While I know a ton of people go crazy for fall, I’ll be honest and say it never used to be my favorite season. I mean, I never hated it, but I also never understood why people went gaga over color changing leaves, boots and sweaters, or even pumpkin spice lattes. (I actually do love pumpkin but… why can’t I eat it anytime of year I want? I stockpile cases of Southern Tier Pumking beer for exactly that reason.)
However, since moving to Colorado… I LOVE FALL. The colors are so ridiculously beautiful, especially with the snowcapped mountains way off in the distance behind the close up trees. New York City never had views like this!
And to make things even better, while the mornings are nice and cool (usually in the 40s) and perfect for working out, we are so close to the sun that it heats up dramatically by lunchtime – today it was 78 degrees! Who would have thought that we’d still have pool weather at the end of October??
Some things haven’t changed, though – like how hard I sometimes find it to get myself motivated to go for a run. I’ve been really good about hitting the gym lately, mostly spurred on by my promise to myself that I can only watch the new fall TV shows when I’m working out. But despite how beautiful the scenery is here, I find it much harder to get motivated to actually go for a run outside. And that’s why I am loving my Saturday morning running group!
This weekend, Rock N Roll Denver had their marathon and half marathon on Sunday, so a lot of our running group was taking Saturday off to prep for that. But three of us still showed up at RoadRunner Sports in Westminster at 8am on Saturday, ready to run… but how far? As per usual, I replied, “4-6 miles? Somewhere in there?” One of the guys who came was actually running RNR the next day, so he was topping out at 3 miles, but my other running buddy said he’d be up for an hour-ish with me. So we set out on our normal route through the parking lots, past the Westin, and then onto the Big Dry Creek Trail.
When we got about two miles in, though, my running buddy asked if I was up for a different route than our usual. He warned that it might be about 6 miles or maybe even 6.1 miles, and asked if that was okay? I was coming off a pretty good amount of wine on Saturday night at a friend’s party, so although it wasn’t a distance I would have personally picked, I actually knew that the extra mileage was probably a good thing to help me burn those extra calories! Plus, we were already out there – what was another ten minutes here or five minutes there? I think the hardest part is getting out the door to go, so perhaps it worked to my advantage that I had told myself I’d only be doing four or five miles instead of what we actually ended up doing.
One amazing thing about Colorado is the fact that every home seems to have a multiuse trail within 1/4 mile of it – it is just this gigantic network of paved and dirt trails, all of which run through the neighborhoods or sometimes, if you’re lucky, through an “open space” (publicly protected land that can’t be built upon). We took the Big Dry Creek to some unnamed paths that went behind rows of townhomes, and then crossed up into the neighborhoods and did a steady incline up until we got to a golf course. By the time we circled around and found our way back to Big Dry Creek and then back to the store, we had actually covered 7.2 miles. My longest run since June! I was pretty excited.
Sometimes people think that because I’ve run a bunch of marathons, I don’t get excited about shorter runs and can’t appreciate what it means for other runners to do their longest runs ever. But I was really excited to hit 7 miles for the first time in so long. If you had asked me before the run if I could run 7 miles, I would have said “yes, sure,” but sometimes there is a big gap between what you know you can do and what you actually push yourself to do.
I have been really guilty of not pushing myself with running lately. For a while I had the excuse that there was so much hiking to be done that I was going to take a break from running. But hiking season is mostly over now (or at least till I break out my snowshoes for some winter hikes), and ski season hasn’t yet started up (though opening day at A-Basin was Friday). I know it’s only been a few weeks, but I’ve been really loving going to run club every Saturday and getting into that routine… and I think it’s time that I started stepping it up a bit. I was so grateful that my running buddy got me to go further this week than I’d gone the last, and I’m hoping I can keep that trend going and start increasing my Saturday morning distance. Extra incentive: more of my friends will be awake to meet up for delicious reward brunch if I run longer!
But beyond increasing my weekend distance, I’d also like to try to add one more day of running per week – I’m thinking Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Starting small, I’ll have a minimum goal of just three miles. Ideally I’d like to make it a run outside, because I never regret those runs and always arrive home thinking, “I should do that more often!” But if the weather is terrible or if I’m really addicted to my TV shows, I could do three miles on the treadmill without getting horrifically bored, and that’s a much better workout than the elliptical, since the treadmill doesn’t allow momentum to assist you.
The big trick, and part of the reason I’m writing this post, is to remind myself of how happy I am when I actually go for a run. I never want to ahead of time, but I feel so flipping fantastic when I’m done! I need to remember that feeling and remind myself of it when I’m trying to make excuses not to go. (Slash, go back and reread this post and remember how awesome I felt on Saturday morning after our “long” run.)
Also – remember how I wrote about the Skechers GOrun3 shoes that help benefit the American Cancer Society in honor of breast cancer awareness month? I noted that since I have kind of flat feet, the Skechers didn’t have quite enough support for me to make them an “every day” shoe – especially if I am increasing my mileage. But I was recently contacted by Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse about a collaboration that they are doing with Asics – and the breast cancer awareness version happens to be my favorite running shoe of all time, the Asics GT series!
The Asics GT series has always provided me with plenty of support – I’ve probably worn it for over 50 marathons, and I am so confident in the fit that for my 100th marathon, I slipped on a brand spanking new pair with no worries about testing it out beforehand. This particular version is very fun-looking, so much that people in my running group commented multiple times on them. I know they are a bit loud, but I just love the hot pink and white colors, which are bright while still being somewhat “classic” because of the white base (vs the trend of the last few years to have a neon base for everything, kind of like the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer version above). Meanwhile, for an extra fun twist of breast cancer awareness, the shoes come laced with pink ribbons instead of regular shoelaces! There are regular (hot pink) shoe laces in the box, but I have left mine with the ribbons for now, since I think it adds a pretty feminine touch and also ties the shoes more closely to the “pink ribbon” that symbolizes breast cancer awareness.
With my renewed enthusiasm for running, and my promise in this post to ramp up the mileage, I know these shoes will get a lot of use! The question will just be how bright those colors stay given the trails I plan to take them adventuring on… but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for some exploring my renewed love of running.
Disclaimer: Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse provided me with the Asics GT PR 1000 sneakers in exchange for this post; however, I received no other compensation. I have been wearing the Asics GT series ever since they were recommended to me by a pro at JackRabbit Sports back in 2007, so you can be sure that all gushing opinions above are my own!