February 26, 2013


My heart is broken. I thought we had something real, but all you do is hurt me. All I ever did was love you and cherish you, and you betrayed me. When I was with you, I felt like I could conquer anything. When we were together, I could see jealousy in the other girls' eyes because they wanted what I had -- what we had together. You made me feel pretty. You made me feel special. But now I know the truth. You're no good for me. It's over.

That's right, beautiful pink Brooks Pure Cadence shoes -- we're through. I've loved these shoes more than any other pair I've owned. But alas, I have suffered great shin splints. About two weeks ago, I finally gave up on these babies.

My shins and calves hurt so bad during the first few minutes of every run that it made me limp and changed my stride, which is never good news. Even on rest days, my legs hurt when I was just walking around. I thought I eased into neutral shoes, but apparently I ramped up my mileage in them too quickly.

So now I'm back in my trusty old Nike Zoom Structures. I loved them once too, but now, after having something small and sleek and cute, they feel like giant mom shoes. Not cute at all. But my legs are no longer stabby and my runs are pain free, so I guess that's what's important. I'll still wear my Brooks to the gym, because, ya know, fashion statement. And I'll still wear them on super short runs and attempt to use them more gradually. But they won't be my one and only anymore. It just wasn't meant to be.


February 20, 2013

Running through my hometown

The only way to truly see a city is on foot. When you aren't whizzing by in a car, you see things you never would have noticed. That's one of my favorite things about running -- seeing things that have been there all along like it's the first time.

Last weekend, Trea and I had 6 miles to run, and we were in my tiny hometown of Stamps, Arkansas. This town is not impressive, and it has about 2,000 residents on a busy day. I had no idea how to run 6 miles through such a teeny hamlet, so we saw about every square inch of the place, zig-zagging up and down every block. Just as we were leaving my parents' house, Trea's iPod battery croaked, so I spent an hour giving him a tour of where I grew up, trying to keep him entertained.

The downtown triangle. No, it isn't big enough to have a square.
Stamps isn't exactly runner friendly. The few sidewalks that exist are cracked and falling apart, and it seems a requirement to have at least one dog guarding every front porch -- none of them fenced in or tied up. It's a town of elderly drivers, big trucks and outdoorsmen. But I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed running there.

It's funny to try to give a "tour" of a place where you haven't lived in over a decade and where little happens. I blurted things out in short, breathless bursts as we ran, random snippets of fuzzy flashes from my childhood. "That's where my friend, Fabian, lived. He had a band." "That's where Aunt Lou lived. She kept every card and picture she ever got in her giant Bible."

The last time I toured this town on foot, I was too young to drive. Most of the things I remember aren't there anymore, but it's still good to go back and see what memories I've kept tucked away. Like the time I got in trouble for stealing a piece of gum at Hamilton's, a grocery store that closed down long ago and always smelled of fried chicken. Or how Miss Eva and Miss Betty at Petrey's would write down my purchases -- a Coke in a glass bottle and an orange sherbet push-up -- and send mom a bill at the end of the month. My grandmother's beautiful church, the softball field where we confirmed that I do not have hand/eye coordination, the band hall where I was forced to learn to play the recorder.

There are hardly any businesses left on our little downtown triangle, but Griffin's Pharmacy is still there -- where I used to play with my best friend and get Coke floats from her mom at the soda fountain. And thankfully, the Stamps Cafe is still going strong. After 6 windy, hilly miles, we were so happy to scarf down homemade burgers and fries. Their food is easily better than Red Robin, hands down.

The Stamps Cafe wastes no energy on aesthetic appeal. It's all about the food!
The difference between Stamps and where I live now is stark. One is slowly fading, and the other is booming. But I see beauty in both. Who says you can never go home?

February 14, 2013

My first DNS

For those of you that don't speak runnerd, that's "did not start."

Last Saturday, Trea and I were supposed to run as a couple in the Valentine's 8K race. We had 5 miles on our training plan to run that day, so I thought this little race would be the perfect training run. It was right by our house and didn't start until 9 a.m., AND we got awesome long sleeve tech pullovers.

I've never missed a race due to anything other than injury before, but a few days before the race, I got an email saying the location and start time had changed. It was no longer close to our house, and the new start time was 7 a.m. SEVEN! On a Saturday!

I picked up our packets the day before and was prepared to get up at stupid-thirty to run with my Valentine. But after a long, stressful week at work, when the alarm went off that morning, I just didn't have it in me. I slept in. DNS. When I don't get enough sleep, I transform into a demon. And when I get really, really tired, I get a cold. I would totally be the first to die in the Hunger Games because I need my beauty rest to be able to function.

When I woke up around 9:00, I saw tons of tweets about how much fun the race had been, and I felt like a loser for skipping it. I had to email the race director to find out where to return our time chips, and was so ashamed to hit send on that message.

Trea and I both ran an 8K that day -- by ourselves and on our own schedule. That's the beauty of being childless. I can wake up when I want and run when I want. It was my best 5 miles since I returned from injury. But the worst part about missing this race -- THE SHIRT ACTUALLY FITS! Of all the races I've ever run, all the shirts are unisex sized and swallow my petite frame. Before this, I only had one race shirt I could wear because I got a youth large. Even my marathon shirt -- the one I sweated for 6 months to get and suffered a broken bone for -- looks like I'm wearing Trea's clothes.

But this Valentine's pullover is amazing. I would show you a picture, but it's in the hamper because I want to run in it every day. This race actually had women's and men's sizes! So my shirt is simply perfect. But I didn't run the race. I DID run the distance that day...just not with the group. Does that count?

Have you ever missed a race because getting good rest was more important? Have you ever worn a shirt for a race you didn't run?


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