A food stylist I am not (no, that’s not Shrek, melted in a Pyrex dish), but if you think Mexican food, this photo looks better. Tonight, hubbie and I made & ate Chicken Chilaquiles, using a recipe we adapted from Cooking Light. Our adaptation: soy milk for the milk (it’s all we had); Jack cheese with habanero, rather then with jalepeno, peppers; and blue corn tortillas for the tortillas.

Yum!

Yesterday, I did my last long training run before my half-marathon race. My training plan called for a 12-mile run; I’m estimating my pace at Afton to be an 11-12 minute mile, so I did the math & ran for 2 hours & 20 minutes (that last 4 minutes seemed trivial- esp as combared to last week, I was adding 30 minutes to my run.

It was pleasantly chilly, and I got rained on for about a half hour. I LOVE THIS WEATHER, FOR RUNNING. I adjusted my course in order to swing by my car for the Gore-tex jacket, but by the time I got there, the ran had long stopped, and I was half-dry, and certainly warm enough. So, I got a Fig Newton out of the trunk (I’d eaten my packet of gu about 45 minutes prior), refilled my water bottle, and headed to the southern part of the park. My favorite part! The terrain seems more varied in that area, and it doesn’t feature long spells up on the hot prairie. Actually, yesterday’s run didn’t feature any long hot spells. Suddenly, I liked the prairie areas better. The grasses are getting so tall, at this time of year. It was pleasant to run along the side of the trail, letting the wet brushes hit my legs.

I used the occasion to test-drive my new Dirty Girl Gaiters, which performed swimmingly: not a speck of grit got into my shoes or socks. And, I looked like a fabulous freak with my blue leapard-print spats. Victory! This, in combination with the red buff around my head: I was the lycra weird-clothing item poster child. The rest of me had fairly normal running attire on. Shorts, tech tank, long-sleeved wind jacket. Short Smartwool running socks. Sunglasses. Which sadly got too fogged up, in the rain. I was relying on their prescription, so for the 20 or so minutes before I got the fog under control, I was risking life and limb against tree roots that I couldn’t see. Luck was on my side, however.

I finished up with a half-loop in the wildflower loop near the parking lot – it’s a funny trail that feels like a dude with a mower and some booze had a joyride- it meanders a bit. It’s s good way to knock of the last few minutes of a timed run. Reminds me of the figure-8’s I had to do, when I was rehabbing my knee, after my surgery: nice ankle workout. Which frankly, I was surprised I could handle, after 2+ hours of running. My left ankle in particular was speaking to me; it’s been a little stiff lately and I’ve been icing it at night.

Otherwise, things went quite well. About an hour into the run, I started to feel like a sort of [wet] Energizer bunny: I had a stream of energy, not high-powered energy, but steady endurance, that just kept me going. There were several moments when I didn’t seem to feel my legs; they were stumps that just kept pumping up and down. I’m still trying to decide if I’m okay with that feeling. I’ve always had a particular knack for endurance in general, I’m very drawn to more powerful types of energy movement. In comparison, they are so rewarding, at least, in an instant. But this, this is weird. It’s very… yin.

Why am I running? Weight control, fitness, vanity… A need for attainable, short-term goals. A competitive need, to a degree. Presently, as I’m not walking as much, it’s the way I’m getting out and seeing the streets or the stuff on the trail. It’s time to think. I work at a computer all day, so my runs are my opportunity to experience time and space in a more lively and linear way.

I read a few articles recently that give me other ideas for why people run; maybe they apply to me as well. Kristin Armstrong writes a great column for Runner’s World, and in her recent post she talks about the yogic notion of practice… how there are certain things that you do regularly that are part of a daily devotion to learning and growth.

Another post was written by a non-triathlete who stumbled into spectating at a triathlon, and came upon these revelations: “…It’s about making a promise to yourself and then making it happen. It’s about being, for one minute, something more than you are during your every day…”

These are things to consider, when my Sept. 20 half-marathon is done and I’m wondering if I’ll want to sign up for another race, and if so, what distance, what type of race?

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