Tag Archives: race

We Are Boston

15 Apr

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.

The Marathon of Life

24 Jun

Well, I’m about a month into marathon training and have yet to do a super long run other than my first 6 miler. The state of Colorado is on fire and our air quality is so bad due to the smoke that county health officials are advising against outdoor exercise and activity. We’ve also been having record heat with high temps around 100 degrees and it already hitting 70 degrees at 5:00am. I’m doing speed and hill work on the treadmill and bulking up on strength training. Hopefully this is going to let up, and I can get outdoors soon. Luckily I have time before I really need to get hard core into training, but I don’t want to lose my half marathon base.

This past month has been extremely rough. My boyfriend, who has something do with special ops/CIA/top secret stuff was deployed on his mission, and I’ve been missing him horribly. I never know when I’ll hear from him and it’s been extremely scary on a day to day basis. I’m a control freak and obsessive planner, so this entire experience has been way beyond my comfort zone or realm of knowing what to do. Yesterday, I got an email from him and for the first time, he alluded that he was afraid and feeling hopeless. I didn’t know what to do.

I am trying to use my experience with the marathon to get through this. Granted I’m training again, but I’m really using my experience of the first race I went through to try to deal. I keep thinking that this is mile 20 when I’m hitting the wall and ready to die. I felt so hopeless and out of control at that point and didn’t think I could finish. I’m trying to use the energy and determination I channeled during that time now. I’m sending emails of encouragement and love to my boyfriend, never alluding to the fact that I’m terrified too. I’m trying to tell myself that if I can run 26 miles on a bad foot, I can help him get the strength to get through this and get through this myself. I’m trying to look at it as the next 7 months before he gets home are the last 6 miles of the race where you have to give it everything you’ve got and push through the pain to the sweet moment of victory.

I’ve said on several occasions that the marathon experience changed my life. It gave me a confidence I never knew I had and the ability to overcome a lot of obstacles in personal and professional life. Once again I am drawing on it to get through one of the most difficult things I’ve had to endure. I am trying to focus on my training for the Disney World Marathon in January, though Mother Nature isn’t completely cooperating. However, I know if I didn’t have running in my life right now, I wouldn’t be getting through this at all. When I’m scared and upset, I use it to push through. I use it to send him good vibes of love and safety so far away. And I’m using it to keep myself sane. Without running, I’d be eating up a storm and shopping until my credit card was maxed out.

When this is all over in January and he’s back home safe, and I’ve gotten another full marathon under my belt, I will once again be grateful to those 26.2 miles for saving me.

I ask for prayers and good wishes for the safety of my boyfriend, and if you can help at all with the Colorado fires, please visit www.helpcoloradonow.org. The brave firefighters, rescue teams and Red Cross are in desperate need of financial assistance.

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! 

The Running Cure

23 May

My boyfriend was deployed this past Saturday for 8 months. Needless to say it’s been horribly painful. Although the half marathon on Sunday helped quite a bit, each day apart has felt worse, not better. I was originally planning to take a week off from running following the race. I figured I needed the rest especially since I ran a long distance without training.

I decided to hit the gym today and just do some upper body weights and maybe a little bit of light walking or bike. I did my weights and headed to the treadmill for a slow walk. I was feeling especially bad emotionally today. This is the longest we’ve gone without connecting with each other and it’s likely to be another few weeks before I first hear from him. It was hitting me hard, and I really felt discouraged.

I walked slowly for about a quarter mile. The emotions started tugging harder and harder at my heart, and I found myself upping the speed on the treadmill. At first I just thought I’d do a light jog, but I found the faster I went, the better I felt. I ended up doing four quarter mile sprints in a row at 6.0 – 6.5mph. It was such an incredible release. I was fighting back the tears as I ran, but it felt so good.

I could only do four sprints as my legs were still pretty tired from Sunday’s race, but it was an incredible cure for today’s serious emotional blues. I felt such a high and sense of release when I was done. I felt hopeful about my relationship and getting through the next 8 months.

I think running is going to be my salvation during his deployment. So far, in the past five days, it has been my only true source of happiness and relief from this agonizing separation. I really think it is a cure for anything, the endorphins it produces are so powerful.

If someone told me years ago I’d use running to heal emotional pain, I would have laughed and probably popped a Prozac. But now I know it will help me get through this. Although now I’m feeling sad again, I know I can just hop back on the treadmill and let it all out tomorrow. And with each passing day, the pain will get easier and then will come the joyous day that he returns. Until then, I’ll be clocking in the miles.

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!

Stocking Shuffle 5K: PeRfect PR

10 Dec

After the marathon, I was feeling a bit lost. I had nothing to train for and very much had a “now what?” type of attitude. I’m planning to do several half marathons next year, but I don’t need to start training until January. I really needed a break from all the heavy running since my work life has been horrendously busy and the holidays were coming. However, I didn’t want to do nothing until January either. So I signed up for a 5K race here in Colorado Springs called the Stocking Shuffle.

It’s sponsored by a local running group and benefits a local charity that provides toys and food to needy families at Christmas. It was a great cause and it gave me some direction to keep up my running.

The race was this morning. Unlike all of my previous races (there isn’t that many—2 5Ks, half marathon and a full marathon), I wasn’t nervous. I was finally running merely because I wanted to. I didn’t train to set a PR and just figured I’d have fun with it. If I set a PR, it’d be a nice bonus, but I was really braving this cold December morning just because I love running and racing.

There were only about 150 – 200 participants, so it was nice and small. The purpose of the race was to raise money, not spend money, so there weren’t any fancy timing chips, one small water station and no mile markers. Crowd watching was fun as everyone was decked out in holiday themed gear. I donned a santa hat and red gloves, but otherwise stuck to my running clothes since it was super cold this morning.

The horn buzzed and we were off. I flipped on my iPod and just enjoyed my run/walk. It was a cold, but pretty morning and we ran through the campus of Colorado College, which is beautiful. There was one very steep hill, which coincided with a walk break on my run/walk cycle, so that was lucky. I only checked my Garmin once, which was after the 2-mile mark and the only water station. I’m not very good at math, so I wasn’t quite sure if I was on track to set a PR. I decided not to care and just keep going. I was trying to push my pace much harder than normal since was a short distance, but I wasn’t going to get hung up on it.

I finally saw the park where the finish line was located and checked my Garmin again. I was at 2.70 miles and 33 minutes. I thought to myself, holy cow, I could actually set a PR. I found my marathon finish line song, “Sing” by My Chemical Romance, on my iPod and I decided to book it. I started running harder and harder, which thankfully it was down hill at that point.

My previous PR for a 5K distance was 39:40, and today, I sailed through the finish line at 37:04. I was so excited! I hadn’t stressed or pushed myself or even cared about a PR, and I beat my previous time by over 2.5 minutes! It felt fantastic. I’m still definitely one of the slower runners, but I made huge strides today and I had so much fun with it.

I have to admit though that the finish line high for a 5K wasn’t the same feeling like a half or a full marathon. Could I be getting the bug again to take the plunge for a full? I promised myself I won’t attempt to do a full marathon for a full year. I’m going to work hard on my half races next year and see where I end up. But, maybe, those finish line sirens are calling.

 

The Incredible Power of Running

7 Dec

Before I became a runner, I had become a fairly decent athlete. I had worked out two solid years lifting weights, conquering the dreaded stairmaster, biking and the elliptical. So I had a good fitness base when I started running that made it easier from that side of it, but extremely difficult since I really wasn’t good at it. As I ran, more and more, I began to realize what an incredibly powerful sport it is.

Running affected me in a way far different from any other athletic activity I had ever tried. It was a powerful drive inside me that fueled me to take on new challenges. It gave me the most joyous feeling when a high would set in. It joined me together with people that I may have never otherwise talked to. The same could not be said for the stairmaster or the elliptical.

I’m a graphic designer and as part of my job, I work with different printers and their reps. Just a few weeks ago, I found out one of my reps is an avid runner. We immediately began bonding over our love for the road. It didn’t matter that he was a far better, faster runner than I was, we were joined together by this sport. We talked for nearly a half an hour about our training, races we’d tried and goals for the future. Today I was speaking with a freelance client, who is in the running industry, but it was still an amazing conversation about the power of this sport and how it changes lives.

We both knew that completing a marathon dramatically changed our lives. We knew what it was like to work hard and cross that finish line. We knew that no matter how bad a day was going, running could fix it, even if it was just a 30 minute jog. It is seriously amazing how this one sport that anyone with a pair of sneakers can do, can changes so many lives and join so many different people together.

Tonight I watched last night’s episode of the Biggest Loser. At the end of each season, contestants compete in a marathon. Completing a marathon is a monumental achievement no matter who does it, but seeing people who were 300 and 400 pounds do it just 5 months later is even more inspiring. I remember when I was overweight and couldn’t walk after my foot surgery, I watched the Biggest Loser marathons. I used to cry at the end when they finished as I longed to do the same. I was sad that I couldn’t run and sad about the state I was in with my weight.

After I initially lost weight and watched the episodes, I still cried because although I was thin, I couldn’t do what they did. The funny thing is that I had never had the desire to run a marathon until someone told me I couldn’t. Then one day I began to run. And today, I watched the episode as a marathon finisher. I still cried at the end, not because I was sad, but because I knew what immense joy those people were feeling and that no one would ever quite get it unless they’ve done a marathon too.

To share that bond with people I have never met shows the power of this fantastic sport. No matter what your body type or where you’re at in life, nearly everyone can run at least a little. So, lace up your shoes and hit the pavement. Feel the power of running and use it to change your life.