Posts Tagged 'running'

Unmistakes and the Lesson Learned.

So much has happened in marathonwiner world over the last month or so.

I ran my 2nd marathon and shocked myself and the rest of the world with a completely unexpected PR.

I finally learned why racing a 10k is so difficult and so hated in the running world.

I met lots of new runner friends, and thanks to running with them, I do believe I am actually getting faster. You can call it stupid, but I’m sticking with it.

I have grown to appreciate, and even LOOK FORWARD to, speedwork–the dinner dates after the summer 5k series certainly contribute to that, but doing Yasso800’s outside for the first time (ever?) turned out to be 4832904 more enjoyable than trying them out on the treadmill. Then again…what running isn’t better outside vs. on that mean black belt?

I took the RRCA run coach certification course (where I again met lots of awesome people and had a real-life Shining experience–details later?) and PASSED MY TEST (yes, please go start telling your friends).

I ran a 50 mile week during my “off” month. Was this stupid? Maybe. But it feels good to be able to put down some heavier mileage with a little more ease than in the past.

Speaking of stupid…that leads me to this long overdue story I’ve been wanting to share about my success at the Buffalo Marathon and how I did absolutely everything wrong to get me there. Every training plan, running book, professional or even recreational athlete–even the run coach class–supported the fact that I should have crashed and burned about 6 miles into the Buffalo Marathon. As someone who recently received coaching certification, I should be touting the benefits of dedicated training and not straying from a plan. But there’s also something to be said about doing everything wrong leading up to race day, then digging deep and seeing what your capable of. So here’s what I did wrong.

1. Tweak the training plan at the last minute.

I haven’t run a whole lot of races. But for those that I have, and for those that I had a designated training plan for, I followed that plan to a tee. Especially, the taper period. I had heard so many stories about how rest was just as important as the building period come race day, and too short of a taper could lead to fatigue and race day disaster. So when a plan called for a solid 3-week taper, I reluctantly followed it. My plan for Buffalo was not followed well from the get-go, but it was alright because I knew when I signed up for the race that wedding season (read: a million weekends away from home) was going to interfere with when I did my long runs and when I got that rest day (or 3) in. I did not, however, plan for insomnia and having to push my last run of 22 miles to about 2 weeks out from the race, thus giving myself a 2 week taper instead of 3 week. But again, I went into this training period knowing I’d have to adjust, and I was fine with the 2 week taper.

But then I failed to follow my usual taper plan.

2. Ignore the taper at the last minute.

Usually I try to spend taper time eating well, sleeping well, avoiding all alcohol and running easy. Well, my taper period before Buffalo was shortened to two weeks, which I spent hitting high miles and hitting the bar at my uncle’s wedding a week out from the race. Oops.

3. Wear brand new clothes that you’ve never run in before.

Ok this is just flat-out stupidity. Two days before heading upstate, I went shopping in hopes of finding cute summer sundresses to wear AFTER the race. Instead, I came home with cute summer running clothes, made of 100% cotton. And for some reason, thought it’d be a good idea to sport them on race day. My thought process at the time was “I’ve never had an issue with chaffing before, and this 100% cotton tank is loose-fitting. It won’t bother me at all”. The thought I should have had in response to that was, “Well genius, when have you ever attempted to run more than 6 miles in a straight-up cotton, much less 26.2 miles, much less on a hot summer day?”

My race photos were super matchy and cute. My underarms are still showing the battle wounds.

4. Experiment with new fuel. On the course.

I’ve heard horror stories of people trying out new fuel sources during training runs that end in projectile vomiting all over the side of Central Park. And yet, I thought it was a good idea to do something similar at mile 7 of my first-ever spring marathon. I deserve a trophy for smartest racer of the year.

In my short running history, I basically have always stuck to the same plan of small, simple breakfast prior to run (these days, its a Honey Stinger waffle) and a GU or two during the run, depending on the distance and how I’m feeling. Sometimes less, never more.

Well, just before I left for Buffalo a good friend of mine gave me a little “good luck” goodie back stocked with waffles, GUs and some Honey Stinger chews. I brought them along thinking at the very least, maybe I’d snack on some chews after the race, as me, the JD and my friend made our way to our post-race boat trip.

But when my friend dropped me at the starting line, I found myself still clutching my little bag of Honey Stingers. Never one to waste, I just held on to them, at this point thinking “well maybe I’ll want one along the course” or “maybe I’ll see a fellow runner in need and I’ll come to their rescue!” (no really, this thought crossed my mind. I’ve had a lot of running heroes in my day, and I wanted to reverse the roles for once I guess). Well just after I crossed the 10k mark I got really tired of carrying the little pouch. And for that reason alone, I opened it. And similar to how I can never have “just one” cookie or “just one” piece of candy. I ate the whole bag.

Afterwards I had that very girly moment of “why did I just eat all that? I wasn’t even hungry. That was stupid.” Turns out. It wasn’t so stupid. Because (and I credit this to those chews) I wound up having enough energy to bang out sub-8:50 all the way to mile 17 or so. Honey Stingers FTW.

5. Go out too fast.

This does not fit the rest of my unmistakes because no obvious good came from it at the end, but I still did something that most seasoned runners would “tsk tsk” at, so it makes the list. I told myself even as I was warming up before the gun that I could take this race as slow as I wanted. Afterall, my entire reason for signing up for it was to give myself a slower marathon than in Richmond, and create a mental buffer for New York.

And yet for some reason, I lined up with the 8:50 pace group. I told myself (are you noticing a trend here? I lie to myself. A LOT) that I could start out with them, see how I felt, but would likely drop back a few miles in. But of course a few miles in, I started to find my groove and pick up a little bit of a competitive edge. When I was still running just ahead of the 8:50 flag carrier at mile 6, it became my goal to avoid the lovely man holding it at all costs. A few times, around mile 8 and again at 11 or so, he and his posse got dangerously close. At the halfway point, he even got ahead of me, and I watched him hand off his pacer wand to the next runner. I surged ahead as fast as I could and from mile 13-17 played a game of rabbit, bouncing in front of and behind the 8:50 group. Eventually, I realized that there was no way I could keep surging on and off for another 9 miles, and started to see the group as an ally. They had pushed me through the first 17 miles, so I might as well make friends and let them carry me through the rest.

Some of us may know how the rest of the story goes. I made it to mile 20 in under 3 hours, and took that as a cue to calm down and take my time to a sub-4 finish. Could I have stayed with the 8:50 pace group? Maybe. But maybe I would have also wound up depositing those chews all over the course as well. I didn’t negative split. I didn’t even come close. But I tried something new, pushed myself hard, and shaved 5 minutes off my time. Lesson: while it’s not smart racing and it will never come recommended (and I can’t prove my finish would have been better or worse otherwise), I went out fast and it worked out pretty well.

Now that I’m (one CPR class away from being) a certified running coach, I know more than ever that not following my plan well, not taking the taper seriously, wearing new clothes, experimenting with new fuel and going out to fast are all poor tactics to recommend to anyone. And I likely never will.

I also know this sounds like I’m tooting my own horn in many ways. And that’s also not the case (count how many times I called myself stupid, I meant every one of them).

The point is again, that you are ALWAYS capable of surprising yourself.

You want to run a marathon? You don’t need to give up your life. You certainly don’t need to give up your wine. You don’t need to skip your best friends wedding to get in a long run. You don’t need to own the latest Lululemon tank or top of line sneaks to be able to run (but if you have a favorite brand I suggest sticking to it come race day…another unmistake I failed to mention). You don’t need to know what negative splitting means. You certainly don’t need to own a garmin. If you want to run a marathon, you just have to want to run a marathon. And then you can.


Sick Day. Bleh.

After trying to make it to work and workouts all week despite not having a voice and carrying around a nasty cough, I’ve finally thrown in the towel and called in sick to work today.

I’ve spent the morning drinking Dayquil like it’s OJ, attempting to answer work emails and stalking Twitter. This has resulted in both good things and bad things. Good- I think I’m about 4383 times closer to convincing the JD to sign up for a half marathon (the fact that it’s in VEGAS, and in far-off December, months after I am a CERTIFIED run coach, certainly don’t hurt). Bad- 1) First email I woke up to today was from Active Schwaggle, advertising 50% off registration fees for the Buffalo Marathon. Two weeks too late. Grrr.  2) I realized, while reading other race recaps and the like on blogs all morning that I do not have a race on the April calendar. And then I remembered that in January, I “vowed” to race once a month. Oops. Since I’m already feeling bleh, I figured now is as good a time as any, to see how I’m doing on the rest of those “resolutions” I made a few months ago…

1. Take better care of myself. This obviously can cover a very wide range of daily habits and longterm behavior, but in my marathonwining world, it basically encompasses these key things:

-Take rest days if my body is telling me they are necessary (i.e., if my foot screams out in pain every step I take, a rest day is necessary. I really should NOT push through a run just to get a few more miles on the books). Inadvertant success. Thank you, wedding season.

– Not overindulge (specifically, on sweets and vino. Yes, I posted a rebellious post on the joys over overindulgence and why they are okay, but I shouldn’t need to try THAT HARD to cut alcohol out of my system in the weeks leading up to a big race. It shouldn’t be such a vital part of my diet to begin with). Meh, this is a half win, half fail. I gave up sweets for Lent, so that took care of a good 40 days or so of OD’ing on sweets, and even moreso, on PB. But thanks to Easter and (again) wedding season, the balance is still, well, off balance. 

– Fix my stupid horrible posture. Sitting up straight, how hard can that be? Oh, you’d be surprised. I just straightened up while reading this. Does that count? Maybe if I put a post-it note in front of my face that says this…

– Learn NOT to suck at anything core-related. I want to be able to bang out 500 sit-ups and hold a plank for more than 5 seconds without cringing in pain. While watching the Biggest Loser last night I finally attempted to plank for the first time in months. It lasted an embarrassingly short time, but hey, I still have 8 more months…baby steps, my friends. Baby steps. 

2. Race once a month/run somewhere new once a month. This one gets the “/” because I’m hoping these goals can be combined in the direction of “race once a month somewhere new,” but I know my schedule/bank account may not always allow that to happen. Already, I was scouring the running websites for a decent race I could sign up for in January, preferably one that is not somewhere I’ve already been to and/or run in. I looked in Megabus, Boltbus, Amtrak and Metro North-friendly cities and could not really find much. So I’m doing the NYRR 10k this Saturday, just in case. If anyone knows of any other runs on the horizon in a reasonably nearby place [read: reachable from NYC by cheap/quick public transportation], please let me know. This also goes for Feb, March, and so on and so on. I think I failed in February because I registered for a run the same morning we were supposed to move out of our apartment. And that was on the last weekend of February, so I sort of blew my chances at rescuing that. I think I’m  doing okay otherwise though…#weshallsee.

3. Set a new PR. I’m not going into many specifics on this, because I don’t want to set myself up for a big fat fail. But I’d be happy in PR-ing any distance this year–5k, 10k, half marathon and (gulp, dare I say it?) the marathon. I’m pretty sure the latter won’t be happening as I shocked the hell out of myself with my first marathon time, and this years will be a much harder course, but pigs can fly, right? I have hardly run any races and those that I have run have not been fast. Again, it’s early. 

4. Do the flying pig half marathon (or full?) or at least DECIDE on which of my next “dream” half marathons/marathons will be up next in the queue. I’m dying to do the Flying Pig, ANY race in Disney World, ANY race in Hawaii, and newly added to the list, the Olathe Kansas Marathon, thanks solely to its awesome website: I’d also like to combine this goal, with my goal of traveling more to new places. Again, money is always a debilitating factor, but if I could make goals 2 and 3 work in conjunction with my age-old dream to visit places like Oregon, Montana, Hawaii and Australia, then its worth the money, right? It’s no Hawaii, but Buffalo is a place that I have not visited before! And I made a decision as far as my next marathon. I’m also trying desperately to convince Squiggs to sign up for Disney 2013 with me…so I’ll count this as a success. 

5. Figure out what the hell I want to do with my career/life. This could be about 9348042 posts on its own, so I won’t go into the details right now. But the bottom line is I’ve been a sissy for the last five years, specifically the last 5 months, and I need to just bite the bullet and make some major decisions. Biggest fail yet. Still have no idea. But I typed in the words “GRE” into Google the other day. Baby steps again??

And there you have it folks, the reason I tend not to make resolutions, because clearly I’m not good at keeping them. Or at least keeping them in full.

Now it’s back to the couch and by bottle of Dayquil.

Keep it classy this hump day.

Big News Comes in Twos?

I wanted the title of this post to be “Big News Comes in Threes” since that’s the magic number that things usually happen in, but unfortunately, after today I’ll be out of announcements…at least for the foreseeable future.

Yesterday I confessed that I’m running a Spring Marathon.

I was so excited over sharing that news and I wanted to badly to reveal my other exciting registration over the last few days, but decided to give it to you in doses. You need SOME reason to return to my ramblings day in and day out, right?

So in May, I’ll run my second 26.2. And a few weeks later in June, I’ll spend a weekend in Bloomfield, CT learning the ins and outs of being a certified running coach! Woot woot! Shameless plug: if you know of ANYONE who may want to leave their couch on a Saturday in the near future and attempt a mile run, a 5k, 10k or any other running distance, please, think of me.

I realize that there are 48025839045 other coaches living and running in NYC (fun fact: Celia is taking the same class as me, and I’m stoked to have a travel buddy) and the “competition” will be high as far as finding friends and clients who want silly ol‘ me to guide them in their quest to pound some pavement, but no matter what happens post certification, it will be AWESOME to add that line to my email signature: “RRCA Certified Coach.”

I may not be able to decide what I want to go to grad school for (much less where, when, etc…) but I do know, that for the last year and some months, amongst all of the applications to various publishing/writing/editing jobs in and around New York City (again, talk about a flurry of competition!) and all of the gentle and not-so-gentle rejections, running has been the one thing in my life that has worked. It is the one thing I feel truly, without a doubt (which is pretty much unheard of in the indecisive world of marathonwiner) passionate about, and successful in. So regardless of where this certification takes me (if anywhere), it’s one more thing I can add on to my running resume, and feel proud of myself for. Big thanks to RRCA and the sport of running for the much needed confidence boost.

Speaking of running (really, do I talk about much else?)…it’s a good thing it’s a cutback week because ever since I returned from Key West my body has been fighting the cooler weather that is Spring time in New York. For the last four days I’ve had a nasty on-and-off cough and NO voice. It’s making for some really awkward moments at work, specifically when I attempt to answer the phone…

Cutback week, you ask? Yes. I’m sort of following a training schedule(s)/sort of winging things as I go with this whole Buffalo Marathon deal. After achieving the 20 mile run that I needed to register for the race, I created a completely ridiculous and confusing schedule for myself that basically merges the Novice 1, Novice 2 and Intermediate training programs from good ol’ Hal Higdon. Basically, I’ve got the requirements for all three programs written down on a calendar, and on any given day, if I hit one of the three run prescriptions, or a median of the 3, I call it a success. This makes my life much easier, given that it’s wedding season and nearly every single day (and certainly every single weekend) requires some sort of a modification. Yesterday I was supposed to cross-train (which I haven’t done in a week now…oops), but didn’t want the evil glares of fellow gym-goers when they heard my black lung cough, so instead I went for a run. And accidentally ran 9 miles instead of the Novice 1/2’s median suggestion of 4.5. Now, I’m hoping the anti-hacking drugs I just popped will keep the cough at bay long enough for me to log some much-needed time on the ellitpical at lunch.

You probably didn’t need that hours long explanation of my training/coughing/life, but I figured by making it public I’ll hold myself more accountable.

So there you have it. I’m running a spring marathon. I’m hoping to become a run coach this summer.

I’m probably out of big news for the next 6 months. I apologize in advance, but please stop back from time to time and say hello so I don’t feel like a big waste of internet space.

Happy Tuesday kids! Make it a good one.




The Jig is Up

Why hello there, bloggerworld. It’s been a while! My absence, for a change, can be credited less to my feeling like I’ve lost my blogging mojo and more toward the fact that I’ve been crazy busy due to wedding season.

When last we spoke I had just returned from a wedding-weekend-turned-mini-vacay (my favorite kinds of wedding weekend!) in Fort Lauderdale/Key West. I was a little worried about how a couple of days spent sauntering around Duvall Street with a Corona constantly in hand would affect my running when I returned to the real world, but as it turns out…beer carbs=great fuel. Even with TWO rest days “built in” to my schedule last week [read: one travel day and one post-wedding Easter Sunday/reunion with peanut butter and sweets] , I managed to bang out 45 miles for the week. I was quite pleased with this number…not so much with the number of Easter treats* I got into yesterday.

*Fun fact: I was late to work this morning because I made a point to go by CVS for discounted Cadbury eggs. I have no shame.

Back to the point though. Why was it so important for me to get 45 miles on the calendar last week if I have no major races on the horizon? Because I do, in fact, have a race on the horizon.

It had been my plan to sneak attack everyone with a race recap come May 28th. A big “Surprise! I tricked you! I didn’t wait until November 4th to run my second 26.2! Ha!”

But many of you were already on to me and making comments such as, “Oh, you ran 17 miles before work on Friday morning? What race are you training for?” Because yes, I DID in fact, run 17 miles before work on Friday morning–a pre-workday PDR for me. There’s only but so many times I can answer a question like “So WHY did you turn a 5 mile running tour into a 20 mile run today?” with “because I felt like it.” Although the real answer to that one was a secret bet I had going with myself…if I could run 20 miles on March 24th, then I’d have both the confidence and training needed to be able to finish a Spring marathon.

So on March 25th, I signed up for the Buffalo Marathon.

I had toyed on and off all winter with signing up for a Spring marathon.

On the one hand, I never thought I could run a SINGLE marathon. But then I did. Afterwards, I said I’d “take a break” from racing and wait until July to start focusing on training for the ING NYC Marathon. But it wasn’t long before I was missing training, missing long runs and missing having a goal. Sure, I had RnRUSA on the calendar for March, but after spending 8 weeks building up far past the 13.1 distance to reach 26.2 instead, a half marathon just didn’t quite cut it for me anymore. A week before RnR I ran 18 miles (that run, legitimately “just because I felt like it”) and I didn’t find it grueling or tiresome or any of those negative words that a non-runner might associate with such a distance. Instead, I found it motivating. And encouraging. And when a week later, I busted out 20 miles “because I felt like it,” I found it solid reasoning to sign up for my second full marathon.

For a while, I had had my eyes on the Vermont City marathon. Laura, is running this race as a pacer, so I knew I’d have at least one friend nearby, if not more. Not to mention, just the act of meeting Laura and hanging out with her put another check mark in the “pro” column of whether or not to do a Spring race. Laura (who has run I think 70ish marathons?) made a very wise point very shortly after we first met, that the more races you run, the less pressure you put on each one.

When I finished my first marathon in under four hours I was a whole ball of emotions–shocked and elated being two of the dominating ones, but in the very back of my mind I was also a little sad. Crazy? Probably. But at the time I was already signed up for NYC for the following November, and even though it was a full year off, I knew it was a far more difficult course and the chances of me getting anywhere near a 4-hour finish were near impossible. I secretly started wishing that I had done NYC for my first marathon, and Richmond for the second, ONLY because I was distraught over the idea that I’d very likely run a slower race my second time around. Laura’s logic, whether it applied to this situation or not, helped me get over that hump. Richmond was magical in so many ways (yes, I just used that unnecessarily dramatic term), and New York will be too, but for its own individual reasons. And by throwing a Spring marathon into the middle of the mix, I think I’ll be able to separate the two a bit, and not hold them up against each other.

So what happened to Vermont? Why Buffalo?

I’m a big fan of killing two birds with one stone (though I wish there was a kinder expression than that). And while I’d have one running buddy in Vermont, I’d still have to worry about hotel accommodations, and other unforseen expenses. I knew that weekend was a good one though, given it’s Memorial Day and there’s an extra day off work. So when I started to poke around at other alternatives, “just in case,” and Buffalo popped up, there was no doubt in my mind. Buffalo, like Vermont City, would be a new destination to explore and far enough North that the temps in late May would still be ideal running conditions. Unlike Vermont City, I could run a spring marathon AND visit one of my very best friends, in her hometown that she has spent the last 8 years begging me and all of our other friends to go see.

(Said friend celebrated a birthday yesterday, happy Bday Asia!)

And so I clicked the “register” button. The JD was obviously the first to know. Seeing as how I badgered him for a solid 24 hours about whether or not he thought I should do it/was capable of doing it. He was, as always, overly supportive: “You could run a marathon in your sleep” Lies, yes. But white ones, that gave me the confidence I need to kick myself into training mode.

I also told said friend in Buffalo, that I was finallllyyy going to pay her a visit, with the caveat that she be ready to indulge a super early bedtime the Saturday of my arrival, a super early wake-up time the following morning and get ready to cheer her face off, as I’m thinking the crowd support at this race will be a little smaller than the super smiley and go-nuts-for-strangers-running streets of Richmond. I thrive on crowd support. Dear friend, thoughts on renting a golf cart and just blaring music (it can be Firework. On repeat) and throwing confetti at me for the entirety of the course? Yes? Awesome, thanks.

Aside from those two, I wanted to keep my signing up a secret. For one, I thought that whole sneak attack blog race recap would be a lot fun. But this morning, when I saw the very sad number of blog views over the last few weeks ( a result from the even sadder number of posts), I realized that training is what kept my blog mojo going. And I’d have MUCH more exciting things to share with you if I wasn’t trying to delicately cover my training trails. I’d rather gush to the world when I finish up a near-50 mile week, thankyouverymuch (I swear, I’m not a Leo. VIRGO! VIRGO!)

Sure, I’ll probably have to feel the wrath of my family and friends who do not exactly condone my running…but better to get that out of the way now rather than late May!

So there it is, my friends. The jig is up. I am training for a spring marathon. Due to wedding season and all of the other crazy and fun events going on over the next few weeks and months, I will very likely NOT participate in any serious speed work. My strength training will likely continue to suffer a bit. But I will gladly re-introduce peanut butter into my diet (hopefully not on a 3x’s a day or more basis), embrace a few crazy long runs prior to the start of the work day, have a blast running Buffalo stress free (read: not focused on any time goal, just focused on putting a run in between two other 26.2’s) and celebrate my second full marathon lakeside with an old friend and very likely, a glass of wine 🙂

Happy training kids!

More East Side Escapades

In the last 24 hours, I’ve done a lot of sweating.

Some of you may find that gross. I find it pretty awesome.

Last night I hit up the gym, as promised, to get back to spin class and a little jaunt on the dreadmill. This has sort of been routine in the last few weeks, so you probably don’t care to hear the deats, but I thought I’d let you know last nights instructor was pretty kick-ass. She was almost up to par with the first-ever spin instructor I came across almost a year ago (you know, the one I thought was an Army Seal fitness coach). I’m pretty sure I was one of THOSE people who left a few drops of sweat on the floor under my bike. I used to be grossed out by THOSE people. Now I’m pretty proud of a sweat that good. Bahaha.

Cycling split up two, two-mile runs on the treadmill, and by the time I got home I was worried that I’d jumped back in the saddle too quickly after my foot had finally started feeling better. Aka, I was worried that I’d slow Laura down this morning, as we jogged over to the East Side for a Fat-Blasting Cardio sesh at the Athleta of the upper east side.

I’ve never done a bootcamp class of any kind before, so when Laura asked if I was up for this, I was a little hesitant. Aside from my recent enthusiasm for spin, group classes have never been my forte. But the class was FREE and it involved cardio, so I figured why not? A plus, was picking up a new running friend on the UWS (wootwoot).

Well the class was indeed free (and the people hosting it were all super nice and peppy at the lovely hour of 7 a.m., and provided free bottles of Hint and luna bars on top of the freeee class) and it certainly involved a bit of cardio…but it also involved a LOT of lunges, planks and push-ups. Within the first 10 minutes I was dripping in sweat and cursing myself for not doing more weight exercises over the last few months. My muscles were feeling the burn. Fortunately (or not, if you’re the kind of person that likes it when your quads and shoulders scream at you so early in the morning), the hardcore stuff only really lasted through the warm-up–not that that makes any sense. I think our super peppy and friendly instructor got a little intimidated when his tai-chi kicks weren’t having the desired effects on the class, and he slowed things down and slowed them down fast. Overall though, I’d give the class a thumbs up, and would definitely go back for more…after I spend some quality time in the weight room. Big thanks to Athleta/Zeel for fitness for the people 🙂

And after this whirlwind day of work I’ll return to the UES (forget twice in one week, twice in one day?!) to pick up my race packet for tomorrow’s 10k. *This may very well result in us perusing the restaurant options in the neighborhood, as we continue to try to figure out where we head next (thought more and more people have been cheering for the UWS these days). I’m debating wearing my marathonwiner tshirt for the road runner race (courtesy of the JD) that I sported on real Race Day (duh), but not sure how fast I’ll be, and therefore not sure if I’m brave enough to draw attention to myself during the run. We’ll see what happens…

Afterwards I’ll head straight to a Gotham Writer’s Workshop for the rest of the day. I purchased a Groupon for half off a class back in July and I’m finally cashing in on it! Better late than never, eh? And Saturday night is set aside for a special dinner date for me and the JD. I can’t wait 🙂

Sunday morning will (foot-permitting) bring another 6-mile run with the lovely Laura and some other ladies she’s rallied to hit up Central Park for a jog, followed by a Cassoulet Cook-off at Jimmy’s 43 in the east village. What better way to top off a nice run in the park than by stuffing our faces full of….(hold while I look up what cassoulet is)….bean stew and casserole?!  That’s right, I jumped on board for this event without having any idea of what the food I’d be consuming was because I figure you can’t go wrong with combining running and a cook-off of any kind.

So that’s the weekend line-up. It’s busy, busy, but filled with lots of fun events. Just a few more hours of work til it all kicks off!

Have a very happy Friday, and an even better weekend 🙂

What Running Has Taught Me

Most of you probably don’t know me, so let me introduce myself! My name is Katherine and I started running a little less than a year ago and started a blog to go along with my running journeys. Nice to meet you all 🙂

I always hated running. No “hate” is too kind, more along the line of “loathed.” I clearly remember throwing up in 6th grade when being forced to run a mile in gym class. As I grew up, I slowly started picking up running in spurts as a means of fitness, but never got above 3 miles and never really enjoyed running per say.

Well, all that changed last January 2011. A couple of my friends were talking about running a half marathon together and I was mad that I would be missing out on the fun just because I “couldn’t” run. I’m not a big fan of “can’t” and I figured if they can do it – why CAN’T I? I decided a little motivation would push me along so I signed up for a half marathon (giving myself 2.5 months to go from 0 – 13.1 miles).  My goal was to finish and I finished at a 10:10min/mile pace and was ecstatic! I was hooked on running from that point on.

A little less than a year later I have 3 half marathon’s under my belt and am training for my first marathon – the Paris 2012 Marathon in April! Running has been an eye opener for me and it’s taught me a lot about life and myself.  So let me share…

It’s OK to talk to strangers

I’m completely against teaching kids not to talk to strangers – sure, don’t talk to kidnappers or perverts, but not all strangers are bad. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people through meeting fellow bloggers and runners (Katie being one of them!) who I wouldn’t have met if I were afraid to talk to strangers. I’ve also heard a lot of interesting stories and met some great people just by randomly chatting up people during a race or while on a run in the park. It’s funny, because I’m not normally an “extroverted” person, but I guess boredom on a long run will pull it out of me.

I’m competitive

I grew up always playing a sport – I was mediocre at all of them, but not great at any of them. I didn’t have that competitive edge and I didn’t care enough about winning in order to put in the effort. Running has taught me to challenge myself.  I know I’m never going to win a race and there will always be others who can run faster or farther than me, but every run and every race is a small personal challenge. I compete with myself and push myself harder to in order to beat myself.

I get in ruts

For someone who in the last 4 years has had 5 jobs, even more apartments and has moved across the country and back – this is a little strange to say. But it’s true! Ever since I’ve started running it’s been hard for me to get into other exercises such as weight training and swimming, which I used to do regularly. I also get in route ruts and tend to run the same paths over and over – there’s something comforting about knowing what’s to come.

Cars run on gas, bodies run on fuel

I haven’t been on a “diet” since high school, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t watch what I eat. When I’m training, though, if I’m hungry I eat. If I’m still hungry, I eat more.  My body needs fuel to run.

Slow and steady wins the race

Seriously, it’s true – did you watch the NYCM this year and notice how Mary was ahead in the women’s race until the very end? I’ll never complete a marathon by racing the first 10K. In the same respect, relationships take time to foster and grow; it takes time in a job to prove yourself and be promoted; it takes a lifetime to learn J

If you never try, you’ll never succeed

I think you get that one…

Only the wicked witch melts in the rain

I can be “witchy” sometimes, but I don’t melt J. I’m a baby about the cold and bad weather, but nothing’s going to stop me from a run!…besides maybe a hurricane, snowstorm, or broken leg (let’s hope none of these happen)….

I don’t settle

OK, this I kind of already knew about myself. Nothing is ever good enough and nothing ever will be good enough because when we stop pushing ourselves, we stop living. There will always be a new PR to beat.

I’m proud of myself and that’s perfectly OK

I’ve accomplished a lot in both life and running. I’ve always thought that by recognizing this I was “bragging,” but for some reason running specifically has taught me that it’s OK to acknowledge my successes. To date I’ve run 16 miles further than I ever thought I could and I’m proud of that.

I can do anything I put my mind to

I’ve been lucky and have had parents who fully fostered this belief. When I crossed the finish line at my first half marathon, though, it all made sense. If you asked me a year ago if I’d ever thought I’d run a marathon, I’d say I could NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER , but in April  2012, I will.

So I leave you with this:

The 5 Ways to Maintain Joy in Running

Runners are admittedly a little crazy. Like mos people with a passion for something, their love of running can come and go in waves. One day, I can have a great run and love every second of it, only to get out their the next day and have a miserable time and swear off the sport forever. I’ve never had an injury, but next time I have a “bad” run, I’m going to live vicariously through Jill’s experience, and work on appreciating the very fact that I have two working legs (and corresponding feet, toes, etc) to get me out the door. And when that appreciation isn’t enough to keep me feeling fulfilled, I’ll try one of her other very sound suggestions:

This summer I was sidelined for 9 weeks with a stress fracture in my foot.  NINE… LONG… WEEKS…

At the time of diagnosis, 9 weeks seemed the equivalent of forever.  “How will I deal with this?  I’ll never be the same runner I was before.  It’s the end of the world… WAH!”

Pretty quickly 9 weeks was over and I got to start running again, little by little I added on mileage and time.

I won’t lie and say that everything was the same… 9 weeks of very reduced activity will take a toll on your cardio fitness.  But it’s not going to take you all the way back to square one either.  The biggest change was one that I didn’t expect, it happened to my mental approach.

The old me would take it for granted that I could go for a run.  I really let bad runs get under my skin.  (And bad runs will happen to everyone at some point… it’s inevitable, don’t let it discourage you!)  I got irritated if life got in the way of my training.  Basically, I let the negative side of my brain participate in the run a lot more than I should.

Since coming back?  Every run is filled with gratitude.  Grateful that I can run, grateful that my body is working well enough to work through the motion of running, grateful that I am alive.  It’s amazing.

I’ve been back at running for 3 months post-injury and I’ve still not lost that gratitude and I really hope to retain it forever.  Here are some ways to keep the joyfulness in the sport:

1. Run by feel sometimes.

Leave the Garmin, Nike+, RunKeeper or whatever methods you use to track pace/distance behind and go out for a run just to experience the world.  This method usually works better if you run outside.  Look at the world around you and appreciate it!  If it feels labored, slow down.  If you feel great, speed up.

2. Run hard sometimes

Doing something harder every now and then will help you appreciate what your body is capable of.  The hardest part is often getting your brain out of the way, the little voice that tells you that you can’t.  But once you do that and you’ve accomplished the task at hand, your confidence will surge.

3. Don’t run sometimes

Everybody needs rest days.  None of us are super-human.  For all the stories you hear of athletes that sound like they are invincible, they still need to take rest that is appropriate to them.  So figure out what level of rest-to-run ratio works best for your individual needs.

4. Tune in and Zone out

This is something I advocate to the runners I coach… tuning in is running without music and focusing on your body.  Pay attention to your breathing, your form, your thoughts.  Make adjustments as needed.  Zoning out is running with some kind of distraction, frequently music or a TV on a treadmill.  Both methods can be helpful in your training, but both are necessary.

5. Don’t be afraid of change

If you are chronically injured, don’t just accept that is the way it will be forever.  LOOK for an answer.  For some people that means changing their form or trying different levels of support in shoes.  Sometimes it’s a matter of balancing and strengthening other parts of the body.  You may need to implement some complementary cross-training.  But you need to be ready to put in the work on your own behalf.  If you are constantly in pain, you’ll never feel happy about running.

Jill blogs at and is an RRCA-certified running coach.  She coaches the Las Vegas Team Challenge group.  In addition to running and coaching, she works full-time as a web geek.

%d bloggers like this: