Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 a new runner's journey in review

Jen & Ang share victory at the Jersey Shore
I love me a New Year. So shiny, so new - so bursting with opportunity and "anything is possible-ness." A chance to look back at the previous year and appreciate the good, reflect on the bad and savor the great.

So as we count down the last few hours of 2010 I take this time to reflect on the 525,600 minutes that transpired for me:

The first few days of 2010 were tough, I lost my dear sister-in-law Ritzie from complications of diabetes. Her death was shocking and she passed way too early. Her passing reminded me that life is so short and that we must grab hold of our moments and take control of our health, the best we can. Her passing inspired me to continue on my weight loss journey.

January found me studying Jack Canfield, a self-help guru, who's book, The Success Principles really rocks. Through this book and its suggestions of writing out life goals - led me to putting "run a 1/2 marathon on the list..." Not sure where that came from, or if I was just filling space but there it sat on my life "to do" list.  The book urged to take action on your "to do." And while I took action on other things - that one just kinda sat there - alongside, go to the moon - it was kind of farfetched.

Come February, a best buddy of mine, Angela had just run the Surf City half marathon, and here that goal was on my list. On a whim I did a google search for New Jersey + half marathon and found The Jersey Shore half for May - I counted on my fingers - 4 months, a lifetime away - that sounds good. I don't know what came over me but without ever having run a day in my life, plunked down my credit card and signed up.  And so my running journey began.

With 42 days of training under my belt - I ran my first 5K on March 21st. And though my I huffed and puffed and had to run/walk/run those 3 miles - I crossed my first finish line - in 40:57. I held back tears - I might've well have just won the Boston marathon - I was so proud.

April brought training and more training - putting in the time and building up the miles to lead me to that big first race...

And on May 2nd, in record breaking heat and with my friend Angela (who flew in from LA to run this by my side) - I did it. I ran (and walked) my first 1/2 marathon. And a runner was born.

Later in May, I ran my second 5K with a good friend Frannie who was inspired by my blog to start her own running journey. She finished slightly faster than my 35:53 finish - a full five minutes better than my last 5K!

I struggled to find my running groove through June, July and August - the heat, a toe injury and a lack of something blocked my way.  Even with an upcoming September half marathon, I was off my game.

On September 27th, I ran my second half, again with Frannie and again she finished better. I ran strong until I hit a huge wall at Mile 10 -- I hobbled the last 3 miles and vowed "never again." What was the point? I was so disappointed with my 3:00 hour time, even though I had finished a full half hour better than the first one.

I was done. I would run for fun... No more marathons for me.

Yeah right - two days later, I signed up for the Jersey Shore half in 2011. Of course I did.

October was a nice comfy month of happy, easy running and feeling good - then in November...

November brought marathon fever - and the NY marathon. I got itchy. I couldn't get the idea out of my mind - maybe I should try to run a full - hmmm?  While pondering that, I crossed an 80 pound weight loss finish line, and ran my third 5K. I ran it in a pretty good PR time of 32 minutes - and knocked 9 minutes off from my first 5K! Jason named me a role model in his blog and it became official... I would run my first full marathon in San Diego.  And I got to training.

December brought long run days, learning to suck it up, dreadmill runs and snow... And today it brought my longest run ever - in fact my longest distance - I'd never even walked this far - 14 miles. And I did it in 2:41... Which is something I'm feeling pretty proud about.

And here's my New Year's toast to my fellow runners - I wrote it with an Irish accent in mind but use the accent of your choice ;)

Run with pride, may your shoelaces stayed tied, nice weather supplied and your heart your guide.


Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas, long run and being a runner

Well hello blog friends, I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas.

Things were nice here. I got my Under Armour (Yippee!) but I kind of hate how the pants fit (booo!) I'm going back to Sports Authority for a different cut or size... once I get out from under the mounds of snow that dumped on us. (Sadly, no run today but I did shovel a lot of snow that I'm counting as a cross training thing...)

Christmas Eve I awoke with a nasty head cold, a stressed out husband, a hyper toddler and a shit-load lot of stuff to do and the prospect of going for a long run sounded close to impossible but then I thought to myself, WWJD (that's right - what would Jason do) and I promptly got dressed for my long run. Runny nose, scratchy throat and weary glare from my husband and all.  I did it. 10 miles. An hour and fifty odd minutes of running... But here's what was tough about those 10 miles - not the guilt of leaving my overwhelmed hubby or the throbbing sinus headache, or even my frozen thighs or sweat soaked (shame on me, cotton tee shirt) - what bothered me was that I had to be the slowest runner in the park. I mean who would you expect to be in the park at 7AM, Christmas Eve morning at 28 degrees? Not slackers and joggers but serious athlete types - I ran with as much dignity as I could muster as lanky hardcore runners in tights flew by me and my lousy 11:50 something pace like I was standing still. The first few were fine but after a while I started to feel demoralized, like, even though I was doing something that was totally "athletic" like - running 10 miles while most were still snuggled in bed and with a nasty cold no less, I felt like a fraud runner who was once again the kid picked last in gym. I tried to pep talk myself, "I'm running ten miles!" "I'm 38, formerly massively overweight, never ran before 10 months ago in my life!" I told myself to stop comparing myself to 20 year olds who probably were running track since they could walk. The pep talk helped a little, but I was still bummed by being so slow and so outrun by everyone on the planet.

Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of my accomplishments even if I have a hard time accepting my limitations sometimes. My husbands attempt of trying to make me feel better didn't help, "Well, you're not a real runner, or an athlete... these people are "real" runners." OUCH. He's a non-runner. How do you explain to someone that once you start running like this, that all you are is a runner. How saying "You're not a real runner" is like the worst thing you could say. Ahhhh. I tried. Never mind.

It's OK, I know I'm a runner. I know it down to my toes. I got up and did an easy 3 miles on Christmas too - because I wanted to.  I even know that I might have more athlete in me. If I had more money, time and resources, I would be signing up for a tri now I know I would be... While right now is not the time, that's in my future.

I'm reading Dean Karnazes's book, Ultra Marathon Man (I actually met with him back in 2005 for a show development thing in a past job- long before running and before I knew him as a rockstar / running God.  Damn. If I'd only had that meeting now!) Oh well, anyhow, he gave me a copy of his book when we met and I dug it out of my old box of stuff and started reading it. It's an awesome book of inspiration - he talks a lot about running beyond physical and running with heart. Digging deep and never giving up.

I know I'm a runner because of that passion and heart. Running helps me to set goals, teaches me to dig deep, believe in myself and finish what I start. Sometimes you soar across a finish line, sometimes you crawl but get there and never give up. The desire to finish strong, the desire to take on the next big race and the ability to push ourselves beyond what we ever thought possible is what sets us apart from others. So I guess, though I might be the slowest kid in the park, at least I'm a kid who showed up at the park and will always finish the run, any run, one mile at a time.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Long run breakfast and tasty "hungry" day healthy dinner

When I was overweight, one of my favorite foods on earth were pancakes. But with little nutrient benefit and calorically high, it was one of the foods I've pretty much eliminated from my diet.

I developed this recipe for when I'm craving pancakes and I love it. I eat this on long run days because it really keeps me satisfied for a long time. They are low in fat, and have protein and carbs to keep you going. I serve with some fruit on the side.

For you weight watcher folks, they come in at around 6 points.

1/2 cup of quick oats (I pulverize mine in the magic bullet to make into an oatmeal flour)
1 egg
pinch of salt
1/2 packet of splenda (or your choice of sweetner)
a splash of any milk (maybe around 1/4 cup) I use lite vanilla flavored almond milk.
a pinch of baking powder

Combine ingredients and pour into a non-stick pan sprayed with a little pam. flip when the edges start to dry out.  Top as desired. I like them dry with fruit. For ease, I make one big pancake (a little smaller than a salad plate) or you can make two smaller pancakes. If you don't mind a lumpy pancake you don't have to "magic bullet" your oatmeal but I find them much better.

My favorite "I'm starving" dinner:

When I'm craving something hearty but relatively easy to make and healthy - I make this super easy turkey chili and serve over brown rice. Brown rice is easier than you think to make - I looooove this recipe:

Preheat oven to 375

1 baking dish
1 cup of brown rice
2 cups of hot water
1 tsp of olive oil
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients, cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven for about an hour. Voila, perfect brown rice. It make a few servings so I usually store the rest in the fridge or it freezes well too.

Over the rice - EASY turkey chili, I like this recipe because I usually have all these ingredients on hand.
2 tsp. olive oil
1 onion sliced
1 garlic clove chopped
1lb of lean ground turkey
1 can of kidney or black beans (drained)
1 jar of salsa (I like the black bean and corn salsa for this - but any will work)
hot sauce, salt, pepper other "chili" type seasonings to taste

Sautee onion and garlic for a few minutes the olive oil add ground turkey and brown. Add beans, salsa and seasonings and let it all simmer for around 15 minutes (or as long as you want.)

My serving size is 1/2 cup of rice topped with 1 cup of chili - comes to about 8 WW Power points.
I top with a sprinkle of low fat cheese, a dallop of low fat sour cream and a few hot jalepenos.

There's usually a lot of chili left and I freeze for another week - for a really easy future meal!

What's your fav. "I'm starving" meal?


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


OK, so I'm a few days late to the party, but I have to talk about The Kona 2010 Ironman competition.

I finally caught this in 50 parts or so on Youtube and talk about inspirational. Wow. The stories, the drive, the competition. I haven't even pulled off a long run of more than 13 miles but somewhere deep inside, I got that nagging - "I wanna try that someday..." feeling.  Why would I have that feeling? I haven't been on a bike since I'm ten and I haven't really swam a lap in a very long time. Though, anything is possible. I never ran for a minute in my life before last February and if a year ago today you told me that I would be a running loving fool training for a marathon, I would've told you that you were insane in the membrane, insane in the brain.

But here I am. I'm 38 maybe I'll try for a tri for my 40th birthday and see how that goes... I have some time. ;)

Anyhoo - if you missed the Ironman - you can find it on youtube. It's pretty awesome.

It's totally  heartbreaking to see the guys who don't make cutoff in time, I can only imagine how crushed I would feel in their shoes for that to happen.

Anybody know of any Ironman training blogs to follow that I might be missing? Now I'm really piqued.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Darkness, a gang of cats and tequila will not stand in my way!

YAY me!

I'm so happy, yesterday I had a long run day planned for 13 miles. This would be the longest I've ever attempted to run without walking. Both marathons I ran/walked and never in my wildest dreams during either of them, did I think I'd ever be in a place to be able to run for 13 miles straight.

In fact, during/immediately after my last half (which was only this past September) I vowed, "never again..." never again would i attempt to run/walk 13... and HA - what do you know, not only did I attempt it but it was "just another day at the office," it wasn't for a big deal race, just a little Saturday training. :) And I RAN the whole time. (Oh and by the way, my first 1/2 attempt took 3:30 to finish, my last 1/2 marathon took me 3:03 to finish - my 'slowish' training/non racing 13 I did in 2:36...)  clap, clap, clap.

But what has me even more happy than the actual running of the 13 miles is the finding a way to make it all happen. The ability to dig for follow through... and follow through is the best habit I've cultivated during this whole thing... Two instances of it:

I went to Atlantic City for a few days this past week and had 2 miles planned for Friday morning. It was only 2 miles (thank goodness) but I was partying it up, Jersey girl style - in a very non-athletic way. I didn't get "too" drunk but lemme just say, Corona's and tequila was a-flowin' - I definitely was cutting a rug and fist pumpin' right alongside a few Snookie wanna-be's. When Friday morning rolled around and my friends were sleeping or getting geared to hit the black jack tables, what was I doing? Cursing that last tequila shot and lacing up! I hit the gym and though I'm sure reeked like a frat boy during rush week, I knocked out my run - and even had a respectable pace.

And then there was yesterday's 13 miles.

I still wasn't feeling awesome (Jeeze, I can't party like a rock star like I used to) And I had a lot to do. I had my Weight Watcher meeting (where despite my AC trip, I still managed to lose almost a pound - yay!) I had some blogs I had to post for my blogging gig and I had a sick husband who needed a big afternoon nap - so I had to watch our son. But I knew I was going to have to run my long run.

Finally, my husband got up around 2:15 pm. By the time I got my compression socks on, filled my water  bottles, kissed the baby and did everything else it takes to get me out of the house, It was 2:30 - I knew that I was going to need just shy of 3hrs for this run and was concerned about light. It takes me about 10 minutes to get to my fav. long run park. It took me longer thanks to traffic.  Got to running around 2:50 - cutting my light close... The park doesn't have any lights along the path and lots of the path is surrounded by dense woods. I was worried, and then about 4 miles in, it occurred to me, just run five miles out and five miles back - if I still had light I could run back out in the park 1.5 and back and if I didn't, I would run around the little town right outside of the park.

Well, by 4:30 it was pretty dark, so turning around at 5 miles instead of stretching it out was a great call. I wound up running the last 3 miles in pitch darkness around town which was far safer/less eerie than the park.

Seriously? A tequila reference and a cat... perfect
I had to run about .25 into the park to get back to my car and it was DARK plus, it seems like a million cats had come out of nowhere - there were all of these little fuzzy things with eyes all over the grass just sitting there watching me run back to my car. OK then. Who knew that this underground gang of cats that only came out at night existed?

In any case, I did it - I got that long run in. I didn't make excuses, I didn't skip the whole run, because, "why bother, I won't have time to run the whole 13" or, "my husband is sick, I should really be around for him and I didn't even go back to my car at 10 miles (at some point I considered it, "since it would be too dark to see and that's still a decent long run) I did it and the ability to problem solve, push the excuses aside and follow thru has been a great gift of this journey.


PS: I didn't feel even a third of the soreness I felt during the half runs. I elevated and iced the legs a bit because they felt a little crampy and used...
PSS: I've noticed my blog posts are getting lengthy, are they too long? You can tell me. I can stop some of the rambling, I suppose.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making peace with the treadmill

Today was another 6 miles on the treadmill - I could've bundled up but decided against it. Now that it's below freezing my crappy, half-assed, outdoor gear isn't going to cut it so I'm counting down the days to Christmas for when I get my under armour - pretty sure that I'm getting this because I literally told my hubby that's what I want, here is where you can get it and HERE IS A COUPON for it.  So if I get a pair of earrings or some perfume, well. I will try not to be a total biotch and will try to be totally appreciative of "the thought" but I'll be upset to be without the gear.

Anyhoo. Today was a successful six miles on the treadmill. I count them successful not because they were the speediest - (I think it worked out to an 11:30 pace) but because I didn't totally hate every minute of it. In fact, I enjoyed it.  

I figured out the secret... I have to slow down. Yep. Slow down.

When I'm outside I run faster for whatever reason, I do not clock watch, when I'm feeling good I pick up the pace when I'm pushing too hard I slow down - it's all intuitive.  

On the treadmill, I'm trying to figure it out. I WANT to run fast - especially because my thinking is - A) I should be faster, B) The faster I am, the quicker I can get off the f'in dreadmill and C) I want to be faster. 

The great thing about cyber hanging out with all of you elite athletes is I learn a ton, I get tremendous inspiration, I see what I wanna be when "I grow up." The downside is - I can't help but feel like a slug when you people are smashing 26.2 in 3:20's - or I see your drills of 7 & 8 min miles or your warm ups as my best effort (around 10 min mi.) I am competitive and apparently, a closet athlete (who freakin' knew) and I want to be awesomely impressive with speed  - which I am. For me.  I have to remind myself that Rome wasn't built in a day - 10 months ago I never ran more than a minute in my life and that minute was run around a power walk of 4.0 - so I've come a long, long way. And that's something to be happy about.

Back to the treadmill, so in the past I would really push myself to run at a 6.0 because I wanted to go fast and I felt like I could handle it. I could for a mile or two but when I have to run for 6 miles, what happens at that speed is that I get SUPER HOT (not in a good way like red face, frizzy sweaty, gonna die way) and I guess I use a lot of steam - so by the time 3 miles roll around, I'm spent, cranky, hating life and not motivated to continue, I have to dramatically slow down anyway and the great pace is killed anyway. It just wasn't working for me. Part of the problem was, yes, it's more boring but I also always feel overworked. So today I decided to slow down and now worry about it. I ran at 5.0 - I would inch up to 5.5 and 6.0 for short spells here and there but many of the miles (especially the first 3) were right around 5.0... I still worked up a sweat, it still was effort but I wasn't dying or hating life. So I guess that's the way to go for me.

I'm going on a girls trip for two days - probably won't be around until Saturday, will let you know how that long run of 13 miles goes! (I'm considering it my own mini 1/2 marathon...) 


Monday, December 13, 2010

OMFG What if?

OK, so I did that long run day last Friday and since then, I've been mentally struggling. It was cold that day and my thighs took a few days to thaw out. I was super proud of that run but it wasn't easy. Not mentally or physically.

Which made me go check out the upcoming weeks of training- this week I go from 4 training days to 5 and it looks like this:

6mi (done today), 3 mi, 6mi, rest, 2mi, 13mi...  The week after that (Christmas) I'm scheduled to run on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day... Later, I'm running 14 miles on New Years Day, etc...

All of the sudden, I got dizzy. All these miles, all these "what ifs" what if it's snowing, what if I can't find the time to run 14 miles, what if my husband gets ticked that I have to figure a way to long run on Christmas? What if I have to do a long run on a treadmill? What if, what if, what if.  Some of them are imagined and some are real. 14 miles? 18 miles? What if I can't do it?

The last few days I've begun to question this journey. "Why couldn't I have stuck to half marathons? Why do I have to be so public about everything - now there's no turning back. UGH. Why did I already pay the entry fee?" These are the voices I've been fighting in my head.

Today I ran six miles. I feel good that I did but you would've thought I was running 100 miles with how hard the motivation was for me to find today. I actually went to the gym because it's kind of crappy out. I ran for 3 miles on the treadmill and was losing steam - I literally jumped off at mile 3 and took it to the street for the last 3.  That was a good move and I didn't give up. I don't give up. Very proud of that last 3 miles because the old me would've quit and went home, the new me works thru these moments.

I guess the biggest what if for me is, "What if I fail?" The ugly voices nag, "What if you can't?" 

I'm sure there's a hundred psychological reasons why I'm going thru this and probably a few physical ones too. Fear, doubt, laziness, habit. Who knows?

But in reflecting on this lull in motivation I've come up with some things to grow on:

1. I will stop looking ahead to what's to come in training and like any good recovery/self help member - take things "one day at a time" and "one mile at a time."

2. I am an athlete. And as such, some days, I will find training the best thing on earth and somedays I'm going to have to get out there, suck it up and just do it.

3. I don't quit. And this is my journey - thru these tough times is where you learn what you're made of. It's easy to do things when everything is clicking - the sun is shining, it's a perfect 60 degrees, all of your power songs are charged and there's nothing else to do but run. But that's not always reality. Real winners persevere when the going gets tough - anyone can do anything when it's all sunshine and rainbows. Winners did deep and find the motivation to go no matter what obstacles come their way.

4. I've never regretted a day of running - not ever. I know that this is something I will do forever - I don't want to go back to a goal-less, unmotivated, overweight, unhappy, non-blogging person. I love this new life but like anything in life worth having, takes effort.

Jason wrote this great blog today (thank you - helped get me out there) and spoke about a cool book that I need to pick up. In this book, the author speaks about stotanism:
"The definition, according to Mr  Burfoot, is that stotanism is about toughness, though it doesn't imply an insensitive, superman approach.  The stotan must be willing to stand on his own, to resist pain, to stick to his ideals.  A stotan is quietly self-sufficient.  He accepts the challenges of training, injuries, races, and disappointments without complaining, because he understands that simply by keeping on, by sticking to the path he has chosen, he will get stronger and better."
Needless to say with all the whining, my blog is the anti-stotan today but this idea has stuck with me and I take away the part that says, "simply by keeping on, by sticking to the path he has chosen, he will get stronger and better."

So for now I'm aiming for half the definition. I have faith and belief in that I will get better and stronger by sticking to the path.

I mean, seriously, what if?  What if I succeed? What if I get through this whole winter of training - dreadmills, snow and all? What if I dare to be my best? What if I run 26.2 miles? Who knows... but I can only get "better and stronger" for the effort.



PS: Do you ever feel like this? How do you get your groove back?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Long Run Friday report - 12 miles and lots of smiles

Eh, I'm tired. Kind of fits this post - no?
12 miles and I'm happy to report, I'm still standing, well kind of, I've actually decided to throw on some flannel pj's and write from the comfort of bed.  I will probably remain here until about 20 mins before my hubby comes home from work, at which time, I will power clean everything up, throw food on the stove and act as if long run day hadn't completely rendered me useless.

Oh well. That's how it goes. I look forward to the day where 12 miles is just my "usual" morning run but for me, it's still pretty hard core. In fact. it's very hard core. It's the first time I've ever actually run for 12 miles straight. The goal of my last two 1/2 marathons was to finish. So I pretty much ran/walked/crawled those 13.1 miles... there was no inkling that I'd ever run for 13 miles straight... I mean who does that? Well, I do. Now. :D

Anyhoo. It was cold today. Like really cold. But it wasn't awful because there wasn't any wind (THANK YOU LORD!) I'll take the cold over the wind any day. A few thing of note on the cold. It made me have to pee. While I was thinking of my hardcore athlete buddies Jason and Leslie - I thought it wouldn't be a good move on my part at only mile 2...  frozen pee? Likely to be gross and uncomfortable - I'll pass. But LOVING my park, I knew around 3 miles in there were some porta potties - and lucky me, they were open. So I took my first potty break in the middle of a run. Pretty uneventful.

Back to the road. So now, the biggest problem with the cold is how frozen the segment of my legs from my knees - up got. I mean, numb frozen. I had compression socks to my knees so calves were good - I had 40 layers on top - so good there but my knees to butt was a block of ice that made it feel like I was running with 50 pounds of ice cream taped around my legs.  I wonder if fat freezes quicker than muscle? If I could've shed that part of my body, I would've.

So my fat strong thighs never thawed out or warmed up. That made things challenging. I'm pretty sure you could've shot me in the ass with an arrow and I wouldn't have felt it. But what I did start to feel was my lower back ache around mile 9 (reminding me to work on my posture) and around mile 7 my achilles tendon (or something in that area) started to really bother me. The whole time I tried to keep myself "slow and steady" Long run day isn't about speed for me, it's about endurance for the miles... "slow and steady" I just wanted to finish strong. And I did. I did it in 2:22 - an 11:53 pace - not too bad. I'm happy with that.

And I finally ran out of park. The park I run in is great because it feels like it goes on forever. Well it doesn't go on forever, finally, I've learned - at mile 5.5 the park is over - so I had to run around a quaint, unfamiliar NJ town for a mile or so before heading back.

When I got home, I peeled off my shoes to find my toes a bloody mess (I didn't mean that in the cute "British" way - they were literally bloody. I have issues with toes rubbing and what not. Awesome.) So with bloody toes, aches and pains and frozen thighs I raise my arms in victory.  No one ever said that being an athlete was easy... ;)


NOTE TO SANTA: PLEASE BRING THE UNDER ARMOUR winter pants on my list. Thank you. And the shirt too. I'm sorry for using the word "ass" in this blog - aside from that, I've been a pretty good girl.

PS: If you are interested - this was a very exhaustive article about the Biggest Loser marathon from Runners World. It was an interesting read and since we were talking about it the other day, thought I'd share.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

San Diego Rock and Roll marathon course video!

Many people say that you should try to drive the course you'll be running to get a feel for what to expect.

Since I'll probably not be visiting San Diego before race day, this seemed pretty impossible until, lucky me stumbled on something even better - VIDEO!

I had no idea that this existed but after kicking around the SD RNR site for a bit - found it.

Yeeeeee ha.

Some of it looks city-ish and the highway looks slightly boring but all in all it seems I'll have a lot to look around at as I run.  For better or worse I am signed up and California here I come!!



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Whatcha want? Aiming for less than 1%

Tara from Biggest Loser Season 7 - 26.2 finish
I was watching The Biggest Loser last night and the remaining four got to run a marathon. They had nearly no real training time and anyone who's been down the road of having to get marathon ready can appreciate the scratching of the head of how on earth are these people preparing to run 26.2 in just 30 days? It's probably even a little reckless that the audience isn't warned to "not try this at home." 

Who knows? I have to hope and assume that they've got some kind of really smart sport trainers that are getting these folks there and that the months of intense training (though not traditional running training) leading up to the marathon has enabled these folks to run without injury. 

As debatable as the training / TV show thing is, the one thing I do take away from these contestants is how much each of these contestants wanted it. Every single one of them wanted to finish that marathon no matter what. They were scared, nervous and apprehensive but they all made up their minds to run it/walk it/crawl it - if need be. And they all succeeded.

Months ago, I wrote a blog about want vs can't and that theme still comes up for me, often. WE CAN do anything, the question is do we want to? Do we want to bundle up and run in the wind and cold? Do we want to do long run day when you also have a ton of Christmas shopping to do? Do we want to run 2 miles, 6 miles, 12 miles or 26.2 miles?  

Do we want to re-evaluate, face our weaknesses, deal with our fears, suck it up and do it anyway?

The answer for me is often, maybe surprisingly, NO. I often do not want to run in the wind or do a long run day. When the weather is bad, I don't "want" to run on a treadmill. I often "want" to sleep late, chuck it all or eat pancakes and sausage. I want to order pizza and watch reruns of 90210 (the original).

I constantly have to talk myself into want. Wanting to do this, still takes a lot of mental work but that mental work is crucial.  If you tell yourself you can or can't, want or want not - you are right.  

I WANT to feel like a winner, I WANT to attain and maintain good health, I WANT to attain and maintain my ideal weight, I WANT to cross that finish line... Because I have all those wants, I choose to keep in the fight because I can.

I always have to remind myself to not lose sight of the big want for the temporary temptation. Whether it be skipping training or eating something bad - that "want" may feel good in the moment but will do nothing for me or the most important goals.  They do nothing for what I really want.

When the host of the Biggest Loser welcomed the four contestants to the starting line of the marathon, she mentioned, "Less than 1% off the American population will ever run and complete a full marathon." WOW! I think somedays I lose sight of how special of a journey this is because I've surrounded myself with so many blogging buddies who are running marathons that it seems almost like "everyone is doing it." But everyone is not doing it.  I am doing it - because I WANT to and I CAN and... 

I WANT to be in that less than 1% club.

Today I ran 6 miles that I kinda didn't want to do but am now so happy I did. I'm also working on wanting to do a long run of 12 miles this Friday. I might as well start looking forward to it, because either way, it's happening.



Monday, December 6, 2010

Marathon motivators - Birds of a feather run together

Angela's enviable bling
Who knew where this running journey would take me? The friends I've made has been one of the biggest payoffs of the whole thing and I feel truly lucky to have been embraced by a community of other runners - it makes this thing so much more full filling.

Yesterday these friends victoriously ran marathons:

Jason slammed his PR in a full, Lesley raced her way to her first PR and personal victory in 26.2, Julie and Kiana ran their first full in Vegas and Angela added yet another piece of bling to her own medal collection by running the RNR Vegas half and word on the street is Marathon Maiden (another blogger I follow) had an unreal showing in Dallas by placing 2nd in her age and 8th overall for females in the full!
*Please click on the links to read their blogs and hear first hand of their amazing journies.

All those success stories definitely spurred me onto run my five miles this morning even tho I was feeling lazy and slightly scared of the cold...  All of these marathoning friends continue to inspire me and make me happy. I love my non-running friends but they don't entirely understand this passion, don't get the need for sports beans and question why I really, really want under armour instead of cashmere for Christmas. So connecting with this running community has been pretty awesome. And appropriately, it's nice to have someone to give me the kick in the ass I need when it seems cold out or I'm feeling lazy. I love the "suck it ups" or "just do its..." sometimes you just have to have someone nudge you.  PS: The cold was great once I got going.

By the way, I am not discounting my non-runner friends. Many of them are the loudest to cheer my success, the first to pat me on the back and even offer the kindest advice. I appreciate every single person who's been a friend to me in this journey. Takes a village to raise a runner - the whole village.

Anyway, in other news:

If you remember, I was pretty peeved over the scale last week at weigh in for being up 5 pounds.  Well, as suspected, the weight gain was probably some strange fluctuation because this week I was down 7.8 pounds - which is just a crazy number but I'll take it.  -84 pounds now and getting close to goal.

I got into a small fight with hubby over race fees. He has started to doing the math and between the NJ shore half and SD RNR, he's starting to get that these things add up. Money is tight. Everything is super budgeted, but the race fees are kind of a luxury necessity that I refuse to give up. In fact, if it weren't for expense I'd be running at least two more  halfs. Ah well. What can you do? I have come to realize that having big goals and races to train for is absolutely CRITICAL for my success. I would've run for 2 miles today if I wasn't training. Does fees deter you from entering more races?

My formula seems to be: BIG GOAL + ACCOUNTABILITY (blogging/friends) = keep going.


PS: iRunner wrote a cool blog about the $$ of race fees that can be found here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Long run day musings

I have this thing about long run days - part of me really looks forward to them, it's always a challenge to rise to and I always feel amazingly accomplished when I'm done. It is still fairly new for me to be able to run for any sustained time without stopping. I mean, lets remember a year ago at this time, the only running I was doing was to my car, if it was raining, to get holiday gifts. And in said car, was the only way I was traveling 10 miles anyplace, so - there you have it.

Every long run I do is a mini victory, it's a feat I carry in my pocket proudly and I look forward to that dose of "good for me" every week.

On the flip side, there's a small part of me that finds the long run, well, freakin' long... and by the way, thanks to the fact that eventually I'll have to run 26 miles, it's just going to get longer. I have to carve out a minimum of 2 hours for the long run (soon to get longer) and that takes sacrifice and work. I am a partner in a media business that my partner Angela and I have been building that requires full time attention (though, thankfully with a partner who is also a runner, she supports the running thing...), a part time (paid) blogging gig that requires me to do a lot of writing and a toddler that rambles in at 3pm... not to mention all the other stuff that goes along with being a mom and wife... Sorry the laundry hasn't been done, dear. Long run day. OOOPS.

Oh well, it is what it is - Finding balance. I make it a priority because ultimately it's a meaningful journey (and this running blog would be pretty lame if I didn't have any running to talk about.)

Long run days also scare me - looking ahead to next Friday where I'll be jumping to (gulp) 12 miles... oofa.

As we approach this weekend, I have a bunch of friends racing this weekend that I'm very excited about!

Julie and Angela (partner, and one of my BFF's) are running RNR Vegas! - Julie is full, Ang is half!
Natalie, Lesley and Jason are running White Rock in Dallas! Jason is going to set his PR this weekend, I'm so thrilled for him!

My virtual sign for you guys... It cracked me up - hope you like it :)

And I'm running to a baby shower but will be thinking of all my marathoning friends and wishing I was in Vegas/Dallas with big awesome signs, cheering you all on... Because you guys are showing me what the long run day is really all about!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Suck it up Buttercup...

Somedays running is pure joy. Everything feels good, the sun is on your face, there's an ever so slight breeze that kisses your cheeks and even the flowers rejoice as you glide by.

Today was not that day.

No. Not by a long shot. Today was one of those days that despite the massive prerun pep talk, the old, unmotivated side of you wants to crawl back to bed and watch the 100th hour of the Today show but you fight the urge enough to soldier on. Good for you.

So instead of this....
The weather today is horrendous - I was going to "suck it up buttercup" (which I love btw, Jason, def added to my list of new internal mantras) but decided to just suck and go to the gym. Sorry. It wasn't the rain that got me, it was the 40-50mph wind warnings and the flying monkeys and branches whipping by. It's SUPER nasty and probably a little hazardous out there and well, why do that to myself when I am paying for a gym membership for this kind of back up.  Believe me, going to the gym is no treat because 6 miles on the treadmill is like 200 years in dog years... or something like that.

....I chose that
And today, it might as well have been 200 miles. I started running and within the first mile, started falling a part. my ankle hurt, my quad hurt, my calf hurt, I had 0 energy, I was sweating to death and I had 5.5 miles to go.  Oy. "Suck it up, buttercup."

By 2.5 miles I had kinda decided I should just run to 3 miles - rest the quad and calf for my long run on Friday, I justified.  The marathon isn't until June - what will these 3 miles matter by then?

I don't know how much they will matter by then but they mattered to me dammit, the fighter in me shouted back.

So, I dug deep. I thought to myself - I'm lucky to be on this treadmill, I am lucky to run and there's no quitting.  I thought of the old saying, "quitters never win and winners never quit." And then I decided to dedicate each of my last 3 miles to someone or some situation.

Mile 4 was dedicated to all of the people who through birth, accident, illness or other situation do not have the LUXURY to run. I'm bitching about a twinge in my calf? "SUCK IT UP, Buttercup", there's a million people who would give the world for one day of running again. I thought about my dear friend Gareth, a total bad-ass, rock n roll, hell on wheels Brit who is wheel chair bound. It must not be loads of fun for him but does he complain? Does he let his chair limit him? No he does not. He travels around the world in that chair, making it look easy. I ran that mile for Gareth. Thank you for being you, Gareth.

Mile 5 was dedicated to every little girl out there who thinks she's too fat to do that. To every teenager who ever cried herself to sleep because she's ashamed of her body, thinks she's unworthy of love and sees no way out. To every kid who ever got picked last in gym class and never felt good enough. Now the big, big problem with this mile for me, was, this all hit a little close to home and as I really thought about these faceless kids, I kept getting choked up. It's very hard to breathe and run with a lump in your throat but I managed.

Mile 6 I did this mile for me. I did this mile because I have a strong body, I have capable legs. I did this mile because if I could talk to my teenage self I'd say, it doesn't matter if you were picked last in gym or that the boy you had a crush on didn't look your way because you're a fighter. These are the moments in life that you can choose to grow from or crawl up in a ball over. Someday you're going to be an athlete. Someday you're going to run a marathon.  So suck it up, buttercup because you got this.