April Race Part 1: Honeywagon Run 4Mi

2015-02-12 07.41.59Although the cherry blossoms are falling and fading, the earth radiates a nice yellowy-green that means things are growing. Spring had sprung and with the extra warmth and light, it appears everyone has decided that April is the perfect time to host 5ks. Frankly, I completely agree.

I am registered for three 5ks this month and each one is more exciting than the previous.

  • 4/4 Honeywagon Runs – 4 Miler
  • 4/18 Fun with the Fuzz – 5k
  • 4/19 Whidbey Island 5k

Last weekend I ran the Honewagon 4 miles with my wonderful MT. We spent most of the race dreaming up schemes and having a grand time. The course is basically a big boring square but we passed anobscene number of churches in the short 4 miles and got to smell manure most of the time.. so, you know, it was great! Nahh, really, it was a good race. The weather was perfect, the company was divine, and when it was all over, I got to put on my new favorite gear:

2015-04-04 12.50.10

(goodness, I look so awful in this pic… I swear I wasn’t crying)

I’ve been a Greater Bellingham Running Club member since 2012 and while I haven’t gotten deeply involved with the group, I enjoy the races they put on and appreciate all they do for the running community in Bellingham. I volunteer when possible for races I’m not participating in, and I am proud to wear my new tee to show my GBRC pride.  Plus, their new logo is rad. How could I not?!

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Two for the Road

What it feels like to run with my ipod:

What I fear it will be like to run without my ipod:

What I feel like after I’m done running without my ipod:

My February race was the Two for the Road 5k at Whatcom Falls Park on Valentines Day. This is a race put on by the Greater Bellingham Running Club (GBRC) and is free to members. I am a sucker for a free race and the GBRC does a great job with set up, course marking, volunteers, and the trough. Also, what a lovely way to celebrate the heart and love by exercising and engaging in some self-care! It was muddy from a few days of rain, but not actively raining and not too cold.

I was sorta dreading the hills since this race goes through some decent ups and downs, but I was looking forward to a run with my best running buddy – MT – and my Mr. I left the ipod at home expecting some lovely company but instead both MT and Mr. ditched me (how rude!) to run their speedier paces. While I was a bit bummed to slog solo and without my necessary aural distraction (always podcasts or audio books – never music), I instead took it as a challenge to listen to my body, my breathing, and take in the sights and sounds of the first glimpses of spring. And, truly, there were no hard feelings!

Anytime I run without listening to my ipod it is an accident: I didn’t charge my ipod. I left it at home when on vacation. I broke my headphones and haven’t gotten new ones yet… or some other version of those circumstances. It happens occasionally but not often and I always grumble about it as I get started. It typically takes me about 1 block to totally forget I was upset about not having my podcasts and to become absorbed in everything else going on around me.

In particular, I find that when I run without listening to my ipod I pay much more attention to my breath – counting the ins and outs, intentionally regulating the number of strides I take on each breath in and out (rhythmic breathing method), and ensuring I get a good exhale to clear the CO2 out of my lungs which makes room for more oxygen and decreases the risk of side stitches. When I do this, the time and the miles seem to fly by – well, maybe not fly by – but it certainly isn’t the death march i always fear it will be. One-two-three (IN), one-two (OUT). Repeat.

But, I digress, back to the race. Despite stopping to help a fellow runner who may have misplaced her young son in the forest, the hills didn’t slow me down too much and I finished in a respectable time (for myself). I tacked on an extra .5mi while backtracking to help the woman look for her son and still managed to rival some of my slowest 5k times – and this was with hills!

Overall, a great race. I still prefer to run with my ipod and I still have to check the disgust that boils inside as I approach a hill… but it is a race I intend to do again next year and I’m happy to know there will be many more hilly, sans-ipod runs in the future.