Sunday, October 31, 2010

Books: "The Courage to Start" and "Running for Mortals"

I read The Courage to Start in late July/early August.  The Courage to Start was his first book.  The book is filled with practical advice for any person that is considering starting to run.  John Bingham adds humor through the entire book with reliving funny (and not so funny) moments in his beginning running career.  The key quote that I will always remember from this book is:  The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.  Every time I get discouraged with what is going on with my running, I repeat that to myself.  I am sure that I am one of thousands of runners that now uses that as my mantra.

I just finished reading Running for Mortals by John "The Penguin" Bingham and Coach Jenny Hadfield.  This book didn't disappoint.  Like The Courage to Start, it is filled with tons of practical useful information.  It is also filled with interesting anecdotes that will make nearly anyone laugh.  I would add this one to my list of must reads for new runners.

Some quotes from Running for Mortals that are important to me:
Every run has the potential to transform us from who we are to the person we're becoming.  Every step on every run could be the one that begins our metamorphosis from who we've been to what we've always wanted to be.

You will only succeed if you are setting realistic expectations for yourself based on the uniqueness of who you've been, who you are, and who you want to be.  You cannot and should not try to be what someone else is or was or wants you to be.  You can't.

Postponing the joy of the journey until you reach your destination is the worst possible plan.  Waiting to celebrate until you've gotten to where you want to go means missing all the wonderful places you pass along the way.

You were born to move.  You were born to walk and run and chase.  You were born to be an athlete.  No matter how far out of shape you think you are, there is still a road back.  It may be long.  It may be fraught with setbacks and frustration, but it's there.  All you need to do is take that first step.  Take that one step toward a new you.  Then take the next and the next.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Something for me

I recently ran across an ad for Inspired Endurance jewelry when skimming Runner's World.  Their jewelry is nice, simple, and provides a great message.

If you want to get me a nice gift, feel free to get me one of these :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Holy humidity Batman

I thought that October was supposed to be a month of relatively cool temps and low humidity?  Not so today.  Today was probably one of the most humid days I have ever experienced in October.  On top of that, it had rained off and on all day.  Humidity plus rain equals yucky, sticky mess.

I got to the Ale House on Creekside Drive a few minutes early.  Since the rain had stopped about 3:45 p.m., I thought it would be a good idea for me to check the trail.  I walked about 1/4 mile on the trail and found a couple small puddles.  Needless to say, the rest of the trail was filled with them too.  Sarah and I decided early on that we were just going to run 3 miles, walk bridges, and be careful.  The worst thing would be to rush and slip/get hurt.  The run turned out well.  We finished a 5K in 44:03, at an average pace of 14:15.  Not bad at all for girls that were runnin' in the hot, sticky, rain.

Of course, we were very careful on our run, but I wasn't so careful when I got home.  Imagine this....  I walk into our condo building, take my shoes off in the hall because they are soaked, and stretch for a few minutes.  I decide to go into the house and get ready for my GNO (girls night out) with the Meredith gals.  I start across our hardwood floors in my sock feet (socks are soaking wet) and almost eat it on our hardwood floors.  I guess this is one of those moments where I should thank Rick (my trainer) for all those exercises that encourage good balance. 

I have a feeling that I will sleep like a baby again tonight.  I took the day off work today and did a pretty good workout at the gym this morning.  I rode 8.5 miles on the bike and worked out with my trainer for 30 minutes.  Then, I went for my run with Sarah.  So, definitely looking forward to the great night of sleep ahead of me.

The 1st finish

I was catching up on some blog reading last night and one of Ben's posts resonated with me today.  The first line of the post is Sometimes running and training sucks.  Boy, is he right!  I haven't had one of those days recently, but it is so very true.  When I don't want to go for a run, don't want to go to the gym to meet with my trainer, or want to eat a whole pack of Oreos just for the hell of it, I think of one thing...

This is a picture of my very first 5K (Women's Distance Festival; September 25, 2010).  This was the culmination of a 10-week running program, of which I was able to only run about 4-5 weeks.  I was plagued with a fairly tough groin muscle/tendon strain and had to walk the last several weeks of the program.  Even though that was a struggle, I was bound and determined to run in this particular 5K - no matter how slow, no matter how much it hurt, and no matter how silly I looked.  The look in my eyes (yes, it is small) is all it takes for me.  I see the determination and sheer will to accomplish things and that's what leads me to do the things that I don't want to do at the time, so that I can do the things I want to do in the future.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another accomplishment!

Jason and I have been out of town since Saturday attending my work's Annual Conference in Winston-Salem.  We got back last night, but I just wasn't quite in the mood to write this post, but it needs to be written.

Saturday was a wonderful day for a run.  Sarah and I planned to meet at Crabtree at 7:15 a.m., as I needed to be on the road to Winston-Salem by 10 a.m.  We discussed doing between 4 and 5 miles.  The original half marathon training calendar showed Saturday as a 5 mile day; the modified (stretched out) calendar showed Saturday as a 4 mile day.  So, we set off on our somewhat eager goal to complete 5 miles.  We settled on running a 3:30 run/1 walk interval.  I have discovered over the past few weeks that somewhere between 3 and 4 minute runs are my "sweet spot"; Saturday I discovered that 3:30 is the perfect spot for me.  Anyway, I think we were both a bit anxious to go 5 miles.  But, we were gonna do it!  We were off - we didn't care how long it took us, but we were gonna do 5 miles

The beginning was a little cold.  I was glad that I didn't wear anymore clothes than I did, but I sure needed my jacket to start things off.  After 3 or 4 intervals, the jacket was promptly tied around the waist.  I checked my Garmin and we finished the first mile in 13:55.  While that's a pretty good clip, it kinda slowed us down on the second mile (15:00).  The first two miles were definitely learning moments for relatively new runners.  The last three miles were completed at the perfect pace (14:40 average pace). 

While we were out on the run, somewhere on the trail headed to Shelley Lake, we ran into two volunteers from our running program. I know that one of them was Megan, but I don't remember the name of the other.  It was great to see them!  The best part was that they weren't that much faster than us.  Penguins unite! :-)

After we finished we both felt so great!  It was just amazing, electrifying, exciting, thrilling, and so many other synonyms.  We finished 5 miles!  I mean, seriously, on July 22 I think we both had difficulty even doing 1 run/1walk intervals.  The deal for both of us isn't time, it is distance.  Sarah and I both kept telling each other how awesome it felt.  Again, back to the penguins - we did the run in good 'ole John Bingham/penguin fashion, but we finished 5 miles.    
After our run, I felt so good.  I did learn one lesson though - do not run any relatively "long" distance for your body and then get in the car to drive about 2 hours.  It was not good.  I wasn't necessarily sore or hurting, but my legs just felt a little "wonky".  Other than the little bit of funny feeling in my legs, I was so energized for the day.  Of course, the minute my head hit the pillow on Saturday night, I was out.  Considering that I am not normally one to sleep well in hotels, I think it was the great morning run that helped me sleep like a little baby.

Now that I have run 5 miles, I feel like I can do anything.  I think each new mile makes me hungry for the next.  I am on my way to complete my goal of a half marathon in 2011/2012.  Each new mile is an adventure and I am ready to go!

Two quotes that are relevant for me right now:
"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." - John Bingham

"It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination. We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else. We can enjoy every moment of movement, as long as where we are is as good as where we'd like to be. That's not to say that you need to be satisfied forever with where you are today. But you need to honor what you've accomplished, rather than thinking of what's left to be done." - John Bingham (No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of Running, page 159)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hilarious reading

My cousin, Natalie, is a pretty voracious reader.  I like to read, but I don't have anything on her.  Many times I check her blog to see what she's been reading and usually get a pretty good idea of some good reads.  A couple months ago, she wrote a post on her newest set of upcoming books to read. 

One of the books was Assholes Finish First by Tucker Max.  I have to admit that I had never heard of this person, Tucker Max.  I decided that I would give his first book, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell a whirl.  Let's just say this...  It is the most raunchy, inappropriate, offensive, absolutely hilarious (pee in your pants hilarious) book.  I don't know that most women would want to read the book, but for some reason I just die laughing with every story of his past. 

So, if you are looking for something to read that is absolutely uncouth, but will make you laugh - get a copy of I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Big girls DO cry

First things first...  My apologies to anyone that may have passed an overweight girl in black shorts, pink tank and white cap that was crying while walking on the Crabtree Creek Trail.  Yep, you guessed it - that was me.  I left work a few minutes early this afternoon, bound and determined to get in at least 4-4.5 miles since I will be missing my run on Saturday.  Needless to say, my left hip and knee had other plans for me.  I had feeling it was going to be a slower run because of a little annoyance in my left leg.  After 3/4 mile the pain got a little more annoying, then after 1 mile I just knew I couldn't keep going.  I ended up ending my run after 1.3 miles and had to walk the rest of the way back. 

I cried off and on the entire way back to my car.  I cried because my hip and knee hurt terribly.  I cried because I had to stop running.  I cried because I had to still walk back to my car even though I hurt.  I cried because I am proud of what I have done thus far.  I cried because I want to keep going, but things keep holding me back.  I cried because tears seem to make it all feel better.

Two days ago, I was feeling awesome about running.  I was a confident woman who was sure that running was her "thing".  For the moment, this has gone out the window.  I know that the feeling will come back, but I wish it didn't have to leave.  These are the times that I am beyond thankful for my encouraging husband.  Without his strong words of encouragement and belief in me, I would not have kept this up.  

So, here's to figuring out what is up with the hip and knee and getting back on the trail... 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is this really me?

I have been running (albeit very slowly) since July 24, 2010.  On August 28, I injured myself and ended up finishing the 10-week beginner running program by walking, but I finished.  I ran my first 5K on September 25.  I have continued to run since then.  Then, why do I think on a daily basis - Is this really me? 

Is this really me?  Is this the girl that didn't/couldn't/wouldn't play sports in middle/high school because she was fat?  Is this the girl that had to ask a friend to take her to senior prom because no guys in her own school asked her?  Is this the girl that weighed 340 pounds in May 2000?  Is this the girl that lost a ton of weight, yet struggles with food issues every single day?  Is this the girl that still sees herself at 340 pounds?  No, this is the woman that started running because she wanted to do something different.  This is the woman that told every single person she could that she started running, so they could hold her accountable. This is the woman that has continued to run, despite an injury/cold/busy day/hard day because she loves it.  So, YES, this is really me. 

Despite my love of being able to be outside and run, I am still full of doubts.  I feel like I am a big fake, simply because I don't fit the profile of the "normal runner".  I am not 130 pounds, far from it, but I am a runner.  As I go through each run, seeing others pass me on the trail (sometimes twice), my mind goes back to John Bingham.  One his quotes that keeps me moving:  "At the heart of the matter, the real changes are in how you think about yourself. By discovering your limitations and then overcoming them, you can learn to be your own hero. And that, for most of us, is the biggest change of all."  Daily, I am slowly tearing down the walls of doubt and becoming my own hero, but it will take time for me to convince myself that Yes, this is really me

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday and hills are hell

I was just skimming Ben Does Life's blog and had to laugh about his post on the subject of Tuesday.  I have to agree 110%.  Now that I actually think about it - he's totally right.  There is nothing special about Tuesday.  I guess I could say that Tuesday is special because it is one of my run days, but other than that - nothing.

Today was a run day.  Toward the end of the workday, I realized that I was not really in the most social mood and kinda in a funk.  I thought it best not to spread my negative energy to others and decided to run on my own.  I left work promptly at 4:40 p.m. and headed to the Ale House on Creekside Drive.  My intention was to run 3 miles at 4/1 intervals.  I succeeded at running 3 miles at 4/1 intervals, but the hills were absolute hell today.  Now, for those of you that may know the Middle Crabtree Creek Trail, you know that it isn't terribly hilly, but that bridge leading up to the greenway entrance on Capital Boulevard is horribleI can see on my charts where my pace took an absolute nosedive.  Lesson learned - do not do this trail on a regular basis, especially if you want to feel good about yourself.  Despite the crappy hills, I finished at an average pace of 15:57. 

On to the next run...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tough week

Last week was a tough week.  I started the week with a sore throat, hacking cough thing going on.  I was determined to keep on going so I made friends with Mucinex-D and vowed to keep my running up. 

I met Vanessa and Sarah at Shelley Lake at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning.  While in the beginning this seemed like I good idea, I was beginning to wonder by lunch.  However, I have to admit that I was far less sluggish at the end of the day than I normally tend to be.  If it weren't such a pain in the butt for our household morning routine, I would probably run more in the morning.  There's just something about running early in the morning, hearing the birds, and being around nature in its earliest hours that is more therapeutic than running in general. 

Tuesday evening, I went to "Diva Night" at Fleet Feet.  They had several showcases, bra fittings, shoe fittings, etc.  I won free registration for the Thanksgiving Day Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K.  Earlier in the day, I had been thinking about not doing the Turkey Trot, but since I got free registration, I am definitely doing it.

On Thursday evening, I met some of the NCRC gals at Fleet Feet for their weekly social run.  I have a feeling that I will not be doing that run again.  While I enjoyed seeing the gals, I thought the sidewalks were going to be the death of me.  When I got home on Thursday evening, I was so upset.  I told Jason that I was going to quit running, didn't know why I started running in the first place, etc.  We went through the full range of emotions and thankfully he just listened.  Jason has an amazing ability to be the voice of reason without saying one word.

I had planned to get up and meet some NCRC gals on Saturday morning.  When I woke up earlier than expected, with an even more annoying cough, I decided it would be best if I went running on my own.  I ran the Crabtree Valley Trail/Alleghany Trail.  I did a total of 4 miles in 58:26, at 3/1 run/walk intervals (avg. pace of 14:35/mile).  Since I am still getting over the muscle/tendon strain in my groin area, I am keeping the intervals low.  Eventually, I will get back up into the 6/1 to 8/1 range.

On Sunday afternoon, I went for a short 2 mile run on the Fallon Creek Trail/Middle Crabtree Creek Trail.  I got a little lost on some of the access roads to the trail, but figured it out this morning.  I couldn't find how to get to the other side of the trail from off Anderson Drive.  Luckily, this morning I drove over that way and followed two bikers and found the connector.  I think this will end up becoming one of my favorite places to run. 

I am hoping that this week will be a great week.  I am trying to maintain a positive attitude and outlook on my goal to run a 1/2 marathon in 2011/2012.  I think that most anyone that really knows me would say that I am a very determined individual and once I put my mind to something, nothing is gonna stop me.  I believe this is so true about running too. 


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One sided view of health?

I am an avid blog reader.  I especially love blogs about living a healthy lifestyle and running.  Why?  Because I crave ideas for making the healthy living journey more interesting and fun - plus, seeing that there are others doing the exact same thing as me is motivation, pure and simple.  The big thing floating around the blog world right now is an article that appeared in Marie Claire.  I have read the article several times and feel like I need to provide my thoughts:
  • I don't read all the blogs of the "Big 6", as called by the writer (I have never heard these folks referred to as the "Big 6", that's news to me).  The ones I have read have provided me good information from food/recipe ideas, ways to change up a workout, and just good "ju ju".
  • It seems that the author went about this article opinion piece in the wrong way.  I would assume that she went to the blog writers with a completely different idea for her story, then chopped their responses to fit her needs.  This was wrong.  If you are going to write an article, you need to be sure it is an article - not a one-sided, rude, mean-spirited opinion piece.  The author does make some valid points about eating disorders, etc.  I think the approach was just wrong.  Because of her approach she has actually made her message even less important. 
  • Common sense and reality - period.  Yes, I sometimes become a little disappointed or discouraged with my progress in my running, healthy eating, etc. when I compare myself to these ladies.  But, each time I remind myself that we are all different - everything about each of us.  These differences should be celebrated and used to motivate.  All you have to do is use a little common sense when reading any blog and you will be just fine.
So, here's the final thing.  I hope that this one critical article doesn't keep people from writing about their healthy lifestyles.  I also hope it doesn't keep others from reading these blogs.  I genuinely believe that this article is an opportunity to inspire more folks to care more for their overall health and well-being.