Mind is Everything

July 31, 2007 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Goals, Marathon training | 4 Comments

It’s true:  your mind is everything, especially when it comes to running.

Yesterday, my marathon training schedule called for an 8 mile run.  Feeling a bit trepidacious because of my intestinal issues, I set out.  Pay close attention to what I’m about to say:  my mind had convinced my body that I wouldn’t have a good run.  Guess what?  It stunk.  I ran the distance but I felt like I weighed 300 lbs.  When I finished I was discouraged.  Is this what I’m destined to?  Struggling to maintain an 8:34 pace for 8 lousy miles when I used to fly effortlessly over this distance at an 8:00 pace singing as I flew?

As the day progressed, I began to think about the power of the mind and how it has carried me to the finish line in 6 marathons.  (Let’s face it, few of us feel super at mile 23!)  I came to the conclusion that I would take extra careful care of my health and focus on feeling well. 

With a new resolve this morning, I laced up my shoes and set off on a new running route around the city of Rochester.  I decided that I would just focus on the pleasure of running instead of pace.  Guess what?  I had a great run!  Although I didn’t run fast, my body felt good for the 5.12 miles I covered at an 8:24 pace, and I finished with a smile on my face. 

It occurs to me that mental will needs exercise, just as legs and hearts do.  From now on, I’m going to train my mind just as carefully as I train my body!

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The Skinny on Running

July 31, 2007 at 3:29 pm | Posted in EAting, Marathon training, running | Leave a comment

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“Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?”   –Shakespeare, Twelfth Nightchocolateheartcakefront1.jpgchocolateheartcakefront1.jpg

Yesterday, a friend with whom I hadn’t spoken in a while called to chat.  A few minutes into our conversation she shared with me that she had started training for a marathon, but had abandoned running because it was “making her fat.”  I thought my teeth would fall out when I heard that statement!  Instead of laughing hysterically in her ear I patiently listened to her rattle on about how she gained 5 pounds from running and her thighs became “huge”. 

Of course, I had to ask her if she’d altered her eating patterns since running.  She explained that she was eating more carbs but that was her only change.  Now, I had to know what kinds of carbs she was eating, and she said lots of bread, some cookies, a candy bar here and there, ice cream.  But she was running; she should have been able to eat whatever she wanted, right?  WRONG!!

As I understand it, to lose weight one must consume fewer calories than when burns.  Really, it’s quite simple:  calories in, calories out.  So, if my friend wanted to eat candy bars and cookies and lose weight, she would need to be sure that she ran enough miles to equal out her simple sugar consumption.  (I believe that you burn about 100 calories for each mile you run, give or take a few depending on how much you weigh.)

I’ll never understand people who say that exercise makes a person FAT!!  It’s overeating that does that!  Additionally, it’s extremely important for an athlete to eat the right kinds of foods:  whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins, etc.  Last I checked, cookies and candy bars were not on the recommended list.

Of course, we all enjoy a treat now and again, but if you’re enjoying too many treats too often, you will see the scale rise. 

Training Week for July 23 – July 29

July 30, 2007 at 12:37 am | Posted in Gratitude, running, Training | 2 Comments

What a beautiful day we enjoyed in Rochester, a perfect day for a run!  I’m so thankful that I was able to run today, even if I ran slowly.  It’s amazing how much I appreciate running, and it’s equally amazing what it does for my spirit.  Like nothing else, running helps me to focus on all of the wonderful blessings I have in my life.  And that’s just what I did on my easy 10 miler today:  I counted each of the people and things in my life for which I am deeply grateful. 

I won’t bore you with my list (this would be a terrifically long post if I did), but I will share with you my training for this week.

Monday, July 23 – 8.2 miles in 1:09:18, 8.27 pace.  Semi-long run at an easy pace.

Tuesday, July 24 – Morning = 5.3 in 44:49, 8.27 pace.  Evening – 3.25 in 24:40, 7:50 pace.  Double session day.

Wednesday, July 25 –  5.4 miles in 46:40, 8:38 pace.  Easy day.

Thursday, July 26 – Rest due to illness.

Friday, July 27 – Rest due to illness.

Saturday, July 28 – Rest due to illness.

Sunday, July 29 – 10.25 miles in 1:27:55, 8:34 pace. Long run.

Total miles run this week:  32.15

Total miles run this year: 1,026.20

Ladies, This One’s For You!

July 24, 2007 at 9:54 pm | Posted in running, running clothes | 2 Comments

If you’re a man, you may want to click out of this post right now before reading any further.  Sorry, guys, but this post is intended for ladies only.

Okay, gals, I just got home from shopping for new sports bras, and I’m so frustrated!  Why can’t manufacturers seem to make a decent bra for small-breasted women?  (Okay, so I’m tiny breasted – I am who I am!)  Literally, I spent over an hour looking for sizes.  There were many to choose from if you’re a 36C or 34B.  In fact, I didn’t see one 32 in the bunch!  So, I looked at the XS and S size bras and even tried on everyone in the store.  Sizes varied from manufacturer to manufacturer with Champion XS bras running ENORMOUS to some Nike XS fitting pretty well.  Well, I really only found 2 bras that fit out of the entire store.   But I have to ask:  How many of you, when you go bra shopping, buy a size 0 bra?  Isn’t that number, or numbers like it, more commonly seen in pants and skirts? 

Larged-breasted ladies, I’m sure you experience the same frustrations, only from a different perspective.  A perspective I’ve never enjoyed except when breast feeding! 

I suppose I could try one of our top-dollar running stores, but why bother?  I’m sure they have just the same bras there and I’ll run into just the same frustrations!

As a side note, this morning I ran 5.3 miles and I’m about to run another 3 before cooking dinner (it’s 5:30 in NY). 

New Shoes

July 24, 2007 at 11:54 am | Posted in running, Training | 1 Comment

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Isn’t it amazing how the smallest of life’s necessities can bring you so much joy?  I’m talking the really small stuff like a good cup of coffee enjoyed with a dear friend, a delicious salad, a great read.  Well, in this post I’m really referring to my new pair of running shoes.

Sunday I went to my favorite running store and purchased new shoes.  For years now I’ve run in Brook Adreneline and they’ve been great for me.  However, my store was out of the Adrenelines in my size.  So, what was I to do, especially when my feet were screaming for new shoes?  Well, the answer turned out to be simple:  buy the Brooks Trance, of course. 

These shoes are advertised as the ultimate in cushion and stability control, and I will tell you, they definitely do feel cushiony.  I tested them out yesterday on my 8 mile run.  On the negative side, the toe box is quite narrow.  So, if your foot is wide you may need to go up 1/2 a size as they’re a much snugger fit than the Adrenelines. 

It’s 7:50 am in Rochester and I’m just about to lace up my new shoes for their second run on my feet.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Good grief, I’m tired!

July 23, 2007 at 12:36 am | Posted in Marathon training | 1 Comment

Today I did something extremely unusual for me – I slept until 7:45!  When I struggled to open my eyes and focus on the time, I let out a quiet gasp.  I just couldn’t believe that I’d slept so long.  Typically, I’m up by 5:30 in the summer and 4:30 during the school year. (Yup, you guessed it; I’m a teacher.)

Driving home from mass today I tried to determine what was causing my fatigue.  Duh!  I ran nearly 15 miles yesterday on top of the arduous 5.4 mile hill work on Friday!  Running that far that hard (for my long run I clocked an 8:40 pace, including walk/drink breaks) will tire out a body.

There’s a reason why so many people start out with great intentions to train for a marathon but few actually make it to race day (I’m not talking injury) – IT’S HARD WORK!!  (I’m praying right now that I don’t get injured.)  Typically, the first two weeks of marathon training are exciting, especially if you’re training with a group or a partner.  But after a month or so, it gets tougher and tougher to complete those long runs.  (By the way, a partner really does help – I wish I had one!)

Although my legs aren’t very sore today, my body and mind are.  I’m sure you know the feeling – the one where you feel as if you’re walking around in a fog all day and all you want to do is take a nap.  Unfortunately, there is little time for napping when one has a family and a home.

Today I’m convinced more than ever that marathoning is all about self-discipline.  Even when you’re dragging you still must put in the time.  So, tomorrow I’ll wake up and run my 8 miles and remember to smile!

Training Week for July 15 – July 21, 2007

July 21, 2007 at 7:39 pm | Posted in Goals, Marathon training | Leave a comment

Wow! After reviewing my running log, I can’t believe how much I ran this week! The following is what I did.

Sunday, July 15  – 13.2 miles, 3.1 miles (race) at 8:04 pace, 10.1 miles at 8:31 pace. 

Monday, July 16 –  8.2 miles at 8:26 pace.

Tuesday, July 17 – Speed work – 5.25 miles at 7:37 pace.

Wednesday, July 18 – Morning5.4 miles at 8:09 pace. Evening – 3.25 miles at 8:28 pace.

Thursday, July 19 – REST!!

Friday, July 20 – Hill Workout – 5.4 miles at 8:31 pace.

Saturday, July 21 – Long Run – 14.35 miles at 8:47 pace.

   Total Miles this Week = 54.95 (That’s a lot of miles!)

    Total Miles this Year = 994.05

Anticipation of the L-O-N-G Run

July 21, 2007 at 2:48 am | Posted in Marathon training | Leave a comment

It’s Friday night, my children are out with friends (one is standing in line for the new Harry Potter book), and I’ve just finished vacuuming.  Now, it’s time to plan for tomorrow’s long run. 

One thing about marathon training that I’ve learned (I’ve run 6 marathons) is that you must put in lots of miles 1 day a week.  So, tomorrow is my long run day, and I’ll be running 14 miles. 

When you start running more than 13 miles, you must plan for your run.  For instance, where will your water stops be and how far apart will you space them?  From where and to where will you run?  How will you know how far you’ve run?  When should you ingest some GU or Power Gel? 

Having a GPS really makes clocking the miles a snap.  Therefore, I’ll run my favorite route along the canal, beginning from my son’s high school.  I think I’ve figured out the water stops.  Now, I just have to get the GU packed in my little running pack.

I’m a bit worried about this distance, not because I don’t think my legs or cardiovascular system are strong enough, but because of my foot.  Back in early May I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and, while it’s much better, I do feel twinges in my heel and instep from time to time.

I’ll give this distance a shot, though.  If I need to, I can always cut it short or walk.  Untill after tomorrow’s run…good night!

The Power of Goals

July 19, 2007 at 11:29 pm | Posted in Goal setting, friends | Leave a comment

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While I was out running yesterday, I ran into a friend and ended up running with him.  Boy, I was grateful to have someone to run with as I was TIRED and his camaraderie kept me moving.  Anyhow, later in the afternoon I got to thinking about one statement that he made.  It went something like this, “I was telling my wife that I had a goal to run stronger. ” (I think he was talking about running longer races – can’t quite remember.)  His wife’s comment was something to the effect of, “Why?  You’re not going to the Olympics!”

How many of you serious runners have heard this before?  I have on many occasions.  To the average (dare I say normal!) person who doesn’t run or doesn’t run seriously, setting goals to be faster, run further, run more often seem silly.  But I ask you, why?  Why is it silly to want to do anything worthwhile better?

Setting running goals can benefit individuals in so many ways.  For one thing, setting running goals and sticking to those goals improves one’s self-discipline and not only in the area of physical fitness!  If you’re disciplined enough to get up at 4:30 in the morning to run 8 miles before work, you’re probably disciplined enough to do just about anything. 

Additionally,working toward a specific (or several) running goal(s) will improve your focus and teach you to become single-minded.  Of course, running more will dramatically improve your fitness levels, and as an added benefit, keep your waistline trim.  Now tell me, who doesn’t want to look great? 

I’ve included a picture of myself being award 2nd place in my age group (40-44) this last February for a series of winter races held in Rochester, NY called the “Freezeroo Series”.  Prior to December 2006 when the first of these races began I didn’t think I really wanted to race during the cold, harsh winter months.  But I set a goal to run all of the series and I did, even though there were many days when I just didn’t feel like battling the frigid temps and gusty winds to do so.  In the end, the perseverence paid off!

Realizing your dreams takes a great deal of determination and hard work, sometimes even sacrifice.  However, I’ve never known an individual who was sad when he or she achieved his or her goal.  So, set goals, work hard, and attain! 

Might as well face it you’re addicted to running!

July 17, 2007 at 8:11 pm | Posted in Running addiction | Leave a comment

So, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, running is like a drug.  Once you start, you just can’t stop!

At the start of my run yesterday I thought that I’d run 5 miles.  But as my feet got moving, my blood plumping, my heart beating, and my endorphines releasing I realised that 5 just wouldn’t cut it.  So, I ran 8.2 and loved every step of the journey.

I’m beginning to think that the key to a good run is to begin slowly.   A slow, easy pace allows your body to warm-up and prepares it, I think, to work harder.  At any rate, this proved to be true for my run yesterday.

Tonight I may race in a 1 mile event at Rochester Institute of Technology.  Does anyone have any advice for me on how to run a 1 miler?  I’m such a long distance fanatic that I’m really uncertain as to how to run such a short distance! 

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