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 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.