"Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don't have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Running in Shorts and a Tank?!

I had the amazing opportunity to spend this last week out in Scottsdale, AZ at the beautiful Four Seasons Troon North Resort. I was looking forward to the relaxation, the sun, running amidst the mountains, reading my book, catching up with my good friend Stephanie, hanging out with Jim and Grace, and celebrating a great year in 2010. By night I was awestruck by the brilliant constellations that so often I miss living downtown Minneapolis. By morning I watched the sun work itself over the mountain peaks. As I woke up to run each morning I was speechless in light of the scenery that wrapped around me.

"God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name. I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way? Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods, bright with Eden's dawn light. God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world." Psalm 8

On Wednesday morning, Jeremy got up early to take Steph and I to the airport. So we decided to run on the treadmills in Scottsdale. 5 miles and I had enough....I needed to get out of the gym and enjoy my surroundings!

Thursday morning I got up to run, hoping to run a little bit further. To my surprise, I struggled through this run, having to stop every half mile. At first I thought it was the elevation change, however, I was notified it wasn't that much of a difference. As I struggled to find a new hypothesis, I decided to blame it on the dry air. Although it was warm, it was dry. In Minnesota, it's chilly, but there's some moisture in our air. So Thursday's run was beautiful, but challenging. I worked my way to a park reserve and fought the dusty but groomed trail. I made it back to the hotel to have mustered out a 5 mile run. I have also been fighting shin splints in my left leg. I'll get to the shin splints later. I had to get back to the hotel because I had a 9:00AM appointment to get a Swedish massage! I will say, I have had NUMEROUS massages, but that was by far, the best massage I have EVER had! Peppermint oil, soothing music, deep tissue self-myfascial release massaging. One word: unbelievable. After the massage, I decided I should rest some more, so Steph and I headed to the pool for the rest of the afternoon. We went to to fitness center before getting ready for our evening event and I did a 3 mile tempo run. For the day, I logged 8 miles.

On Friday, I had to be to our business meeting early, so I only had time to run a quick 4 miler. This run felt much better (cardiovascularly), but my shin was still bothering me. I began getting a little concerned. We had signed up for a 10K the next day, but more importantly, the Boston Marathon is about a month away! I've worked too hard to be in pain.

On Saturday, Steph and I woke up at 5:30AM to meet Jim and Grace, to travel to Tempe, AZ for our 10k, called The Nun Run! Jim, Grace, and I ran the race; Steph was our fabulous cheerleader. Jim, Grace, Steph, and me, see below. All three of us ran in Fitsok socks :) I am so thankful to be sponsored by such a fabulous company. Thank you thank you thank you FITSOK!!!!

I took three ibuprofen to numb the pain in my shin. I decided that it wouldn't be wise to "race" the race. Boston is more important than injuring myself further. I decided to run, and to work hard, but not push too hard. The course was a 5k loop that we did twice. It had quite a few rolling hills. The ibuprofen did it's magic, and my shin didn't bother me at all. The only thing getting to me was the heat and the sun. The first loop wasn't so bad, but I really started to cook on the second loop. My body wasn't accustomed to the warm weather, after running in the tundra for months on end. During the first loop, I had two guys I was running with, but on the second loop I passed them and suddenly felt very alone. I had nobody to chase, and nobody chasing me, that I could hear. And so I prayed. I prayed for Jim and Grace, I prayed for the nuns and their building project, I prayed for Japan, I prayed for healing for Steph.

There was the 10k race, a 5k run/walk, and a 1 mile walk. It was difficult to run the second loop because we were dodging and weaving in and out of the walkers. There were walkers, strollers, dogs on leashes, and clumps of people to work through. I weaved in and out, and continued to make my way through the second loop. I finished the race in 44:57 (average 7:15 pace/mile). Ended up place as the 3rd female finisher, and 9th overall. I was pleased given the course, the weather conditions, and my conserved effort. I worked hard, but didn't feel like I had overdone it. Immediately upon finishing I wanted to get back to the course to cheer on Jim and Grace. Steph suggested water first, and I'm glad she did. We cheered on Jim and Grace as they finished the course.

Theme from the race: "Run like a nun; it's a good habit!" ;)

I'm so grateful God has given me the ability to run. I feel His presence as I run. I can't escape how big He is as I run. Sometimes it's the little things, like running, that reminds me how much God loves me, by allowing me to participate in little things that bring such great joy!

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