1. Watch what you eat! You know how you are super careful with dinner and breafkast the night/morning before a race? Same goes for the evening run. My body is so sensitive and if I'm not careful, it will rebel against me and at mile 4 I'll be regretting the whole thing. Stick with lunch and snacks that don't have history of bothering you.
2. Drink Coffee or caffeine. About an hour before I go, I drink a cup of coffee. The caffeine gives you the extra bump you need to feel excited about your run and get out the door.
3. Bring Fuel. If you are running 8+ miles, you'll need fuel. If nothing else, water will be necessary but I always come prepared with a mini-Clif bar in case my blood sugar gets low or I just need a bite of something to get me to the finish.
4. Bring a Belt. There are some essentials you need on your run home -- namely, keys, ID, credit card/cash, phone. I store them all in my nifty running belt and it's not a problem.
5. Pack & Prepare. Obviously, you can't run in your office clothes or with your purse on. I pack my workout clothes in a bag when I got to work. Take the essentials listed in #4 and leave my office clothes, purse, etc. at the office to bring home the next day.
6. Water, Water, Water. I think water is on every list I make. Water is the dream answer to most every ailment in my opinion. Make sure you are drinking plenty of it throughout the day so you are ready to go when it's time to run. Tip? Chug a glass three times throughout the day -- several hours prior to your run of course so you don't have to pee!
7. Give Yourself a Break. When I run in the evening, I know I'm not gonna run as well. So, I let myself take breaks, go at a slower pace and try to enjoy the run without major pressure to go a certain pace. The minute I say, "you have to run fast tonight" is the minute I consider just taking the bus home! Also, remember why you love to run -- evenings are a perfect time to pass tons of other runners and just the passing camaraderie is enough to make me smile.
I wasn't much of a long distance runner until I moved to D.C. so I probably under appreciate the value of the wonderful places I get to run each day. So many travel to our city every day from across the world to see the sites I'm blessed to see so easily.
But I can say one thing -- I'm always in awe of the pristine beauty of the Washington Monument adorned with so many American flags, and the gorgeousness of the Capitol dome. I marvel at the fact that I run right next to the White House, where the leader of the free world sleeps!
I'm humbled to run past the WWII Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, The Korean Memorial -- and more. I'm silenced when I run past the thousands of white graves dotting the hillsides of Arlington Cemetery -- especially last week, remembering 9/11 and mourning the loss the Americans who died that awful day.
Last year, I wrote a post on 9/11 about running in DC. I guess it's only appropriate this topic comes up again this week. It's just a coincidence...but maybe not.
I'm reminded that...we Americans -- we are lucky. We are so fortunate to have been born in this country that elevates freedom as the most important element of our lives. As women in Saudi Arabia have silent voices and covered faces -- and families in China are forced to kill their baby girls and those in North Korea endure under a tyrant -- we have so much.
As families int he Congo struggle to survive under a corrupt government that steals all the money and countries steal the resources and so many others struggle to have their voices heard at all -- we are the lucky ones.
Not for nothing, though. We are lucky because others fought for us -- because others died for us. To use a cliche, freedom isn't free. And I remember that every time I run here. And last week more than any other all year, I recognize that.
QUESTION: Do you take time to stop and appreciate your freedoms enough?