Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Quick 30 Minute Workouts

I know it can get crazy this holiday season trying to fit in your workouts, but Runner's World has a few great suggestions.

30-30-60: Run easy for five minutes to warm up, then accelerate for 30 seconds, reduce the pace for 30 seconds, then run fast again for 60 seconds. This last segment should be faster than the first acceleration, but not a sprint; gradually increase your pace until you're running about as fast as you'd want to in your next race. The middle segment is not a jog; simply ease up your pace to give yourself a short reprieve before the faster push. Do this 30-30-60 cycle four times, separating each with two minutes of walking or jogging. Finish with two 30-second accelerations (with 60 seconds rest) at the pace of the last fast segment. Add or subtract a 30-30-60 cycle for longer or shorter workouts.

Speed Loop: Find a traffic-free loop that takes you three to five minutes to run at an easy pace. Warm up, then run a loop, noting your time. On the second loop, try to beat your time by five to 10 seconds. Walk or jog for one minute, then go around again, trimming another five to 10 seconds. Do three to five more loops, taking another five to 10 seconds off each. Cool down.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

christmas was good to me...


Okay, so Ryan was good to me...yay!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2009, here we come!

Jona and I are officially signed up for our Spring 2009 races.

March 22 - The Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA. This course is going to be flat, flat, flat. And hopefully fast, fast, fast. :) Jonathan's running the full, while I'll be running the half. We're both hoping for some serious PRs.
April 5 - The Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington, DC. This race came highly recommend by The Nixons and we are so dang excited to run it with some our friends from Cary. And yes, I am a DC virgin, so I'm excited to experience the city for a few days, too.
What's on your 2009 agenda? Anything yet?

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Must See


Thanks to Kaylynn for reminding me to watch this on NBC Sports tomorrow. Check your local listings. You will never be the same after watching this documentary. At least I wasn't.

Secretly I have a dream of completing an Ironman one day. 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. A girl can dream, right?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Winter

In my humble opinion, winter sucks for running. There's less light during the day, it's freezing outside, and the holidays appear with a to-do list a mile long. Despite all of that, my cute hubby has started training for the Shamrock Marathon in the spring, resulting in me me feeling all sorts of guilty, so I just might join him. We'll decide soon.

So in the meantime, I've been trying to hit the gym and bulk up for the 2009 running season. Ha. Bulk up. I have found that I really enjoy this cross training season, but I miss running dearly. Nothing replaces breathing in fresh air and pounding the pavement.

So what do you do during the dreary winter months? I know some of you are fighting snow and severe temps, so I won't complain too much. But I'd love to hear your strategies.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why I Love Running Today

In the afterglow of the NY Marathon, I've decided to not run for a few weeks. I've been able to sleep more, rest up, and ...... wait for it ...... work more. Bleh. It seems that as one element of my life disappears another appears to take its place. I feel like the second I came home from New York and recovered from my cold, everything was go, go, go. I'm feeling scattered, tired, and distracted.

So today I love running because I am focused, energized, and driven while I run. While I can think about the chaos I have going on, the only thing I can actually do while running is run. It is the only time during my day when I can let go, be Julia, and do something totally and utterly selfish.

So thank you running. Thank you for the sanity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Truth About Stretching

Thanks to Jess for passing this one along.

The Truth About Stretching

Monday, November 10, 2008

The New York Marathon

"What doesn't kill you, makes you a runner." -Nike

After experiencing the W-A-I-T for New York City's 26.2, I will absolutely agree with Nike's statement. To illustrate, please indulge me by watching this video: **Also, please disregard my rad 80s hair. It served its warming purpose.**


Waiting for 26.2 from Julia Wade on Vimeo.

I don't think words alone could have described what it felt like to wait 4 hours in 35 degree weather to run 26.2 miles. Hell. Maybe that describes it. We were so unprepared with only light running jackets and sweats. We honestly needed parkas, sweatshirts, long johns, and ski masks, plus pillows and a mummy sleeping bag. Maren, on a slightly more positive note, is a great snuggler. She also had an amazing friend who offered her puffy blanket for us to shiver under for a few hours. If it hadn't been for that little puffy blanket, I am almost certain I would have marched my little self across that Verrazano Bridge and hailed a cabbie to take me home. Maren, thanks for putting up with my grumpy, non-morning self ... more than once. In fact, thank you, everyone, for putting up with my grumpy, non-morning self for the past 10 marathons. You are all gems, to say the least.

Amazingly enough, 10:20am came. And it came gloriously. I have never been more ready to get on a course than I was at that moment.

And we ran. And ran and ran - in our sweats. People, at least on my end, this is NOT a good idea. My poor little Santa Clara University sweatpants were SO heavy. But there was NO WAY on God's green earth you could have paid me one million dollars to take those suckers off after the freezing hell we endured for four hours (Do I exaggerate? Yes, I do). But note to self, never run in the sweats.

So my whole goal in my 10th 26.2 was to stay mentally tough. Well, I'm really sad to say that the mental toughness I hoped for was not there the first 11 miles ... at all. I couldn't shake the single thought: "Why the hell am I doing this?" It is the most daunting feeling in the world to think about the 25, 23, 18 more miles you have to put behind you.

My expression at mile 8 says it all ...

I am grateful for Maren who stayed tough for me. She saw the "crashing" signs and kept me from completely throwing in the towel by staying positive for me. Thank you, Maren.

I had a little pow-wow with myself around mile 11. I decided that 15 more miles was much better than 20 and that I needed to be a big girl. No tears were shed, but a burden in my chest was lifted and I was ready to finish.

Mile 13 ... getting ready to cross the Queensboro Bridge ... aka the bridge that never ends and goes up forever. Both feeling pretty good.

The miles felt pretty good after that. I'm fairly certain this was around mile 20. Why I'm holding up 10 fingers, I still can't quite figure out. Probably a 10K left? Number 10? I'm pretty sure I thought we had 10 miles left. Once you've put 20 miles under your belt, you're not quite thinking straight.

We pushed through the Bronx and finally arrived in Central Park. I felt like I had wings and that I could fly. I would trade a thousand bad miles to feel like I did from mile 20 on. I was filled with an intense amount of gratitude, energy, and joy. It was all I could do to hold back the tears and take in the moments I was experiencing.

And I finished.
Things I will always remember about the New York Marathon:

  • 2 million spectators cheering us on
  • Experiencing New York City like no one else can
  • Running the same course as Paula Radcliffe (amazing picture, Jona)
  • Running with Maren
  • Experiencing four of NY's amazing(ly long) bridges
  • Loving miles 20-26.2
  • Seeing Jonathan at the finish line

Words cannot express how grateful I am for my husband. Jonathan is my champion and the one who believed in me throughout my running journey. From the first $100 check I cut to run the Anchorage Marathon to the last stride across the New York City Marathon finish line, he has only cheered me on and offered the support only a husband can give.

None of this was possible, or meaningful without you, Jona. I love you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nike Women's ...

It's kind of awful to say that this race was really an afterthought in my trip to San Francisco. But, it really was. Amid dinners, long chats, driving, shopping, photographing, shopping, (did I say shopping?) the thought was "Oh yeah, Nike on Sunday." Nonetheless when Sunday came around and Lindsey knocked on my door because my stupid cell phone alarm didn't go off, I was totally excited to take on the 13.1 miles ahead of me.

This will have been my fifth year running this race, and there is a reason I keep going back. I love it. For some reason this race gives me a hard time and for the past three years I haven't really "rocked" it per say. But the chance that I might, the challenge that the race presents keeps me coming back year after year. On a random side note, I just got an email from Nike yesterday letting me know a Legacy T-shirt will be on its way. Woot, woot!

The first 5-6 miles felt fine. Easy. Relaxed. Maybe too relaxed. I always feel like I need to go out conservatively in the first miles to save energy for later, but perhaps I could have been more aggressive. The hills between mile 6-9 absolutely posed a challenge. My brain wasn't quite in gear to pound up them. With a little therapy from Liz, I survived.

Around mile 10 Liz dropped off the course to use the facilities. She told me to go ahead and that she would catch up. So I popped in the iPod, got in the zone, and went, not knowing that Maren and Kaylynn had stopped to wait for me. I completely missed them. They waited, and waited.

I crossed the finish line, anxiously looking for my friends, who I assumed had crossed the finish line hours ago. :) They were behind me because they had waited. I felt awful!! I have amazing friends to say the least.

In hindsight, I'd like to look at Nike as a nice training run for New York on Sunday and take with me the following lessons:

  • Don't stress about the hills until they come. The anticipation makes the actual experience 10X worse. To stress about something that hasn't happened yet is unneeded.
  • Get in the zone. Don't think. Just let go and run.

I'm very much looking forward to this weekend in New York City. I'm a NYC virgin. Never been. Can't wait. This week will be full of relaxing, drinking water and lots o' sleep. Wait, and letting go. Just let the race happen, right Julia? We'll see ............

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

marathon runners


So I was doing a 20-minute cardio yoga workout in my living room this morning, and this is how it went:

Instructor: You should be feeling pretty out of breath by now.
Me (thinking): Um, not really.
Instructor: Unless you're a marathon runner.

Awesome.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

first lady of the marathon


Check out Paula Radcliffe's impressive record:

  • World record for the marathon: 2:15:25
  • World record for the 10K: 30:21
  • Half Marathon: 1:05:40
  • 17 Olympic medals, 9 gold medals

The rest can be found here. Her races are so inspirational, and her perseverance despite her injuries keep me motivated.

I will be thinking of her running ahead of me on race day in New York on November 2nd. If that's not inspiration, to be able run the same course as her, then I don't know what is. Now if I could only meet her ... :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

20 (20) miler report

HA. i didn't get lost, no worries.

i woke up at the ungodly hour of 6am and looked out the window only to see it was pitch dark outside. where have i been the last few weeks? in bed, of course. maggie even thought it was early. she didn't even bother to look at me when i got out of bed. so i ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and went back to bed to wait for the sunrise.

around 7 i hit the pavement. there's always that moment right when you start when you think "holy crap, i've got 20 miles to run" ... "1/2 mile down, 19 1/2 to go" ... "geeeeez, that's a long way". and let's not lie here, it is a long way. shoot, in cali that's like running from sunnyvale to san carlos; in utah, salt lake city to draper; and in nc, cary to chapel hill. my problem is that i've let that thought run away from me. (ha). in my past races and long runs, i have felt so overwhelmed by the effort, and then have consequently broken down. it's been very frustrating.

today, like my 22 miler a few weeks ago, felt so different and i can't explain why. perhaps it's the audiobook on my ipod, or literally saying out loud "you CAN do this" or the new song i HAVE to listen to while i'm chugging up a long hill. nonetheless, i finished and i'm feeling so dang good about it.

what's next? 13.1 next weekend in san francisco at the nike women's marathon, an 8 miler, and then the new york marathon. geez. i can't wait.

this running thing has really changed my life. what i did this morning, though hard, gives me a huge sense of accomplishment and pride. i highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

bring it on

one more time ... 20 miles ... tomorrow morning. i'm ready. bring it on.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

strategies for success

we all live very busy lives and have many things that demand our precious time. and yet, we still choose to run, despite the busyness and chaos.

for the past two weeks i have had a problem "choosing to run". gasp. with new demands on my schedule i've found myself sleeping less, and feeling more stressed, which results in missed morning runs. and forget trying to run after work. i feel like a zombie after staring at a computer for ten hours a day.

i know this is a choice. i choose not to run even though i'm tired. this is the part that drives me nuts. why can't i get my butt out of bed in the morning? why can't i lace up my running shoes after work and go out for a quick run?

so i'd like to know how you do it. i'm in an adjustment period right now (and being a total wimp) and need a little pep talk.

Friday, September 26, 2008

i (they) have arrived

welcome to my new asics gel kayano 14s. yes, i got them in purple.
16 miles. tomorrow. here i come.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

20 (22) miler report


i got lost! talk about a mental challenge (as was my intention in taking on two 20 milers for this marathon training). around mile 13 i missed a crucial turn and ended up at the north end of the park on glenwood avenue. i was able to cut through the middle of the park after a map consultation with a park ranger, but i still ended up running about 22 miles yesterday.

i'm glad it happened, though. i needed something like this to try and mentally "break" me. i am happy to report that it didn't. the air was cool, and i felt loose and strong the whole way despite getting lost and the challenging hills. i am pretty tired though. tomorrow's five miler might just be pushed until tuesday. :)

one down. one more to go.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

i love the hills, and the hills love me

the experts at thefinalsprint.com tote hill training and all of its benefits.

The obvious benefit to hill training is that you become better at running hills. But what might not be as obvious is that you become better at running on flat land too. The muscle groups used to get over the hills are the same groups used in sprinting, so by running the hills you are enhancing your speed by building strength. This effect also increases the frequency and length of your stride, both of which are very important aspects of speed. In addition, by strengtheing your leg muscles, hill training helps to reduce injuries.

translation: hills can transform you into a stronger, faster runner. sweet. but tell me that during a long run and i've got a serious hill to climb, right? hills can be so daunting.

i have a serious mental challenge when it comes to hills. i know my breathing is going to get faster, my muscles burn is going to increase, and i'm just going to feel super uncomfortable as i climb. i have discovered, however, that after the hill, the discomfort eventually goes away and the mental boost it is replaced with far surpasses any level of discomfort i've experienced. so in essence: buck up sweetie, it'll be over soon.

in many of our races this fall, there will be hills ... inclines if you will. :) so maybe here's a reminder to get out and train on 'em a little so that our PRs can move that much closer within reach.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

spirit of the marathon

i think i'd be doing all of you "love to run" readers a huge disservice if i didn't let you know that the spirit of the marathon is now available for preorder on dvd and will ship on october 7! i just ordered my director's signed copy (at no extra charge) this morning. cannot wait. click here for more details.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

getting over the 3, 4 mile hump

emma brought up such a good question in wednesday's post ... when does running get easy? when does that 3 or 4 miler feel like no big deal? when can you take on more mileage? it's a hard question to answer, which is why i wanted to ask it here.

can you remember your first four miler? can you remember the first time you said "i'm just going out for four miles?" what happened in between those runs?

my first four miles was with jeni on a trail in san mateo running along the san francisco bay, just under the san mateo bridge. i kept thinking to myself "ok, it's only two miles out, and then two miles back". but those two miles out, and then two miles back felt like an ETERNITY! i remember finishing the run just before dusk, feeling exhausted but like a true rock star. i think we got a jamba juice to celebrate. fast forward a few months later, and a four miler was my easy run on thursdays at rancho san antonio. what happened in between? lots of running. lots of discomfort, and i think the key: longer runs. don't be afraid to try a 6 miler (or maybe longer), even if you've got to walk a bit (or a lot) and suffer, it will push your endurance levels and make that 4 miler feel like a piece of cake.

well, that's my theory. what do you think?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

a few small triumphs

this past week resulted in a few small triumphs i had to share.

last saturday i was slated to run 16 miles. count them. 16 big ones. cold turkey, to boot. after my last post i decided to sleep, sleep and sleep that entire week we came home from china. i didn't run at all. that following monday i ran 2 miles (felt horrible) and then on wednesday i ran 6 miles (felt horrible). so the 16 miles on saturday felt daunting to say the least.

i resigned myself to the fact that i was just going to suffer through the 16 miler. it was going to suck, but i was going to do it. no matter what. i had to get back on track for ny. i popped in my ipod and away i went into the humid, 75 degree air. as always, miles 1-4 were a little rough trying to get in the groove, but after that my body just relaxed. 5-16 were cake. who'd a thunk?!? the trail was beautiful, i let go of my brain, and i just ran. totally unexpected. it was like my body hadn't forgotten what it was like to put out that kind of mileage. i felt like a million bucks.

triumph no. 2: it dropped below 70 degrees in cary tuesday morning. it felt fabulous to run 7 miles in 65 degrees. mmmmmmmwah, autumn. i cannot wait to run some more in your crisp morning air and cool breezes.

i think i'm ready. ready to get back into the mental and physical game it is to run a marathon. bring it on, ny. bring it on.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

dear driver of car:

i know you think you're being nice, but you're not. you're only being stupid. all i ask is that you pay attention to and obey the traffic laws. i promise i will do the same.

the problem is: when you see me coming, for some very strange reason, you panic. maybe you think i'm going to dart out in front of you. maybe you thought that you stopping in the middle of a very busy road when you have the right-of-way was a good idea. it wasn't. in fact, it was a very BAD idea.

i won't run until the little white man on the light post tells me i can run. i promise. you shouldn't stop and wave me one when lots of other cars are waiting for you. they're not waiting for me...i'm not running! however, when you stop, it makes ME look like the idiot when, in fact, YOU are the idiot. so please, please, please: just obey those laws you learned in driver education class so many years ago. i promise to do the same.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

alchemist update

since my previous post, did anyone download the book from itunes?
have you been running to it? did you enjoy it?

i'm almost through with the novel (i've been listening to it while running and traveling) and i'm looking for a new running novel recommendation, as this idea of running while reading has become my new addiction.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Always an evolution

When I was little, I always thought I was a bad athlete. I don't even know what "athlete" meant to me back then, but I just thought I wasn't the athletic type. I did gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading most of my life, but even now those sports are still under discrimination for "is this really a sport" type of debate, even within my own family. Since I wasn't in the "regular" sports, I didn't consider myself an athlete.

When I started running in 2005, "I'm not an athlete" would continually scroll through my brain. I would feel out of breath and it would totally be the self-fulfilling prophecy - "Yep, you're not an athlete." Or, my muscles would feel sore, my knees would be sore; whatever the ailment, it just confirmed I wasn't a good athlete. That is until, one day while running the San Francisco half marathon. It was an exceptionally warm day for SF, and I was having a hard time catching my breath from the beginning. I always complained to the girls that it felt as though my breath was only making it half way down my chest. So, lo and behold, at mile 10, I start seeing black spots in my vision. Out goes the "I'm not a good athlete" and in goes "I think I might have something wrong with me."

I feel my eyes involuntarily closing, so I decided to sit down on the curb, right in the middle of the race. I sat there for a few minutes trying to catch my breath and finally got up. From mile 10 until the end, I had to continually run/walk to catch my breath.

Now I'm hearing my dad's voice (who was a Dr.) in my head saying, "Oh, just take an advil" which was his answer to everything. So, I am not the least bit surprised when my Dr says in the same brush-me-off tone, "Oh, you probably just have exercise induced asthma, here's an inhaler." Ok, sure. I use the inhaler, but I'm realizing it only works for a small chunk of time and then I am back to sucking down wind.

Fast forward to now - it gets so bad to the point where I am stopping to catch my breath on short morning runs. Not normal. I finally kick down my pride and go see an asthma specialist. Turns out I have regular asthma - not exercise induced, and the medicine I need is not a rescue inhaler. Who would have known? Yeah, maybe an asthma specialist.

So here I am, 3 years into running, surpassing "surviving" as a runner and finally evolving. I'm starting to enjoy running for new reasons, and realizing that pride is of no help in situations like these. It made me realize - maybe others out there have things they just ignore as an athlete because they don't want to deal with it - like a bum knee, or ankle, or whatever. Is this true? I realize that no one likes bad news, but I've also realized that you can't go up until you go down, and you can't evolve as an athlete when your body is holding you back.

What do you guys think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

back in the swing of things, after the vacation

while i was out on vacation in china, my running routine took a back seat for a few reasons. a) we walked everywhere in china b) we were exhausted after walking everywhere in china c) the pollution was everywhere in china. excuses, excuses. does that make me a total slacker?

i've always had a hard time running while on vacation, not just while i was in china. my brain and body just scream for a break. mom's cookies, sleeping in, long days on the beach, and later bed times don't help either.

as new york draws nearer (73 days) my training schedule sits on my cork board in the kitchen as a visual reminder to get my butt back in gear. but i'm struggling. i'm exhausted. 14 miles calls this weekend, but has nothing compared to what my sweet, sweet pillow has to offer.

so, if your body is telling you to "recover" (maybe it is, maybe it isn't), do you listen? or do you continue that running schedule that is waiting for you the moment you get home from vacation? (or you do ever take that vacation break?) do you sacrifice a day (or two) to rest or run? i can't decide whether i just need to buck up and be a big girl or give myself a few more days.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

running slows the aging clock

Check out this article from the Stanford School of Medicine! Just another reason to keep up running for our entire lives...

“If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise.” --James Fries, MD, emeritus professor of medicine at the medical school and the study’s senior author.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

hydration


i am super curious ... what do you drink for the following runs?
  • 1-4 miles?
  • 5-6 miles?
  • 7-10 miles?
  • 10+ miles?

options might include nothing, water, fuel belt flask of propel.

my hydration needs have changed so much since moving to a warmer climate. i think i've almost doubled my fluid intake.

my answers to the questions?

  • 1-4 miles: one fuel belt flask of FROZEN water
  • 5-6 miles: one or two fuel belt flask of FROZEN propel
  • 7-10 miles: three + fuel belt flasks of gatorade (rain is my fave)
  • 10+ miles: four + fuel belt flasks of gatorade

i think each fuel belt flask is around 7 oz. is that about right? anyways, i'd love to know what you're drinkin'. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

safety first

the town of cary was rocked this week by the news of a local woman who went missing on a long run last saturday morning. unfortunately, she did not come home alive (for details, click here). it was a reminder to me to always put safety first when running. i found an extensive safety list on the web and thought i would share it here. BE SAFE OUT THERE LADIES (and gents). YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO CAREFUL.

1 - DON'T WEAR HEADSETS. Use your ears to be aware of your surroundings. Using headphones, you lose the use of an important sense: your hearing.
2 - Always stay alert and aware of what's going on around you. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
3 - Carry a cell phone or change for a phone call. Know the locations of call boxes and telephones along your regular route.
4 - Trust your intuition about a person or an area. React on your intuition and avoid a person or situation if you're unsure. If something tells you a situation is not "right", it isn't.
5 - Alter or vary your running route pattern; run in familiar areas if possible. In unfamiliar areas, such as while traveling, contact a local RRCA club or running store. Know where open businesses or stores are located.
6 - Run with a partner. Run with a dog.
7 - Write down or leave word of the direction of your run. Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes.
8 - Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Especially avoid unlit areas, especially at night. Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
9 - Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe. Include any medical information. Don't wear jewelry.
10 - Ignore verbal harassment. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
11 - Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles.
12 - Wear reflective material if you must run before dawn or after dark.
13 - Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers.
14 - Carry a noisemaker and/or OC (pepper) spray. Get training in self-defense and the use of pepper spray.
15 - CALL POLICE IMMEDIATELY if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is important to report incidents immediately.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

iTunes comes through again


while training for the salt lake marathon, i went through a huge adjustment period that included getting used to running with many to running by myself. during that time, my little iPod and i became great friends. i discovered that listening to novels or my church magazine was a great way to pass the time on a long run.

perusing through iTunes today, i stumbled across a *FREE* copy of the alchemist by paulo coelho (download by july 14). now i've got 4 hours, 16 minutes and 33 seconds of running time to kill. shoot, that's a marathon, right? :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

how did you get started?

in maren's last post we had a question in one of the comments from sarah. she asked whether or not our group had ever thought about running for charity. i can proudly say that most of us have run for charity in the past and would absolutely consider it again. it prompted me to write about why and how i started running, because it was a charity that started it all for me.

jonathan and i moved to california in the summer of 2003 and the only person we knew was my uncle who lived in the city thirty miles away. after a few months of missing family and struggling to start a piano studio, i found myself in a much too early mid-life crisis at 21 years old. i was bored and depressed. driving in the car on a cold january afternoon, i heard a radio advertisement for team in training, an organization dedicated to raising funds for the leukemia lymphoma society. they also happened to train average people to run marathons. i attended an information meeting, cut a check for $100, and had officially signed myself up for the midnight sun marathon in anchorage, alaska. if i can truly confess, i had NO intentions of running a full marathon when i signed up for the program. i thought it was a good idea, i just didn't believe i could do it. slowly but surely, the fitness and determination came, and my life was changed.

having the motivation to run for cancer patients is a powerful one. fundraising for cancer research and patient care is also a powerful motivator. running with people who are working towards that same goal is exhilarating. i am forever indebted to this organization for changing my life in more ways than i can count.

we saw beautiful places (monterey bay: 20 miler)
i met lifelong friends and developed lifelong friendships
i now have memories that will last forever
(jeni and me at the finish of our first marathon in anchorage)
i ended up mentoring for the program the next fall; these five girls ended up raising over $33,000 for cancer research that season
we ran in honolulu together, december 2004


after that year long experience, i was hooked to the sport. i asked any girl that came within the four walls of my home or church if they wanted to run a marathon with me. i was addicted to the long runs, the chats, the "runners high", the PRs. all of it. i honestly can say now that i am a RUNNER and it is part of who i am and who i will be for the rest of my life.
so i want to know, WHY did you start?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

back in the saddle...er, shoes...again

dear brooks adrenalines,

i'm sorry i ignored you for an entire month. i know, can you believe it really was a month! i'm sure you thought i didn't care about you, but i do. i really do. i just needed a break. thanks for hanging in there for me and being so ready to hit the pavement again with me this morning. it felt nice. i'm sure the girls i run with thought i was rude to ignore their emails and texts to join them in the mornings. i didn't mean to hurt any feelings, i was just a little worn out. i'll be ready soon...

sincerely, maren

Thursday, June 26, 2008

need some perspective? try deena kastor's blog

oh deena kastor, how i love you.
this woman is a machine, a world class athlete. and while her running resume is incredibly impressive, her personal approach to running is even more inspiring. ok, to my point. it has been so hot here in raleigh. pounding the pavement in 80 degree humid heat (at 6:30AM) is to put it bluntly - HARD. but then, i read deena kastor's blog this morning about her training for the beijing olympics. check this out:

Here in Mammoth, I am getting better Beijing preparation than I anticipated. With the multiple fires in California we are getting a good supply of smoke in our usually clean air. My eyes have been burning throughout the day and I can only imagine that my lungs are getting a little color to them as well. It will be nice to get to Eugene for some cleaner air.
This picture (see above) is Mike and I training at 9000 feet altitude. Lake Mary is one of the most beautiful places we run but we are not appreciating the views here. We ran a tempo run and then 12 X 400. I call this workout a SCREAMER because I really feel the burn when trying to run fast after depleting my glycogen in the tempo run. I am overdressed in the summer heat to prepare for the heat and humidity of Beijing. This is just another day at the office here in Mammoth Lakes.

geez. and i think i had it rough on my four miler this morning ... :) thanks deena!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

breaking it down

first, i want to thank everyone for the words of congrats and encouragement. it means the world. i am so excited to run this marathon in such an amazing city. i've never been to new york (gasp) and my philosophy is that running is the best way to discover a new place. so here goes nothin'.

jona and i have talked a lot about my running. we've analyzed why i've recently crashed mid-race so many times and why i can't seem to get a whole lot faster. (read here for a great "serious crashing" running story). we've come to the conclusion that i have plateaued as a runner. after four + years of running, my speed and endurance have leveled off and i can't seem to "break" in to that next level of running that i am so badly craving. it's causing a lot of frustration during my training runs and especially my races so here's our next plan of attack:

START OVER. yep. i'm completely starting over ... one mile, baby. the key will be that that one mile will be faster ... much faster. then hopefully two miles will be faster. then three and so forth. combine that with a better cross training effort and more intense long runs (perhaps multiple 20 milers), and hopefully it will add up to a stronger, faster marathon.

have any of you felt that plateau as a runner? what have you done to push it to the next level?

Friday, June 20, 2008

i'm goin' to NEW YORK CITY!


i can't even stand it, i got in to the new york city marathon. my tenth marathon will be the NEW YORK CITY marathon! just writing about it gives me chills.

november 2, 2008. 135 days and counting. geez, i've got a lot of work to do.

jona's volunteered to be my personal trainer. he's ready to get my butt in shape to make this a marathon of a lifetime. PRs? who knows. mental toughness? you bet. it's my greatest challenge. convincing my brain that my body can do it. ugh. my crazy brain.

but anyways, there you go ... new york!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

gearing up ...

last year, i wrote a post on my other blog regarding the marathon. top 10 reasons why you should run one, in fact. the fall marathon has definitely been on my mind as of late, so i thought it would be appropriate to repost the top 10 here. funny side note: when jona read my top 10 reasons, he asked me where i found them. apparently he was underestimating my blogging abilities. :) I WROTE THEM silly!

anyways, here it is. top 10 reasons why you should train for and run a marathon.

10. Endorphins: noun: any of a group of endogenous peptides (as enkephalin and dynorphin) found especially in the brain that bind chiefly to opiate receptors and produce some of the same pharmacological effects (as pain relief) as those of opiates. Translation: you feel good, less pain. Yes, the "runners high" really does exist and it really does feel good. Get over the 3 to 4 mile hump and you'll know what I'm talking about.

9. Bigger heart: Because your body needs to pump more blood to get more oxygen to those hard working muscles, over time your body adapts and your heart beats more efficiently (greater volume of blood per pump) and actually becomes larger.

8. Nice legs: Yes, running builds strong muscles. Remember to stretch.

7. Therapy: To me there is no better stress reliever than to go out on a late Friday afternoon, pop in my iPod (or not) and get rid of the work week. Running allows me to do something for myself and work out my thoughts.

6. Lose Weight/Gain Weight: I've had friends who have lost weight running, but also gained weight. It's a fact: muscle weighs more than fat. Shed the fat, gain the muscle - you're going to weigh more and look toned.

5. Slow Down the Aging Process: Runners are less likely to experience bone and muscle loss as they age.

4. Amazing Places to See: Because of marathons, I've been able to see Alaska, Hawaii, San Diego, Sacramento (actually a fabulous race), the California Redwoods, Napa Valley, Los Angeles, and Highway 1 in Big Sur which we had all to ourselves. You now have an excuse to travel.

3. Courage: There is nothing like accomplishing something you never thought you could. We're not going to lie, running 26.2 miles is hard. But if you learn to take heart and do something hard, you'll never feel the same.

2. Bragging Rights: Running 26.2 is a serious accomplishment. Celebrate it. You really get to learn what you are made of. I always make it a point to wear my finish medal and go through the medal detector at the airport when I'm flying home. :)

1. Camaraderie: I have had the privilege of running with some of the most amazing women I know. This is truly the reason I run. It's selfish. I love my girlfriends and being able to spend time with them and share in their lives is it for me. Experiencing the running ups and downs together and having fun while doing it makes it all worth it. Get out together and make it a team effort.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Taking a Break

Do any of you ever feel like you need a break? Lately I've been feeling like I need a work-out hiatus. It's been about 3 weeks since I have exercised, probably the longest I have gone in years. I just felt like with every workout my body was begging me to stop. And if it wasn't my body begging me, it was my mind.

I did some research and found that most experts recommend taking blocks of time off to heal muscles, regain enthusiasm, and to avoid injury.

Medical News Today reads:

"...athletes should take time off from one sport for two to three months each year. Taking a break from a sport allows injuries to heal and the opportunity to work on strength training and conditioning to reduce the risk of future injuries. It also helps kids (read: adults) take a psychological break, which is necessary to avoid burnout, or over training syndrome.

Symptoms of burnout include chronic muscle or joint pain, personality changes, elevated resting heart rate, decreased sport performance, fatigue, lack of enthusiasm about practice or competition, or difficulty completing ordinary activities. It's imperative that youth athletes are educated about appropriate nutrition and fluids, and how to avoid hypothermia, hypothermia, over training, overuse injuries, and burnout."




My guideline with any hobby in life has been to not force myself, and to only do it when I truly want to. Because really, if you don't do it because you want to, then it's not a hobby anymore! I've been enjoying the extra hour of sleep in the morning, but I can tell I am getting ready to go back to training. And I love that feeling, because when I do, it will be because I love it and I want to be there. It's a great feeling!

Friday, June 6, 2008

i loved this

13 way to boost your energy from real simple

1. Get enough sleep. If you never wake up before the alarm blasts, you need to go to bed earlier. People become accustomed to the feeling of being sleep deprived, but they don’t really adapt to it. Make getting enough sleep a top priority.

2. Go for a brisk walk. One study found that even a 10-minute walk was enough to supply a feeling of energy and decreased tension.

3. Listen to your favorite upbeat song. Hearing stimulating music gives an instant lift. Along the same lines…

4. Sing out loud. It’s hard to feel grouchy when you’re singing — and the goofier the song, the better.

5. Take a short nap, if you’re the napping type. Many people find them very energizing. My father has been known to take three naps in one day.

6. Act energetic. Research shows that when people move faster, their metabolism speeds up. Acting energetic will make you feel more energetic.

7. Along the same lines, spend time with energetic people. People catch the moods of other people, and energy (or lack of energy) is highly contagious.

8. Talk to friends. I’ve noticed that if I’m feeling low, and I run into a friend on the street, I walk away feeling much more energetic. Reach out if you need a boost.

9. Cross a nagging chore off your to-do list to get a big rush of energy. Unfinished tasks drag us down, so force yourself to tackle one thing that’s nagging you to get a huge rush of energy.

10. Make your bed. It doesn’t take much time or thought, and it provides a feeling of serenity and control when you come home at night.

11. Make something right. Apologize, confess, repair, replace, or return something you borrowed.

12. Go outside into the sunlight. Light deprivation is one reason why people feel tired. Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood.

13. Clean up. I’m not sure why tidying makes such a huge difference, but when I feel like I can’t face the day, I just tidy up my desk, and I perk right up.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

beat the heat

while this post may not be for you people who live in heaven, it has been known to even get hot there, and with summer just around the corner i thought it would be appropriate to have a discussion on how to stay cool during the summer running season.

i must admit, i am scared out of my brain to run in the south. jona keeps telling me it will make me stronger, if i don't die first! my first plan of attack will be to keep a "cool head" and fix my mind set: it's just going to be hot ... deal with it!

i've found some great runnersworlds.com articles that i thought gave some great tips on keeping cool during the hot summer months. here are a few:
  • train early in the morning
  • cross-train indoors
  • do speedwork on a treadmill
  • ease in to the heat - Do a slow, two- to three-mile walk or very easy run at the hottest part of the day two times per week for three or four weeks to acclimatize to the heat. It makes the morning run feel cool.
  • hydrate! hydrate! hydrate! this should include an electrolyte drink to keep your sodium/potassium balances in line

and some more "practical" advice:

  • put ice cubes on top of a sponge on top of your head underneath your athletic hat
  • soak a baseball cap in water and put it in the fridge overnight before a morning run
  • lay a bandanna out in a diamond shape and place a row of ice cubes in a horizontal line, just below one tip of the bandanna, then roll it up "like a burrito," and tie it around your neck

all of this information and more great articles can be found here. so i'm dying to know, how do you stay cool during the hot months?

*an important side note: it's important to listen to your body while running in the heat. heat exhaustion (which can lead to heat stroke) is a serious risk when it's hot. symptoms of heat exhaustion can be found here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

NEEDED: first time marathon advice

my good friend sarah from scu has a boyfriend, jon, who is running his FIRST marathon in san diego this weekend. the good ole rock'n'roll san diego. i've had a request for some first time marathoner tips for him (and anyone else who'd like a little marathon advice!)

okay, love to run readers, let's give him some good advice.

here's mine:
  • breathe. just breathe. relax. i love the saying, "go out fast, die like a pig" (an old TNT joke). don't let the excitement of the start line affect your finish line. keep it easy the first few miles and stay conservative.
  • keep with your routine. don't stray from what you've been doing all training long. keep the same shoes, stay in the same running outfit, drink the same electrolyte drink, eat the same gel. keep with what's familiar.
  • i've run this marathon twice. while it's a really fun city, it's a tough course. there are a lot of people to deal with and navigating the course can be a challenge. lucky for you the weather is looking to be fantastic so enjoy that. but be prepared to be in a MASS of people.
  • enjoy it. this is your first marathon! you'll never be a virgin marathoner ever again. take in the sights (the zoo, downtown, the bay, the marine corps depot). listen to your body. it's going to be hard, but enjoy the work. it's a feeling you can't experience anywhere else.
  • stay mentally tough. positive thoughts matter more than a strong body.

ok, i'll leave the rest to my fantastic marathon friends. jon, let us know if you have questions.

GOOD LUCK! you are going to be great. just getting to the starting line is a huge accomplishment.