Spring Has Sprung

April 6, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Posted in Cycling, friends, running, Training | 2 Comments

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 29Swim 1800 yards. (40 minutes)

Tuesday, March 30Run.  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 2Bike.  45 miles in about 3 hours including stops.  Run for 30 minutes. (3 hours 30 minute).

Saturday, April 3Rest.

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)

 

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Reflections

November 9, 2008 at 6:27 am | Posted in Encouragement, friends, Happiness, health, running | Leave a comment

“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.

steamtown-girls

Should you go farther than 20?

September 8, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Posted in friends, Long Run, Marathon training, running | 3 Comments

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?

Steamtown, Here We Come!

August 8, 2008 at 5:17 pm | Posted in friends, Marathon training, Steamtown Marathon | 1 Comment

One of my goals for this year is to travel with friends to marathons.  For too many years I’ve gone alone to wonderful races in wonderful places, and while I loved the marathon itself, I longed for the companionship of friends and fellow runners. 

My wish is being granted!  On October 12, 2008 my girlfriends, Karin, Amy, Carolyn, and I are running the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA.  I’m so excited!  We’re heading to Scranton on Saturday and returning Monday morning.  This is just exactly what I’ve dreamed of for so, so long!

With our spirits high in anticipation of the marathon, we set out for our 18 mile run last Saturday with 4 other women.  What a wonderful run we enjoyed!  I typically run with men and, I must admit, it was great to go with all women.  We ran the first 13 miles at an easy pace and laughed and talked and I even sang them a few tunes. 

For the final 5 miles, Kathy and I picked up the pace to an 8:35 and finished our final mile at an 8:04 pace.  While this wasn’t easy and not much chatting was occurring, it was a great workout.

This Saturday calls for 19 miles.  Really, 19 doesn’t sound all that bad to me.  When I’m with friends, the time just seems to fly by.  For years I ran every run alone and I missed so much.  I’m so thrilled to have friends who share my passion for running and actually don’t mind spending 2 or 3 hours on Saturday morning sweating with me!

Boilermaker 2008 Photos

July 18, 2008 at 8:19 am | Posted in 2008 Utica Boilermaker 15k, friends, Fun | Leave a comment

Just want to post a few photos from my new favorite race.  The first is of me running somewhere along the course.  Sneaky photographers!  I didn’t ever see them.

Then, there was the finish where I was silently cheering, “Yeah!  Time to party!”

Finally, time to drink, laugh, and dance with friends!

Utica Boilermaker 15K Road Race

July 14, 2008 at 5:42 am | Posted in 2008 Utica Boilermaker 15k, friends, Fun | 3 Comments

All I can say about the Boilermaker is WOW!  What a party!  This race is awesome, amazing, totally fun!  If you’ve never experienced the Boilermaker, what are you waiting for?  (I know for some of you it’s a long, long way from home.)

This race has it all:  live bands, llamas, belly dancers, Irish dancers, Polish dancers, DJs, rock music, rap music, folk music, water, popsicles, BEER, and best of all, FUN!  The course is no joke, however.  If I knew how, I’d copy the elevation map into this post.

Lately I’ve experienced some very serious health issues (a severe vitamin deficiency and nutritional problems) that have left me very weak and very easily fatigued.  So, I purposed in my brain that today would be all about fun.  Boy, did I have a super time!  I talked and joked with people I didn’t know on the course, I stopped danced to some one of my favorite songs, I ate popsicles, and I high-fived lots and lots of kids and spectators.  (Did I mention that half the town comes out to cheer on the runners?)

After the race, there’s a great party with a very good live band and all the Saranac ice cold beer you can drink.  I danced, laughed, sang, and drank with my friends.  What a great day!

This 15k was more fun than any marathon I’ve ever run.  Maybe it was the party atmosphere or my friends or maybe the fact that I just treated it as a training run.  Whatever the reason, it was great and it would be great if you could come and run this 15k with me next year!

Harborfest 10k

June 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm | Posted in friends, Racing, running | 2 Comments

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.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

May 11, 2008 at 3:59 pm | Posted in 1, friends, Mother's Day | 4 Comments

She is very touching in her sweet little marks of affection.

 

Once or twice, when I have seemed unhappy about little things,
she has come and held up her little mouth to be kissed.
Last night I was in pain, and made a sort of moan.
She was lying by me, apparently asleep;
but as if her gentle instinct of love prompted her even then, she pressed to me, saying, ‘Kiss, Mama,’
These are trifles, but how very precious may the remembrance of them become.
Elizabeth Gaskell

  

When I read Gaskell’s poem I remembered the many precious memories of my children when they were small.  The butterfly kisses, the dandelion bouquets, the “I love you, Mommy” whispers as sweet sleep settled on their little beings.  Where have the years gone? 

I miss my daughter so much today it hurts.  My son is home but working and busy with friends, just as a 19 year old boy should be. 

Flowers are nice – so, too, are cards and gifts.  But nothing can replace the time you spend with your mom.  Today, more so than ever, I wish that I could have a day with my children. 

If you’re a mom with little ones, cherish these days.  I know that they’re challenging at times, but someday you’ll long for the moments of little kid maddness. 

 Happy Mother’s Day to all.  If you’re able, hug your mom today. 

 

Love Yourself, Baby

May 5, 2008 at 4:21 am | Posted in Encouragement, friends, health | Leave a comment

“Love yourself, baby!” is what my friend, Loren, said as she left my home today at the conclusion of bookclub. Three powerful words that seem to be my mantra these days. I’m trying, Loren, really I am. But what does that mean? How does one truly love themselves without being a selfish, self-centered ass?

I’ve never written about my bookclub. Four years ago, several of my athletic, highly literate friends and I decided to start a bookclub. Once a month we meet to discuss our latest selection. (In case you’re wondering, we all take turns selecting a book.) We’ve read some excellent, excellent books and some absolutely terrible ones. Our discussions are always lively and insightful and even heated at times. Really, it’s an excuse for those of us who live on the eastside of town to get together with the westsiders and drink wine, eat, laugh, talk about books. GREAT FUN!

I always look forward to entertaining my friends when it’s my turn to host. I love to spoil them with delicious treats and excellent wine. Today I did put out some excellent food, but it was my friends who spoiled me. They each walked in with a favorite bottle of wine (all white as they know I don’t drink red), gifts for my birthday, big bear hugs, and kind sentiments. A few even teared up when they hugged me and said, “I love you and I’m so glad I can hug you.” (Guess they were all very concerned about my health.)

Although I live alone I’m really never alone. I know that I have many, many wonderful friends who love me very sincerely and want me to treat myself with a little more tenderness. Thank you, dear hearts, for loving me. You know that each of you holds a very special place in my heart. Yes, Loren, I will love myself but you must promise to do the same.

The 3.3 Mile 5k Race

May 4, 2008 at 5:25 pm | Posted in 1, friends, Racing, running | Leave a comment

This morning I set out to run my first 5k race since my surgeries.  Admittedly, I was feeling a bit trepidacious about it.  I’m certainly not the fastest runner at the races, but I can usually do okay (that is, depending on who shows up!).  I knew that today would not be a PR for me, not by a long shot, but I also knew that I needed to overcome my nervousness about racing.  The best way to do that is to race!

The 5k for Kenya was held in my town and the money collected was going to help build schools in Kenya.  That sealed the deal for me; I would run no matter how slow or fast I did it.  So, I lined up at the starting line with my friends Jean-Paul and Karin and with a few butterflies zipping around in my stomach.

The village of Fairport is such a quaint, peaceful little place, kind of reminds me of the town in the musical, The Music Man. While I enjoyed running around my town, I’ve got to tell you that I was seriously slow. I’m talking turtle-pace slow. Almost never do I run at anything over an 8:00 pace for a 5k, never. Not today, though. It was such a challenge to get my feet moving!

When I came down the hill to the finish, I couldn’t believe the time clock – 27:23! WHAT!! This was by far the slowest 5k I’d ever run! My mind was immediately flooded with disappointment. But then, my friends told me to look at my Garmin. The actual distance was 3.31 miles, not 3.1. It may sound silly, but I breathed an audible sigh of relief.

Later on I thought about how much importance I place on fitness. To some, it may seem ridiculous and self-centered. But after a lifetime of giving to everyone else on the planet and placing myself dead last, I think it’s time for me to do things that I enjoy, too. Racing is one of those things. While I know that I’m not the best on any course, I love working hard to be the best that I can be.

Next week, and for the next several weeks, there are many races in Rochester. I’m going to get back out there and try to run a little faster. If I can just keep working and remembering to be patient with myself, I’ll see improvement. Really, there is no hurry – I have a lifetime!

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