Thursday, May 30, 2013

running with raccoons

Yesterday, I ran through where I thought was my favorite place to run, along the Cumberland River at Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge. But then I encountered wildlife. This was not the first time I've encountered wildlife there. I've seen a dead timber rattlesnake before. Yuck. 

The first "encounter"was just the "plunk" sound of turtles dropping from their logs into the water. "Ah, nature," I thought, "it adds to the experience." As I continued down the trail, I remembered that snake. In the distance, I thought I saw what could have been one, so I edged to the other side of the road. By doing that, I scared the snot out of a tortoise who ambled as quickly as a tortoise could to the water side. Watching a tortoise move as quickly as possible was mildly entertaining- after my heart rate came back down from being startled myself. (It turns out when you get startled, that whole breathing-heavy thing complicates running form). The "snake" I saw was only a log, and I tried to keep my cool.

As I worked my way back, I saw a raccoon cross the road ahead of me. "Hmm," I thought. "What do I know of raccoons? Are they vicious? Will it attack if startled? Should I slow down or speed up?" Seriously, this is the only think I could think of:

As soon as I passed through the area I where I thought he might still be, I picked up my pace and remained especially on guard. So when I passed the six inch turtle that I thought was a rock until he pulled his head into his shell, I nearly lost it. The turtle startled me enough to take a breather and think ahead to future runs (and alternative locations). 

Monday, May 13, 2013

I need a desk outside

I find that I feel mentally at my best when I trail run. I think it might be my body shifting into survival mode. Or maybe it is just my paranoias that become more vivid (I am always mindful of the fast zombies that seemingly pop out of nowhere anytime somebody is in the woods during "The Walking Dead"). Either way, my senses sharpen and my thoughts quicken. I have to keep an eye on the path in front of my and what is upcoming. I have to be mindful of my footfall and how (and where) my feet land. I have to be ready to bend or duck or leap, depending on the obstacles.

As my body finds its way through the woods, my mind feels just as agile. I think clearly and orderly about what I need to do as I step to the left to avoid poison ivy. I process through problems as I meander over the little streams. I discover "a-ha!" moments as I feel the sun filter through the leafy canopy.

The only drawback to my clear thinking during trail runs? My lack of desk space in the woods. I have nowhere to write, type, or record my moments of brilliance. Sometimes I remember to go home and write these things down. But sometimes those thoughts have to stay along the trail, entangled among the briars and vines, waiting for my next dash through the woods to pick them up and sort them out again.

PS. Today is Day 3 of my writing challenge. So far, so good.

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, May 10, 2013

30-Day Writing Challenge

Starting tomorrow, I am joining a friend for a "30-Day Writing Challenge." The challenge is whatever you make of it- you could write for a certain amount of time every day, a page-a-day, or work towards a goal. I have many things I think I want to write about, so I opened up a suggestion post on Facebook. Some suggestions were good (I had contemplated before), some were funny, and then there is always my go-to : "Pirates. Please write about pirates." I love that my friends know me so well.

Now, you may be thinking "she never writes on here anymore, so there's an idea." I had that idea, too. I contemplated writing for my blog(s) for 30 days. I might do that. However, one of the things I realized while I have been processing my many writing-challenge-ideas is that my personal purpose(s) of the blogs have been met. Granted, one of the purposes for this blog was to keep family up-to-date with going-ons in my life. I feel a little guilty about that, especially for my long-distance family. But my need for a place to organize and post my thoughts has waned. I am not in a place where I feel like I am floundering (like I was when I was in Louisiana and much of graduate school). I still have struggles, yes, but they are entirely different in nature. I am not looking for a way to make me look busy typing like I was in grad school. I don't document trips and I don't feel like I live in a foreign country anymore. So what do I post? Better question: why do I post?

I also sense that I want to start directing my focused writing on things I would like to actually get published. Crazy, right? When I direct so much attention to keeping up my blog(s), all I am doing is diverting my energies into, well, space. "The Interwebz." I am not saying I am giving up blogging entirely. In fact, I have a feeling blogging will one day again serve as a method for me to rev my writing engines when I have mental blocks. It may also serve as a sounding board (a reading board?) for portions of my works. I'm not done, yet.

And as far as what I think I will focus on: set times and amounts of sitting and writing. I think I am going to use this time to build better focus habits. I let day-to-day happenings interfere with my intentions. If I can make time to train and workout, I can make time to write. If I want to be serious about this, I need to make the deliberate decisions that move me in that direction.

And maybe one day I'll have a novel about pirates, too.

- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New post... about running... (surprise, surprise)


I wrote a fairly deep and personal blog post and then disappeared for over five weeks. I know. I am slightly disappointed, too. I have just been busy.

Over the past several weeks I have considered writing many blog posts, ranging from my Vegas experiences, to how much I love Spring, to how I decided that flood water clean up was good for my bowling game (building muscle is building muscle, you know). Maybe I'll get there, maybe I won't. I still want to share about the actually getting-married-in-Vegas part, but that will be another post.

I figured I would write about... a run. Surprise-not-surprise! I am one month away from the nearly 194-mile race from Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois. Noooo, I am not running the whole thing by myself! I am running with eleven other teammates, each rotating legs of the race! As a matter of fact, I think I was assigned the easiest of legs. It may have something to do with my registered speed. It's like Melanie sang: I don't go too fast but I go pretty far.

This will be my first Ragnar Relay and I am super stoked. I am stoked for a number of reasons. It will be fun. I am running faster than I ever had before. I can run five and six miles and feel like it is just "a run" (long runs are starting to gain in distance... eight miles is my mental "long run" now). I can run in shorts now (a serious first)! I am running with family (my husband, sister-in-law, and good friend among others). I will be able to tell people I did it in another month and two days.

This is kind of what I look like while I am training.
Don't hate.

There is one in Tennessee that runs from Chattanooga to Nashville and I am incredibly tempted to organize a team for that race. Ask me after Ragnar Chicago. Well, maybe about a week after Ragnar Chicago when I forget about my sore muscles.