Thursday, December 5, 2013

Running in the Cold

December around here is usually cold-ish and dreary, so I am loving our recent spell of bright, sunny, sub-35 degree days. It's the perfect winter running weather as far as I'm concerned. No grumbling about getting soaked. No worries about slipping on muddy trails, twisting an ankle on slick, unstable ground or wiping out while running down a wet, steep sidewalk (all of which I've done). Just toss on some layers and go. I'm trying to store up enough Vitamin D and cheefulness to get me through the dark season without turning into a total crab. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My kids are faster than I am

And I'm okay with that.

We began our 4th of July early this year. Up around 5.30, left the house at 6.15 for a 5K that started at 7.30. Perfect running weather: cool and sunny. Nice flat course.

I started the race with the girls a few rows ahead of me in the crowd. Pretty quickly, they were gone from sight. I didn't see them again until I crossed the finish line; they were off to the side, snorking up food and cheering me on.

The 14-year-old beat the 17-year-old by 10 seconds. They placed 48th and 51st in a total field of 1000 runners.

And they beat me by more than 5 minutes.


Really, I'm okay with it. I mean, I'm 40 years older than my younger daughter. It's pretty understandable that I'm slower than my kids. Right?

In my heart of hearts, however, I am muttering, "I would have totally mopped the floor with you two when I was a teenager." The beauty of that thought is that we'll never know, because I ran sprints and not distance as a teenager.

Anyway, I'm celebrating my kids' fast feet and their commitment to training. And one day, when their kids beat them in a race, I hope to be around to remind them, "You can be okay with this."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Joint Compression Releases Serotonin, or Why My Dog Is So Happy

Emma. She's a happy dog.
Don't worry. This isn't one of those sappy "What I Learned From My Dog" posts. Just the facts, here.

Our golden retriever is nine, maybe ten years old. We've had her for about nine months now, and the thing that most intrigues me about her is her full-on embrace of everything: food, humans, the kitties, sleeping, riding in the car, sniffing at random objects, and most especially chasing balls.

Ribbon yarn ball--yummy
This ball used to be round and bouncy.
Kind of like my butt twenty years ago...
She is obsessed with balls of all sorts. Tennis balls. Soccer balls. Yarn balls. Beach balls. She carries them around. She sleeps with them. She drops them at our feet and gives us the NO ONE HAS PLAYED WITH ME IN DAYS look. She drags them out from under couches.

So what does this have to do with exercise? Everything. My senior citizen of a canine chases, lunges, leaps completely off the ground in pursuit of a ball. She is totally focused. She jumps into the air with her whole body, then crashes back down on all four legs. As long as my throwing arm holds out--an hour is our record--she is willing to chase and capture.

I see this wonderful old dog slamming into the earth from a mighty leap, and my brain yells at me, "Joint compression releases serotonin." Serotonin is believed by many researchers to play a major role in mood regulation. I suffer from bouts of major depression. Serotonin is a big deal for me.

So I run, compressing my joints with each footfall. My dog chases and leaps. When I want to cut a run short, or slow my pace to a crawl, I think of my happy old dog and her willingness to run and leap and give life her best shot.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On The Benefits of Following Directions

So it's been almost four weeks since I started training with the PortlandFit running club. This past Saturday, I ran five miles for the first time in many, many years. Like, decades. Parts of it were slow and ugly, but I didn't do the things I most feared: stop and walk; vomit; cry. I had kick left at the end and a smile on my face.

I've re-learned a few things about myself in this short time. In no particular order:

1. I like someone else telling me what to do, if they know more than I do. And the coaches at PortlandFit definitely know more than I do about running. The online training schedule orders me around during the week; there's no thinking involved on my part (although there is occasionally procrastination...).

2. I like the sense of accomplishment that comes from follow-through. This, more than anything else, has kept me on track with the three solo runs during the week. My daily life is so scattered and unpredictable. Every day's schedule, no matter how nicely worked out on paper the night before, is one second away from being demolished by kids, elderly animals, laundry, carpool emergencies, client deadlines, and writer's block. If I knock out the run early in the day, everything else is easier to deal with.

3. I like running in a group, even though I consider myself an introvert, a loner, and an anti-social menopausal broad. The energy of everyone else keeps me going.

4. Finally, I like how running makes me feel: happy. And that alone is enough to keep me going for five miles.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Portland Fit to the Rescue!

Wow. Bronchitis, more bronchitis, several disgusting viruses, another bout of bronchial grossness, and before you know it, months have passed and you're staring at your thighs thinking WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO YOU GUYS?

Well, things are about to return to normal. I'm finally back in my running shoes, thanks mostly to the wonderful people at Portland Fit, motto: "No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch." Given how many days I've spent on the couch, coughing my head off, this is the sort of realistic approach I need right now.

The 2013 program is just getting started. Today was my first day running with this enormous group of runners and walkers of all ages (oldest: 83!) and abilities, from sub-8 minute miles to...well, to the rest of us, including a huge group of plus-10 minute milers. That's me, for now, and I'm just happy to be moving again.

Most people are training for half- or full marathons. HA! I just want to increase my speed in the 5K and run a couple of 10K races this year. 5K will always be my favorite, but I'm curious to see how my ankles hold out at a longer distance.

I ran for a while today with a woman who is 58. She started running when she was 55 and gave herself a goal of running 60 races before she turns 60. Here's the wild part: half of those races have to be marathons. She's more than halfway to her goal--go, Karen! I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines. Or from the couch.

If you're in the Portland area, you can still join Portland Fit for 2013. Click the link above and get started.

My run today: 3.3 miles in about 30 minutes. I accidentally hit my stopwatch button at about 27.00, so it's a guess.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Team DesCamp has bronchitis and has been suffering OH HOW I SUFFER for more than a week. Also the dog is suffering because: no long walks. Good thing she enjoys chasing a ball thrown out into the back forty. Bad thing the rest of the family is so busy with work/school/sports that the dog is dependent on me for entertainment.

Weight lifting workouts consist mostly of lifting tissues to my nose. Running has been replaced with being dragged up and down the trails by an impatient dog.

Next week: Back on the track of world domination!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012: In Which Team DesCamp Whines

Sudden onset last night of sore throat, sneezing, coughing, body aches. Dog needs to be walked. Looming copywriting deadline demands attention and focus. Focus is in short supply, as are inspiration, creativity, and grasp of grammar and punctuation.

Today's workout: throwing the ball for Dog, if she's lucky, lifting endless cups of tea, and throwing together something resembling dinner for those hungry teenage girls and their dad.