Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My three favorite words....

Ahh the joys of proving someone else wrong…of sticking it to them…. Of forcing them to say my favorite three words “You are right” (ha-ha…you thought I was going to say “I love you” didn’t you…just kidding). Anyway… so for at least the last week all I have listened to is my 19 year old nephew go on and on and on about how he could outrun me any day. He’s talked about how fast he is and how far he runs with his friends (well at least how far it feels), and about how I’m such a slow runners he’s got to whip my butt into shape. Meanwhile he’s completely ignored the point that I’ve been trying to make…which is he is a sprinter and I on the other hand am a distance runner, therefore I care less about speed and more about endurance.
Well tonight I finally convinced him to come on a run with me and since it was only three miles it didn’t take much convincing. We got on the road an immediately he started complaining about how my pace is so much slower than his. So I told him to run ahead and I would catch up to him on the main streets (basically meaning all the places I was planning to make a turn). I watched as he sped away and pretty much kept a good block ahead of me for the first half mile. Then he started walking! At first I thought he was just trying to wait for me but no….as I started to catch up he would start running again only to stop and walk about a minute later. This went on for about another half a mile and then he stopped completely.

When I caught up I asked him what the problem was and he was all like “I’m tired….how much longer do we got?”. I couldn’t help but let out a bit of a laugh when I informed him that we had just barely passed one mile and still had two more to go. Shaking his head he told me how there was no way he could make it another two miles and that he was going to turn back and go home. I kinda wanted him to stay…having someone to run with (even if it’s more like behind) always pushes me to work harder. But alas he said no and turned around; admitting to me that I in fact had been correct in saying that distance running is more about endurance than speed.

Not that I relish in knowing he quit…cause honestly I think he could have tried to push through a bit more…but this run made me happy. Happy that is because I’ve always been a firm believer that you can’t compare yourself to others when it comes to speed. You have to go at your own pace and eventually you can accomplish everything (and maybe even more) then a faster runner can. Tonites run reminded me of that….and I like knowing I’m right.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mudpuddles of life...

Alright so the plan was to get back on track yesterday…and although the day started out pretty much on the right foot, it all started to unravel about the time I hit my 15 minute break and realized I didn’t have a healthy snack to carry me through the rest of the day. From there I lost track of calories, skipped my trip to the gym and ate brownies and ice cream with my teenage nephew all night. Then reality set in…and not only did I find myself with a large dose of eaters remorse, but I also happened to get an email from a friend containing a picture of me from this past weekend….let’s just say I was completely unhappy with what I saw…and it certainly kicked me back into reality.

I’m not going to lie… I love to eat crap because it tastes good to me (even though sometimes after I don’t feel good form it). And I have a hectic life schedule so when I’m tired it’s much easier to be lazy then to actually work out. BUT I also know that when I eat healthier I feel better and have more energy..and the same goes for working out.  I don’t ever want to become the overweight person I once was (see picture to right.. taken around my heaviest). That girl was unhappy because she was trapped in a body that was too big for her….she couldn’t move…she couldn’t breathe! But now by the grace of God I have a new body and since I can move and breathe I should!

So this morning I got back on the bandwagon. I made a healthy breakfast (an egg white scramble with tons of veggies) and lunch (yogurt with blueberries and a roast beef sandwich), started counting my calories again, AND even went for that well over due run (even though it was pouring rain out and the puddles were monsters…see picture below).

All in all I am pretty proud of myself…and ready to hit my goals again tomorrow (which include a 7am jog)! So…”what have you done today to make yourself proud”?


Sunday, March 28, 2010

I've got a confession to make...

Alright friends…so I have a confession to make (it is Sunday after all…it seems only appropriate...hee hee). This past week I have been so off track it’s not even funny. I’ve eaten crap, been lazy and chosen not to work out, and willingly avoided reaching out for accountability. BUT… enough is enough! I have goals! I have dreams! I have desires! It’s time to get back on track!

So right here…right now… I am committing to counting calories, going to the gym, and making the better choice this next week. I need to take care of me…it’s my responsibility!

And to hold me accountable please feel free to check back on my blog throughout the week as I will also get back on the blogging bandwagon!

Here’s to a great new week!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mental Toughness and My Outdoor Gym...

Hey There!

Alright, so today I want to talk a little about the mental side of running, because if you are like me…sometimes you just don’t want to run…and sometimes you do, but mentally your brain is SCREAMing at you to stop. This is what it’s been like for me the last two days of training. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed being outside in the gorgeous weather and I’ve loved the feeling I get from completing a workout…but sometimes the mental battle can get it me!

For example last night I was so excited to get out of work and get in a run in the sun (can’t tell you how excited I am that it’s now light out after work)! So I laced up my sneakers and hit the road only to find about a mile in I wanted to stop. Now I wasn’t tired or in pain but mentally this was the battle going on in my head… “You can’t do this you’re too tired….Yes I can I can do anything I put my mind to… but there’s so much longer to go and you’re already tired…. It’s just one foot in front of the other, one step at a time…but your sore…Yep but I’m not in pain and my body is not screaming at me to stop so I can keep going”. Then during today’s run my mental dialogue was more like this… “Maybe I should walk some…but why, you’re doing fine running…. I’m tired… keep going…. I wanna quit… define yourself, are you a quitter?... No, but I wanna stop cause this is hard….But when you’re running your next half and you wanna quit cause it’s just as hard and you look back on this training run what do you want to remember? That you proved you can do anything you put your mind to or that you are a quitter?!... ” And with that I kept going and of course made it home with no problem.

Then because I know that I am going on a mini-vacation the next two days and probably won’t find the time to work out (which is why I did four days of running in a row….normally I do three and then rest) I decided to head to the park and work on some leg strengthening exercises. So let me introduce you to another friend of mine…….this is the Goodwin park football field (see picture to left)…in the fall its home to the pop-warner cardinals football team but for the next twelve weeks (at least) it’s my new outdoor gym. Now you probably can’t tell from the picture but way out in the distance, out by the trees, is a field goal pole (I think that’s what they are called). I was standing under the other one and for my first exercise I did side squats all the way across the 100 yard field. Once I hit the other goal pole I did 2 sets of leg lifts, shaked out my legs a bit, and did walking lunges all the way back! Then after torturing myself with that for a while (hee hee...I was definitely feeling the burn), I headed over to the baseball diamond and did step ups onto the team bench (see picture below to right)! After that I did some calf raises, stretched out in the nice warm sun and walked home feeling quite proud!

See mentally I should believe that I can’t do things like this… I was once 310lbs for goodness sake! Human Nature would tell me to believe that it’s too hard and it’s just weird to push my body when nobody is there to tell me to do it. But the reality is…I can do it! I do this for me…to prove it to myself! Two years ago I couldn’t run three houses down the street before needing to stop to catch my breath. I didn’t believe that I could lunge 100 yards or push through the burn of side-squats. But now I know I can and each day I go out there I prove it to myself again! I might only be training for a marathon (not the Olympics as my mother so elegantly pointed out last night when she asked why I was running so much), but each day I go out there and push my body …I’ve already WON the gold!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

400's...they sounded so easy!

Hey Peeps!

So it’s day two of ½ marathon training and I was blessed to wake up to a gorgeous (although windy) day outside (see picture to the right)! Normally I work during the days so even when it’s nice out I don’t really get to enjoy it, but luckily for me I have to close tonight and so I actually had a chance to enjoy the weather for a bit (although honestly it’s been about six months since I’ve worked a closing shift and so I’m not too sure I’m going to be thankful about it when I’m leaving work at 10pm).

Anyway, all weekend I was pretty excited about the idea of “Springing forward” (hee hee… I know I’m probably about the only person in the world who felt that way) since it means when I get out of work on a normal day it will now be bright enough to run outside (which I prefer over the dreadmill any day). Yet on the very first work day of daylight savings it poured all day and so I found myself at the gym, on a dreadmill (and I didn’t even get to watch my show since the TV showing it was all the way to the right and I was on the left side of the gym…see picture to left to see what I mean).

So today when I woke up and saw the sun I knew it meant I could get outside and for that I was truly excited. Granted my excitement faded about ten minutes into running 400’s…which was about the time I realized how tough they actually are! Now I’ve always been under the impression that a 400 is about a quarter of a mile...and I was also under the impression that if I ran three fourths of the way around my parents block that it would equal about a quarter of a mile. So that’s what I set out to do today. I would run three fourths around and then walk the last fourth before starting again. And there was even a point when I totally stopped short on one of my 400’s and decided that it meant I had to do that whole one again (Cause hey if you’re going to do something you might as well do it right!).

Well It turns out that the distance I was running was actually .375 miles not .25…which isn’t a huge difference but is none the less still a bit longer….which only made me feel better about my times (which aren’t impressive probably to anyone but me…but I compete against myself so it’s all good to me). Loop one took me 3:34 minutes. Loop two 3:21 minutes (I shaved off 13 seconds!). Loop three 3:19 minutes (shaved off 2 more seconds there). Loop four 3:19 minutes again (definitely thought I would be slower so I was happy). And Loop five 3:22 minutes (granted this one was probably slower considering I had to do it twice).

I remember thinking last night when I was going over my training plan for the day today how five 400’s just doesn’t seem like that much of a workout. Today after running them I disagree. This is a seriously tough workout (I mean come on I burned 496 calories in 30minutes…it doesn’t get much better than that)!

Now off for some lunch and then to head to work!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

The 6th Annual Max O'Hartford 5k...

Alright Friends…so I am officially tired (day light savings and a crappy night sleep can do that to a girl) and I am even considering heading to bed as soon as I put my niece down..But before I do I wanted to be sure to post some pics and stories from today’s race.

Well first and foremost I have to give a big shout out to my friend Jessica who ran the 5k with me, even though the beer and corn beef I promised her (a.k.a bribed her with as a way of convincing her to run the race) didn’t quite work out the way we planned (it was cold and windy…and the line for food was crazy long… and well the beer wasn’t the greatest.. although we did get a commemorative cup to put it in..see picture, although it's not the greatest take). Beyond that I must also mention that I pretty much broke every rule of racing while preparing for this race, so if you’re looking for an example of what not to do…this might be it...hee hee!

So as I said, I had a really crappy night sleep last night. I got all into this book I was reading and didn’t turn in for bed until well around midnight (which because of daylight savings was like 1am). Then my dog, who for all intents and purposes I love dearly and usually love having in my room, woke me up somewhere around 2:30am with her insanely heavy breathing…which led to a very long game of me kicking her out of my room, hearing her scratch at the door until she got it to open, and then me having to crawl out of bed to kick her out again (well that is until I got smart enough to actually lock the door so that she couldn’t open it!). Suffice to say, when my alarm went off this morning I was in no mood to actually get up.

Then I had church before the race and had to pack for my sister’s before leaving for church, so of course I was running around like a crazy person getting ready and almost forgot to have breakfast (don’t worry I shoveled down some cereal, a cheese stick, and an egg before I actually left). I also ended up having to leave church immediately after service to rush home and meet Jessica who still had to pick up her race packet (which was really no biggy considering I had to exchange my shirt for a smaller size can see a picture of it to the right). On top of that we didn’t really know where to park once we got into the city so it just made me all the more nervous that we were going to late (After all the stressing though, we ended up having about a 45 minute wait before the start of the race… basically enough time to wait in the line for the ladies bathroom).

Anyway it was a cool, windy and overcast day here in Hartford (as you can see from this picture) so we ended up waiting inside until about ten minutes to start time and then headed out to the starting gate. Now I’ve done enough races now to know a few things about myself and how to/not to run these races. For one I know I am not a very fast runner and thus very willingly tend to line up at the back of the pack (mostly because I have fears of being trampled like the guys who do the running of the bulls in Spain). I also know that since I’m starting towards the back of the pack I’m probably not going to pass the start line until at least a minute after the starting gun goes off. Finally I know that when I finally do get to the point where the pack starts to break up that I can’t allow my excitement, emotion, and competitive spirit dictate my speed (I need to run my own race, at my own pace, to beat myself…it’s not about the other runners). Anyway… having that attitude really helped me to enjoy this race and take it all in (I also ran the entire thing without music which was actually a first for me)!

So some things I noticed are that one, I LOVE the running community! I already knew this about myself before this race, but it seems every time I race I am reminded how much of a supportive group of people runners are. Luckily for me this was also one of the few times that I got to be the one supporting others instead of needing to hear that “Keep it up, your doing great” comment and that was an awesome feeling! I also noticed that I really need to work on running more hills. Although the race took place on the downtown streets it sure seemed to me that there were a lot of rolling hills…and although I never once felt like giving up I also found myself dreading it every time I sped down a hill since I knew an uphill trek was just around the corner. I don’t want to be the type of person who dreads the next corner….I want to know I can conquer whatever may come around the next bend!

Anyway so for all you number people here’s the official timing (cause I know that’s all you really want to know about…but don’t worry I get it…that’s why I checked the results page almost every 30 minutes this afternoon until the times were finally posted…hee hee)…

***My gun time was 35:48 with my net time actually being 34:32 (which averages out to 11:31 minute miles).

***I placed 644 out of 856 female runners

*** And I placed 1,267 out of the 1,545 people who ran….although I like to cheer myself up with the fact that I was 43rd out of the 84 people in my age bracket (pretty much right smack in the middle)

Overall it was a nice run and if anything it made me realize that with each race and practice run I am becoming a more efficient and even faster runner. Well thanks for reading (because I know this was a long post)!!!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday afternoon Fun...

Hey All! What up?!?!

So can I just tell you I had the funnest run today (yeay!). My friend/boss and I are running a 5k together on Sunday and so we thought it would be a good idea to get together for a practice run today since we haven’t run together since possibly thanksgiving (the last race we did)! Anyway, I had heard about these great trails in my area and decided that today would be the perfect day to try it out…and it was! First of all the trails are dirt not concrete so my knees were absolutely in heaven. Then the rain held off all day so we didn’t have to worry about getting soaked and sick before our big day (the forcaste called for rain all day). Then on top of that we talked the entire run (well actually I talked most of it cause as you can tell I’m sort of a blabber mouth) and so I didn’t listen to music the entire time (and usually I have to have music or I am dying)! Plus I had a great running partner who let me force her to run longer than the four miles we had planned (cause let me tell you I was feeling great…well and cause I missed a mileage marker…oops) and just kept going even when it got tough for her (how’s that for inspiration! Ever watch someone push through when you can tell it’s not easy for them?!?! It makes you so proud…and motivates you to want to do your best that much more)! Anyway…so here’s a pic from the trail (sorry I got a bit of the port-a-potty in it but what are you gonna do)!

Anyway Sunday is the big race…well I’m not really sure it can be considered BIG since we ran longer today than we will then, but still it’s exciting to just get out there with other runners again. I will be sure to post some pictures and lots of stories from the event, and then Monday I officially start the 12 week program from Hal Higdon to prepare for the half…so I’m sure I’ll have plenty to share in the coming weeks. So get excited people…cause I know I am!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

I heart Runner's World...and this check it out!


So sorry about the lack of posting this week… but I’ve been trying to make sure I dedicate extra time to working out this week, especially with a race on Sunday (okay so it’s a 5k but still…hee hee). Anyway I wanted to share a cool story with all of you because if anything it’s offered me the kind of inspiration I’ve been looking for since the Olympics ended and well there’s just nothing like paying it forward. The only problem is... it’s not really my story to tell and considering I’m sure there are some sort of plagiarism laws out there about copy things from other sources the best I can do is give a summary and then send you out the door to pick up the latest issue of Runners World Magazine and read it for yourself (here’s a picture of the cover so you know for sure your grabbing the right one!).

So in every issue of this magazine they share a “human race” story about “regular runners doing amazing things” and this month’s runner truly is amazing! Brain Boyle’s a guy who overcame insurmountable odds to not only walk again (he was in a crazy car accident where he was hit by a dump truck) but he went on to train for and eventually complete a marathon in less than four hours!!! But what I think makes this story even greater is that he accomplished this great feat not on his first try, or second, or even third. I think they said it took him six tries to finally reach the goal of a sub-four hour marathon! Talk about dedication, commitment and perseverance!

See stories like that inspire me because throughout my life I’ve come face to face with obstacles that have detoured me from my dreams and I’ve had moments when failure has kept me back from trying again. But people like this man prove that anything is possible if you are willing to put in the work and never give up! The Impossible is never REALLY impossible unless you decide it to be! So thanks Brian and Runner’s World Magazine for sharing this story and reminding me of that fact!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Overwhelmed by choice....and lack of information!

So this afternoon it was completely gorgeous here in the great state of CT…or well, at least in my part….and of course I was working, so as soon as my lunch break hit I ran outside to catch some time in the sun. Lucky for me the bookstore I work at is in the same shopping area as a grocery store and so I figured instead of just enjoying the weather I would also pick up a few things I needed from there. This however meant that I was going to miss any real chance I had to eat my lunch and so I thought I would pick up some sort of protein/energy bar thing to help sustain me throughout the next two hours until my next break when I could eat my meal. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve tried many different bars before when I was trying to figure out what would work best while running, but honestly I always just picked up what was on sale. Today I actually took the time to read the ingredients and the nutrition information on these bars…and my golly was I over whelmed! I could have spent an entire day in that aisle and still not have found exactly what I was looking for (not that I really knew EXACTLY what I was looking for to begin with… but still)! There are so many brands and then flavors to choose from…then the ones that seem to have a lot of protein are also really high in calories…and the ones that are decent when it comes to the amount of carbs also have insane amounts of sugar! How’s a girl suppose to know what to go for?!?!

SO I decided instead of just living in the dark that tonight I would come home and do some research and what I found (besides a million different people having a million different opinions on the matter) was what I’ve always known, and that is that “energy” comes from food… and well it’s always best to stick with the real stuff not the prepackaged processed things that can live on a shelf for years without going bad (I mean think about it…if it doesn’t decompose on a shelf what’s gonna happen to it in your body?!?!). So now it’s back to the drawing board. I’ve really got to find the perfect blend of super foods to help sustain my energy throughout the day cause man, lately I’m been so drained (hum…maybe there’s something to this eating more meat thing..hee hee).


PS… So when I got home from work tonight the last thing in the world I wanted to do was run…but I happened to get this text at the most perfect time and it completely motivated me to get my butt out the door. In fact, I was so motivated that I not only ran the three miles I was planning but I kept going for an additional mile and ended up completing 4.16 miles in 49:51 (which is about 12minute miles…and this early into training, I can be proud of that)!  So for those of you who like to send out those encouraging words of wisdom to your friends...never understimate the power those little notes might have!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Need a good laugh?!?! Here's a great book!

Alright friends, so considering I am a bookseller by trade, you had to have known that I some point I would use my precious blog time to recommend a book. Well that point in time has come…. tonight! So for all my running friends out there…you know those of you who totally just get the whole love/hate addiction to throwing on your sneakers and hitting the road…..And, well for those of you who just dabble in running and might enjoy a good laugh, check out this book (pictured to the left), “The Runner’s Rule book” by Mark Remy (and the editors of runner’s world)!!! And just to give you a sneak peek at some of the more funny rules in this book, here are some of my favorites:

Rule #1.9--- Pass Gas Not Judgment

Rule #1.66—Dogs are harmless, expect when they’re not

Rule #2.20---“Looking Good” and 10 other lies runners tell each other

Rule #2.32--- Do whatever it takes to finish before a costumed runner

Alright so that list doesn’t even begin to do justice to the book (or even to those rules listed for that matter), so to see what I mean… check it out! (PS…you don’t have to buy it just go to your local bookstore, grab it off the shelf and spend a good hour sitting there sipping coffee and chuckling at the pure humor of it…seriously booksellers are use to it).


Monday, March 1, 2010

"Make it Happen" Month

Hey there!

So it’s March 1st…whoo hoo (and just in case you’re wondering, I was born in March, so I tend to believe it’s the best month of the entire year…hee hee)!!! And with a new month comes a new opportunity to create some new goals and reach some new heights! So this month I’ve decided to pull out all the stops and take a cue from Bob Harper by stopping to just talk and instead to just do it (Hee hee…do any of your remember that episode of Biggest Loser when Bob totally freaked out!!!). That is why I have declared March “Make it Happen Month”. This is the month where instead of just wishing I could run faster or hoping that I can lose some weight, I instead put in the work to actually achieve those goals. And well being the goal oriented person that I am I’ve come up with a monthly goal (which is to be able to cut my 5k time down to under 30 minutes), a two week goal (which for the next two weeks is to train for the “Max O’Hartford 5k so that I can get as close to that 30 minute mark as possible during the race), and some weekly goals (like to work out at least 5 days a week and to make sure I am doing some form of running 4 of those 5 days). Now obviously these aren’t some outlandish concepts….they are simple things…doable things. And yet they are also things which will bring me closer to my ultimate goal (which as I said last night is to beat my previous half marathon time).

So now I’m wondering…what are your goals for this month? It’s March first…you still got 30 days to MAKE IT HAPPEN (So “stop talking about it and just do it”!!!)!