The last time I wrote about running was in mid-December when I just about killed myself running 4 miles. I was coming off a 4 month medical issue during which I became anemic. During that time I could hardly make it through the day without needing a nap, but I was also working a contract position where I was commuting to San Juan, Puerto Rico every week and working 10-12 hour days. Feeling awful, working long hours, and living in a hotel is not much fun, let me tell you. Then when I came home on the weekends, I had just enough time to run a few errands, unpack, do laundry, and repack. On top of all of that I had this crazy, psycho boss who made everyoneís life miserable. I finally had enough and quit the project without another job Ė something I had never done in my life. I also had not quit a job since 1998 when I decided to finish by B.S. Degree full time.
As luck would have it (somehow I always get what I need when I need it), I landed a full time position at a mortgage company doing project management work. My background is in IT, and honestly the mortgage industry doesnít hold much interest for me, but I really need a steady income for a while and this pays pretty well. The morale in the company is not very good, and itís a real big brother culture, but I donít plan to stay here forever, and am taking the lead from another Sparker and formulating my Get Out of Corporate plan. My long term plan is to do race directing, and after planning and holding an ocean swim race last November, I decided I LOVE that work and thatís what I want to do. However, it takes time to grow a company, so I am adding 2 races to my portfolio this year, and have engaged the help of a friend to work on getting sponsors. She is pretty much retired but likes to do things on the side for extra money. She has experience in media, so I think she will do well with this. So now I am working a full time job and starting a company. I think I am going to be very busy this year!
However, I wonít be so busy that I canít fit in some training. I have continued to run, but have been slowly adding miles then adding days of running. I am up to 3 days a week now, with about 15-20 miles a week. I had been coming along slowly, feeling like I was never going to get my speed or endurance back, but I just kept at it. Then on New Yearís Eve day I went to watch some friends running a 24 hour race. It was held on Peanut Island, and the loop around the island is about a mile. The race was to see how many miles you could run. You can sign up for 6 hours, 12 hours or 24. Anyway, after talking to some people, I heard that Dean Karnazes was going to be at a race in Davie, which is west of Fort Lauderdale. I wanted to meet him, and another endurance running friend wanted to meet him, too, so we made it a girlís day out.
This particular race was also a 6 hour endurance race. We got there with about 2 hours to go, and we walked along the course in the opposite direction of the racers, cheering on the now tired racers and giving encouragement. Suddenly there was Dean! Then he was gone before we could say anything. We figured we would see him again, but he never came back around. We got to the starting point and were standing on the top of a hill (this race was held in an old garbage dump), and we could see Dean at the bottom walking towards a group of people sitting on a picnic table. We started our way down the hill and caught up to him as he was finishing his conversation with the people on the table.
We chatted a bit about running, and then he was nice enough to pose for pictures with us. So here I am with my new BFF. LOL!
Dean is a super nice, down to earth guy, so if you ever have a chance to meet him, you should. After meeting him and talking to him, I got a whole new second wind of motivation and even though I was still struggling with my endurance and speed, I found the strength to push through it and I finally got over what I felt was a major hurdle towards feeling like my old self again. I was so impressed with Dean that when I got home I downloaded his 50 Marathons in 50 Days book and am reading that now. So a big thank you to Dean! Itís interesting how you have no idea how you are influencing or motivating people, or how one simple gesture can make such a difference to someone!
So, I plan to do my first HM of the season at the end of March, a new race that is local. Of course it involves the biggest bridge around which is over the intracoastal. Itís so tall that itís fixed Ė in other words, itís not a drawbridge, so it has to be really high in order to accommodate boats to a certain height. I have done this bridge in triathlons (the finish the 10 mile bike with a pass over the bridge, a hairpin turn at the bottom and then back over. Then you start the run going over and back Ė a double whammy!), so I know what itís all about.
I now work near downtown West Palm Beach, and there are lighted, safe areas to run near there. I park in a lot across from the intracoastal, and from there I can either run south along the very wide, lighted sidewalk on Flagler along intracoastal with many other runners, cyclists, and roller bladers, or I can cross the bridge to Palm Beach which is about ľ mile from where I park. Palm Beach built a trail, also along the intracoastal, but itís much longer than the run along Flagler. Palm Beach is nice for several reasons. First, the trail has the water on one side, and mansions on the other. There is no vehicle traffic, so youíre not inhaling fumes. Also, there is a Publix grocery store at about the 1.5 mile mark, which is VERY convenient for bathrooms and a water refill. Plus if Iím hungry I can pick up a power bar. The down side is that although you do get some light from the homes and reflection from downtown off the water, there are some areas where itís pretty dark. Iím not really afraid of getting jumped Ė Iím more afraid of not seeing something on the path and twisting an ankle. I think I need to get some lights. Right now I slow down or walk.
I ran 7 miles after work on Thursday. It wasnít super speedy Ė 1:18, but I did pretty much have negative splits. Then last Sunday I went for a run with a friend. I planned to do 10, and he was doing 7, but my legs were feeling like lead, plus I kind of strained a calf muscle a few days earlier, so I decided to run with my friend near my house. We were just past the 2.5 mile mark, running in the street with some woods to our left and houses to the right. All of a sudden I heard growling and barking and turned around in time to see the gnashing teeth of TWO full grown German Shepherds within a few feet of us. We both stopped, did the Cesar Milan PSSSSSST! and used our water bottles to squirt them. They both stopped, but one kept barking. About a block away a woman popped out of the woods and called them back. I was furious and if I published on this blog what I yelled at her, I would probably be banned from Spark forever!
I was so mad I called the police. While we were waiting the woman appeared out the wood about 1/4 mile away with both dogs on a leash. She paused by her house (my friend had seen the dogs on previous runs and knew where they lived, and in fact saw at least one of the dogs escape her yard), and then she approached us. She was extremely apologetic and I told her too bad I already called the police. While we continued talking some more and I was calming down (the dogs were actually calm, too), my cellphone rang and it was Animal Care & Control. After talking with them a few minutes I canceled the call. I explained to the woman that if I ever saw her dogs off leash again that I would call the police and not cancel it next time. She said that the dogs had never done that before, they only bark at people who walk past the house. After we left, my friend had a theory that since she allowed the dogs to roam off leash in the woods they felt it was their territory and they were only protecting their territory. The problem was with the owner who didnít see that (I missed that point, too!), but the fact that she was wearing gloves in Florida and both dogs had pinch collars tells me that she has trouble handling them and they are a bit too powerful for her. At least they listened to her when she called them back. Honestly, they were doing nothing wrong Ė merely what they were bred to do, and I canít blame the dogs, but I do blame the owner.
Anyway after that my adrenaline was shot and after about 5.5 miles I was done. I shut off my Garmin, walked about 1/2 mile then turned it back on and finished the 7 miles. I was completely wiped out the rest of the day. I felt like I did when I had anemia. I just hope I donít have to deal with any big, loose, territorial dogs anytime soon. Iím just glad my friend was with me, as Iím not sure what would have happened if I had been alone against 2 German Shepherds. Maybe Iíll do next weekís long run on Palm Beach.