Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cool, Crisp Mornings...and Lipstick

Ahhh, have you noticed the mornings have been cool and crisp this past week? This week required me to be at work by 7am so daily, the alarm beckoned me at 3:30am. Running this early isn’t difficult; it’s standing up out of bed at 3:30am. Once I’m up and the fresh espresso has brewed, I’m good to go. If it all went to plan, I was on the roads by 4:30am, far before sunrise this time of year so I wiped the dust from my reflective bands and my headlamp out I went. It’s hard to describe, but if you’ve run a fall marathon, you can relate when I say it “smells” like marathon morning when the dew has settled, the air is crisp, it’s quiet, and most of the country is sound asleep. I just love these morning runs this time of year…similar to the end of winter heading into spring, but it’s better now because I’m not used to the coolness and I appreciate it more. In the end, I’m so glad I made the decision to get up and go run. (I will admit, though, that on one day I came back to bed and crashed for another hour…I was just to wiped out…made it up later in the week) This was a great week to work on bringing the speed back to my legs after doing so much long, slow running getting ready for Burning River. I'll say this: your legs don't forget your past training...they just need woke up. I've been running a mixture of pick-ups, tempo runs, combined with some strength training, push-ups, and crunches.

Unfortunately, my weekend long run was null and void this weekend due to my commitments to the Navy but many of you were pounding the freshly painted Blue Line on the Akron Marathon course. It was a perfect morning for that. Looking forward though, next Saturday will be a lot of fun. Starting at 6:30am from Canal Park in Akron, we’ll be re-familiarizing ourselves with the Akron Marathon course as we get in 20 miles on the Blue Line. Details at the VR Training website. It’s traditionally one of the largest group runs of year and should draw 40-50 runners from the veterans to the novices. One of the best parts of this crazy thing called distance running is seeing new faces accomplish never-reached goals before. I honestly can’t wait to toe the line with Karen S. who I will accompany to her first Boston-qualifying time. She’s trained smart and hard and I wish her the best of luck. “Run your training!” I tell her. “Don’t try anything new come race day. Stick to your plan. Run your pace. Have fun!”

As a family, we had some fun this week at the picture studio at Chapel Hill Mall. Ever been to Picture People? We’ve grown very fond of them due to their quality, photos printed on-site, courteous staff, and endless coupons via e-mail. We’ve been really unhappy with other places like JC Penney who hide fees and other garbage in their packages. Picture People don’t do that. Anyway, my 7 year-old had an idea about doing a picture where we’re all stacked up. So once the majority of pictures were shot and we weren’t worried about getting dirty, we created the “Billock Stack Sandwich.” Honestly, this ended up being the BEST picture of the bunch. It’s hard to get everyone with a “genuine” smile on their face, especially with 2 little girls, but when everyone is having fun and maybe even laughing, the combination is a great photo. Pretty good idea, eh?!?! Now comes the lipstick: here's what you get when you combine clown hair, red lipstick, and two little girls. That smug look just kills me!

I mentioned last week about reading Amby Burfoot’s book. I’ve captured a few great quotes from his book and I’m going to throw a couple in here and there as appropriate. As school starts for us in Ohio this coming week and the calendar is already bursting at the seams, I have to constantly remind myself to KISS. Nah…not what you’re thinking: “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” Simplify. Keep priorities in check. Forget all the “material” additions to our busy lives and focus on simplicity. These cool, crisp mornings and stillness of life before dawn remind me of this. I think Amby agrees:

“We runners are the luckiest of athletes. We don’t need any special equipment or facilities or conditions to enjoy all the benefits of our sport. No clubs or gloves or racquets. No pools or courts or country clubs. We don’t need to wait for a particular season – summer or winter – to go out and have a great workout. Our running shoes are sitting there, in the closet or basement or garage, waiting for us. All we need do is lace them on, and open the door.”

(from Amby Burfoot’s “The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life.”)

(yes, that is ALL RED LIPSTICK!!!)
(yes, her sister was the "artist" for it all!!!)

Happy Trails, everyone!

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