The sport of running has changed my life. I have never been so bad at something and loved it so much. My favorite thing about running is the camaraderie and fellowship shown in the sport. Whether it’s spectators along the road with humorous posters or a cup of Gatorade or the fellow runners who offer a friendly smile at mile 22 when you’re ready to die, running is one of the only sports that includes everyone. From the fastest gazelles to the slowest penguins, covering 3.1 or 13.1 or 26.2 miles is something we are all in together.
Today this sport lost its innocence. The sport where everyone who finishes a race is a winner, where we endure injury, blizzards and rain to train, where total strangers come out to cheer for you, was brutally attacked by cowards. The Boston Marthon is the oldest and hardest marathon in the United States. It’s the only race you have to qualify for. It’s the race all runners dream about like a kid dreams of Disney world. History has been made at Boston. The first female to ever run a marathon, Kathy Switzer, did it at Boston. Last year a world record was set by the winner.
Boston has always had a mystical elite aura around it in the running community. We run hard and dream big of running a Boston Qualifier. Today, this special race and the community that loves and supports it was viciously attacked. No matter what the reason, no reason is good enough for an act of violence against so many innocent people. Innocent people who came together for a sport that encourages community and overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles.
The country may be in chaos and mourning right now over this senseless act, but one thing these attackers need to know: runners are strong and resilient. Runners can conquer anything that is thrown at them from a 20 mile hill run to a snowstorm to a coward who attacks their most sacred race. These are people who think running 26.2 miles is fun. Don’t mess with them or their race.
This runner and marathoner stands with Boston today. I may never run a Boston qualifier and my feet may never cross the finish line in Copley Square, but today, anyone who runs is a Boston marathoner. We stand strong with this city and the running community. We are one with Boston.
So apparently in recent times a Japanese scientist named Tabata came up with a high intensity circuit workout program made to take half the time and burn twice the calories of a regular workout. It’s a fairly new trend that is making the rounds in the fitness circles.
Basically each “tabata” is a four minute workout where you’re on 20 seconds and have 10 seconds of rest for a total of 8 rounds. Then you rest about 3 minutes until the next one. The entire workout is roughly 30 minutes and incorporates weigh training and cardio exercises.
I’ve done tabata workouts before but my new trainer took them to a whole new wicked level today. I really thought I was going to die. I almost barfed halfway through, but I held out and completed the program.
This a very intense program. Do not attempt unless you’re already in great shape and definitely consult a doctor or certified trainer first.
–plank to push-up: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
–squat to shoulder press: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
–squat to standing row: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
–med ball slams: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
–squat to med ball toss: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
–treadmill runs at 6mph: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
I was out of town last week or I would have pointed this sooner. Last Monday I did a 4 mile training run. It was snowing outside so I just ran it on the treadmill. Nothing extraordinary…except that it was. I ran the 4 miles in 50:27. I beat my best ever four mile run by NINE MINUTES!!!!!
What was a boring training run, became the best ever time for me at that distance. I almost started crying. I’ve been working hard with my trainer to whittle away at my time so I could PR at my half marathon this coming May. Never did I think I could achieve such an improvement in only a month of work.
I’ve always been a super slow runner, and I’m okay with that. I do have a bad foot and it’s a miracle I’m running at all, so I’m grateful to just be doing it. But, for the first time, I believed that I really could get faster and keep a pace I could say out loud to other runners instead of whispering it with embarrassment.
That nine minutes meant the world to me. It has given me confidence to keep chipping away at my time and pursue setting a PR. I actually believe I can do it now.
I attempted a recipe I found on food.com this week that was via Weight Watchers. I jazzed it up a bit as the recipe seemed bland at first glance. Overall it was pretty good and only 153 calories per half cup serving.
Weight Watchers Chicken Cheese Casserole
Follow recipe but add garlic, onion powder and black pepper. Also sautée mushrooms and onions to mix in. If you like spicy, add some crushed red pepper flakes.
A decent low calorie meal that makes good leftovers. It’s easy for a week night meal too when you don’t have a lot of time.
It has been a busy few weeks. I finally have gotten back on track with regular exercise and eating properly again. After 8 months of being depressed and stressed, I’m now just stressed. Well, that’s one down anyway.
I gained 10 pounds during my boyfriend’s deployment. He’s still gone but hopefully will be home in 6 weeks or less. In the meantime I’m trying to get back on track. I’ve started working out regularly with a trainer and keeping my food journal.
After a tough start, I lost a pound and shaved 5 minutes off of my last 5K time. Each week my trainer increases my weights, reps and times and I’ve been showing strength and speed improvements. I ran my 5K section of my half marathon race in 47:02 and last weekend I finished my training run in 42:01.
I feel my confidence returning. After being in a terrible fog for so long, I feel like the pink ninja again. It’s been hard adjusting to fewer calories each day and squeezing in workouts was a challenge at first but it feels great.
Anyone can get back on the wagon, no matter how hard it seems. Just make up your mind to start and don’t make anymore excuses. Any day can be your start day and only worry about that day. Don’t think about the pounds ahead or trying to conquer endless miles. Just meet your goal that day and worry about the rest tomorrow.
I just read a quote in the latest issue of Runner’s World from airline pilot and “Miracle on the Hudson” hero Captain “Sully” Sullenberger. He said “I’m not a good runner, but I’m better than someone who doesn’t run at all.”
I always feel embarrassed in a way when I tell other people that I’m a runner. I think, I’m not a real runner. I’m painfully slow and I mix running with walking. When I do run, my form isn’t lovely and I don’t look like a graceful cheetah, but rather an awkward giraffe.
After reading Sully’s quote, I realized he’s right. Maybe I’m not good, but I am better than someone who does not run at all. I’ve completed three half marathons and one full marathon. Not including the training, that alone is 65.5 miles that my little feet have covered. When you include the training, I’ve done over 500 miles. So, yes, I AM a runner. Good or bad, anyone who puts one foot in front of the other at a pace above walking is a runner.
Until I’ve gotten back in the gym these past three weeks, I hadn’t realized how much I missed running and working out. More importantly, I didn’t realize how much I felt how good it makes me feel. When I’m pounding away the miles on the treadmill or dying a slow death in the plank position, I’m really happy and finally feeling like me again. I feel like a real runner and I feel strong like I can conquer anything.
So right now, I’m going through a really tough time. I miss my boyfriend and am horribly worried about him. Work and home life have also been extremely stressful. But what I can count on is that I am coming back to me, slowly but surely. And I can say, no a matter what, I am a runner.
This Disney Princess got to run through Cinderella’s Castle during the Disney World Half Marathon on January 12, 2013