or so, at a pace somewhere between a stroll and a power walk) haven’t been enough. He’s taken to doing the startle-bark quite frequently, and it’s nerve rattlingly effective. Hence the running.
We run mostly along the wooded trail behind our house, always in daylight. I tend to prefer exercise that doesn’t require much gear, other than my yoga mat and my bike and helmet. I like that running is a pretty minimalist sport – all you need is a good sports bra and a good pair of shoes (my shoes are last season’s version of these running shoes from North Face, and I’m obsessed with them). As for Arlo, I got one of these no-pull harnesses so he won’t drag me away at breakneck speed (which is what he did for our first few runs, along with nipping at me to make me run faster). I’ve been running in silence, but I’m thinking about buying one of these iPhone armbands so that I can bring my music. That would also let me use the Map My Run app. I’ve been using the website to plug in my runs to track the distance, just plotting them on the map. I need to work my way up to 5K (a little over three miles) over the next four weeks. I’ve been loosely following this training schedule each week. Right now, I’m on Week 4. Wish me luck!
NC locals, anybody want to join for Color Me Rad? It should be a blast!