The Choose Your Own Adventure Run

Remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books when you were a kid? You reached a situation in the story and you could pick from 2 or 3 options of how you’d react. With each choice, you created your own destiny. Well this idea can apply to running too!

Most runners will hit a lull in their racing schedule from time to time. I purposefully scale back in the late Spring and Summer months to give myself (and my bank account) a break. I choose this time of year because I don’t enjoy running in heat as much as I do in cooler temperatures.

This break in the schedule usually makes me a bit uneasy. I always like to be working towards specific goals. This year, I decided to set a mileage goal for the entire year to keep me motivated (700+ miles). But there is something to be said for running for the sake of running too!

Last Sunday, I wanted to get in some miles to round out the week but I didn’t have a specific plan. I was determined to head out despite being sore from a TRX workout the day before. Then it dawned on me to bring back something I hadn’t done in a while: the Choose Your Own Adventure Run.

A frequent stop on my Choose Your Own Adventure Runs - Piedmont Park

A frequent stop on my Choose Your Own Adventure Runs – Piedmont Park

If you run with any regularity, you have several different routes that you use and you know exactly how long they are. You even know which ones to string together to get those long runs accomplished. But it’s nice to liven things up with some spontaneity! Enter the Choose Your Own Adventure Run.

Start out on a route you could run in your sleep. But instead of doing the full loop, break it up by heading into a different direction. As you come to areas where you can either head back home or continue on to another neighborhood, take stock of how you’re feeling. Still feeling good? Add another detour to your run! Energy still holding on when you hit the next “turn back” point? Keep going! Something is going on up the street? Go check it out as you run past! And so on… until you feel ready to call it quits for the day.

Because you don’t know exactly how many miles are left, these kinds of runs can change your mentality from just “getting in the miles” to enjoying a fun day of exploration. Take in the sights, wave to your fellow runners, and don’t worry about pace. After all, we run because it’s fun, right?

Do you have a way to spice up your weekly mileage? Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter: @AtlRnnr!


A Few Words for Boston

I struggled with whether or not I wanted to blog about the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. I have nothing profound to say. I don’t personally know any of the people who were injured or killed that April afternoon. But I am a runner.

Race days are supposed to be exciting, inspiring, and happy. For two individuals to turn an event with the history and prestige of the Boston Marathon into a terrifying experience was unfathomable to me. However, I will not dwell on those two disturbed men.

I truly believe that most people are good – that has been proven with the many stories of those who rushed to the aid of complete strangers, not knowing if more explosions would go off in the following seconds. Hell, there were even runners who immediately (and literally) ran to hospitals to donate blood. While I wish that the survivors of this tragedy didn’t have to go through the pain and recovery process, their stories show just how resilient people really are. There are so many amazing people in the world that we never will know or hear about.

A picture I posted after my run on April 15, 2013 #BostonStrong

A picture I posted after my run on April 15, 2013 #BostonStrong

I remember when I got home that evening last April, I quickly changed and went for a run. That’s just what runners do. We run to clear our heads. We run to process life – the good and the bad. We run because we can and we are thankful we can do so. And no matter what, we keep running.

I really wish I could be in Boston next Monday. I can only imagine the vibe. And I know all 36,000 runners will be running strong and the crowds will show them even more love and support than years past. Go get ’em, guys!

12 Positive Thoughts from a Random Runner

Last week, Buzzfeed put out a great list titled “75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out for a Run”. The list did a pretty good job of capturing the random things that can go through your mind while you’re getting in your miles. (Yes, I will give you the link, but you have to read my stuff first… it’s my blog so it’s only fair!)

This got me thinking about what pops into my head, particularly if I’m not “feeling” my run. It’s no secret that positive thinking can go a long way when it comes to getting through a run, no matter how long or how painful it happens to be. So without further ado, I give you my list of real thoughts I’ve had – all with a positive or humorous twist:

  1. Whew! Thank goodness it’s not raining/too hot/etc.
  2. Aww! Look at that dog!
  3. Now I can enjoy that glass of chardonnay/craft beer/vodka soda tonight without feeling guilty!
  4. I might be sluggish today, but at least I’m not on the couch.
  5. Remember that time I got hit by an SUV? Well no run will be more painful than that one! (True story…)
  6. My pace may be slower today, but at least I passed that guy.
  7. At least I’m only carrying my own body weight around unlike that poor pregnant woman! (Or that mom/dad with the stroller)
  8. I’ve run __ miles before, so certainly I can muddle through this _ miler.
  9. Look at all the other runners out here today – I’m with my people! (Or, if no one is around: Man, where is everyone today? I’m such a badass!)
  10. Hey, some people are physically unable to run – I’m lucky that I can get out here!
  11. Aww! That dog is even CUTER than the other one!
  12. Gosh my glutes are sore today – but that means my ass is going to be looking even better later!

Just remember, if you stay positive or at least try to not take every run so seriously, you will get through the route and feel better while you’re doing it. And for Buzzfeed’s list, click here.