Tag Archives: road running

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.

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Niner, Niner

10 Mar

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 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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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Running Trail

1 Mar

Before I delve into my post, I have returned. I’ve been so insanely busy, I had to take a break from blogging. Work, social life will do that to you I guess. I apologize for being MIA for so long. Even my exercise wasn’t very consistent, which was annoying. I feel much more back on track now and spring is around the corner, which always helps. I think I’m one of those seasonal affective disorder people as I tend to hibernate more in the winter.

Anyhow, I’ve been running for almost a year and a half now. I was never very good at it, but I liked it. It was a hard pill to swallow to not be good at it, but I kept at it. Since completing the marathon, I’ve found a new love for running. All the pressure of the race is gone, and I actually truly love it now. I run just to feel good and enjoy myself. I don’t look at my Garmin to constantly check pace. I just run and go with it. At the gym at work, I do speed training like I always have. I noticed some improvement, but nothing major. Still a slow penguin.

Last weekend, I went running with a friend who is getting ready to do her first half marathon. We decided to do a 6 mile run together, which was her first time going that distance. She led on pace, which was definitely harder than what I was used to. However, I was able to keep up surprisingly. After we turned around (we did an out and back of 3 miles each way), I got a second wind and was actually doing really well. I was even able to charge up some hills, which was a first.

I couldn’t believe it! Normally I end up walking the hills as my legs cramp up, but this was no biggie. We kept going until we finished our 6 miles. I finally checked the Garmin and we completed 6.03 miles in 1:17:21. I thought that seemed like a pretty fast time, but I wasn’t sure. When I got home and checked my running diary, my previous PR for 6 miles was 1:29:50. I had shaved 12 minutes off of my time! I wasn’t even trying! It just came naturally. I was so excited.

I finally, finally was getting to be a better runner. Maybe not great and never going to be fast, but this was a respectable time. So when I finally gave up trying to get faster and worrying about getting faster, I actually got faster!

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!

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!

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.