Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Red Sox Stadium Seat Cushions

More BoSox accessories!
(thanks again to Mom for the material)


Sox Scooter Seat

New fashion accessory for the scoot!
(Many thanks to Mom for providing the material)

Soggy Sacramento Slug

A visitor to our patio yesterday.... I feel like I'm back in Portland!


Running Revisions

(a follow-up on my previous post about my recent challenges and doubts about running)

My idea of focusing on speed lasted about 2 weeks. I just wasn't motivated by this goal, I wasn't seeing any improvement, and I was feeling even worse about running than before (e.g. dreading my planned workouts because they felt doomed from the start). I thought about not even registering for the Zoo Zoom, but then decided to go ahead anyway since it benefits the Sac Zoological Society, which is a good cause.

Yet I still needed something else, something more, to keep me running. I needed to get back to the roots of why I started running in the first place. What was it that I enjoyed about running? What about running made me feel good?

I found some of the answers during my 2-day training in Fresno at the end of March. I ran both days there (5+ and 3+ miles), and remembered that part of why I love running is that it provides me with a great way to get to know an unfamiliar area on a more personal level. In a car, you don't see all of the small details that you see on foot, you don't notice the quirks or unique aspects of a place as easily. Granted, running on Shaw Ave in Fresno/Clovis isn't the most scenic place to be, but it was still interesting to see how the surroundings changed from mile to mile. And best of all, I felt really good when I had finished - strong, fit, healthy.

That's what running should be all about.

Forget this crap about times and pace and competition. In the end, running is really a tool to stay healthy and release tension, and if focusing on other aspects increases tension or makes me less enthusiastic about doing this activity, then I need to just let go of those other preoccupations and get back to the basics.

So lately I've been rediscovering the sheer joy of running. No timer. No set timing goal. Just a need to move and use my body and appreciate what it can do. I had a great 8-mile run last weekend with Fleet Feet - out along the levee, back along H Street, enjoying the scenery and seeing the changes along the way. I realized I hadn't been taking the time to notice my surroundings, to greet the felines out for their morning stroll, or to appreciate the spring flowers amidst the rain.

I think, too, that's one of the dangers of having runner friends. Although it's great to be able to chat with people who understand about training and race events, it also can create pressure to do more and achieve more. And I need to stay focused on what goals are right and meaningful to me, not on what others may be doing.

So yesterday was the Zoo Zoom. I had decided that since I wasn't going for time anymore that I'd do the 10K (6.2 miles) instead of the 5K (same entry fee, so more bang for the buck, and a later start time, so more snuggling in bed with Mr. E!). I still wanted to get a longer distance completed, though, to keep in the habit of my Sunday long runs, so I ran to the start at the Sac Zoo (2.5 miles), which gave me a combined total of 8.7 miles.

And I ran without a timer.

Of course, there were volunteers at each mile calling out split times, so I could sort of keep track of how the race was going, but I just focused more on how my body felt and on enjoying the route and the weather (cool, cloudy, but dry - yippee!).

Here's the interesting point: my finish time was a PR (Personal Record) of 52:05. I finished 12 of 59 in my age group of women 30-39 and 198 of 320 overall with an 8:24 pace. So by not being too hung up on time issues, I ran my best 10K race event ever.

The irony? I couldn't help checking the results for the 5K age group of women 30-34, and I would have placed in the top 3 if I had done that event... Times ranged from 23:37-25:02, and even my split time at 3 miles during the 10K was around the 24-minute mark, so I would certainly have placed within that range if I'd been focusing on a shorter distance.

What's most important, however, is that I felt really good after the race. I managed to kick it in for the last 1/10th of a mile and pass two people (Mr. E got a great shot of the finish, too), and I really just enjoyed myself without feeling pressure to perform in a certain way.

That's a lesson I need to carry over into other areas of my life, I think...


Opening Day

First homer of the season delivered by Big Papi.

First win of the season for the BoSox over the Rangers 7 - 3.

Schilling delivers.

Foulke closes.

Dare we hope?????