Tag Archives: distance running

Here I Go Again…

16 Jan

I apologize for not posting the last several days, but I was on vacation. To celebrate my mom’s upcoming 60th birthday, we took a family trip to San Francisco, a city I had never previously visited. I really loved the city on the bay, it was gorgeous. What surprised me though was how many runners were around. I’m in good shape and live at high altitude, but the San Francisco hills were killing me just walking around. Yet, I probably saw about 100 runners throughout the weekend including around 60 on Saturday alone in groups.

Normally when I go on vacation, I take my workout stuff with me, but since this was a short trip and I was trying to conserve precious luggage space, I chose not to. One of the pluses and minuses to going on vacation is eating out a lot as well. I love to try new cuisines and restaurants, but now that I eat fairly healthy most of the time, it was draining. By Saturday morning, I was done eating food and wanted to run. I longed to join the runners I saw out on the Pier 39 boardwalk. I was so incredibly jealous that they were running, and I was walking to breakfast! Wow, just a few years ago, I would have had the thought “those people are crazy, thank goodness I get pancakes soon.”

We got back later yesterday, so this morning I woke up to go for a run. I told myself if I could do 10 miles then I was going to sign up for the Colorado Springs Super Half Marathon on February 5th. I haven’t run over 4 miles since the marathon in October with one six-mile exception two weeks after the race. I’ve been so busy and the holidays were crazy, I stuck to 3 – 4 mile runs on the weekend.

Well, it felt awesome to run today. I was so grateful to be out on a windy, but otherwise lovely day. I didn’t look at my Garmin or care what time I was clocking. I just wanted to run and run and run. The last 1.5 miles were a challenge. My body was a bit angry. First I put it through several miles of walking San Francisco’s hills, but then I took it out for 10 miles after a 3 month rest. But I manage to plod through and finish my 10 miles.

I’m sore and tired from being out of practice, but I feel great. I am definitely signing up for the race. I’m not looking to PR and most likely won’t, but I am looking forward to getting back into long distance racing. I love that high and that feeling once it’s done. It is truly glorious.

So just a few years ago I would have jumped at the chance to go out to a restaurant. Instead, I’m dying to run 13.1 miles. Half marathon in 3 weeks? Bring it!

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How the Marathon Changed My Life

12 Oct

This past week, I watched the documentary “Spirit of the Marathon” for the third time to get inspired for my race. I also watched “Marathon Challenge.” Both films carried the same message: the marathon will change your life. I figured the race would. I mean after all, I trained for 10 months and it had taken such a huge part of my life to get to race day. But I really didn’t realize how much it would change my life and how quickly.

I learned so much about myself on race day, things I always thought were there, but was never quite sure. I have always known that I’m very stubborn, and I will push through things if I set my mind to it. However, like anyone, I do have a breaking point. I wasn’t sure where that point was until race day. I came so close to giving in at mile 14 when my foot got so bad, but then I pushed through until the finish. That is when I realized how truly strong I am. If I could push through excruciating pain to finish a 26.2 mile race, well I could do anything.

I had no idea on the day of the race that I was going to need that new found confidence and grit so soon. Yesterday, I found out about some very major changes at my job. My two-person art department is shrinking to just me as we are transitioning some staff. I think before the marathon, I would have been freaking out about taking on two full time jobs until new staff is put into place. It’s a lot of new and foreign responsibilities that are coming my way. Given my high-strung, high-anxiety personality, I know that I would have been downing Maalox for an upset stomach last night scared to death about what would come.

But, now knowing that I’ve run a marathon, which is physically one of the hardest challenges on the planet, I know I can do anything. Sure, the changes are going to be difficult and time-consuming, but I absolutely know it’s not only something I can handle, but excel at as well. Running for 6 straight hours is far worse than learning some new skills at the office.

The marathon did change my life. It gave me a confidence and strength I wasn’t sure I had. It gave me reassurance in myself and in my abilities. It may have been one six-hour day, but the benefits will last a lifetime.

The Marathon Countdown Begins

28 Sep

In a week and a half, I will be attempting my first marathon. In 10 days, I somehow have to get the energy to run 26.2 miles through the city of Denver. I am starting to freak out to put it mildly. I sleep soundly, but I wake up in a panic, thinking about the race. I’ve been training for 10 months and given it everything I could, but what if I don’t finish in the allotted 6 hours? I don’t think I could handle that disappointment.

Other than losing weight, I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard for something. And I don’t think I’ve ever struggled so much. I’ve always been the over achiever type in that if I’m interested in something and apply myself, I’m usually very, very good at it. With running, I’ve had to eat a slice of humble pie and accept the fact that I’m not good at it. In fact I’m rather bad given my pace and finishing times.

But it gives me a joy that was missing with my other exercise routines. There is such an extraordinary sense of accomplishment that comes with running, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Anytime I reach a new distance, I’m moved to the point of tears in awe of what I’ve done. So maybe I’m not good at it, but every time I finish a run, I feel like I’ve won Olympic gold.

I am completely terrified of the race that lies ahead. Everyone is telling me to calm down and enjoy it, which I will most certainly try to do. The race officials are working really hard to make it a fun race by providing cheering squads and rock bands at every mile. But the doubt lingers in my mind. My doctor said I could never be a runner, what if he was right? I know he’s not really, after all I’ve run up to 20 miles. That’s a whole lot of “not running.” But at the same time, with the way my head works, if I don’t finish the marathon, it’s like I didn’t run at all.

I have people to run with and a lot of friends and family coming to cheer me on. Plus, there is such a camaraderie with running that everyone tries to encourage and take care of each other. Deep, deep down, locked away somewhere I do know I’ll finish. It’s just hard to let that confidence see the light of day as I face this challenge.

Ninja Niblets: September 23, 2011

23 Sep

Just a few links and niblets to get your weekend started. Have a great weekend and try to incorporate some physical exercise into your time off. Take a nice walk, go for a run, go for a bike ride to enjoy fall weather!

High Intensity is Best for Burning Calories
FitSugar.com posted an article about a study recently done that has shown high intensity workouts are the best for burning calories. Some have theorized that long, slow workouts will get a good fat burn going, but in reality it’s high intensity workouts. So hop on the treadmill or elliptical and do some speed intervals for 30 minutes. Try 30 seconds high speed, 1 minute medium speed and do this on and off for 30 minutes. According to the study, your caloric burn will last for another 14 hours!

FitSugar: High Intensity Workouts Best

7 Exercise Machines to Skip
Not all exercise machines are created equal. Some cause more harm than good and others don’t do anything. Check out this list from Shape Magazine.

Shape Magazine: 7 Exercise Machines to Skip

Last Chance Workout
Have a race coming up? Runner’s World has come up with last chance workout plans to implement the week before a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon to help improve your speed for the race itself.

Runner\'s World: Last Chance Race Workout

Have a great weekend!

The Greatest Run

22 Sep

Last week, I had friends in from out of town for my 30th birthday. I was really busy taking them around and playing hostess as well as partying it up for the big milestone birthday. As a result, I didn’t get a run in for 4 days.

I didn’t think it’d be a big deal. I was happy to have my friends in town and getting a chance to lay around and relax was really nice, as it’s something I almost never do. But, the withdrawal started to build. I felt more and more out of it and antsy as the days wore on. I wanted to run so badly. I couldn’t believe it.

After all these months of running several times a week every week with each distance getting longer and harder, I thought I’d be thrilled to have a block of time off. Instead, I was craving a run like a pregnant woman wants pickles. How could this be? Yes, I’ve enjoyed running and I’m grateful that I can even do it given my medical issues, but to be at the point where I was ready to sell a kidney on eBay just to get a run in?

On Monday, I was able to get back to the gym. Normally, during the week, I do speed interval training on the treadmill and more or less hate it. I much prefer my long, slow runs outside with changing scenery and my own pace. But, since I’m a slow runner, speed training is a necessary evil. However, I was dying for a run so badly on Monday, I whipped through 3.1 miles of speed intervals in 37:37. It was the best feeling in the world. I felt like I had won the lottery, I was on such a high.

As my feet pounded out the miles, I felt better and better. I felt like I could have run the entire marathon at that moment. There was such an intense runner’s high and feeling of satisfaction. The fatigue and restlessness was gone, I was doing something I loved again. And I finally remembered why I do love it. That feeling has gotten lost on several occasions throughout my training since it’s been so stressful and trying at times. But it was back.

I now feel confident that everything is going to be okay with the marathon. I will finish it, and most importantly, I will run it with joy.

Movie Review: Spirit of the Marathon

20 Sep

Although I’ve watched it several times, I wanted to take the time to review Spirit of the Marathon. It’s a fantastic documentary about the Chicago Marathon that will leave you truly inspired and ready to run.

The film focuses on an elite male and elite female runner as well as several “regular” runners who are all in the process of training for Chicago. Although the elite runners are truly impressive–they run faster than the top speed on a treadmill, the really inspirational stories are from the regular people.

There’s a young couple who’ve run dozens of races who are trying to qualify for Boston, a 60+ man who decides to run it with his daughter, a former overweight woman who’s gone through a divorce and a young woman raising money for the adoption agency she was adopted from. All the stories are unique and inspiring.

We follow them all through training and injury to watch them triumph in the Windy City. I was in tears by the end of the movie. I figured if a 60+ old man can run it, I can do it. But most importantly, it shows how universal the marathon can be. No matter what age, gender or background, anyone can train and finish a marathon.

At the end, everyone is a winner for finis ing, no matter how long it takes them. This is a great movie about overcoming obstacles and working hard. You will be inspired whether you’re a runner or not.

It’s available on Netflix and on Amazon.com.

Marathon Training: Days 91 – 95

5 Sep

Day 91: Treadmill, 2.33 miles of speed training, 30 min, upper body weights
Day 92: Treadmill, 1.0 mile of speed training, 13 min, full upper & lower body strength workout
Day 93: Treadmill, 2.0 miles of speed training, 25 minutes, upper body weights
Day 94: Treadmill, 1.0 mile easy, 15 minutes, upper and lower body strength workout
Day 95: Greenway Trail, 20 miles, 5:26:31 – The last big training run of marathon training

Total Miles Run in Marathon Training: 300.13 miles
Tota Miles Run Since Becoming a Runner on 8/2/10: 442.65 miles