The Wall.

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Welcome to my room! Sure, the rest of my room actually follows an Audrey Hepburn/ black, cream, and dark red theme, but whatever … This is my running wall! It’s full of pictures, articles, quotes, posters, goals, exercises, and race memorabilia. A closer look at the rest of my room, much like an I-Spy puzzle, and you can spot other running related things that are threatening to take over my whole room.

So after using countless rolls of tape (there’s a joke in my family that if you can’t find the tape, that I probably stole it. I guess that I just love tape. So. Many. Uses.), the reason for this ever-growing wall? Quite simply, for motivation. Imagine if you had the word, “Happy” tattooed onto your forehead. Everytime you looked in the mirror or ever saw yourself, you’d be reminded to try to always be happy. See it enough times and it would motivate you to become a happier and positive person. Okay … maybe this isn’t the best way to explain how my wall motivates me, but hey, you get the point, right? Every morning when I wake up the first thing that I see, besides the snooze button on my phone, is my wall. When I put away laundry in my closet, I see all of the inspiring articles. When I go in my room for ANY reason … I see my wall. Here are a few things that I see …

  

 

This is Kara Goucher after she just recently made the U.S Olympic Marathon team by placing 3rd at the Trials. She’s also my favorite runner!

On my wall I like to put cool mantras or slogans. I saw this one of some team’s shirts at Seaside this year! Love it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-aWiC1tyCY

 

Okay, so I don’t have a video taped onto my wall (this isn’t Facebook people!), but Joe Newton certainly is on it. This is a clip from the movie The Long Green Mile about a season with his boys’ cross country team as they train to win yet another state title. It’s more of a documentary than a movie, but it’s great. You should Netflix it sometime. Anyway, Joe Newton is a legendary coach, great mentor and seems so supportive of others and especially his team. Because of all of this he is treated with the utmost respect by all who meet him and I mean, what? Are you going to be mean to him? He’ll definitely dish it back! If I had to make a list of my heroes, he would be on it. Not to mention that he has a pretty stylish beanie.

 

 

 This is Arnulfo Quimare. He is of the Tarahumara people who are also known as the Raramuri. They live in the canyon regions of northwestern Mexico and run insane/crazy/incredible long-distances. In order to communicate, hunt, and get around, they’ve created the tradition of running a 120 mile journey.  They run this all in one session and it takes them two days to complete … Oh and did I mention that they’re barefoot? Sometimes they wear thing, floppy sandals as well. Yeah, what do I think about how they live? … I’ll stick to driving cars and wearing normal shoes, thanks.

                

These are their sandals which are calles huaraches. Talk about mid-sole support and cushioning, huh? That has to be at least a good 1/4 inch of cushioning. Perfect.

  Well, for my stalkers out there, here’s a little look inside my room and a closer look at what I like to call The Wall. Some people think that as runners, we’re crazy to keep coming back and running day after day, and sometimes … I have to agree with those “normal” people. Not everyday is going to be your best, and that’s when you need a little more motivation to strap on your shoes and get out the door. Taping scraps of articles, random photos, and even cool shoe ads onto my closet doors is motivation enough for me and reminds me of what I love to do.

 

Until next time,

Gabby.

 

 

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Running with a side of cross-training, please.

Well … it’s Monday! Sure, Mondays aren’t fun after having a nine-day break off of school, but oh well. The fact that today is Monday means that: 1) winter conditioning is after school 2) I don’t get to sleep in and 3) we’re going swimming! Winter conditioning is an off-season practice that we have so we can get together and have people to run with. We meet three times a week and swim on one of the days along with weight-training. Did I mention that we go swimming? Oh, I guess I already did … It’s a highlight of my week, that’s all. We go to the YMCA and do lap swimming as well as underwater running … but that’s a whole other story!

After a relaxed three or so mile run, the group of us did an upper-arm workout. Seeing as it was our biggest group that had shown up to winter conditioning so far (a mighty group of six!) we had to crowd into the already packed weight room alongside the powerlifters. I don’t know if you know anything about powerlifters, but man are they intimidating. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that their arms are as wide as my thigh, that they can bench press several small children, or how they are so dedicated to their sport. Having your own squat belt and drinking protein daily? No thanks. I’ll stick to keeping my arms the twigs they are and am content with all the protein I get to come from peanut butter cookies and hamburgers. Not to mention that I enjoy looking like a girl … Sorry, but some of those woman body builders? Not so sure what sex they are sometimes. Horrible maybe, but true nonetheless.

You decide.

 So, back to my day. Once we found a spot to workout, we went through the list. The last part of the workout consisted of these horrible push-ups using a dumbbell. Uh, yeah. Talk about painful! Maybe it’s because I’ve been lazy lately and haven’t been to the weight room, but c’mon! I guess next time I’ll have to do more reps to get stronger … That or just start carrying around a purse at school. Talk about weight-lifting. Purse aren’t just to hold your necessities, some people’s are so heavy and studded with bling, they definitley could be used as a weapon for self defense.

Screw the YMCA. This is a true swimming pool. THIS is where the real swimming happens.

 
Once our run and weight-lifting were over, we headed off to the YMCA. Not everyone who ran was able to come swimming and
as we all piled into our Coach’s truck, I realized that it was a good thing. “Oh you want to come too? Sorry, no room. Either walk the 25 miles to get there or sit in the back. In the cold … windy … dark … and somewhat dangerous back. No biggie, your choice!” Once we got there , we speedily changed into our swimming gear and started with laps using a kickboard. When it comes to swimming, I’m always the slow one. That one person in the group who you think, “Oh, well. If a big shark comes along, at least they’ll be eaten first so at least I can get away.” Yeah, that’s me … usually. When it comes to kickboards? Yeah, I’m the one surviving this time, suckers. We did forward ones, then ones on our backs with the board above our heads. Each time I lapped Christian or Tyson they would cry out, “How do you do that?” as they struggled to stay afloat. Don’t get me wrong, I sink like a rock usually. I just (as I like to say) am somehow “aerodynamically made to glide through the water.” Sure, it might not be scientifically correct, but after my success in the
pool  and out on the roads … There might be a triathlon in my future. We’ll see.
  
 
Then there’s the little kids two lanes over. Maybe eight or nine at the oldest and man, can they swim. The only thing I don’t like about Mondays and swimming … is them.  I mean really?! You’re like an army of mini Michael Phelps! Look at you in your little swim cap and goggles, doing laps upon laps without once having to stop or complain that you’re sinking or are tired. Yes, I understand that this is swimming lessons for you, but the goal is to learn the basics, not set a world record and show up the rest of us who are trying to get a good workout in! Hmph. You say jealousy, I say … Yes. Yes, I am jealous of how good of swimmers they are. To think that I used to be that good back when I took swimming lessons when I was five or so. Too bad I can’t remember…
 
That’s all I have to say about my workout today. Running, weights, and swimming. The perfect balance of cross-training. When I get home it leaves me smelling of chlorine and ready to go to bed. Sure, you might say, “That’s a great workout! Sounds tough.” but no. No, it isn’t a tough workout. It’s one of those mini-hell-that-drains-your-body-and-leaves-you-exhausted-while-leaving-you-in-want-of-the-highest-calorie-meal-ever-deep fried-and-dipped-in-chocolate kind of workout. I’d say that’s a much better adjective than merely being tough.
 
Until next time,
Gabby.
 
 

World peace, the economy, and unicorns?

Sure, it’s an eye-catching title right? Believe it or not, but somehow … just somehow, they go together. Some people claim that going on a run can change the world. And sometimes, I might just have to agree. Being able to strap on a pair of shoes and be able to run wherever you are is definitely a plus side to running. Cruising out along the roads with only your thoughts is the best therapy anyone could ask for. You’re free to let go and relax. Whether you started the run angry, confused, sad, disappointed, or upset in any way… when you get back,  it’s gone. I have one certain run that I do on days that were either really good, or absolutely horrible. Its combination of savage hills, gorgeous views, and being able to run the whole thing without seeing anyone else helps me sort out my thoughts. See what I’m getting at? Forget sitting on your couch, wrapped up in your favorite sweats while crying into a pint of ice cream and trying to figure out why he dumped you, and try running! It’s not just a good escape, but also an adventure. I’m sure that if any of my runs were ever videotaped from beginning to end, that I’d have plenty of Web Redemption worthy situations. These situations range from belting out random songs made up on the spot, horrible jokes, almost eating it on the curbs, screaming like a little girl when having to run through a puddle, and of course … getting lost. Besides that, there’s always the random thoughts that pass through your head as you try to find ways to pass the time during the long, boring runs. For example, at the beginning of my run today my thoughts ranged from trying to name my cousin Bailey’s unicorn Pillow Pet, trying to figure out how long the run actually was!, figuring out what I was going to have for dinner, wondering why drivers give runners so little room on the road ( … almost flipped some guy off ), trying to avoid a snowball fight going on between two neighbors who lived across the street from each other, that the dog I just passed was probably too fat to follow me for very long, singing the same line of a song over and over (and forgetting the rest, so trying to make up the rest of it), repeating the list of Presidents from George Washington to Obama, why world leaders didn’t just take a chill pill and actually try to find some solution to the whole nuclear situation going on,  and about how a certain house I had passed smelled really good (probably from the dryer vent?). Sure, running with someone else will often bring up more interesting conversations, but running by myself I’m content to contemplate my next day’s outfit or whatever else just randomly decides to pop in my head. Through it all, each step and breath that I took, I’m not gonna lie …. It was horrible. Pretty painful and at one point, I thought about how much running sucked. That’s only normal though. Some say they run for the feeling they get afterwards, the “runner’s high.” Basically, it’s just a rush of endorphins that block your pain receptors. Sure, it’s one of the pretty great parts to running , but it ‘s not the reason why I call myself a “runner” and go out on a run everyday. I think what keeps me coming back, even with all the pain that comes with it and frustrating moments … is that last part of the run. That last little part where all you can think about is wanting to be done. For me, that’s the part of the run that distinguishes you from the non-runners and makes you stand out among the crowd. It’s that last part that shows what you’re made of and really shows how you’ve improved. Even though my legs were hating the last brutal hills that I submitted them through after already running 7 miles, I found that it’s in these last gruesome wonderful moments, that I can conquer the world. When the fun has worn off, and it hurts, do you reach inside and find what truly matters. So, if you are looking for some good advice or a different perspective, just head out the door for a run and I guarantee you’ll find it… And if you don’t want to do that, well … I suppose it’s not for everyone is it? Ben & Jerry are just as good of therapists as any long run.

Until next time,

Gabby.

Snowshoeing. Just one more activity to cross off my bucket list.

Yes. Yes, you read the title correctly. I did in fact say snowshoeing. And of course the first thing that popped into your head was an old guy trudging through a blizzard with a beanie on and a pair of tennis rackets tied to his feet, right? Okay, well that’s what the first thing I thought of was when I got a call from my Coach asking if I was interested in snowshoeing with him. My answer was automatically, “Snowshoeing!? People actually still do that? Sure, I’m in.” And my fate was sealed. He would be at my house in an hour and half and he told me to dress warm and wear boots. If only I knew what I had coming …

My lovely snowshoes. Sorry, they were out of those nifty tennis racket looking ones.

This blog is more of a story that needs to be told through pictures. It involves: snow, snowshoes, trekking uphill, sketchy trails, the beauty of nature, and a burning sensation felt throughout my whole lower body as I attempted to finish what we began. As we were climbing the last hill back to my house, from where we first started our loop a mere 2 hours ago, I realized that as good of a workout and as much fun I had with my Coach … Snowshoeing versus running? Definitely going to choose to go running.  Here’s a glimpse at our journey …

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4 miles in 2 hours. I’d say that’s a pretty steady 30 minute per mile pace. Not to mention that people actually find ways to run in these bulky things … Oh well! My first experience snowshoeing was challenging, tiring, hard, demanding, trying, tough …  frusturating. At the same time it was also exciting, new, fun, different, beautiful, inspiring, and COLD! I can now check snowshoeing off of my ever-growing bucket list and continue on my quest to enjoy being outside in the winter weather as it comes.

Until next time,

Gabby.

Snow. Lots and lots of snow.

Ugh. Have you ever woken up, looking forward to a new day along with the hope of hanging out with some of your friends, only to look out the window and see snow? And by snow, I don’t just mean a few inches. By snow, I mean 10-12 inches. Here, let me put that in perspective for you … ONE FOOT. And as you’re thinking. “Oh, time to go to school.” No. Just no. Good luck backing out of that slanted driveway covered in all of the snow we just got this morning plus the few inches from yesterday. Not to mention the ice underneath! Thanks Mother Nature. Don’t get me wrong though, snow + ice = no school. That meant that today … I got to experience a true winter run! Geared up in spandex shorts, water-wicking sweats, dri-fit socks, a T-shirt, running jacket, gloves, hat, headband, and running shoes I took a last look at the windy, freezing rain that I was about to be apart of and left the warmth of my house.

Walking out the door, I was surprised to find how deep the snow was after just seeing it from inside. Yeah, not fun. Starting to run was interesting and I felt like I was about to die maybe 15+ times after slipping, but as I sank into my pace and focused on the road, the run seemed to have cruised by in the blink of an eye. Along the way though, a few interesting thoughts passed through my mind.

  • “Oh, I must have some snow in my eyes … Okay, nope. That old woman really is skiing towards me.”
  • “Wow, going up this hill I’m pretty sure my stride has been reduced to about what? 3 inches?”
  • “Hey, this isn’t too slippe .. OH MY GOD! I almost died!”
  • “A good alternative to lunges when there’s a foot of snow … try running on the sidewalks.”
  • “Since when did the fact that it’s snowy and icy allow you to drive on the left side of the road!? Pretty sure we’re not in England, ole chap.”
  • “Hello truck driving by me. Yes, I realize that there’s snow and ice everywhere. Yes, I realize that you think I’m crazy for going on a run. And yes, I see that you are laughing at my being miserable as you sit in your heated truck. Thanks.”

Near the end of my run, I was just cresting the top of a hill, when a man at the top (who was with his son, who was sledding down it) decided to comment on my running. As I passed him he said, “That is just wrong.” He shook his head at me and I just laughed and finished my run, but man oh man I was thinking of plenty of rude things to say back. Sure, he meant it nice enough, but on the contrary to what he believes … I think that running in the snow and using my snow day to enjoy a short, relaxing run is completely and utterly right. Thank you for sharing your kind opinion, sir.

Until next time,

Gabby.

 

P.S: I stole this photo from a gal who lives fairly close to me and got the same amount of snow. Now just imagine it on the ground and not on the car … Oh, and running in it!

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P.S.S: Running on the snow and ice was still kind of tricky, don’t get me wrong! So if you just happen to have an extra pair of Yaktrax on your hands, I would be more than happy to help! Hehe.

What’s that? I made a blog? Weird.

Bing, bang, boom!

Hi. My name’s Gabby.

 After my initial decision to do this, a few googled blog tips and a confirmation email or two … here it is. My very own blog. And to think! Now everyone and anyone can click and read about my not-so-exciting life, but hey! That’s up to you guys to judge. Haha alright, so to start this thing (and since I don’t know what else to put!) here are a few things that you might want to know before we become best friends and you can’t live without a daily post from me … Okay, just kidding about that last part, but hey you never know!

1. ) I’m a sophomore in highschool and even with the constant homework, drama, busy schedule, and annoying classmates I’m enjoying every minute … of my passing period that I get to hangout with friends during! Just kidding, I really do like school, I can’t help it. It’s the nerd in me.

2. ) I have an addiction to peanut butter and tv shows about jail. Okay, maybe that sounds like a weird combination, but there’s nothing better than sitting down to a new episode of Lockup while eating an apple with peanut butter. Judge as you will.

3. ) Since this blog is meant to be all about my running and the crazy wonderful things (that I hope will happen more often now that I’ve decided to write about them! ) then I suppose it would help to know that I’ve been a runner for almost 3 years and run year round. I have been on the cross country team for the past 3 years, and have done track for 4 years. Other than that, I run rain, sleet, or snow. No treadmills for this kid.

Well, I feel like this has turned out to be an alright first blog. Somewhat short and halfway to the point, but it introduces me and a little bit about who I am. I’m not sure how this whole blog thing works or if anyone will actually  end up reading it, but oh well! Sometimes you have to take risks and try something new, even if you fail at first. And not sure if I quoted anyone on that, but I think it’s something good to remember.

Until next time,

Gabby.