Friday, January 29, 2010

Guest Blogger: The Newbie is Back Again!

So I am perhaps the most unreliable guest blogger ever, oops! Last week I came down with what I like to call "the sickness." This is when you not only get the sniffles, coughs, sore throat and fever---but it all comes down like an ax to, quite literally, knock you down. I work with kids so an attack of "the sickness" at least once a year is requisite. Unfortunate side effect of getting "the sickness" is that you have either have to abstain or cannot physically handle a lot of exertion, hence I've been a bad, bad runner and have missed a lot of days of running. A lot of gorgeous, sunny days too! Grr. 

As I look at the calendar I am feeling a bit of apprehension and excitement---just about 7 more weeks until my 1/2 marathon. Unfortunately I have been a bit more like Rocky IV than Rocky I in terms of dealing with injuries and what have you. So I'm looking to find more ways to make my running fun and also re-dedicate to preparing for this race

There are lots of excuses and ways to get discouraged when venturing to do anything new---there's the fear of failure, the expectations and sometimes the childish voice that just says "I don't wanna!" because it feels hard or you experience setbacks. 

At the same time, I think of the movie A League of Their Own and this quote: "If it wasn't hard than anyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great!" (Watch it here.)

There's fun in doing something that is difficult because it's a challenge, a double-dog-dare that gets your goat and keeps you from giving in. 

Now there are a lot of reasons to stay motivated to run: the peace of mind, the better nights of sleep, excuses to make new playlists or browse running blogs (I LOVE blogs!). 

Something new that I'm dying to try is Hashing

"Hashing . . . it's a mixture of athleticism and sociability, hedonism and hard work, a refreshing escape from the nine-to-five dweebs you're stuck with five days a week. Hashing is an exhilaratingly fun combination of running, orienteering, and partying, where bands of harriers and harriettes chase hares on eight-to-ten kilometer-long trails through town, country, and desert, all in search of exercise, camaraderie, and good times."

If you've never heard of hashing, let me enlighten you: the "hare" for the week sets a trail for the "hounds" to follow. The hash run follows an unpredictable trail laid with simple trail-marks showing the way. A crafty hare will set "false trails," trying to foul-up the front runners in the group, thus allowing the pack the opportunity to catch up. To make sure that the group stays together, harriers yell "ON-ON" when they see a trail-mark and are heading in the right direction. Shortcutting is a well respected skill of the seasoned harrier! 

So the "hounds" follow the trail laid by the "hare" with the ultimate goal of reaching the end. Now hashing has become an excuse to run and drink, therefore the end tends to land at a bar. While this may sound blasphemous to serious-minded runners, I'm thoroughly looking forward to trying one out after my 1/2 marathon. 

It sounds like such an exciting and entertaining way to get your run in as well as a great way to get friends into running with you (especially those who are perhaps a bit reluctant). Plus, after running the NYC NYE's Central Park run I can testify that it is a great thing to be with a ton of people in spandex in a bar because you are obviously not vain (unless you're willing to lug a makeup bag and change of clothes while running!) and there to just enjoy yourself and company.

With every new experience you get exposed to more and more that you never knew about before---I'd love to know what helps you stay motivated, especially with winter's diminished daylight hours and cold. In the end, the spirit of adventure and trying new things keeps me going. Every time I run a distance a little farther or a little faster---I'm doing something I've never done before.

Sometimes it's all about the baby steps and small victories.

Much love and happy running,