March went out like a lamb for Rochesterians. The weather in this neck of the woods has been exceptionally warm, sunny, and downright summerlike. Definitely a welcomed change!
I am so grateful to be able to go outside and play in the sunshine. Admittedly, I love the sun and I love to sweat in the sun…while working out, that is. There is nothing quite like throwing on a pair of shorts and running shoes and hitting the pavement. Awwww…spring!
Last week I enjoyed a great week of training. One of the highlights of my week was a 45 mile ride with my two buddies, Kirsten and Karin. This ride was really special to me for many reason. First and foremost, I spent time with two women whom I admire and love. Their happy spirits and courageous personalities challenge me to do new things and to stretch myself a bit beyond my current ability. Another reason that this ride was special was that Kirsten taught me to clip into my pedals, something that I’ve avoided for the past year. At first I was petrified to even attempt clipping in, but Kirsten patiently explained how to stop, how and when to clip in, when to clip out. I’m so happy to say that I DID IT and I didn’t even fall!!! THANK YOU, KIRSTEN!
I enjoyed another fun ride this week. For this ride I left my fancy Cervelo P2C home, and instead, took my Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike. I rode easy trails for the most part, except for one off-road path that was full of rocks, mud, and steep hills to climb. I became very frightened on this particular trail, hopped off my bike, and proceeded to swear! This behavior is not characteristic of me, not in the least. I guess I just need to get out and ride more trails to build up my confidence. Mountain biking is great for balance, though, and I do feel that I’ve worked my core when all is said and done. God bless my friend (who is an EXCELLENT cyclist) for staying right by my side and attempting to teach me the ins and outs of riding trails.
Here is my week of training:
Monday, March 29 – Swim 1800 yards. (40 minutes)
Tuesday, March 30 – Run. 8.5 miles of hill repeats. Swim. 1.5 hours of drills. (2 hours 45 min)
Wednesday, March 31 - Brick workout. Mountain Bike and immediately followed by a 5.25 mile run. (2 hours 45 minutes)
Thursday, April 1 - Run. 7.25 miles. First hot day in Rochester. Was supposed to do speed work but just felt too tired.
Friday, April 2 – Bike. 45 miles in about 3 hours including stops. Run for 30 minutes. (3 hours 30 minute).
Saturday, April 3 – Rest.
Sunday, April 4 (Easter) – Run. 6.2 easy miles. Have to push my long run to Monday, April 5 due to Church and Easter commitments. (53 minutes)
October 1st is here. To me, October signifies vibrant colors, crisp autumn morning, pumpkins, first frosts, happy runs with good friends. This year, October means so much more. It means a time to heal.
At times, life can be challenging, emotionally draining. Certainly, running and other physical activities do so much to help lift bruised spirits. But sometimes long, challenging runs aren’t enough. At these times, what works? I’m still searching for the answer to that question, although I think I know of at least one thing that helps.
I’ve discoved that focusing my mind what gratitude tends to relieve stress and unpleasant feelings. If I stop the negative, self-defeating thoughts and replace them with thankful ones I almost always feel better. I also find that visualizing what I want for my life fills me with a sense of peace.
I think it’s true: time does heal all. Now, it’s my time to open up my heart and allow the love and healing to begin.
“True intelligence operates silently. Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found.” – Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks. p. 7.
Recent changes in my life have caused me to stop and quietly focus on what’s important. Just thought that I’d share some of my realizations.
1.) Family should always be first. Is there anything more precious in this world than children? My daughter, my son, and my mother are three of the most wonderful human beings I am priviledged to know. I need to keep them number one in my life, no matter who else or what else enter.
2.) Joy is to be embraced. There will be times in my life (and in yours, too) when I’ll be on a mountain top. But there will also be valleys filled with pain and sadness. It’s okay to acknowledge hurt; in fact, it’s healthy. But I must make that short-lived and move on to joy. Joy comes from accepting what the universe gives me, from loving myself, from engaging in activites i love, from cherishing friends and family, from being present. Embracing joy is the greatest gift I can give myself.
3.) My friends really and truly love me. There are few things better than girlfriends. I need to thank my dear sisters who have stood by my side recently and shown me so much love. Thank you, Karin, Carolyn, Amy, Kathy, Molly, Lisa, Karen, Margaret, Ellen. I love you all.
4.) Running brings solace and releases endorphines that seem to make everything all right with the world if only for a few hours. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I LOVE TO RUN! When I run, I feel like I’m free. It really doesn’t matter how fast I run, I just love the feeling of sweating and hearing my feet hit the pavement. What a high!
5.) Cross training can be very satisfying and is very necessary. One of my goals for 2009 is to complete my first triathlon. However, I need to swim and bike in order to due that. I’m really enjoying spin class and I just recently bought new pedals for my bike and shoes so that I can clip in and ride more efficiently. Tomorrow I’m signing up for swim lessons and then I’ll join a swim class. It’s refreshing to add new sports to my routine.
6.) No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place. Every single person who enters my life is there to teach me something. It may take years for me to really understand the lesson(s). However, sometimes I know immediately what I am to learn.
7.) Although it may be difficult, it is so good for the soul to send love and light to someone who has hurt us or is hurting. The last thing I want is to be a bitter person who holds grudges. Therefore, I will continue to send love and light to those who’ve injured me in some way.
8.) Become passionate about a cause. If you’ve read my blog for a half a minute, you know that I’m passionate about running and yoga. What you don’t know is my passion for young people. Being a teacher is such a priviledge. I sincerely love my students and pray that they will be happy, healthy, well-adjusted teenagers.
9.) Have a goal. Dream about it. Envision yourself achieving it. Work toward it. Succeed! Enough said.
10.) Clean your house. Clean your spiritual house, your soul, that is. Take note of your fears, your insecurities, your hurt. Acknowledge those things, see them, feel them. Then, put them in a box and dump each box on the curb.
Above all, love yourself! Truly, you can’t love another until you love who you are.
Yes, that’s my question: Should you run farther than 20 miles during your marathon training? What are the benefits? I’d love to hear your opinions!
Saturday I ran an incredibly difficult almost 21 miles. My girlfriends and I ran up and down hill after hill and only stopped once to refuel our fuel belts. For me, it was one of those runs that just felt tough the entire way. You know, the kind of day when every mile is an effort.
What got me through this run was my mind. Somewhere around mile 13 or 14 I let a few negative thoughts creep into my brain. “I’m so exhausted! I just don’t have it today! I want to stop!” But then a little voice (I call it my yoga voice) broke in and said, “Hey, just be present. Right now your feet are moving and you’re doing it. Keep it up! Shine! Be present, be present.”
So, I kept going and finished in 3:06 and change. The mind is miraculous!
But I have to wonder, do you really need to go that far in training runs? Thoughts?
Without a doubt, my favorite cross-training sport after biking is yoga. Specifically, I love power vinyasa, a form of yoga that is practiced in a hot room. At my yoga studio, Breathe, the yogis are outstanding and spend a portion of class helping us set our intentions and reading pearls of wisdom from their book (don’t know the name).
This Wednesday evening, I went to Mary’s 7:00 class assisted by Michael. It was wonderful. Not only was it a challenging workout, it was also a great reminder to me to practice being mindful. Mary led us through a breathing exercises instructing us to, “Breathe in acceptance, breathe out gratitude. Breathe in peace, breathe out joy. Breathe in love, breathe out compassion.” All week I’ve practiced this: in my car while driving in heavy traffic, at school with my unruly summer school students, at home going about my daily chores.
Mary also instructed us to let our bodies move through our vinyasa without thinking too much about each pose. She said, “Put your shine on and flow!” I got to thinking about that phrase, “Put your shine on”, and I realized that it could be a wonderful mantra for running.
How many times I’ve allowed my mind to think negative thoughts while running! Too often I’ve thought, “Man, this is so hard today. My legs are so tired. My pace is so slow. I should be running so much faster” Instead, I should let go of my thoughts and let my body run, focusing on putting my “Shine on”.
So, what does it mean to “Put your shine on?” To me it means to happily run my miles with the strong legs and heart and lungs that God has so richly given me. It also means to love my run, to love myself, to smile, to enjoy where I’m at at this present moment and to not dwell on where I should be or where I want to be with my run.
Tomorrow as I run my long run I’m going to focus on putting my shine on! Where ever you may run, may you shine!
What a hot one! I started my 17 mile run at 6:00 this morning to avoid some of the heat. However, even at 6:00 a.m. it was 75°. How does that saying go…”That which doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.”
Given the heat and my health issues, I started at an incredibly slow 9:30 to 9:40 pace. It felt so slow that it was nearly like a fast walk. But now I see the importance of running slowly during a long run: I conserved my energy for the final 4 miles. In fact, I ran the final 4 at an 8:35 pace and I had to keep telling myself to slow down.
Well, I’m proud of myself for going the distance – 17.2 miles in 2:36:35. Now, time to relax and read a book!
I’m in a running slump. Lately, every time I lace up my running shoes and head out for a run, I have trouble. My entire body just feels drained and I have no spring in my step. What used to be a very easy pace for me, now feels challenging and leaves me exhausted. I’m also experiencing many, many problems with intestinal illness.
Help! If you’ve experienced similar problems, please comment on this post. I’m so discouraged and I just don’t know what to do. Really, I’m trying my best to take care of myself but I just don’t seem to be getting any better.
After yesterday’s fiasco at the 10k, I wasn’t going to run my long run this morning. However, when I woke up I felt considerably better; so, I made a pact with myself to run at a very easy pace with the understanding that I wouldn’t push my body to run the distance if I felt too tired.
With an attitude of gentleness, I set out for my run. The first two miles from my home to the Canal Path are all downhill and it’s always tempting to run these miles too quickly. Today I ran them easy (a break through for me!). In fact, I took the entire run slowly and was very conscientious of taking my Enduralyte tablets every hour and Hammer Gel every 45 minutes along with plenty of water.
Although I didn’t break any speed records today, I ran my 16.5 and felt pretty decent at the end. My time was 2:29:44.
Today I pulled one of the most idiotic moves in my life as a runner: I ran a race with the stomach bug. That’s right, I ran a 10k on one of most humid days ever this morning with severe stomach cramps and after getting sick twice before I left home. No, really, I’m not kidding. Yes, you read correctly. Let me repeat: I’ve never done anything (related to running, that is) as brainless before.
The first mile was okay, not great, but I was holding my own. Then, around the two mile mark I felt like I was going to drop. My legs cramped up, my stomach hurt, my body felt like a dishrag. But, there was no good place to exit the course and get a lift back to the finish. So, I kept plugging along, all the while feeling like I was about to collapse. With each mile marker I said, “Please God, let me get this over with quickly.” However, the race seemed anything but quick, especially when everyone began passing me. People I typically beat by 3 or 4 minutes spanked me today. It was so demoralizing.
Finally, the finish was in sight. I literally crossed the line and begged for water. I felt like passing out but, thankfully, I didn’t. Then came the chills. So, I left the race totally embarrassed and sicker than a dog.
What was my time, you ask? A humiliating 52:44. Learn from my stupidity: never EVER run with a stomach bug!!
One of my favorite races in Rochester took place Sunday morning: the Harborfest 10k. This race starts and ends (in the sand, I might add!) at the scenic Charlotte Beach. The atmosphere is festive, fun, and relaxed; the course is beautiful and challenging; the cost is a very reasonable $10. I just love this race!
This is a tricky little course with lots of twists and turns and one very steep but short hill. Of course, the sand finish slows you down significantly just when you’re really picking up the pace. Needless to say, this is not a PR course, but it’s a gorgeous course.
When I woke up Sunday morning, my legs were as stiff as boards and a bit achy. I think the 90 minute deep tissue massage I had late Friday evening caused the heaviness in my legs. So, when I got to the beach I decided to just let go of the idea of “racing”, opting instead to run at a comfortable pace and enjoy the day.
With my mind fixed on fun rather than time, I lined up to begin the race. I smiled at and chatted with many runners and ran an easy first mile in 8:00 flat. With heavy legs and an eager mind, I plugged on and started passing a few people, one of whom was a man who really didn’t want me to pass him. In fact, he pushed me and then said, “Pardon me, Madame.” Boy, was I glad that I beat him by a good 4 minutes!
Just before the half way point there’s a very steep short hill that most people opted to walk. Then, came a nice, long down hill that allowed me to make up some time. Around the 4 mile mark, I began to pick up my pace and get my stride. Before I knew it, there was the sign for 5 miles and my friend, Pete, yelling out my time – 40:45. I realized that I had indeed been running slowly, but, oh well!
The above picture of me was taken with about 3/4 of a mile to go. At this point I was feeling excited and ready to finish. But a challenge still lay ahead. I could see the finish and Ibegan picking up the pace, but, wait! I had to run around the bath house? I forgot about that!! Oh well! I told myself to shut up and run. Thankfully, my friend Darren was strategically positioned to encourage me to “move my feet” and then, a wonderful surprise. My new friend, Charlie, was standing right by the sand finish and cheered me on.
My time was a slow 50:44 but I had a ball. Sometimes it’s good just to go to a race and have fun.