Reasons I Dislike Running in El Paso

Reasons I Dislike Running in El Paso:

  1. I live on a giant, soul-crushing hill. If I run from my house, no matter what direction I take, I am running the hilliest, most challenging run I possibly can. Yes, yes I know all about the benefits of hill running and how it makes you a stronger runner and blah blah blah. But sometimes a girl just wants to head out for an easy run.
  2. Using the Run Less, Run Faster training method requires a speed interval run, and a tempo run each week. Neither of these workouts are meant to be done on a giant, soul-crushing hill. So each run, I had to plan out where I was going go and then drive somewhere to get these runs in. This may sound like nothing, but it ended up being a pain in the ass, and gave me an excuse to skip my run if I didn’t feel like running that day.
  3. The altitude and dry air doesn’t agree with me. Having spent my entire life in places that are at sea level and suffocatingly humid, I expected the dry climate here to be something I loved. While my hair looks fantastic out here, but my running suffers. That may not show directly in my pace or splits, but my perceived effort is higher out here. In short, running feels harder.
  4. I live on a giant, soul-crushing hill. (This one is such a drag, it gets listed twice.)

Basically, running is hard here. Running used to be something I enjoyed and used as a 30 minute escape from reality. Now, running takes too much planning and driving. I can no longer leave from my house and go for an easy run. I think that sucks. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy running, but it is now a source of stress rather than a stress reliever.

After the Flying Horse, I said I was done training. I was going to continue to run to maintain my current fitness, but not specifically train for anything. I wanted to take the pressure off and prevent burnout, and I plain just don’t like running in El Paso. Plus, my desire to run drops exponentially with each degree the temperature drops.

Well. I said that. Then I thought I might want to run the Fort Bliss Half Marathon on January 10th. Now, I’ve found out that Amy, and a couple other Wear Blue friends said they were going to run it. So I’m committed. Damn peer pressure.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to approach this training plan. I ran 6 miles with my running buddy, Jennifer, last Saturday. Normally, I take these runs slow and easy (think 10:30 avg pace). Jennifer is a faster runner than I am anyway, but on this day she had a goal of running the 6 miles at a 9:30 pace. I was skeptical, but I ran at her pace, and we ended up averaging 9:30 for the first three miles and then slowed down to 10:00 for the last three. It was a hard run, but we were able to maintain conversation the entire time and I felt great afterwards.

I take it too easy when it comes to running. I don’t push myself nearly hard enough. Sure, I do speedwork and tempo runs, but do I push myself during them? Take last Thursday for example. My plan was to run 12×400 in 2:10 with 90s recovery. Twelve 400m sprints is hard, y’all. I did 8 and called it a day. My splits were practically perfect for those 8 intervals. Why did I cut it short? I don’t know. I was tired I guess. I could have finished the workout, I just didn’t want to.

I'm sure you have all seen this graphic. It has been all over Pinterest and Facebook.
I’m sure you have all seen this graphic. It has been all over Pinterest and Facebook.

My goal for the remainder of this training cycle is to push myself outside my comfort zone: Run an extra interval when I’m feeling tired. Run my long runs a little faster than I usually would. Try to avoid falling back into a comfortable rhythm. Incorporate core work after every run. Stop using my dislike of El Paso running as an excuse for sucking. When it comes to running, I do the bare minimum. I wonder how much better or faster or longer I could run if I left my comfort zone?


Adventures in Quilting

Lest y’all think my only hobby is running, I am here to set the record straight.

When I first moved to El Paso, I didn’t handle working part-time very well. I had too much time on my hands, and it made me antsy, bored, and grumpy. One of my friends suggested I get a hobby to help fill my free time. Because, you know, there is only so much time a person can spend running or working out before it becomes a problem…or burnout sets in.

So I bought a sewing machine, and with the help of Pinterest, I have been teaching myself how to quilt. I have been doing this for almost a year now (I bought my machine when I was home for Thanksgiving last year), and I must say, I have become a little obsessed.

I have made several small projects like placements and table runners. I made an American Flag to hang on our wall (and I even made one of these for my best friend!). But now, I am venturing into the world of real quilting. By real quilting, I mean a quilt made with blocks and borders and it will be a queen size when it’s all finished. Which brings me to my new (possibly semi-regular) feature: Work In Progress Wednesday. YAY!

Out of all the projects I’ve done so far, I’ve given all but two of them away. I kept a set of placements for us (plus the American Flag wall quilt). Matt asked me to make a quilt that we could use on our bed. So I’m giving it my best shot. This is, by far, the biggest project I’ve attempted (in size and skill).

I’m using this pattern by Kristin Gassaway. I tweaked it a bit to make it fit what I wanted. I’m using a variety of blue fabrics with Kona Bone as my background. I also increased the block size from a 9″ finished square to a 15″ finished square to accommodate making this into a queen size quilt.

My goal is to take my time with this and not try to rush it. I’m a little worried about quilting this giant thing on my little beginner sewing machine, but the lovely ladies at my local quilt shop tell me it can be done. I am still on the piecing part of quilt making, so I shouldn’t even be worried about that yes, but go figure, I am.

Here is what I’ve got so far.

1 block down. 29 more to go.
1 block down. 29 more to go.