Saturday, April 27, 2013

First few runs using energy products from GU and a view from my run....

                        Recently, I started using energy products during my long runs and I'd say I am feeling amazing today after my 13 mile run this morning. Usually, I am totally exhausted after running 13 miles that I need a little nap, but today, I am recovering just fine and feeling the way I normally do the next day. 

 This is the street I run on for my long runs. It's Connecticut Avenue, NW. Spring is so beautiful in DC!!

Running Clothes....for curvy ladies and other favorite running stuff

              I have never been a thin girl, or a thin woman. But running has taught me to actually like my curves. I found that compression shorts work best for me with Under Armor tech shirt. Old Navy has these capri running pants that are so soft and I love them. My favorite running items are my lightweight Brooks jacket, my Sweaty Bands and my Rock and Roll Marathon cap signed by Mike Wardian. What are your favorite running gear?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Inspiring our children to have a healthy lifestyle

                 My daughter and I were in the car the other day and she noticed a runner. Having done a few races in the past few months has made her super aware of runners. She yells out, "look mom it's a runner, but he's not in a race because he does not have a number on him!'. Both my children know what the difference is between a marathon and a half marathon and no longer get upset when I get ready Sunday mornings to go on my 2-3 hour runs. There is no doubt in my mind that them seeing me run will make them also lead active lifestyles in the future. 

             Having a girl makes me ultra aware of my own verbalized views about my body. As odd as I feel saying out loud, 'mommy feels so beautiful today', or 'These shorts makes my legs look strong.' I want my daughter to grow up being thankful to have a working, healthy body. My teen years were filled with a mix of envy for waif girls and self-hatred for all the ways in which my body me. 

            When the kids were smaller we'd take them to Rock Creek Park around the corner for longer and longer hikes on the weekends. Just letting them run around in nature wherever their little hearts desired was always very mood-altering for both kids. We actually sought out these walks as a way to get them back to 'normal' on weekends when they would be particularly difficult to deal with in the apartment. 

           I have noticed some parents will place their kids into sports of which the child may not be necessarily interested in. I don't believe this is a good approach. Last year, Luke began to show interest in baseball. Chris, my awesome hubby and dad, would take him out almost daily for about an hour or two to hit and play ball. Luke loved baseball enough that he did not mind practicing those long hours daily. As a teacher I have noticed that children do not mind spending enormous amount of time doing something they love, yet, if asked to do something they are only half-way interested; they will never be good at it, because the passion is not there. That secret ingredient, passion, is what makes a life feel well lived and we should all wish that for our children. Making kids do things, join clubs and teams they do not care for I feel is absolutely detrimental for their future ability to feel like they are the creators of their own lives. They will be grown men and women one day and teaching them to make choices based on how they feel about the activity needs to begin sooner than later. 

Defining One's Relationship with Running

                    I am in love. I described running to a friend a few days ago as my new baby. It consumes all my free time, my reading time, my projects have all been tossed aside as I explore this new art and learn about all the possible races I could do in the future. But as I come to know more and more about running and what it means to other people, besides me, I find myself feeling a bit jealous that there are so many others that also feel a deep connection to the sport. I first, I felt threatened by this and wondered if perhaps this was not for me, for my relationship with running seemed very different than any other runner. At first, I felt compelled to almost define my relationship with the sport through their eyes and would catch myself getting lost in what they found meaningful or important. This experience, as annoying as it may be to be in this in-between stage, has been quite helpful in forcing to help me further, and more strongly define my own relationship with the sport. In trying to define this relationship, I have had to reflect and figure out what parts of the running world speak to me and what parts do not. For instance, I am not about speed, I am not about following my heart rate religiously, I am not a purist who think the sport is getting 'watered down'. What I do want from running are the long distances, the hours of 'me' time it provides during the weekends in which I can let my mind invent, wonder and imagine. The more and more I define to myself what I love about the sport the more I make it more genuinely mine and the more I value and fee less threatened by other people's intimate relationship with the sport. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Interview with a life-long runner, Alice Mansfield (age 72)

            Just heard an amazing interview with Alice Mansfield. She began running in her 40s and still runs now ins her 70s. Go here to hear the interview.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to SUCCESSFULLY Get Up Early Before Work and Go Running



                     I figured it out!!!.....well, not really....I just merely finally decided to follow the advice I've been hearing for months now on how to motivate oneself to go for a run early in the morning, before work. The advice is and has always been, get everything ready for your, music, earphones, socks, hairbands....whatever it is you use and place it right next to your bed. Simple right?

             I KNEW all along this advice existed, just never bothered to follow it. So this is the second time now that I did this preparation and had an amazing run, it did not feel like torture and I did not immediately slump back into my warm bed. I must add though that for this advice to really work long term you must go to bed at a decent hour, OR you surely will be miserable with a capital 'M'. 

                  This morning at 5am was THE perfect time for a run. It was a dry, not wind, 60 degrees and the sun had not yet come up.  The birds were already singing as if they knew morning was coming and that made it extra special. Running in the morning is a bigger-than-life itself mood altering act of which makes me grateful, happy and giddy all at the same time. It's like this tiny decision I make at the wee hours has the potential to make my day into a smashing easy, how huge, how small.....

Need recommendations for which training to do for marathon

                    I have been researching which training path to follow for my marathon in November. I have some time to figure this out, but the more I learn the more I am confused. I am not a huge fan of cross training and as much as I'd like to do Bart Yasso's method, I don't know if I'll stick to the cross-training part of his plan. A few have suggested Hal Higdon's plans. The Marathon Training Academy with Angie and Trevor also have individualized plans they sell, which sounds really nice. Will check them out and post my findings here soon......what suggestions do you all have?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


                 I have been in a daze since hearing of the bombings. Simultaneously I'm trying to keep my kids from hearing about it while at the same time I'm constantly checking to see what else they know, why, why now, why this way? Yet, I keep coming back to the same thought, 'what is any more information really going to do for families who have lost loved ones, or victims who have lost limbs?'. 

           But I can't help it, the questions keep on rolling by, who would do something like this? How does one justify what they do in such a way that they can advance forward and actually carry through a brutal slaughter like this? 

          I just don't understand it, and perhaps I never will. A large part of me wants, craves and aches some reassurance that there will be justice, that maybe, just maybe, it's not as bad as they report it. Yet, the raw and bloody nature of what we see and read is there, like a huge ugly wound, gaping it's jagged mouth at us. 

        The only ray of light in this situation has been seeing the people unaffected by the tragedy coming together in support of the hurt, the dying, unthinkingly placing themselves in the midst of possible danger. Humanity is always most beautiful at the ugliest moments. 
"If you're trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group to target." Mighty Brighties

Monday, April 15, 2013

My intimate relationship with running

                        This weekend ran 13.1 miles at one time as my 'long run'. The entire time I was running I felt this huge sense of gratitude that would every so often wash over me and bring a smile to my face. This positive mood could have been brought on by the fact that it was a beautiful morning and my run felt generally good and even hills felt easy. There are days when the entire run can feel like torture, so the fact that this one began and continued strong was a plus. I felt gratitude for having powerful legs that could make this now feel easy, when just a few months back it was a literal impossibility to run that far. I also felt gratitude for having a husband that was supportive of my leaving him with the kids for over two and half hours, I felt gratitude that I had gotten enough sleep the night before to be able to wake up and truly feel I could do this. 

                    While running I kept coming back to one single overriding feeling, and that was pride. I felt a sense of pride for being able to run this long and this far and how this feeling of pride was new to me. Never before did I genuine felt deserving of allowing myself to truly experience pride. I have reached many accomplishments in my life that some might think I could feel proud of, yet, somehow this one, of pushing myself far and long, most genuinely feels like an accomplishment, more so than graduating from graduate school, or landing the job of my dreams, or finding a great mate to marry, or bearing children. Being able to push my body to its limit and surviving it is to me, the most amazing thing I have done and I cannot wait to see what else I can do...the more I can do the more my mind opens up and allows the flood of possibilities to water the seeds of my dreams.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tips for 1st time marathoners....

           I have been online for hours looking up all sorts of advice for 1st time marathoners....These listed below I found most helpful. 

Hot links are provided if you wish to go to source of origin.

Running planet advices: 

* Remember to respect that distance and commit to proper training.

Adding in some strength training will help you run better, more efficiently and you will suffer from less injuries.
 Take gels early as well. Don't wait until you bonk. An example is I target one every 5 miles. I take one just before the start as well with a sports drink. 
NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY or the day before. 
* Find intermediary races between now and the big day to keep you focused and on point.
A consistent wake time also helps. If you can't get the same amount of sleep, work on a regular rising ritual so your body gets acclimated to the morning (especially if you are moving to morning workouts). This will also 
help you do a better job of getting to bed at a reasonable hour. 
Pack a set of warm clothes in your race-day bag.
At the end of the race, you will be sweaty and possibly a little chilly. You will want some dry clothes to put on over your sweaty ones. The best bet is to pack loose-fitting clothes for the end, as you may be too tired to fight with tight sleeves or pant legs. Plus, if you need to take your sneakers off, it may be difficult to get them back on. If for any reason you can't pack clothes in a race-day bag, make sure family or friends carry some for you when you meet up with them after the race.
Bring your mobile phone with you. 

Just finished the Cherry Blossom 10 miler!

                   The day could not have been more beautiful. It was a bit on the cool side in the morning, but manageable. The medal is absolutely gorgeous!! My daughter wore it all through lunch. The fact that I am running is having quite an impact on her. She now asks to run with me and while we're driving around in the car she notices every runner and yells out, 'there is a runner mom.'  Interestingly, I notice every runner on the street too. After reading the book Chi Running I watch every running to gauge their form. 
                   I was very impressed with how well this race was run.....the wait line for the check bags was half a minute! the free water bottles, Gatorade, muffins and bananas were great at the end. The reviews I had read about it had mentioned something about it being ultra crowded, it was, but not more than any other races I've run. The spectators and the volunteers were funny and very peppy, made me think I should sign up to volunteer for the Marine Corps Marathon, since I missed the deadline to run in it. I also thought of maybe taking at a crack at being one of those photographers. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Interesting Facts about the Philadelphia Marathon 2013

* 2013 marks the 20th annual Philadelphia Marathon
* The fitness motivator says, "This marathon is one the flatter courses out there. Aside from the small hills at Miles 10 & 20, runners can usually enjoy a flat and smooth course."
 A reviewer on marathon said, "absolutely amazing course, excellent organization, and truly fantastic crowd support."
 * another reviewer said, "getting in and out of the race start/ finish area was a breeze by foot" and also, "Also, the bag drop at the start and pickup area at the finish was surprisingly fast for a race this size. "
*  Another reviewer on Marathon Guide said, "They put your first name on the race bibs. A small thing that can make a big difference during the race. Nothing quite like hearing strangers screaming your name and rooting for you. "
* "Race shirt. A nice long sleeve tech tee. One for the marathoners and one for the half marathoners. I think it's nice they distinguished between the distances."
* The race ends at the 'Rocky' steps...with Eye of the Tiger playing. 
* another reviewer said, "I liked the two out-and-back turns, they make it interesting to watch others (and the elite!)"
* "Very nice course mixing urban and nature "
* "Great expo, very kid friendly"
* " High fives from the mayor at race start "
* "The finish line is epic. You come running down a boulevard flanked with flags and thousands of spectators."
* "Soft pretzels at the finish line"
* " The SWAG was amazing - great shirt, runner bag and medal. FANTASTIC spectators."
* "Whole city itself very kind to out-of-towners."
* "The pasta dinner shuttle was organized well"
* "parking $26.50 for the expo and the race"
* Warm chicken broth is served at the finish line.
* "the course is gorgeous from beginning to end."
* "The course goes through numerous (and quite distinct) Philly neighborhoods, the Museum District, Chinatown, Old City, University City, Fairmount Park, Manayunk etc. - so there is great variety of architectural landmarks and landscape highlights to focus your attention on."
* (2009) Also, the slogan on t-shirts (which was used before) - "I kicked asphalt " - is awesome. 
Get off the highway immediately after getting on the I-676 and find parking for $10 less than 1 mile from the start. 
* They have a changing tent. 
* in 2009 they gave out complimentary gloves. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Just signed on to my first marathon....the Philadelphia Marathon!!

                     I cannot believe it. I just signed on to my very first marathon and cannot wait to cross that finish line!! I signed on to the Philadelphia Marathon on November 17th, 2013!! So now to plan on how to continue to stay fit during the summer and then planning a good training plan for the end of summer and the fall. Will keep you updated. 

I don't have to run....I GET TO RUN.....

                  I love running, I love how it makes me feel about my body.  For once, I can look at my legs, my thighs, my hips in the mirror and feel unbelievably grateful for them for being a part of me and not have an automatic thought of disdain, which is what I have pretty much done my whole life.  After those two-hour plus weekend long runs I am in awe of what my body can do with a little determination. As someone that has struggled with negative  body images all my life, it huge, it's liberating, empowering, and hope filled to be able to conquer the road. I listened to an interview with Bart Yasso yesterday on one of my many running podcasts that I follow and he said that running has the potential to change your life, then went on to list all the ways in which running was the 'keystone habit' that helped radically improve every single aspect of his life. I know it.....relationships, thoughts,  sanity, decisions, moods are all brightened once the running habit is adopted. I love the quote, 'I don't have to run, I GET to run'....what a blessed existence it is to be able to be independently mobile.