Sunday, July 22, 2012

#runningFAIL

Back in the days before technology, people ran without their Garmins or their Nike+ or even a freakin' pedometer. Those days are long gone. Who wants to run and not know their distance or see their splits?? Not this girl.

So since I've been having problems with my iPod, I decided not to use my Nike+ app and only use the stopwatch/clock app. I figured it wouldn't be an issue because I'd just use MapMyRun after to see distance and then get an average time per mile in the end. I wouldn't have splits. I'd survive.

In the spirit of not being pace obsessed, I also decided not to look down at the stopwatch even to just get an idea of where I was at. I kind of remembered where the half mile and full mile marks were, so I didn't want to cheat.

So blissfully ignorant Taylor begins her run. It's hot and I'm sweaty, but it was okay. I liked not knowing at that given moment what my pace was. It felt liberating! And I was doing a great job not looking down at the stopwatch.

I wish for once I didn't have the willpower to resist the urge to look down at my stopwatch.

I am 100% certain that I hit "start" on the stopwatch. I am also 100% certain that it did not register, because when I stopped for water, it was still at 0.00...... GREAT. After about 1.2 miles of running, I had SQUAT.

My mind went into crazy mode; I was like "Okay, well I can try and calculate how long I've been running by the number of songs that I listened to, and then subtract that from the time now. But how many seconds into the song is this now?! How many seconds have I been here, like 20?! Ohmigod can I build a time machine?!"

I decided that when I continued my run, I'd also continue not using the stopwatch (this time on purpose). But as I was running, I sorta kinda hated it. I tried to think of other things, but I couldn't wrap my mind around what I just did. I cursed myself out in my head for not doing it right the first time. I mean, how many times had I used the stopwatch before?! It wasn't rocket science! You press one button!

My mind just continued to get angry, and I stopped. I ran about 2.4 miles. What was my time? I have no idea. What was my average pace per mile? I have no idea. Did my time improve from my last run? I HAVE NO FREAKIN' IDEA!

I noticed that I liked not knowing my time and pace IN THE MOMENT. But not knowing it at all seemed kind of pointless to me. And I bet I'm not the only runner who feels that way.

Why can't we just "run for fun"? Do we come programed to be "pace obsessed" or do we learn it from other runners?

Side note: I changed the background on my iPad to something floral and inspiring, and it brightened my mood. I suggest changing the background on your desktop, phone, tablet, etc. to something bright and colorful! It could just change your life!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

3 Great Things

Okay I'm going to cut right to the chase: The past couple of days have been exciting and overwhelming to say the least so lets jump into it, shall we?

1. I used a guest pass to one of my friend's gyms to see if I wanted to get a gym membership again. I didn't love it. I know this doesn't sound so great and this post is entitled "3 Great Things", but just let me finish. I have been going back and forth in my head about wanting to join a gym again. I used to love going to the gym, especially for the classes. When I went to the gym yesterday, I honestly didn't love it. I thought I would instantly know that I needed to join the gym again, but I didn't get that feeling. I forgot how much I dislike the treadmill. I don't need a gym membership. It was great getting a change of scenery and experience a new gym, but now I can put the confusion of joining a gym to rest. I'll stick to running in the good ol' outdoors, thank you.

2. I got a package from Fiance! Part of long distance loving is sending cards and packages. It's not always necessary, but it's fun! So yesterday I received some gifts from England, and it put me in a great mood! It was filled with some chocolates that are very British patriotic for the Olympics ("Nuts for Gold" Cadbury Chocolate, and the "Brit Kit" spoof of the Kit Kat) and his team's football (soccer for the American side of the pond) jersey!

I've always been a total football girlfriend. I learned all the songs and everything, which you KNOW is hard to do if you've ever heard thousands of drunken British guys singing inaudible syllables!

And last, but certainly not least... probably the greatest bit of news for the week (maybe even for the month)...

3. I officially have my UK settlement visa! I know it seems like I haven't been waiting that long, but I have! It was such a process getting all of our "evidence" together for the visa and waiting on the outcome. There was always something in the back of my head reminding me that there was a possibly of my visa application getting denied. But those thoughts are long gone since I received the email yesterday that my visa has been issued and was being posted. I waited all morning for UPS to drop it off; I was super paranoid I would miss it since it required a signature. But my passport is back in my hands once again, and it's a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I haven't told anybody yet because I wanted to make sure it arrived safely.


So it's official. This girl in charge of Running Across the Pond IS going to be running across the pond to England before the end of 2012! It was worth the wait.

Now to prep for the move... and the races!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

3 Miler Monday

I would say today was a good running day!

I thought a lot today while I getting into my groove. I find myself thinking a lot during my runs and I wish I had a pen and paper sometimes! But I'm a runner, not a magician; so no can do.

First, I noticed today that my neighborhood had American flags EVERYWHERE. Even my own house has one! I didn't even see it until today! There is a common theme that on or around the mailbox area there is one or more American flags. Now, I'm not sure if everyone got together and was like, hey our mailboxes should be patriotic! Or maybe there was a trend setting house that lots of other houses decided to copy. I'm not sure. But it made me laugh slightly passing all of those flags and being like, "oh hey guys, I'm moving to England!" (I didn't say it out loud..... just in my head)

Second, I ran more in the road today than on the sidewalk, which I totally fell in love with! The Florida bugs were out to play today and being on a sidewalk between two stretches of grass was not doing me any favors. Road = less bugs in face. Great!

Finally, I wallowed in a bit of self pity over my inability to sign up for races too far into the future. I have a long list of races that I'd like to do. Sadly, registration closed due to full capacity on one of the races I was most eager to do in England before I could register. The sad thing is that while waiting for your visa, they tell you not to book any flights because the visa might not get approved. That fact seems to be haunting me lately.

Aside from all my pondering, my run felt good. At first I felt a bit more sluggish than I would have liked, but that faded as I inched closer to the 11 minute mile mark. Baby steps!

They always say that your mind gives out before your legs do, and that your mind is what sometimes (all the time for me) weighs you down. That is exactly what happened to me today. I knew I wanted to cover 3 miles. But whenever I go out with these "goals" in mind, I seem to slow down most at the final stretch when I know I don't have that much more to go. Today I had .4 miles to go. Less than half of a mile! My mind started giving out and therefore, so did my pace. I remember when I used to not have time or mileage goals and just "ran as much as I felt I could run". That's when I saw the most improvement because I was running smart and for fun.

I need to get back into that mentality!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

slow and steady wins big time

"Slow and steady wins the race" can probably apply to anything but running. In the cliche sense, sure "slow and steady" wins a personal race in running; it keeps you safe and fresh without overexerting yourself. But in the literal sense, slow and steady makes you kind of mediocre in a race.

The day I finished my first 10K in December 2011, I was beyond ecstatic. I felt like I had accomplished so much and was really proud of my whimsy new years resolution to "become a runner". My family looked at me different, my friends envied my new talent, and I felt on top of the world.

About 24 hours later when the "glory" faded (I now, it's a big adjective for a small achievement, just go with it), I felt embarrassed about how happy I was. I saw my 10K through new eyes. I saw my "slow" pace compared to other people and my place in the lower half of the rankings. I didn't see my accomplishment as an accomplishment anymore, and I started getting really discouraged.

But today during my 5 mile run in the blistering heat was the first time I thought back to how "embarrassed" I felt and realized how silly I was being.

Okay, I'm slow. I'm still faster than everybody on the couch. Running is about improving and empowering, and especially breaking down those mind barriers. My "slow" today was once my "fast" a year and a half ago. And my "fast" these days might be my "slow" another year and a half from now.

So it's okay to be slow! Slow is better than nothing, and a lot of other people out there are doing a whole bunch of nothing.

Here's why I think it's okay to be a slow poke:

1. No pressure! - Sure there's the pressure that I put on myself to get better. But that's just the thing; I'M  the one putting it there. There's no need to set my sights on a hefty new PR or even place top 3 in a race! I run for fun. I run for the love of it. I run because I can.

2. My stamina has improved!- Because I've been working so hard to not be slow and therefore appear to be making very tiny improvements, my long runs have gotten a lot better! Don't get me wrong, I still run anywhere between 11 and 12 minute miles! But my slow pace today made the 5 miles breeze by and I felt strong. I'd rather be strong and slow than fast and dead out of breath.

3. My hydration doesn't suffer- I don't know about you, but when I'm in a "fast groove", stopping for water feels like such a burden. I'm not good at that brisk "gush and go" technique nor do I like to just bop around jogging in place while I drink like an idiot. So when I stop, my legs seem to tense up immediately and it's hard getting back into my groove. I'm thinking of The Emperor's New Groove where he goes, "YOU THREW OFF MY GROOVE!! That's exactly what it does; it throws off my groove! But when I'm slow and steady, my hydrating time doesn't take a toll on my legs. I'm happy when I'm hydrated. I'm not happy when my groove is thrown off.

So today, like I said, I ran 5 miles. I took advantage of some cloudy weather, got rained on for 30 seconds, and then ran the rest of the time in blistering hot humidity. At one point when Cody Simpson was serenading me through my iPod (don't judge, I love him... I never got into the JBiebs craze, but Cody is my love, and I'm not afraid to admit it), my iPod completely malfunctioned. And then continued to malfunction. And I still had 2 and a half miles to go. It kept stopping my music (but not my workout tracker), and then it would pause my workout when I most definitely didn't hit pause. It was a nightmare. Not sure if it was the heat or the 30 second rainfall, but it made me want a Garmin watch even more. I threw a little tantrum as well when it paused my workout for the 765th (approximate) time and I think I scared the innocent bystander taking out his garbage. Oops!

I talked about running, so let me talk about fiance across the pond.

Tomorrow is our anniversary. It's the first anniversary we have spent apart since we've been together. Part of me is upset and extremely jealous of all those couples who see each other all the time and would never have to dream of spending an anniversary apart. The other part of me is thankful, because this is the last time we will ever have to be apart. The best anniversary present would be if and when (fingers crossed!) my visa gets approved for me to move there.

I didn't get upset until it was our anniversary there in England, but not here (England is 5 hours ahead of Eastern Time Zone) and we were on Skype. That's when it felt real. Long distance loving is really hard, especially right now.

On a happier note, tomorrow also marks one month until my birthday!

See, there's always a silver lining!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

First Post, on Friday the 13th!

Happy Friday the 13th, ironically the day I decide to create a blog. I've been regularly reading running blogs and I thought I might enjoy this. I really like how I decided this unlucky day was THE day to start. Honestly, 13 is my lucky number as of right now, so I do not mind one bit.

I enjoy running, to say the least. I may not be the best, and I am definitely not the fastest. I will probably never win a race, and I almost always have bad technique. But I started off in January 2011 struggling to run half of a mile, and now that concept seems silly to me. Like I said, I'm not fast. I don't have sub-8:00 miles or even sub-10:00 miles. Some days are better than others. I may never have those "easy" miles a lot of runners talk about. And (as of now) I've only done 2 races: one 5K and one 10K. I made it a New Years Resolution to do a half marathon in 2012. I have my sights set on October 14, 2012.

Sidenote: I haven't registered yet.

Want to know why?

Well this blog is called "Running Across the Pond". We've established I like to run, so the other part of the title can't be that tricky.

I'm in the process of moving to England! My long term boyfriend (now fiance) is from England and I just started the process of applying for my settlement visa to move there. It's hard not knowing which continent I'm going to live on in any given month. I can't register for races too far into the future because I might not be in that location! And that's frustrating. But I'm ecstatic for my life to finally be coming together! Applying for a settlement visa was hard work. I'm now waiting for it to (hopefully) get approved, which could take weeks.

And that is why this blog was created! I want to track the trials and tribulations of my running and my process of moving to England. Maybe I can help someone trying to move to England, or even just make some running friends from both sides of the pond. Who knows, this time next year I could be blogging from England writing about running in cold weather (I'm from Florida. Everything is cold.) and trying not to get run over crossing the street! (England drives on the other side of the road... and the other side of the car).

But it's nice to finally become part of this online community!

In running related news, today was a rest day (aka getting frozen yogurt with best friend and not feeling guilty about not running). It was a good choice not to run because it was HOT. Although, it's Florida in the summertime; it's hot 24/7. Surprise! And I'm a Florida native (no I didn't move here from New York or New Jersey or Massachusetts or Pennsylvania or Ontario or any other place people move to Florida from. I know. I'm a rare breed) so that means I should be used to this, right? Wrong. There is no getting used to the humidity, lack of breeze, and pure heat that is south Florida.
I ran 3 miles yesterday. I would attempt to show the splits but I don't like my current GPS system that tracks my runs. I don't think it's calibrated correct and it really throws everything off (the Nike+ chip with iPod touch... if anybody wants to talk gadgets with me, I'm totally for that). I will say that bugs flew into my face for the entire 3 miles. I felt like I was in a road swamp death trap of some sort. The little tiny gnats would just fly into me and stick to my sweat. I know, I'm painting an attractive picture for my first post. But I'm not really the type to sensor these things.
Long story short: 3 miles, first 2 were great (besides the bugs), the 3rd was very sluggish. I did it. I sweat a lot. It was a grand ol' time.

Thanks for stopping by! And it was lovely to "meet" you!