Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cinderella, Leftover Mac and Cheese, and a Dagobah encounter = supercool marathon weekend

Mid-week last week, I learned about a new trail marathon being run for the first time just north of Greensboro, NC. Feeling the need for a little change of scenery and a kick-in-the-butt to get in a good long run, I registered for the Northern Trails Marathon.

I thought I’d take advantage of being off the mountain and see a movie, do some shopping at Trader Joes and find a cheap motel and spend the night. As it turns out, because of March Madness Basketball going on in Greensboro, there is was no such thing as a cheap room to be found. I did ,however, get a good State Employee’s Rate at Wingate by Wyndamn in High Point. My favorite thing about this place is it is about ¼ mile away from the Bicentennial Greenway, and a perfect place to slide in an hour long easy run on a warm, rainy, Saturday afternoon. They even have a fireplace!
Gas fireplace was so nice after a rainy run:)

Disney’s newest film, Cinderella opened last week and I went to see a late matinee after my run. 
I had a good time laughing and crying my way through it. I really enjoyed the film and anticipated the theatre being filled with just little girls, yet I was wrong. Men, women, girls and boys of all ages filled the seats.  Makes me want to revisit Joseph Campbell’s writings, specifically, The Power of Myth. It’s been too many years since I’ve pondered mythology and Carl Jung….

Back at the motel, I ate leftover kale salad and mac and cheese from last night’s dinner. Gotta truly love microwavesJ

Since the run didn’t start until 9am, it was spectacular to sleep in until almost 7am on Sunday morning.  A real treat for race day.

The marathon had a sister race, a 10-mile that would start right after us. All-in-all there looked to be around 150 runners. This was a lollipop course: out for 5 miles-a 16ish mile loop and then back over the same first 5 miles. We ran in mud and over top of wet bridges. It was all urban single track and quite pretty from what I could tell. Because I am out of practice with slick trail running, I needed to keep pretty focused on footing the whole time. I am glad I was in the out for a run, rather than racing mindset.

The course was extremely well-marked and had 5 aid stations offering just what would be needed to make it through. I have been a lazy runner lately and have not been running with a pack or water bottles, so I was glad that when I set out with nothing but a pack of ClifShot Blocks in my pocket, that all was well.

For the first 10-12ish miles, I would say I was in quite a funk. I wasn’t enjoying the footing or the many  “whoop-de-dooos” and tight turns that are usually more indicative to mountain biking then trail running.  I prefer more elevation gain/loss and less choppy trails, yet this was urban trail running, so what’s up with the poor attitude? My brain kept trying to find excuses to cut things short and leave. Nothing was wrong, yet I was just unsettled, and out of practice.

I am not sure when or why things got better? I remember when seeing the 15 miles sign that I was feeling strong and happy to be there.  Soon after the course also went through a big patch of bamboo that had a huge tree with vines hanging from it. I thought I should be seeing Yoda sitting in it…

Though I was wearing both a Fitbit and a Soleus GPS, I never looked at either while on the course. I saw only four runners the whole day and by the time I got very close to the finish line, I had no idea how long I’d been out there-I figured it must be almost 5 hours. That is why I was so very confused to see 4:05:?? on the clock. It took one of the race directors congratulating me on being 3rd and saying I ran well in just over 4 hours. It’s amazing how your perception can create invalid outcomes…

I was very surprised; I guess my head really created a new reality yesterday morning. I also spent a good part of the last 9 miles trying to remember the name of Yoda’s planet. I finally had to look it up last night: Dagobah.

While driving down the mountain Saturday afternoon, I listened to some Ted Talks on NPR. One talk was on non-verbal communication and how Power Posing can affect your attitude and raise confidence and courage. Studies have shown an elevation of testosterone and lessening of cortisol after standing in a Power Pose for 2 minutes. While running I thought about what I’d heard and look forward to learning more about this topic. In the meantime, I power posed in front of the finish line for just a couple seconds after changing out of my running clothes.
Wonder Woman/ Superman Pose

Other pose...I don't remember name?

All-in-all, a great spring morning, I even saw a butterfly (or a very pretty moth). The trees have the first buds of spring and frogs chirped for miles along the boggy lake shores. I saw deer tracks, a big pile of bright iridescent  feathers, possibly coming from some sort of duck?

When I pulled in the driveway yesterday, I immediately did a tour of the yard to see what flower creatures had emerged since yesterday?  Awesomeness. I am so very psyched that spring is starting. I know we’ll have wintery days and spring days on and off for the next month, yet this pretty weather just makes everything better.

More happiness!

 I must admit, I was super tired coming home, yet not too tired to finish up grocery shopping and visiting the quality floral section of our local Ingles. They have 30 stems of daffodils for 5.00. What a happy purchase!
Happiness from the grocery store...in 2 more weeks, from our yard. Yay!
Next up? For sure the Blue Ridge Marathon on 4/18/2015…There may be some practice events before? .....and I think some further study about power posing, non-verbal communication and the like. As an undergraduate student at SUNY Fredonia, I was a Human Communications major and a minor in Musical Theatre. I loved my classes in Non-Verbal Communication, Public Speaking and Intercultural Communications, etc. That Ted talk triggered some forgotten intrigue. Time for another exploring adventure of the spirit!
An almost-spring sunset looking off our deck around 7:40 this evening....

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