Tag Archives: marathon training

I AM a Runner

4 Feb

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.

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The Comeback Kid

26 Jan

Dear readers,

After an extremely long hiatus of nearly 8 months, the Skinny Pink Ninja has returned. It’s been a super rough time on my end, and I have to admit I just shut down for a while. The love of my life is James Bond. No really, he is. He has a secret government job that sends him away on long assignments with very little to no contact with me. 

I’ve always considered myself fiercely strong and able to overcome just about anything, but my guy is my Kryptonite, my Achilles heel. Living without him and only getting a 3 line email every 2 months was agony. I tried to keep going, but I was definitely in a depressed funk. My fitness level dropped tremendously during that time and I was just focusing on getting out of bed and trying to live my life. I also got mono during that time and was sick for about 2.5 months. Then there was family drama with my dad having emergency back surgery and some other health issues. 

So between all of that, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I gained almost 10 pounds and was barely keeping my toes in the water at the gym. I still ran and worked out, but it was only about 2 days a week instead of my former 4 – 5. I didn’t really care about keeping track of my food intake or anything, because that was my comfort during a hard time. I was mad at myself for giving into the sadness, but I just couldn’t help it. Worrying about someone you love, who is halfway around the world and in extreme danger is a full time job. 

He was supposed to be home permanently this month, but sadly the government took him from him again for another 2 – 3 months. Luckily he came back for a visit last week and we had a great talk that helped alleviate some of my fears and neuroses. The bad news is he’s got to do this another few months and then he has to move to Washington, DC. The good news is his contract is up in December and he is quitting. He is done and tired of being James Bond. He plans to move to Colorado after his contract is up so we can attempt a normal life. So in the meantime, once he’s back from other continents, we have to travel back and forth to see each other, but after all we’ve been through that seems so easy. 

I felt better after our talk and have decided to pick myself back up again. I can’t let the PInk Ninja get down. I’ve gone back to writing down my food and making smarter choices about what I eat. I started a new workout regiment this week with a new trainer and actually got 3 solid days in. I’m going to start distance running again tomorrow. I’m signing up for the Denver Colfax Half Marathon in May. 

I did manage to complete my third half marathon two weeks ago. When my guy left in May, I signed up for the Disney World Full Marathon. Unfortunately, thanks to mono taking me out for about 3 months, I had to downgrade my registration to a half marathon. I had a lot of trouble training due to the fatigue that held on from mono and my overall depression. Nevertheless, I finished the race. The conditions were fierce—85 degrees and 75% humidity. It was brutal and I barely finished in a tragic 3:40:43. But, in all honesty, I was most proud of finishing this race than my other halves. It took everything I had to overcome the heat, the mono, the sadness, the stress in my life and pull out that finish. 

Completing the race helped me a lot. I feel like my fighting self again. I know I’ll get the 10 pounds off and I know I can finish my next half marathon. Not only is my goal to finish, but I want to PR and finish under 2:57:03, which is my best finishing time. I’m still scared to death about my love’s safety and it’s going to be a long 2 – 3 months waiting for him. But we’ve overcome the worst and have made it through. Now it’s up to me to pick myself back up again and return to my former self. 

It’s a long road to the next finish line, but I have done much harder before, I know I can do this. 

National Running Day 2012

6 Jun

Today is National Running Day. How great is it that there’s a whole day devoted to this amazing sport? While all sports have wonderful aspects to them, I do think there’s something uniquely special about running. There’s a camaraderie that comes with running that I haven’t typically seen in other sports. All people who run gather together as friends, not competitors. You can be slow or fast, fat or thin and everyone is in the same boat together. There is so much encouragement and advice, it really is a communal sport despite the fact you run alone. 

I am very grateful to running for changing my life. I started running as a bet against my doctor that I would be able to do a marathon despite the reconstructive foot surgery I had. Initially I didn’t love it. It was a drive I had to succeed and to prove him wrong, but there wasn’t a whole lot of passion with it. I think it was because I was so scared of failing at my marathon quest, I couldn’t take the time to enjoy it. Now that I’ve finished the marathon and done two half marathons, I’m finding myself loving the sport. 

I owe a lot to running. It helped me finally bring closure and healing to my car accident. It gave me a confidence I never knew I had. It gave me so much confidence that for the first time in my life, I was able to ask for a raise and promotion at work and actually get it. It is helping me now as I deal with my boyfriend’s 8 month deployment and the pain of missing him. I know part of the reason I am getting through that pain is because of running. It is an outlet for me to get my emotions out. 

I really think running can cure a lot of life’s little problems. Things we think are so big and insurmountable really aren’t, and if we all get the experience of running and the joy of the runner’s high, somehow they seem smaller. I think the mental health benefits of running far outweigh the physical, though those are great as well. 

Today is a day to celebrate this wonderful sport. If you’ve been a runner, be sure to run today and give thanks for the activity that gets you through a tough day. If you’ve never run before but have always wanted to, today is the day to start. Go for a light jog, do a run/walk combination, just get moving and get outside on the pavement. It will be painful and difficult at first, but keep at it and soon you will see what all the fuss is about. 

Happy National Running Day! 

Disney World Marathon Training: Day 1

4 Jun

It all begins again—the weekend long runs, being sore most of the time, analyzing what I eat, checking my hydration levels. Yes, I’ve committed to doing another full marathon. Yesterday, Sunday, was my first day of training. It certainly went a lot better than when I started training before. 

I was much more relaxed this time and just went out to enjoy the run. Since I am technically starting from a half marathon base instead of ground zero, my training this time around is a bit different. For the next 3 months, I’m going to focus on getting my half marathon base very strong. So I plan to do a 4 week training schedule of 6 miles, 8 miles, 10 miles and 13 miles. Then repeat for 3 months. When I get back from my vacation in September, I’ll start building miles beyond the 13 for the marathon. 

Yesterday’s 6 mile run was a challenge nevertheless. It was very hot, humid and my allergies were insanely bad. I actually really struggled with it and my energy levels. I had received an email from my boyfriend who is deployed the night before, so that caused me to have trouble sleeping. As a result, I was really tired for yesterday’s run. 

But, I made it through without too much of a problem. The really neat thing is that the 6 miles was pretty easy, I actually enjoyed myself and I no longer had the high stress and tension I had last time I was training. I now know that no matter what I will finish another marathon, so I’m much more at ease this time around. 

I’m using this marathon training to help me through my boyfriend’s deployment. The pain of missing someone is excruciating. It’s far worse than I even imagined it would be. Running out my feelings is the only way I can get through this and it’s helping tremendously already. I’m able to work through my doubts and issues during my runs and keep positive. 

This week will be speed training on the treadmill and resuming a heavy strength training schedule to stay strong and prevent injury. Then it’s an 8 miler. It feels great to be back in the groove again! 

I Know I’m a Runner Because…

10 Jan

Medals

I’ve been a runner for a little over a year now. Up until recently when people asked me if I was a runner, I’d always give a response like “I’m trying to be” or “Sort of.” What a bunch of crap. The moment you start running, you’re a runner. It doesn’t matter if you do one mile or thirty, you are a runner and you’re part of that community. I always said my response because I felt embarrassed that I’m such a slow runner, so then I was like well I’m not really a runner. Well, no more. I’ve done a half marathon, a full marathon, 3 5Ks and run over 550 miles in the past year. I’m definitely a runner and I’m proud of it. Who cares if I’m slow, I’m still a runner like all the other runners out there.

So to celebrate this revelation, let’s go through the many reasons why you and I are runners. This list is compiled from several lists online, but I have hand-chosen the points that most reflect me. Please share your reasons why you’re a runner too!

  • you go into Starbucks more often to use the bathroom than to actually buy coffee.
    In my case, it’s Panera as there are a few along the trail I run on, but hey Starbucks works! 
  • you no longer make fun of fanny packs because your running belt looks very similar (although cooler) to one.
    In addition to being a runner, I’m a huge fashion freak, and I’ve made fun of fanny packs for years. Yes, now I own a hydration belt (not going to call it a fanny  pack no matter how similar they look). So much for my style!!! 
  • you know how to take a cup of water from a water stop without choking on it or spilling it all over yourself.
    I perfected this method by my full marathon, took a while though. 🙂 
  • you know where your illiotibial band is located.
    I hate to say I do know this one. This is what gives me the most grief when I run. Thank goodness for foam rollers. 
  • you no longer hate port-a-johns. In fact, there have been times when you’ve been very happy to see one.
    I think this is the most tragic one. So, so true. 
  • you know where exactly one mile from your front door is (in any direction).
    I also know all the miles on the trail I run and exactly how far each one is by landmarks. Scary! 
  • when you hear PR, you automatically think “personal record”, not “public relations”.
    What, doesn’t everyone think that? 
  • you have several drawers dedicated to running shirts.
    I have a huge dresser drawer with all of my running clothes in it. It is overflowing and really needs to expand to 2 drawers. 
  • you get excited when the new Runner’s World comes in the mail.
    Best. Day. Ever. 
  • your Facebook or Twitter updates frequently involve running.
    Yes, I’d say I post about running usually 2 – 3 times a week
  • you get jealous when you’re driving in your car and pass runners.
    I want to wave to them and say me too, me too, but I figure I’d look weird and they’d arrest me. 🙂 
  • you spent more timing researching a running watch than you did your car.
    Yes, I spent weeks researching which Garmin to get. My car, not so much. 
  • You know the location of every 7-11, public restroom, and water fountain in running distance from your home.
    Doesn’t everyone?! 
  • you wear running T-shirts with funny slogans.
    I heart these shirts! 

Share the reasons you’re a runner and proud of your fanny pack…er…hydration belt!

The Greatest Christmas Gift

27 Dec

I sincerely all of you had a wonderful Christmas or Hannukah. I definitely enjoyed this wonderful time of year. Santa was extra good to me, and I had a great day with my family, so no complaints.

I have to say though, looking back on the past few months, that the greatest gift this year was the marathon. I know I posted shortly after the October race that it changed my life, but even at that point, I didn’t know how much it really would change me. Shortly after the race, I had a change at work. My previous supervisor left the company and I was the lone person in the art department. Additionally, several freelance jobs I had taken on were all colliding with the same deadlines instead of being spaced out as originally planned. So basically I went from working around 40 hours a week with free weekends to working 70 hours a week and working all weekend long.

I was thrust into a whirlwind of non-stop work, insane projects and learning a new job on the fly. Not only was I able to do it, but I was thriving. Granted, I was going bonkers outside of work with the pressure and stress, but at the same time, I was able to handle it. I credit all of it to the marathon. It taught me how to manage my time and push past seemingly insurmountable obstacles. If I could run 26.2 miles, I could handle this job.

The marathon also gave me an incredible confidence and strength. After learning the ropes of the job, I was able to feel bold enough to ask my boss for a raise and promotion. I put together a list of my accomplishments in the short amount of time that I had taken over and marched right into his office and fought for my right to get promoted. Never in a million years would I have done that before the race. I was so painfully shy about asking for raises at work or a promotion. I always just worked hard, but kept silent and waited for someone to notice. Not this time. I felt so confident from my achievement and the power it gave me to know I had finished it, I felt free.

I ended up getting the raise and promotion. I also finally finished my freelance projects yesterday and lived to tell the tale. For nearly 3 months, I’ve been working at a break-neck pace, but it all paid off. One of my favorite quotes is from John Bingham: “the miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” If I had never done the marathon, I would have never had the courage to start this massive undertaking, much less succeed at it.

So this Christmas, I am most grateful for those 26.2 miles of pavement I pounded in October. Every mile added a bit of confidence and strength, until I felt brave enough to take on the world.

A Day of Thanks

26 Nov

So I was supposed to post this on Thanksgiving, but the hoopla of the holiday got in the way. I wanted to share what I was thankful for this year. Thanksgiving is an amazing day, not just for the food and time with family, but really because it makes you consciously stop and think about all the wonderful blessings life has given you.

I started off my Thanksgiving with a 5K run. I couldn’t participate in an official Turkey Trot due to time constraints, so I went and did one on my own. I was very thankful I could run. I really enjoyed myself as the trail was completely empty, and the weather was really nice. It gave me 40 minutes to myself to think about the blessings that were bestowed on me this year.

I am thankful for the continued health and safety of my family and friends this past year. Now that my parents are getting old, I am getting fearful of the illnesses and injuries that could come. But, this year, they were in fantastic health and I am grateful. I’m thankful for my own health. I took on the marathon and was terrified that I was going to get injured for pushing myself so hard, but I didn’t.

In these tough economic times, I am grateful for my job. Things have been crazy hectic, but I am so happy to have my job and actually get to do what I love. I work for a great company that lets me work out on company time, and I have a lot of friends at work.

I am thankful for the animals in my life. I love my rather disagreeable and very neurotic black cat Macbeth (Mac) to pieces. He brings me joy every single day. I also love my “adopted” pets, aka my parents’ pets. Animals are an amazing blessing in life. They love unconditionally and always know when you need cheering up and snuggling.

I am thankful for my passport full of stamps. My parents instilled a love of travel in me by taking me on a plane at just 2 months old and getting my first passport to go to Rome at age 2. I’ve gotten to see so many breathtaking things on this incredible planet. This past summer I went to Israel for the first time and it definitely changed my life. I am thankful I have freelance work that allows me to go on these amazing vacations, and I’m thankful I’ve always been kept safe.

I’m thankful for my house, my car, food on my table, clothes in my closet, and money in my bank account. But, one of the things I am most thankful for this year is the marathon. The marathon changed my life. It absolutely made me a stronger, much more confident person. Before the marathon I would have never asked my boss for a raise or promotion. I was just too intimidated by it. After the marathon, I had no problem negotiating a raise at work. Before the marathon, I would doubt myself and my abilities when a new challenge came up. Now, I see everything as something I can accomplish no matter how much work it takes.

Those 26.2 miles were the best thing that happened to me this year. Whether I ever do one again or not, they will always be a part of me and something I will be eternally grateful for. I am a changed person having gone through that experience and it was definitely the stuffing on the turkey this Thanksgiving.